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Old Jan 25, 2009, 9:24 PM   #1
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These are some shots from a Mogul competition in Breckenridge, CO this past weekend. Shot with a Canon 40d and 70-300mm f4-5.6 lens.

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Old Jan 25, 2009, 9:26 PM   #2
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11.

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Old Jan 26, 2009, 9:17 AM   #3
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Hi Bourne,

Welcome to the sports forum! Always good to see different sports here. Looks like you were able to see some great action!

You've cropped these nice and tight which is good and your timing is also good.

Now a couple suggestions:

1. These are all underexposed. That happens with snow - the camera wants to meter the snow as neutral grey. I noticed you shot AV with no exposure compensation - I would suggest trying about +2/3. The important thing is faces of the skiers and details of their bodies. Even when faces aren't visible here you'll notice the bodies are encased in shadow. It's OK to blow some of the snow highlights - the person is the subject, not the snow.

2. Sharpness. Most of these are not as sharp as the could be. The underexposure is one reason - when you can't see detail it makes the photo look softer. But, a big contributing factor to softness is the amount of cropping that is done and how far away you are. For example, shot 2 - the skier is filling up a very small portion of the frame. If this shot were the original framing it would be tough to get a sharp shot (in landscape orientation you should strive to fill about 80% of the vertical frame with your subject - in landscape you want to fill about 2/3). So, as another example in shot 1 - that is how initial in-camera framing should be - at least that tight. If it was looser and you cropped that will contribute to softer photos. The last part of softness is DSLR output tends to be soft by default. Did you apply any unsharp mask (USM) to these? If not, I think it will really help them out.

Again, I think you've got some real interesting shots here. Next time out, if you fix the exposure and frame tighter and apply some USM to the photos I think you'll see a dramatic improvement with very little extra work.

Thanks for sharing!
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Old Jan 26, 2009, 7:17 PM   #4
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Thanks for the feedback John. Under exposure was a problem for a few reason. 1. This was my first time shooting in snow. 2. I saw the histogram clipping on the right in my first few shots and just like a reflex action I toned it down. 3. When I first got my 40d 6 months ago, the first few times I went out shooting I overexposed everything. I mean just completely blew it out. I think in my first 600 shots, I didn't have a single keeper. I tend to be cautious with over exposure to an extent I go too far in the other extreme.

As for sharpness, yes, all but #11 are heavily cropped. I really felt the limitation of my 300mm lens during this shoot. Though this is just a hobby, I'm going to start considering saving the money for a better telephoto. All but #11 were shot from the bottom of the slope. In my originals, skiers took up 1/3 of the frame at most, sometimes less. About halfway through, I relocated to spot on the slope just below the jump and off to the left. That is where #11 was shot from. With hindsight being 20/20, I should have been there the whole time. By the time I decided to relocate, I had to ride the lift and got stuck in a long line. By the time I got in position, there were only 5 skiers left. Live and learn.

Lastly, I'm a little confused by your second point on sharpness and cropping. You used #2 as an example saying it would be tough to get a sharp shot if this were the original framing. If #2 was the original framing, wouldn't it be more sharp then the cropped version I posted? I think I am understanding your point that it is better to fill the frame in the shot than to crop it down later(which goes back to a problem with my bad positioning to begin with). Correct?

No USM was applied. That's something I'd find in photoshop? I just got elements less than a month ago and haven't gone far beyond the basics of cropping and stuff.

Thanks for the feedback, my next attempt will likely just be in a terrain park which will allow me to get closer and fill the frame better.
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Old Jan 26, 2009, 7:34 PM   #5
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Bourne wrote:
Quote:
Lastly, I'm a little confused by your second point on sharpness and cropping. You used #2 as an example saying it would be tough to get a sharp shot if this were the original framing. If #2 was the original framing, wouldn't it be more sharp then the cropped version I posted? I think I am understanding your point that it is better to fill the frame in the shot than to crop it down later(which goes back to a problem with my bad positioning to begin with). Correct?

No USM was applied. That's something I'd find in photoshop? I just got elements less than a month ago and haven't gone far beyond the basics of cropping and stuff.

Thanks for the feedback, my next attempt will likely just be in a terrain park which will allow me to get closer and fill the frame better.
OK to clarify my comment on shot 2. My point was that in the final version the subject is filling a small portion of the frame. So even had you been close enough to frame it in-camera like you cropped it, you probably STILL wouldn't have gotten a sharp photo. Would it be sharper than what you have here? Yes. But it still wouldn't be sharp.

And yes, Photoshop Elements has Unsharp Mask. I'd start with values of 80-100%, 1.0 pixels and zero threshold and then play around from there. Experiment with different values and see what you like.
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Old Jan 27, 2009, 2:58 PM   #6
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Nice timing on most of these. It looks like itd be alot of fun to shoot. My biggest recommendation would be to get up closer to the action, if theyll allow it.
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