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Old May 16, 2007, 12:52 AM   #1
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The best place to shoot track and field is as close as possible to the action, and the best angles come from down low--basic dicta of track and field shooting. This afternoon, I had the opportunity to shoot my first track meet. Unfortunately, my choice of camera position was limited. Since I was the meet announcer, I had to shoot from a tall pressbox. The other side to that question was that I had good sight lines to several venues without changing position radically. This is the first group of edits I did, focusing on athletes from our school.
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Old May 16, 2007, 12:54 AM   #2
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The day started sunny. This one is the hurdler's nightmare...clipping a hurdle, costing precious time
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Old May 16, 2007, 12:57 AM   #3
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The high jump pit was at the end of the field, and by the time our jumper's turn came, the meet had been delayed once by rain.

(All shots with the Fuji s6000fd with a Sony 1.7X teleconverter.)
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Old May 16, 2007, 6:24 AM   #4
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Trojansoc,

What do you do differently with your sports photos vs. the wedding photos you posted? I don't know if it's the TC or something in your post processing, but the loss of detail in these shots is very marked compared to your wedding shots which still have very good detail. I'm inclined to think it might be the TC but can't say. In any case, compare the faces in these shots to the faces in your wedding shots to see what I'm talking about. Your sports shots should have this same level of detail. Any idea besides the TC on what could be causing the difference?

Also - on the high jump - the artificial blur is more distracting than beneficial. The fact that it ends right at the bar is a big tip off that it's artificial - not to mention it is too heavy of an affect. Adding the blur in PP can be very difficult and time consuming to get a natural looking affect. More often than not it isn't worth the trouble that it takes. But if you do decide to do it, keep in mind the blur should be a progressive thing and objects equidistant from the focal plane should have the same amount of blur - again, not an easy thing to do with a 2 dimensional image.
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Old May 16, 2007, 11:43 AM   #5
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Good action photos. I think #1 & #2 meet your purpose very well. I suspect the auto-focus in #3 grabbing the edge of the pit rather than the bar is the cause of the problem with that photo.

Don't know about the rest of the world but I apply different standards to sports photos than to wedding photos. If you've captured the effort of the athletes and the essence of the action then it's a good photograph. The nuances of skin tones are irrelevant.
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Old May 16, 2007, 11:58 AM   #6
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ac.smith wrote:
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Don't know about the rest of the world but I apply different standards to sports photos than to wedding photos. If you've captured the effort of the athletes and the essence of the action then it's a good photograph. The nuances of skin tones are irrelevant.
With respect, it isn't about nuances of skin tones - it's about image detail. The difference in image detail between the two should not be an order of magnitude difference and when I compare these to other photos from the exact same camera/user there is a huge difference in image quality. While high iso shots with heavy noise reduction would be expected to have a plastic look - these should not is all I'm saying. It's not about subject movement either - it's about overal detail. I'm not suggesting the results should be the same as a $5000 DSLR solution but there is nothing inherant about sports shooting that indicates the photos should have less detail than still shots.

So there must be something that is different between the options/workflow used for the non-sports photos which retain detail and the sports photos which have lost a great amount of detail. If it can be dermined what that difference is, I'm confident it can be corrected and the camera can prouce the same quality detail in these shots that exists in the others.

IMO a good action shot should look just as nice as a goood still shot from the same camera, that's all I'm trying to say.



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Old May 16, 2007, 12:46 PM   #7
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the fake blur on #3, as JohnG said, is really distracting. As for the detail loss, it looks to me like really heavy noise reduction?
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Old May 16, 2007, 2:24 PM   #8
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Trojansoc,

What kind of post-processing did you do on these photos besides resize/resampling to fit the forum? Specifically did you add blur to #3?

Do you still have the EXIF data on the originals? If so I'd like to see it as it seems to have been stripped in the resampling.
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Old May 16, 2007, 3:14 PM   #9
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Guys, thank you for the interest in the shots. I will answer a couple of the questions more fully tonight when I get home.

John, I appreciate you taking the time to help me isolate whether I'm dealing with an equipment or a technique issue. First, #3 needs to go in the discard pile. Late last night, when I edited it, it looked a whole lot better than it did this morning. Especially, the artificial blur was not effective in the slightest. It was a case of having a shot with no DOF and an irritating background, then not taking the time to do the job right.

What I'd like to do is focus on a couple of issues with the first couple of shots and post a couple of things from home tonight. I have three prime suspects for why the photos have significant detail loss. 1) I'm starting with such a small image sample due to the percentage of original frame being so small. 2) The Sony TC. To be honest, I really don't think this is the problem because of the number of very crisp shots I've gotten from it. 3) a problem in the post-processing workflow, specifically in the noise reduction built into PSP XI. My gut feeling is that it is #1, but #3 is a very real possibility. I'll have to have access to my home hard drive to post some images to test.
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Old May 16, 2007, 3:53 PM   #10
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trojansoc, allow me to recommend Noiseware for your noise reduction. It works wonders for me. It was free when i downloaded it, i imagine this is still true!
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