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Old Feb 29, 2008, 12:12 PM   #1
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Hi all,

Apart from being annoyed that I just lost everything I typed due to a stupid computer, I thought this might help some new shooters out!!

I was thinking about how my shooting has changed since I started shooting sports at the end of 2005. Back then I was using a Konica Minolta 5D with Tamron 70-300mm f4-5.6 lens and hadn't got a clue about sports shooting.

Let me say before we go any further I'm not a master at sports photographer and every time I go out I try to learn something to improve for the next time, but I can see a good improvement and sure others will be able to follow in my footsteps.

Here are a couple of shots from '05.

1



2



I'm sure these are the sort of thing that most people will have captured or be able to.

What can be done to improve these shots?? I know some of you are shouting out the answers as you read this.

In no particular order:

Get lower, frame tighter, widen the aperture (smaller f number so for this lens it would have been to ensure I was at f5.6 when at 300mm and f4 when at 70).

Getting lower willbringyou more into the action and give a much more pleasing angle on the pitch. It is easier to pick up the facial expressions (not only in hockey but most other sports). Italso means that players further away are nottowering over thecloser player which looks strange.To overcome this I have a 2 options that i generally use. Iwheneverything is really wet/muddy etc I will use a small stool but for the best angle I prefer to sit on the ground.For my comfort I'veput a piece of foam (actually a Wimbledon seat cover) in a black plastic bag so it is protected and use that. This means the foam is protected and also I don't get a cold bottom whichat this timeof year is an issue.

Framing tighter and using awideraperture work in conjunction with eachother in certain ways as they both remove distractions.A tighter frame means that players and other objects not relating to your photo areout of the equation meaning that you see the action more. A wideraperturedoes somethingsimilaras it willreduce the depth of field (the amount in focus infront and behindthe subject). This will set off your subject against a much cleaner background. Also byframing tighter (more zoom) the depth offield is reduced more, so always try to get 2/3+ of your frame filled by your subject, if you are not doing thisthen zoom more, or wait longer before taking your shot. Another advantage of framing tighter is that youshould be in the 'range' of your lens making for sharper images. As you get closer to infinity you will find that the focus is generally softer, so wait for your subject to come nearer to you and keep that frame filled. The last advantage of using a wider aperture is you are letting more light into the camera so you have a higher shutter speed which will freeze you shot and again help with sharpness. There are times you don't want to do this but no need to worry about those for now.

Other things to learn are timing and position on the field. Timing to make sure you have action in your frame (note in the first shot the ball has already gone and position to try to get players moving toward you as much as possible. The back of a player is not all that interesting.

So where am I now, with having taken those points on board (and bought a little new kit )??

Here are some shots from this year.... not saying they are my best or my worse, but they bring in the things I've been saying about height, framing, reducing the depth of field, timingand position for getting the shot (well I hope they do).

1



2



3



Happy shooting,

Mark
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Old Feb 29, 2008, 2:20 PM   #2
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Thanks Mark for disinterested sharing !!!!!
Never seems those helpful words in chinese forum !!!!!
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Old Feb 29, 2008, 5:12 PM   #3
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Good short write-up! Should be very useful to a new sports photographer. Photo #2 in the second set is my fav.
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Old Feb 29, 2008, 6:58 PM   #4
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RadioControlGuy wrote:
Quote:
Good short write-up! Should be very useful to a new sports photographer. Photo #2 in the second set is my fav.
Couldn't agree more. Love shot #2. Really great capture. And nice write-up.

I have to say though - your 'early shots' look a heck of a lot better than mine do. My first sports shooting was with the 28-135 :G
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Old Feb 29, 2008, 8:39 PM   #5
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hi mark,

great post! i tell people here about how you have helped me, all the time! thank you!
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Old Mar 1, 2008, 6:40 AM   #6
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Nice posting Mark. I really like the comments in your title "wonder if you can improve" and "We've all been there." Although I can't say that I'm anywhere near where I'd like to be, I can't believe how much the quality of the shots I'm getting of sports has improved since I began trying to use many of the things I have learned on these forums.

Sports shooting is an humbling experience. Just when you think you're beginning to get good, you see how much better shots someone else posts. Fortunately, members of this forum are more than cooperative about sharing how they improved their techniques with the result that all of us see our IQ go up.

Thanks to all in the forum.


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Old Mar 7, 2008, 8:03 PM   #7
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Just realised I hadn't replied to these so sorry guys.

John, I've just found a time when I was better at shooting sports than you then :blah:LOL. So given the choice would you go back to using that lens over the 120-300 f2.8..... take your time, no rush in answering..... it is a tough one.

John (2), I'm pleased that I was able to get you going when you were first giving sports a bash and from what I've seen you are doing well now.... oh and you are more than welcome btw :-)

Thanks Paul. The day any of us think we have got there is the day we have become very disillusioned as there is always someone doing something new and interesting so it's a lesson to all of us, keep on keeping on and we will slowly get to the next level.

Happy shooting guys and keep on posting the shots you are getting from different events so we can all learn from each other.... even if the only thing you learn is I'm not going to shoot like that

Mark
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Old Mar 10, 2008, 8:04 AM   #8
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Some useful tips here Mark, thanks a lot. It's strange - as an outsider, sports photography seems like it should be really easy but the reality is somewhat different!
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Old Apr 14, 2010, 1:29 PM   #9
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mark, thx for putting this together. as somebody who is new to photography, i can say that this kind of info helps tremendously.
Reading as much as i can, i got the impression that for shooting sports one had to be in Tv mode and control the shutter speed first and foremost...as it turns out (again) i was wrong
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Old Apr 14, 2010, 1:56 PM   #10
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You're welcome and it was a long time ago but the information still holds true. I'm glad it helped, and you are not the first to think that Tv is for sports and you certainly won't be the last
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