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Old Aug 26, 2008, 8:03 AM   #1
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Dear experts

I am a complete novice with DSLR cameras and am trying to get myself up to speed.

I have a pentax k100d super with standard zoom lense and a flash with a 36 guide number.

I would like to take shots that show the fighters in action.

The fight area is 8 by 8meters ish therefore action could be anywhere between 1 and 8 meters away.I can be a bit mobile but more in and out rather ther side to side.

The fighters could be stood up kicking and punching each other or rolling around on the floor subbmission fighting,.

There is no cage to shoot through.Lighting is flouresient.

Advice that would help me get the best out of my equipment and improve my knowledge would be greatly appreciated.


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Old Aug 26, 2008, 10:19 AM   #2
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Gary,

The first thing you'll need to do is find out if flash photography will be allowed. That's going to be critical to success with your current lenses. If it isn't allowed then my advice is to set camera to aperture priority, dial in your widest aperture plus about +2/3 EC and consentrate on ground work. You won't need fast shutter speeds for that. Set ISO to 1600 if you're OK with the noise levels at that ISO else use ISO 800.

Assuming you CAN use the flash:

1. Set ISO to 800, camera in Manual - shutter speed at whatever the flash sync speed is for that camera and aperture at 5.6

2. Kicks/punches are going to be difficult because timing is critical. And even if you're timing is good, you're at the mercy of the positioning of the competitors (i.e. a picture of the back of a guy throwing a punch or kick is rather boring). So I would continuously focus and track the participants and wait for throws/takedowns. Time your shot on a takedown/throw to capture the person off the ground. That's going to have the greatest impact.

3. Take only 2 shot bursts - your flash isn't very powerful so you don't want to stress it out.

4. Ground work is going to offer the easiest opportunity. Expressions are great - so zoom in tight as possible on the face of someone if they're in a submission hold. You have 2 choices when taking a shot of ground fighting - either highlight the technique or highlight expression. Sometimes you can do both. But that's not always possible. So adjust your own position according to which you want to optimize during a particular hold.

In all cases, FRAME TIGHT. Do not plan to frame loose and crop later. You wont have the sharpness or focus. So frame tightly. Especially on the ground it isn't always necessary to get the entire body in the frame. For instance an arm bar - if the subject is the recipient the face and shoulder are enough - you don't even need the body of the person applying the hold (just his legs showing the arm bar being applied). If your subject is the application of the arm bar - you probably want the torso of both participants (i.e. you don't need the lower legs of the person applying the arm bar)
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