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Old May 16, 2006, 8:36 AM   #1
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Canon Digital Rebel XT w/ Sigma 70-300mm APO lens

ISO 400, 800, 1600 1/800 f/5.6 - 10 Tv Mode

Only post processing was Auto Levels in Photoshop CS

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Old May 16, 2006, 8:58 PM   #2
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Nice shots and greetings from Marshfield, MA.!
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Old May 17, 2006, 11:16 AM   #3
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Not too bad.

Three suggestions, if I may that will pay quick dividends:

1. Watch your horizons - especially in #1 and #4 you can tell by the background that the shot is not level - frequently happens and easy to correct in post processing.

2. Framing: Try to get out of the habit of having everything centered - rule of thirds still applies - although a bit modified because you want framing tight but you want to avoid centering. For batter portraits, for instance - take your queue from baseball cards or sports magazines or sports pages - typically batter will be in the back of the frame 'looking out' into more empty space in the front of the frame. Play around with different crops and see what looks better - almost always there's a crop that looks better than a centered image (if you like to focus with the center point of your camera, it just means you frame a little looser in-camera so you have room to crop later).

3. Apply USM in photoshop - I think you'll see a real difference in the pop you can get by using it. Unfortunately I can't remember what I have my USM set for with my baseball images - I'll try and check tonight when I get home - just a potential starting point that was passed on to me.

You've captured some very good images I think these are some very easy steps that will make these and the next ones you take even better. Hope you don't mind the suggestions.

Keep up the good work.
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Old May 17, 2006, 11:42 AM   #4
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John,

I'm always open to suggestions, can't do better without them. The only post processing I did was auto levels. I didn't do anything else. I would take time to crop and straighten but on average I am taking 100 shots a game 4-5 games a week and time becomes a factor, funny how work does that to you, discarding about 50% for various reasons (as you probably know, basketball heads and glove faces are common). Let me know about USM in Photoshop, I just got CS and learning my way around it.

I've got about3 months andmore than 60 games to go.

Thanks again
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Old May 17, 2006, 11:56 AM   #5
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k1par wrote:
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John,

I'm always open to suggestions, can't do better without them. The only post processing I did was auto levels. I didn't do anything else. I would take time to crop and straighten but on average I am taking 100 shots a game 4-5 games a week and time becomes a factor
Gotta ask. Why shooting so many games? What are you doing with the pictures? Are they just for your use or are you selling or providing to other parents? The reason I ask is that you need to make a decision (and neither one is right or wrong):

Given you have limited time (most of us are in the same boat :-)) - do you want/need 100 decent photos or 25 great photos?

There is absolutely no doubt that more post processing can improve things. And you can't invent more time so the only thing you can do if you decide the extra processing is worth it is to process less photos. But only you can say which is the more important factor: volume of finished photos or quality. Sometimes - especially when you're just giving away photos - volume wins. But some photoshop techniques can really improve sports shots:

1. manual levels or curves adjustments - autolevels often does a terrible job.

2. Noise reduction (recommend noiseware, neatimage or noise ninja)- critical for ISO 800 and 1600 prints larger than 4x6

3. Dodge tool and/or shadow adsjustemts - great for bringing out features under hats/helmets - especially the dodge tool. Shadow adjustments have a tendancy to affect the colors too much unless you want to go the extra mile and use masking to selectively apply.

4. USM - I'll definitely look up those values for you.

5. Color correction - a lot of different methods to it but especially when you get to dusk - white balance can really get out of whack and you need to correct - sometimes the auto adjust works but often it doesn't.

I'll also try and post some examples of 'before' and 'after' pics to illustrate what post processing can do.
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Old May 17, 2006, 12:59 PM   #6
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John

A) I love to take pics of the kids (aw heck just love to take pics, period)

B) I supply 2 weekly newspapers with photos

C) I sell to parents either by direct contact or by web site

D) It's great stress relief after handling 40+ hours at a 9-1-1 center

Seriously,

I will take 4-5 shots of one kid at bat and may toss all but one, same with pitchers. So that many images are quite possible. I do use the shadow/higlight adjustments in CS as needed. Between that and dodging it helps a lot. As for noise, I use Noiseware Pro. Color Correction, I find the auto color correction works about 50% of the time. Sometimes I realy wonder what it thinks the correct color is supposed to be.

Other than that looking forward to your suggestions
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Old May 17, 2006, 5:23 PM   #7
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USM - try 70%, 7.0 radius, 0 threshold

Play with the% andradius to get what you like but that seems to be a good all-purpose starting point

For photos here are a couple examples of unprocessed vs. processed.

Photo 1 unprocessed:



Photo 1 with manual levels, USM, dodging and noise reduction:



Photo 2 unprocessed:



Photo 2 with same adjustments:


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Old May 18, 2006, 6:53 PM   #8
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John,

I had a chance to work with this photo in Photoshop CS. Wide open to critique by anyone.




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Old May 18, 2006, 7:56 PM   #9
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Well, you should know by now I'm gonna like the crop on this one much better

The emphasis is all on the player now and the distraction of the wall is gone. Did you use noise reduction on it though? The reason I ask is the face and grass look too smooth - really it's the grass that stands out the most. I look for that now because I recognized it so much in the football work I was doing last fall. Other than toning down the noise reduction, I think it's a much better result than the first version. But that's just my opinion. Keep up the good work!!
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Old May 20, 2006, 8:25 AM   #10
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Yes I did use noise reduction. ISO on that shot was 1600, evening with overcast. Thanks for the tips. Any ideas on how to get it to quit raining? I have not been able to get any pics since the 15th.

:-)
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