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Old Oct 1, 2008, 1:20 AM   #1
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My first soccer game using a 70-200 IS on a 30D. Advice appreciated. I think they are a bit overexposed and I needed to crop some pretty tight given the limited range of the 200 lens. Next week I'm going to try it with the 1.4 TC and be sure to use the center focus point.
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Old Oct 1, 2008, 1:21 AM   #2
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Old Oct 1, 2008, 1:21 AM   #3
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Old Oct 1, 2008, 1:22 AM   #4
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Old Oct 1, 2008, 1:24 AM   #5
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Old Oct 1, 2008, 1:25 AM   #6
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Old Oct 1, 2008, 5:38 AM   #7
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I think you're off to a very good start. You've ended up with tight crops, exposures are OK and you've got some action.

Shots 3 and 4 are the sharpest.

1, 2 and 5 lack sharpness. I'm going to surmise in at least 2 cases it is because your subjects were too far away for accurate focus (25 yards is about the limit of the lens).

I think shot 3 has the most potential. It might be slightly front focused - i.e. ball in slightly better focus than the faces. But with some USM (Unsharp mask) I think this image will pop. One other thought on this image - try not to crop at the joints (ankles, knees, waist) - it looks akward. This shot both girls have lost their foot in the frame.

There is a slight over-exposure but it's not bad. Certainly correctable in post processing. Shooting in bright sunlight is difficult to nail exposure exactly - the key is to get it good enough - i.e. don't clip highlights in faces nor underexpose them severely. Then you simply have some levels work to do in post processing.

Like it or not, the digital darkroom is a necessary thing. Not just cropping. But USM is also a must and especially in these lighting conditions, some levels work to tweak the exposure (bring in the left side of the histogram and slight adjustment to midtones).

Also - get out of shutter priority - it's really the last mode you want to use for stop action sports. Use it when you want to limit shutter speed in order to show motion blur. Otherwise manual is preferred but aperture priority is 2nd best. There are a few reasons why shutter priority is bad:

1. you can get underexposed shots - not in this case but in worse lighting if you choose a shutter speed too high, with only aperture to adjust if the lens is wide open and can't open up any further shots will be underexposed.

2. As happened in a couple of these the lens closed down because your shutter speed selected was too slow. Having the lens wide open allows for the best blur of the background - subject isolation is a good thing. Now, it didn't affect you greatly here - 3.5 instead of 2.8 but still. Look at it this way, is there a down-side to your shutter speed having been 1/1500 instead of 1/1000?

Aperture priority solves both of the above - you guarantee your lens is wide open AND aperture priority guarantees the fastest shutter speed WITHOUT underexposure (assuming the camera's metering can be trusted which is not always the case - thus the reason manual exposure is desirable).

Keep at it. I think the biggest area for improvement is being patient and waiting for the action to fill up a larger portion of the frame (2/3 of the vertical portion in portrait orientation, 90% of the vertical portion in landscape orientation).
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Old Oct 1, 2008, 8:38 AM   #8
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Thank you very much for taking the time to offer detailed advice. Since last weekend I spent some tme on a number of sites looking for tips. The more I read, the more I realize I don't know.

I'm just getting back into photography and I'm having fun. In highschool, I was the yearbook pnotographer and shooting weddings helped pay for my college. That was all in the early 80's with several generations of trusty Pentax equipment. Since then, I've been using higher end piont & shoot camerasfor the typical snapshotsbut always wanted to get back into "real" photography.

One quick question... I realize the advantage of being able to manipulate the image in post production but I've been pretty poor at it so far. I've played with elements and use Qimage for printing / cropping. What else do you recommend?


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Old Oct 1, 2008, 8:54 AM   #9
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Photoshop Elements is really a great tool.

IMO, there are several tools that are important for editing sports images - all are present in Elements:

1. Crop tool - used on almost every shot

2. Unsharp Mask - again used on almost every shot (beefs up sharpness and contrast)

3. Levels adjustment - Used when you didn't nail the exposure and/or your darks aren't dark enough or lights aren't light enough.


4. Dodge / Burn tool. Since faces are often the most critical part - a quick brush with dodge or burn tool is often preferable to changing the level of the whole image

Of course, if you shoot at high ISO you'll want a separate tool for that - Noiseware, Neatimage and Noise Ninja are the most popular. I happen to use Noiseware and am happy with it.

Of course there are a lot of other things you can do with editing packages. For general editing I would suggest getting Photoshop Elements for Digital Photographers by Scott Kelby. Great how-to book to get your feet wet.
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