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Old Mar 17, 2009, 9:15 PM   #1
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Well here is my first post of any pics for review. I just used my D90 with a 85mm f1.8 lens (thanks to everyone here that posted and helped me with that purchase - I love it) These shots were taken at the new Raleigh Convention Center. The lighting there was pretty good and as you see, we get courtside access. I used shutter priority mode set at 1/500sec and set my ISO to 1600. The aperture was ranging between f2.8 and 1.8 most of the time. I think the grain is acceptable but the photos look a bit soft to my untrained eye. Also, the red court mad the overall tone strange. I used florescent WB. I snapped pics at each of the WB settings and chose that as the best looking. (I haven't gotten far enough to figure out custome settings here yet.) Anyway, please let me know what I can do to get these looking better. Thanks all!
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Old Mar 17, 2009, 9:17 PM   #2
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Old Mar 17, 2009, 9:18 PM   #3
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Old Mar 17, 2009, 9:18 PM   #4
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Old Mar 17, 2009, 9:18 PM   #5
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Old Mar 17, 2009, 9:19 PM   #6
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Old Mar 18, 2009, 10:16 AM   #7
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Glad you're enjoying the new kit. Volleyball is not an easy sport to shoot - it will take time and practice to get quality results so don't get too down. Some advice for next time:

1. Set a custom WB. Your manual will tell you how.

2. Shoot with a manual exposure - NOT with shutter priority. Lighting should be constant you don't want the camera to be fooled by jersey colors or background colors

3. You'r too far away to get sharp results with 85mm. 25 feet is the max - even if these shots weren't cropped at all - I can tell by the framing you were farther away than that.

4. Additionally make sure you are using a single focus point - not all points and make sure you keep that focus point on an area of contrast on the player - the closer the are the shallower the DOF so for really close shots you want the focus point on the face as that's what you want to be the sharpest..

As for your shots:

Shot 1 - love the concept - next time use your flash. You can't use it during the game but this isn't the game.

shot 2 - best shot of the group. Sharp, good timing. White balance is off as it is in all of them

shot 3 - too far away and too boring. In general, most serves are boring shots. But if you're going to shoot them try to get the timing down like the kill shot - close to the strike. Framing this loosely has 2 problems - with that lens, being so far away your focus isn't going to be sharp enough (a 70-200 set at 85mm will actually focus better at that distance because the lens was designed to focus from that far away); and secondly there' s way too much uninteresting background in the photo when you frame so loosely

shot 4: again, WB and you're too far away to get sharp results with the 85. The ball is in the frame which is good - now you need to time it better so it's closer to the bump.

shot 5: too far away for this shot so it's framed way too loosely to be interesting. Even with tighter framing you need to get the timing down so the shot is closer to the strike. In reality shooting with that lens you have no choice - if you're far enough away to have framing this loose you're too far away for sharp shots - if you're within that 25 feet, no way you're going to be able to frame so loosely.

shot 6: was this a crop or is it the original framing? WB asside this could be a good shot but the focus is totally off. If this shot was cropped the focus is bad because you're too far away. If it's not cropped it's just a miss-focus. Did you take several shots in the burst? If so, were others in the series sharper? One of the tough things about volleyball is you need to do a good job of predicting the action. The focus system on your camera, while very good, isn't instantaneous - you want a second to allow your camera to get a good focus lock. With the pro grade focus systems in higher end models that time is cut down. But, if you don't lock on and track your subject for a second you'll get a lot of OOF shots especially at the shallow DOF of an 85mm 1.8 lens within 25 feet.

All in all, you're off to a good start. Fix your white balance, get closer and do a better job of selecting shots within the range of your lens, track your subject for a second before firing and you'll see a big improvement in your shots.

Good job!
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Old Mar 18, 2009, 12:12 PM   #8
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Thanks for the great feedback!!! I appreciate you taking the time. Here is some follow up / questions for my education:
1) Custom white balance is my next on my list of 'to learn'.
2) Meaning "M" mode correct? So I should set the shutter speed and aperture setting? Should I stay at 1/500 (if possible) and set the aperture for as low as the lens allows? (Sometimes I was getting the "low" flashing for aperture) Do you think it would have been possible to get my ISO down to 800?
3) I'm pretty much courtside the entire time and move to where I can get the best views. (I saw the pro photog there staying mostly by the ref stand sitting on the floor so I was doing that too.) This position gets me too close though when the attack is on my side. I just have to work on this.
4) I think I was using "dynamic" as that's what the manual says to use for sports. I also was using AF-C to let the camera continue focusing. I'll put it back on single point, leave it in AF-C mode, focus on the face, then follow the player.....good?

Shot three is actually an attack on the far side of the court. There's just no net in the photo. I would guess I was about 25 feet from her. Maybe a few feet farther.

Shot six is that actual photo - not cropped. (none of these are cropped or processed) I did use the burst mode and generally just tried to pick the best of each lot. I will try to use the AF lock then follow the player. I was trying to watch who was going to be making the play then quickly snap of that player. I guess I need to stay with a player and hope they get the action. True? Thanks again for all the help. Tripp

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Old Mar 18, 2009, 1:38 PM   #9
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JohnG, you always have the best and most constructive comments I've ever seen on Photography message boards.

Just a quick thanks for always taking the time to constructively comment on members photos.

I'm not really a sports shooter, but I love reading your stuff just the same.
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Old Mar 18, 2009, 4:57 PM   #10
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Good job for first time at "the worlds hardest sport" to photograph. I use the same setup, D90 and 85mm 1.8. I learned alot from JohnG and my pictures are coming out better everytime....

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"Good luck and keep up the post.
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