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Old Oct 23, 2009, 1:50 PM   #1
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Default Advice on Taking Swim Pictures

Need advice on taking swim pictures. My boss's boss has asked if I could come take some photos of his son's swim team a an intersquad meet next Saturday. Never having taken any swim photos I am like well I'm not sure.

So tonight I am going to go to their facility and take some pictures while they are practicing to see how I do with the lighting and with my gear. I am thinking of using the 70-200mm f/2.8.

I have read in many post about the different angles for different type of swim storkes and I will experiment some with those as well.

Questions
1) To get the swimmer in focus and "good" shot should I stick with the 2.8 or do I need to lower it to 4 or 4.5. I realize that the lighting may not allow 4 or 4.5 but I am willing to up ISO to get decent shutter speeds.

2) Do I need a high shutter speed like basketball? I am planning on not using flash but may experiment a little with bouncing off the ceiling. I've never been there, but from photos I seen it appears to center is cover in a type of off white vinyl.

3) I plan to mostly shoot in Manual mode but am considering having another set up in AV or S mode for the starts so I can get more of the "group" coming off the platform in focus. Am thinking that if I use 2.8 for the individual action shots then I made want to switch to 4.5 or 5 for these wider shots?

Any thoughts or suggestions will be helpful.

Thanks,
Andy
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Old Oct 23, 2009, 2:18 PM   #2
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Quote:
1) To get the swimmer in focus and "good" shot should I stick with the 2.8 or do I need to lower it to 4 or 4.5. I realize that the lighting may not allow 4 or 4.5 but I am willing to up ISO to get decent shutter speeds.
The lens is perfectly sharp enough at f2.8 if it's the Canon or Nikon VR. Stopping down will help but that's only an option if you have great lighting.

Quote:
2) Do I need a high shutter speed like basketball? I am planning on not using flash but may experiment a little with bouncing off the ceiling. I've never been there, but from photos I seen it appears to center is cover in a type of off white vinyl.
You're going to want 1/500-1/640 shutter speeds. Which is why stopping down can be difficult.
If you decide to use flash remember you are not allowed to use it at the start of a race - so wait until they're in the water or away from the wall to snap your first shot. The closer you are to the start the more likely you are to be reprimanded/kicked out.

Quote:
3) I plan to mostly shoot in Manual mode but am considering having another set up in AV or S mode for the starts so I can get more of the "group" coming off the platform in focus. Am thinking that if I use 2.8 for the individual action shots then I made want to switch to 4.5 or 5 for these wider shots?
Typically when I want to do group I'll switch to AV mode. There's no single answer for what value to use. It's still a DOF calculation - if you're off to the side it's going to be tough to get everyone in the frame and in decent focus at 70mm. 70mm and f4 certainly isn't going to bring 8 blocks into focus from a hard angle - from the other end maybe, but then you've got a LOT of uninteresting space cluttered up by whatever else is on the deck. And, truth be told, that's a tough shot to look good anyway depending on what the background of the deck is. I've seen some good ultrawide shots that are interesting - but not much at medium (28-80mm) range.
If you've got time to experiment, fine. But I wouldn't concentrate on this type of shot out of the gate.
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Old Oct 23, 2009, 2:36 PM   #3
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John, Thanks so much for the reply.

I did talk to the boss about he flash and he said the same thing - None at teh start. I really prefer not to use it all if possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnG View Post
The lens is perfectly sharp enough at f2.8 if it's the Canon or Nikon VR. Stopping down will help but that's only an option if you have great lighting.
The main reason I asked this is that i have read several post that people say the camera focuses on the water that splashes in front of the swimmers so that is why I was questioning switching to say f4. But ar 1/500 or 1/600 I really doubt I'll get off of the 2.8 much.

Thanks,
Andy
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