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Old Aug 10, 2010, 9:50 AM   #2
JohnG
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Join Date: Aug 2004
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Mark - sports photography is tough to do. It's even more difficult at pro venues. Since this is the critique forum I'll stick solely to this shot:
There are several problems that keep this shot from working:
1) focus is off as you noted
2) no real story or subject. There's nothing interesting going on - batter isn't doing anything, umpire isn't doing anything - yes there's a ball but it's a big blur and not doing anything interesting.
3) distracting background - background players and dugout are distracting elements - they don't add to a compelling story.
4) faces -can't see well. Faces are important in sports and the faces here fill up too small a portion of the frame and are underexposed a bit.

Some tips: decide what you want your story/subject to be. You can do creative, non action shots and atmosphere shots or you can do action shots. If you want to do action you need to fill the frame with that action and you need to remove distracting elements from the shot (accomplished by action filling the frame and shallow DOF to blur background). That can be very difficult at professional venues - even minor league. For example - if you want shots of the batter at the plate you want that to dominate the frame and want either bat close to (or on) ball or follow-thru shot. Rarely does the catcher or umpire add much to a photo like that - they're uninteresting and distracting elements.

Now, the tough thing is - 250mm is really very short for baseball - even 6 rows back. Because there is so much dead space in foul territory. So it's really challenging to get quality action shots at those venues. BUT you can improve by having a subject, framing as tight as possible (and then cropping after that).
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