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Old Mar 23, 2004, 2:12 PM   #1
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Default Basketball Pictures - Notre Dame vs. Saint Louis NIT 3/22/04

Well, I took about 200 photos. Most of the pictures were taken with my DigiReb & Sigma 70-200 /2.8. Still new, but I'm feeling some frustration with how these are turning out. Focus is an issue... I've got a fast lens, the lighting wasn't terrible. I just expected a little more. Are there issues w/ sports photograpy and the 300D or am I just blowing the shots? Any/all input would be appreciated. I want to get good at this.

http://www.pbase.com/aaltenburger/ndstl_nit&page=all

I like 1103, 1104, and 1105 where the guy is begging the leprechaun for a T-shirt.
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Old Mar 23, 2004, 5:43 PM   #2
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Andy...

Some of the sharpest basketball photos that I've ever seen are at this site: http://dipictures.free.fr/sports/bas...HTML/index.htm
Please note a few things about this fellow's shots:
- his aperture is closed down to as much as "7" to increase depth of field and help control out-of-focus shots. Your own aperture settings are very open and that alone will cause difficulty. A lens is usually it's sharpest stopped down. I've found with the Rebel that if I stop down about 2 whole stops (6 clicks of the aperture setting) I can get the most out of my lens.
- his shutter is never less than 1/400th
- this is the most important: he is using ceiling strobes and we cannot even begin to compete with him in this area. Don't even begin to expect professional results without being able to place strobes in the ceiling.

Conclusion: Get the best photos you can with what you have, and you are getting some excellent shots with that Sigma. I've heard that this particular lens sometimes has a soft focus wide open which is another reason to stop down your aperture. It's a must because it will widen your focal area so you don't need to be so pin point accurate and it will get the best from your lens I'd suggest from what I've read "and" experienced.

One thing for sure, don't expect miracles. If you don't have the strobes then you will never get the professional results. It just ain't gonna happen, so focus on what you "can" get, by getting as close to your subject as possible so the light factor is less, shoot head-on and not across your subject so that the image isn't going too fast across the sensor. Things coming head-on are much slower via the camera's perspective; try to get the shot, as Saganaw sometimes says, when the motion stops for an instant, such as at the top of a layup.

I'll tell you one thing, your photos are 100% more exciting with that new lens of yours. Keep up the excellent work!

I'd say be as creative with what you have as you can be. Andy, does something in this photograph look familiar?

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Old Mar 23, 2004, 7:23 PM   #3
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Norm, thanks again for the valuable input. That does make sense what you've said. I guess that's just part of the learning curve. Also, 2 thumbs up with you you edited that picture.

Couple of more questions while I have your ear.

1. The monopod I got sucks out loud. It's compact, but it can't support the 37 lb. Sigma lens. Any recommendations?

2. In addition to the Sigma 70-200 2.8, I've got a 1.4 and 2.0x converter. I'm looking for another lens where I'll be shooting a combination of sports and family photos. I'm looking in the 400-500 dollar range, probably closer to 4. Suggestions??

Again thanks.
Andy
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Old Mar 23, 2004, 7:49 PM   #4
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Andy...

I have the Sigma 50-500 that I hand-hold with good results. It weighs 65 ounces; you lens weighs 44. When you are shooting sports and everything is moving about I'm not convinced that a monopod or tripod is an advantage. Put it this way, if my arm is moving, as in a pan, if I am into the action I am moving smoothly along with the subject. I've tried both monopod and tripod when shooting sports, with all of my lenses, and I end up taking my camera off the "restrictive" element and usually get better shots.

I took a number of shots with the 65 ounce 50-500, hand-held, at about 400mm and got some very nice shots. I shot whole games with this lens, sitting in a chair because I could get anywhere with it. The only thing lacking was light at the extreme distances. However, the lens performed way beyond my own expectations even in the long shots with the Sigma 500 flash. I used an 800 ISO and shot at F8 "with" flash though. I understand that you are not able to use a flash so you are definitely restricted in that area, and that is essentially the most important area...light. So it's sort of a catch-22. Photography is "light." Period. If you don't have it, no matter what equipment you have, it ain't gonna give you what you desire.

I honestly don't think that the tripod or monopod is the area you need to focus on. If you are shooting a bird in a tree from a distance, then fine, that's important, but sports is an entirely different beast. Everything is moving and the most important thing, I personally think, is "get into the action". When one gets into the action they become their own stabalization and smoothness and they end up getting good shots because they are "focused".

I've never felt comfortable with a tripod and I've never been able to get into that "focused" mode with one. I've felt "somewhat" comfortable with a monopod, but I like freedom and even the monopod keeps me restricted to some degree. I have a cheap monopod with a "ball head" that works just fine with even my 50-500 when I do use it. The 50-500 is the only lens I don't use with monopod placed right on the camera, when I use the monopod, which is almost never. But I'm talking about sports photography here, not wildlife photography where a tripod, and a very good one, is an essential asset.

I'd suggest that you not focus on monopod or tripod but focus on how you can get a greater depth of field and how you can get the most out of your lens by stopping down a bit on the aperture and getting as close as you can to the action.

With any portrait or family photos, and even "team" photos, you need a wide angle lens. I'm quite happy with the kit lens from the Rebel, the 18-55...or is it 15? I've heard good things about the 28-135 Canon, and I'd probably purchase that rather than my 100mm F2 prime, simply because it has a great report on sharpness.
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Old Mar 24, 2004, 7:37 AM   #5
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Norm, again, thanks. Would you stick with the 70-200, or dump it in favor of the Bigma. Like I said, I'll be doing sports. Some of the shots will be at a pretty fair distance. I've got a 1.4 and 2.0 TC, so I'll keep one of those. Which one should I keep. If I go w/ the Bigma, the 1.4 seems more logical. I really like the idea of getting wider at 50 vs. the 70. Also the reach, wow. 500? That would be cool. How much longer is the Bigma?
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Old Mar 24, 2004, 5:04 PM   #6
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Default 2nd Chance....

I've got tickets to Thursday's NIT game too. Pretty good seats in the lower 1/3 of the arena.

Now to my questions:

1. What mode / settings would you recommend based on the pictures I've got posted. It'll be at a different venue, but I bet the lighting ought to be pretty close.

2. If I can't get the Sigma in, I'll be taking my Tamron AF28-300mm F/3.5-6.3 XR in. Recommended settings for that. I know the quality won't be like the Sigma, but if that's my only option, I'll take it.

Your help is truly appreciated.
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Old Mar 24, 2004, 9:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Would you stick with the 70-200, or dump it in favor of the Bigma.
If I had to dump one I would probably dump the 70-200 because I like the range that the Sigma offers. I found when I shot basketball that most of the time I reached for my 100mm F2 prime and sat behind the basket so players were coming towards me. Now if I had a 2.8 it may be a totally different situation, since I'd have those few extra stops to work with.

I actually purchased the 70-200 IS online last night and then chickened out after reading NHL's comments about IS and sports photography. It's alot of money for that lens and I need to think more on it. Basketball season is over and I'll be moving outside real soon, putting the Sigma to the test.

I'm only familiar with the 2x converter and it seems to work fine on the Sigma and Canon, but no AF. I need to work with it more before even recommending it. Since I don't even have the 1.4 I wouldn't attempt a guess at which one you should keep. You're better able to determine that since you have both.



Quote:
What mode / settings would you recommend
Definitely faster shutter, at least 200 and try stopping down to F8 (that's where I seem to get my sharpest images but I use a flash so you probably won't be able to stop down that far). I'd say set shutter at 1/200, ISO at 800, and adjust your aperture to get the light you feel is okay.

I don't like going to 1600 ISO and try to avoid it even knowing that Neat Image will rescue me somewhat.

Do your best to get closer to the action and in an area where light seems greatest.

Good luck. This is fun stuff, isn't it....even when things don't go perfectly.
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Old Mar 24, 2004, 9:59 PM   #8
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Thanks. Yes, it's definitely a quest for getting those few perfect shots in a game. I coached HS varsity basketball for about 12 years before making a career change. This is a good distraction since I'm no longer doing that. First we'll see if I can get the camera in.
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Old Mar 24, 2004, 10:27 PM   #9
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Andy, here's a sample collage with frame template that I have been selling at this last Provincials tournament. It's a collage of 3 different photos that parents seemed to like. The player's name is blurred out for obvious reasons:



It looks great printed on 11x17 photo paper with the Canon i9100. I should have taken out the shadows but parents and players don't even notice them, just us photogs :roll:

PS - I hope you don't mind but I'm using that little thing I did with your own photo as an ad for what can be done with some of the Provincials photos. Do you want a commission? I'll put a copyright on it with your name, how about that?

http://www.brrd.ab.ca/nnorway/avitars/andy2w1.jpg
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Old Mar 25, 2004, 12:13 AM   #10
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That would be cool. Can't sleep b/c I've been thinking about photography :-) I have a few questions for you if you don't mind. Please email me at aaltenburger@hotmail.com so I can get your email address.
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