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Old Jan 14, 2010, 2:25 PM   #21
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Mark,

the EXPOSURE settings to use are going to vary a bit in each gym. But the good news is they won't vary game to game. So onc you get them dialed in you can use the same settings for every home game. Jim's suggested settings really are a good starting point - ISO 1600 1/400 f2.0.

Use your LCD to verify the exposure during warmups and make the appropriate changes. Just slow down, take some deep breaths. IF you're really concerned you might even shoot some of the JV game if it's played prior to varsity. If not, and you get the lens a few days prior to his next game then you might check to see if the girls teams are playing. That way you can get comfortable before taking shots at your son's game.

Again, slow down, take a breath. You should also keep something else in mind while shooting and this will help you immensely.

When you position yourself - take a mental image of a 15 foot arc with you at the center of it. When the game is going on, resist the overpowering urge to shoot EVERYTHING. Wait until the ball gets within that range. Just watch and enjoy the action at the other end of the court. When the ball is down around your basket, remember that 15 foot arc - don't worry about taking shots of ball handlers outside that 15 foot arc because the shots won't be very good. Wait for them to either drive into your range or pass into your range.

This will accomplish 2 very important things:
1) you won't get stressed over trying to capture everything
2) you'll eliminate the shots that have almost no chance of turning out good anyway. If you take 75 photos outside that range they're all going to be relatively poor. Say you take 25 within that range and 10 are pretty good. If you look at the whole collection you get down on yourself because 75% of the photos are bad. You dont' feel so good about it. But, if you resist the urge to take those shots too far away - suddenly when you review your results, 10 out of 25 (40%) are good. If you take all those extra shots doomed to failure then 10 out of 100 (10%) are good. You end up with the same 10 shots but you spent more effort, more post processing time and feel worse about yourself because only 10% turned out.
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Old Jan 14, 2010, 2:54 PM   #22
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Mark,
In fact, here's a cheat sheet for your fist "day at the office". Here is the steps for your first shoot:

Before you go:
  1. Read your manual so you understand how to set a custom WB. Practice this ahead of time so you know how to register the WB image and select Custom WB. You don't need the 50mm to practice - do it with the lens you have now.
  2. Make sure battery is charged and memory card has plenty of space
  3. Set image to Jpeg Fine
  4. Set focus to AI- Servo
  5. Set ISO to 1600
  6. Set to Burst mode
  7. Set mode to Shutter Priority (Tv)
  8. Dial in shutter speed of 1/60
  9. Pack your source for the WB shot - grey card, white card, pringles lid - whatever you're going to use.
At the gym, BEFORE warmups.
  1. Put your stuff down and turn on the camera
  2. Verify you're in jpeg-fine, ISO 1600, AI-Servo, burst mode, TV, 1/60
  3. Walk out on to the floor and take your WB shot from within the key under the hoop.
  4. Walk back off the court and set the custom WB there - don't stand out on the court and do it. Get in, get out.
  5. Now change from TV mode to manual. Confirm still at ISO 1600 and dial in 1/400 shutter and f2.0 aperture
  6. Select single focus point only.
  7. When warmups start take burst shots of a player on the court - 3 or 4 in a burst. They don't have to be moving - just make sure they're close so their body fills the frame or even better you're close enough so you get a torso shot.
  8. Look at the WB. Does it look OK? If it looks funky then you need to re-do the WB shot. If it looks OK then move to next step
  9. Check exposure. zoom in on FACE of player. It should look normal. If it's dark, drop shutter to 1/320 and repeat. If it's still dark drop to 1/250. If the face is too light, raise shutter speed up from 1/400 to 1/500.
  10. sit back and relax - take a few shots but resist the urge to take 200 shots of the kids practicing their layups. But still take some - this is a good chance to practice your technique.
Shooting the action:
  1. Verify your settings haven't changed. Occasionally we all bump a dial. Don't want to have accidentally switched to TV mode or changed aperture or shutter speed.
  2. Shoot in Portrait Orientation NOT in landscape
  3. Your subject should fill 75% of the vertical frame. If they do not, they are too far away. This is a rough estiimate. After a couple games you'll get a feel for how far away you can shoot. But for starters just think about that 75% of the vertical frame
  4. Position yourself along the baseline BUT NOT UNDER THE BASKET. Some places that is restricted area - but it's usually bad form in general at higher levels to be right under/behind the basket. Stay on either side of he paint. With the 50 you'll want to be close to the key so set up there.
  5. When a subject comes close to your 15 foot arc THEN put the viewfinder up. Get the center focus point on the chest or face - keep it on an area of contrast (i.e. don't put it on a full white part of the jersey).
  6. Half press the shutter and hold it while tracking the subject for at least a second before firing. You need to give the camera a chance to focus.
  7. Take 3 shot bursts. Don't bother with 10 shot bursts but don't do just 1 - the 3 shots improvess your odds at both accurate focus AND capturing good action.
  8. And now for the ADVANCED tip of the day. This is worth the price of admission - usually you'll have an official that sets up along the baseline. Most often they alternate. The guy who is covering the baseline at the far end usually won't cover at the close end - it just makes sense for the guy further up court to run to the baseline. SO, when the action is at the far end - look at the officials. The one that's closest to midcourt is going to cover the baseline at your end. Make sure you position yourself on the OTHER side of the basket from him. Otherwise You'll find he gets in your way more. This is more true when shooting with 70mm or 85mm lenses and shooting from the corners of the baseline. But he's still in the way a bit even with the 50 shooting from at the key.
  9. I suggest NOT taking photos during free-throws. Take a SINGLE shot if you must while they're eyeing the shot but don't take it during the shot. It can potentially be distracting. AND it's a boring shot. So skip it.
  10. When the action moves to the far end, review a prior shot - not ALL of them - just one. Make sure you haven't inadvertantly shifted a setting. Kind of stinks when a minute into the game you inadvertantly change your shutter speed and the next 50 shots are all underexposed.
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Old Jan 14, 2010, 3:10 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnG View Post
Mark,
In fact, here's a cheat sheet for your fist "day at the office". Here is the steps for your first shoot:

Before you go:
  1. Read your manual...

John,

What an outstanding summary and spot on advice. You truly help us so much with your posts. Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!!!!


MARK2009,
I highly recommend that you and many of us print this out, read it over and over again, and take it with us to the gym.

Andy
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Old Jan 14, 2010, 3:37 PM   #24
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JohnG....thank you so much, this is great, I am printing it out. I will let you know how I make out, again, thank you!
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Old Jan 15, 2010, 2:40 PM   #25
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John that was a great cheat sheet! You could help a lot us by creating a few of them (this, one for football, baseball, soccer) and putting them in a sticky. I am taking this one and will try to adapt it to my daughters youth soccer games.
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Old Jan 15, 2010, 2:57 PM   #26
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John that was a great cheat sheet! You could help a lot us by creating a few of them
.
Been there, done that, got frustrated with people taking my advice and giving photos away to other parents to satisfy their egos (hurting the ability of people like me from making money) and stopped doing it.

I'm at a soft spot right now. I'm sure a month from now I'll get frustrated again and come back and delete this post.
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Old Jan 15, 2010, 4:26 PM   #27
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Been there, done that, got frustrated with people taking my advice and giving photos away to other parents to satisfy their egos (hurting the ability of people like me from making money) and stopped doing it.

I'm at a soft spot right now. I'm sure a month from now I'll get frustrated again and come back and delete this post.
Too late I already printed it and it will be off to the laminating store!
Yeah I can understand the issues. At my daughters level we don't have Pros shooting the games, but I guess that too will come.
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Old Jan 16, 2010, 8:33 AM   #28
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great information!
I just bought the canon 85mm 1.8
Not sure how much I will be using it in a gym but I will be using it for spring board diving...But I am sure this info will help!
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Old Jan 17, 2010, 11:37 AM   #29
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I received the new canon 50mm 1.8 Friday, thank you B & H for free 2 day shipping,,this is my first shot with it yesterday. F2.0, 1600 ISO, 1/400 on my Rebel XT, as you told me. I messed up on WB, so I used the Fluorescent lights setting.
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Last edited by Mark2009; Jan 17, 2010 at 11:39 AM.
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Old Jan 17, 2010, 12:03 PM   #30
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Mark - glad you got your lens. But you're shooting from too far away to get a sharp shot - that's why you need to shoot from baseline, not sideline.

Enjoy the new toys! Glad we could help you out.
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