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Old Jun 17, 2009, 12:53 PM   #11
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FP,

Glad you are enjoying the new camera. Now that you have professional grade gear it's time for the hard lesson - photography is more difficult than buying an expensive camera. My critique is going to sound a bit harsh here - but it's important to start learning that a pro camera is not a magical box.

Shots 1-3 are an interesting testament to megapixels. But they're also a testament to why photographers should not rely on megapixels and cropping as a substitute for location and using the appropriate lens. Shots 1 & 2 could have been taken with almost any digicam on the market - the framing is way too loose, the background is very distracting. On the crop shot (#3) again a great illustration of the dichotomy of mp - interesting to see there is as much detail as there is but as an image the result is just plain poor because it's cropped too heavily. And, the background is very distracting.

Shot 4 - again, way too loosely framed. Background is a little better but still poor - especially with the benefits of using full frame. What is interesting about the shot is the expression. For this shot to work well, it need to be a tight shot - half body crop - taken close enough and with a shallow enough DOF that the impact of the fence is diminished. That's the great benefitt of full frame for this type of work - shallow DOF. You've tossed that benefit away by not getting close enough or using a long enough focal length lens.

On the second series: only player #3 is in focus the other two are not. You've also cut off half the body of the player on the ground. And there are two very important missing components here - 1) FACES - faces are critical to good sports shots and 2) the ball - timing is also critical.

Second shot - good timing but way overcropped, distracting background and very flat colors. In short it looks like it was taken with a digicam and not a professional grade camera.

Last shot - great concept but like so much else here way over cropped - no detail, image is flat and colorless.

Again - this will sound harsh. But, you've got some very bad tendancies going on here - you're trying to use cropping as a cheap substitute for getting in the right position and having the right lens. The results are poor. Good if you were using a digicam but worse than if you were using an entry level DSLR with appropriate lens and appropriate technique.

Second, you've got to do a better job of diminishing distracting backgrounds. That's the beauty full frame provides

Third - evidenced by the 3 kid shot - focus and composition is important - 2/3 of your subjects are out of focus and 1/3 is cut in half and you're missing key elements (ball and faces).

So why am I being this harsh? Because it's important for you and others to understand throwing money at a camera body does not equate to good photography. If you're outside the fence anyway - it looks like there was plenty of room along the field itself - that would have gotten you a lot closer to the action. Even better is to get on the field itself. Which, for kids this young isn't usually a problem - especially since you know the coach. So, now that you've bought an expensive camera it's time to stop thinking like a point-and-shooter and start thinking like a photographer. Try to think of this as a wake-up call. More often than not, as the level of your gear goes up so to does the benchmark against which your photos are evaluated.

Here are some reference shots from another photog using full-frame. For certain he has more experience shooting sports than you do. But, if you're going to spend your money on professional grade gear you should strive to get professional grade shots:
http://www.dgrin.com/showthread.php?t=130069

what you need to pay attention to is the color, the detail, the smooth backgrounds, etc.
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Old Jun 17, 2009, 1:18 PM   #12
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JohnG,

You use the word "harsh". When you do things poorly, harsh and honest are synonyms.

The first lesson I really learned about photography is "there is no substitute for good lighting" (meaning... with the right light, you've got a chance a good photo. With bad lighting, you're doomed).

Sounds like lesson #2 is there is no substitute for being the right distance from your subjects.

What's a good third lesson?

Faithfully Yours.
FP
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Old Jun 17, 2009, 1:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FaithfulPastor View Post
What's a good third lesson?

Faithfully Yours.
FP
Dedicate time, effort and money to learning photography. Read books, take a course, etc. The answer to improving isn't always "buy a more expensive camera".
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Old Jun 17, 2009, 1:27 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FaithfulPastor View Post
The first lesson I really learned about photography is "there is no substitute for good lighting" (meaning... with the right light, you've got a chance a good photo. With bad lighting, you're doomed).
FP
I would also suggest a re-wording of lesson 1. It should be - photography is very much about the use of lighting. As you have currently worded it, it sounds too much like you're leaving the lighting up to God. You have control. If you want a portrait outdoors, think about the time of day and where to position your subjects. If you want to take a photo and God hasn't given you the right sunlight, add your own light to still get good shots:


Light is important but you often have a lot of control and influence into what light will be on your subjects when a photo is taken.
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Old Jun 20, 2009, 6:34 PM   #15
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Default Swim meet

My daughter was in a swim meet this morning at a very old pool.

I did not use a flash since we were all asked to refrain from using flash photography.

So in a dimly lit indoor pool, here's on photo I liked.
f2.8, 1/200, iso 6400, (yikes!!!) 154 mm

Lens Sigma, 24-200 HSM DG AF.

John, I hoping to get at least a small bit of praise for improvement over my last shots from you.

C&C please. (BTW, I've got my asbestos suit on as well as the appropriate undergarment used by a baseball catcher)....

Faithfully Yours,
FP
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Old Jun 20, 2009, 6:39 PM   #16
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I tried shooting at a lower ISO, but that required me to make other adjustments that to me made the photo blurry or too dark. 1/200 was as slow as I could go without a flash . If this was a home meet, flash photography is allowed.

Is the grainy-ness of this photo deteriorate it to the point that is unacceptable?
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Old Jun 20, 2009, 7:32 PM   #17
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FP - a few comments:
1. The grain isn't an issue. If you are going to shoot high ISOs I suggest looking into Noiseware, Neatimage or Noise Ninja - they're all noise reduction software packages and I think they all have trial images. I use Noiseware and have been very happy with it.

2. Composition - this goes to the concept of photography principles. Your subject is pushed to the left side of the frame with a lot of uninteresting dead space behind her. The background is nicely blurred but the composition could use improvement. Even so the girl walking in the background is slightly distracting. A second or two later and she would have walked past and the background would have been cleaner.

3. Focus - Hard to tell if it's camera shake, motion blur or just mis focus but her face simply isn't in focus. I'm inclined to say motion blur as her right hand looks OK.

Low light no flash photography is difficult. In lighting that bad I would recommend a fast prime. Or simply wait and take photos at a home meet where you could use flash. All in all, my strong recommendation is to practice your photography skills in better conditions where you don't have so much working against you. As your skills and technique improve you'll find getting shots in tougher conditions gets easier. This shot is much more about portrait-style shooting than sports shooting. That's why I suggest you get some books or take a class so you can study and learn about composition. It's also important to pick your battles - sometimes conditions aren't good enough for quality shots. If this was a particularly important championship that would be one thing. But if it's just an ordinary meet I suggest waiting to take your photos in better conditions. Good luck next time!!!
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Old Jun 25, 2009, 4:03 AM   #18
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Jun 20, 2009, 5:34 PM #15 FaithfulPastor
FP the photos you attached is not sharp and noisy is that the quality of 5D mark II

Last edited by LightHunter; Jun 25, 2009 at 4:06 AM.
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Old Jun 25, 2009, 7:55 AM   #19
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The quality of the photos is limited due to the lack of ability of the photographer, not the camera. But I'm getting better.
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