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Old Dec 18, 2005, 8:14 AM   #1
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Basketball season has finally gotten underway for me. Here are a couple of shots taken recently. The gym has some strange lighting along with orange walls, orange and black are team colors. Post processing was done in Photoshop Elements 2.0 including resizing, color correction and I found I liked doing a -15 to -20 on saturation. I thought the colors looked better. I do not use a flash because I am right on the end line and the out of bounds line is only three feet away. ISO is 1600, shutter speed 1/250 camera on Tv Mode (Canon Digital Rebel) F stop usually 2.8, 50 mm f1.8 Canon lens. I also set the focusing zone to just the center, for me it works better. As always comments bad, good or otherwise, hints and ideas are welcome.





One other note, I am shooting these for submission to my local newspapers for publication so the end result will be grayscale. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone out there. Special greeting to Terry and JohnG for all the comments and ideas.


p.s. Yes Terry I know I cut the feet off but with being so close to action and using the 50mm lens couldn't be helped :lol:
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Old Dec 18, 2005, 1:47 PM   #2
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Here's one shot without the color correction.


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Old Dec 19, 2005, 3:51 PM   #3
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I shoot hs BB with the 50mm 1.8 as well and find that at t imes the lens isnt wide enough, as you have found. But hey, we do have a budget lol.

It seems to me, and this could be my monitor, that your pictures are a tad dark and soft. I use the Digital Rebel XT as well and with the 50mm I try and shoot at f1.8 or 2.0, ISO800 and that generally gives me shutter speeds of 1/320 - 1/500 dependong on where in the gym I am shooting. At times I do have to go down to f1.8 at iso 1600. Preferred shutter speed is 1/400 at a minimum on an action shot but I like to try and maintain at least 1/500 or faster. In post processing I do sharpen most of my images.

I have some pictures posted in this forum if you want to have a peek.

Nice job on your shots.
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Old Dec 20, 2005, 9:46 PM   #4
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Ha ha K1Par, you read my mind!

Maybe shoot a little wider and crop after (stand back a little).

Another option for you is try shooting in RAW format. You can make lossless adjustments and cropping before creating a JPEG for the paper.

Adjusting RAW, you can easily boost your shots 1 to 1 1/2 stops of light. If you do that with a JPEG, for some reason, it starts looking really "twangy" and adjusted looking. But with RAW, no problem and nobody knows but you.

I use the Canon EOSViewer to copy the RAW images off my camera, then use RAWSHOOTER (free download) to adjust the "digital negative (RAW)" and cut all my RAW files to JPEGS.

Interestingly, the paper I shoot for does not like files bigger than 1mb each, so I end up formatting a 8mb RAW file down to a 1mb JPEG for submission.

Yes, 1/500th is usually better than shooting 1/250th, but very hard to achieve in a low lit gymnasium.

But if you shoot RAW, you can select 1/500th and give your shots a real boost post-processing without losing too much quality.

-- Terry

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Old Dec 21, 2005, 8:42 AM   #5
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Terry,

Thanks for the info. I will try RAW and see what happens. As for stepping back a little, there is no more little my back is against the wall:lol:and yes both of the papers I shoot for like the 1mb size print but I am also selling color shots to parents and the 8mb does make a better print.

Now for another question, what settings do you shoot basketball shots? I am using my DRebel with a Canon 50mm f1.8 lens. ISO 1600 1/250 and the f stop bounces between 2.8 and 3.2 and I center weight the focus. I am really looking at what I should use for setting with RAW. Thanks again!

Phil
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Old Dec 21, 2005, 9:28 AM   #6
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K1Par,

I congratulate you for figuring out how to push your DREBEL to the limit, as this knowledge is required to get good sports shots.

Your settings are probably okay because your limited to a max ISO of 1600. I have the Canon 20D so I can push it to ISO3200.

Your F-stop is pretty much pushed to the max open at F2.8 or F3.2. I use a Canon 50mm F1.4 lens for indoors, however I usually try to keep the aperture at about F2.8 to F3.4, anything less and the depth of field is so poor that I'd end up with more out of focus shots.

I also have a Tamron 17-35 F2.8- F4 lens which can work for indoors, with a little zoom thrown in to boot.

Unfortunately you can't use much in the way of fill flash, and even if you could, our Canon's have a max flash synchro of 1/250th, so forget flash at 1/500th.

Having said all the above, you could set your cam at ISO1600 and shutter priority at 1/500th. Your cam wil probably set your aperture at F2.8 and perhaps complain a little that there isn't enough light.

However, shooting raw, you can brighten the shot after the fact using RAWSHOOTER.Essentially you are using the RAW format and the ability to adjust RAWphotos to "cheat" another F-stop out of your camera. If you tried to do that level of correction with a JPEG, it might not look as good.

To be honest, you could shoot at 1/250th or 1/500th, depending on how picky you wanted to be about freezing the action.

Personally I think your shots are sharp enough, but they could use maybe half a stop more of "boost" so that you can make the gym look much more cheerily lit than it actually is.

So, go for ISO1600, shutter priority 1/500th, shoot RAW, then boost after the fact. If it doesn't work for you, go back to 1/250th, shoot RAW, and boost anyways.

Then use RAWSHOOTER to batch convert your images to 1mb files for the paper, and make another pass at 5mb JPEGs for the parents.

With a 5MB jpeg, the parents could request a 20x30 poster print and it would still look good! lol.

-- Terry

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Old Dec 21, 2005, 9:40 AM   #7
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Oh here's another tip about focusing.

I don't bother with center weighted focusing.

What I do (and it's kind of tacky, actually) is I prefocus the shot on the floor around where the action is, or is going to be.

I keep the shutter half pressed, the I lift the camera up, and shoot.

By prefocusing on the floor, I've taken away a lot of shot delay.

Usually the action occurs somewhere within the depth of field I've established by prefocusing on a spot on the floor.

For other situations, I just press the shutter half way while I'm following the action to make sure my focus is in the general ballpark, and when I see the shot I want, I just let it rip.

Works about 90 percent of the time for me .

-- Tacky focusing Terry


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Old Dec 25, 2005, 12:04 AM   #8
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Very good.

A few tricks to help save time on Post Processing.
Since your original shot seems yellow try setting the white balance to Tungsten.

To further tweak the color balance, get out the camera instructions and check out "custom parameters". You can adjust the color balance even further to fit that particular gym lighting. Play with it while teams are warming up until you find a good balance.

I disagree with the idea your lens is not wide enough. Any professional photojournalist will tell you to shoot tighter! Take the boy's shot - crop out #10 and crop at the waist of the two other players. Look at the difference and tell me what you think.

Sometimes you want the feet in a basketball shot but I don't think you loose anything in either one of these pics. Including the feet does nothing to add to the drama or emotions of the game.

Check out professional sports shots on line - ESPN, Sports Illustrated, NBA and sportsshooters.com.

I also noted your 250 @ f2.8 settings. I would go at least
go up one half SS and lower the f-stop by a corresponding half stop to keep the exposures accurate. But if you find 250 fast enough to stop action stay with it.

I also would not use Tv mode. If 250 @ f2.8 is correct then set it manually. The lighting won't change each time they come down the court and your setting shouldn't either. In Tv mode your exposures will change according to the light reflecting off the uniforms. If a visiting team shows up with black uniforms your pics will be consistently over exposed and when white uniforms dominate the pics, you're risk getting under exposed pics. Also if you get a couple of the ceiing lights in the pic it will fool the meter (Tv mode) where it won't affect your manual settings. Remember we are not concerned with how much light reflects OFF the subject but how much light is ON the subject.

Nice action shots keep it up.

When you think you have enough of the arm-pit shots move to the action out on the court - guards on the dribble and fast break AND - defense! Also get player-coach interaction. To round out the story concept remember that sports is not just action it's also REACTION.

Keep shottin'!
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