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GregM Oct 9, 2004 4:31 PM

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Hey there.. I'm an amature photographer, just starting out in the SLR world.
Ive had a Canon Digital EOS Rebel for about 2 months now. I am going to be shooting at a skateboard competition in a Florescent lit parking garage this weekend. I have tried taking photos here before (with a S230 Elph) and i had alot of problems with the white balance and getting the photos to look crisp and clear with this terrible orange lighting. What mode on my Rebel should I been using to photgraph moving subjects (skateboarders) What ISO? any reccomendations on how to get the white balance right?

here's a photo that i took with my elph in the same parkade so you can see what the lighting looks like.



Thanks alot!!

Oct 9, 2004 8:22 PM

BongLoard wrote:
Quote:

Hey there.. I'm an amature photographer, just starting out in the SLR world.
Ive had a Canon Digital EOS Rebel for about 2 months now. I am going to be shooting at a skateboard competition in a Florescent lit parking garage this weekend. I have tried taking photos here before (with a S230 Elph) and i had alot of problems with the white balance and getting the photos to look crisp and clear with this terrible orange lighting. What mode on my Rebel should I been using to photgraph moving subjects (skateboarders) What ISO? any reccomendations on how to get the white balance right?
Here's a photo that i took with my elph in the same parkade so you can see what the lighting looks like.
Thanks alot!!
Several things about this bug me (& that's probably why Jim is the moderator here);)

1. If you are shooting in a dimly lit area, you are going to need a fast ( f1.8-f2.8 ) lens...probably a zoom in this case (which will probably cost more than 3-5 times the price you paid for your DRebel body). You will also need a good tripod & shoot at the lowest ISO possible (unless you are not keying in one one particular skater, but would rather have the whole group in focus...& that's another thread).

2. You said "shooting at a skateboard competition in a Florescent lit parking garage" although you said (& your pictures show "this terrible orange lighting". For one thing, an orange/yellow cast isn't caused by fluorescent lighting, it's caused by incandescent lighting & I would guess a mercury-vapor lamp judging by the shape of the fixtures in your picture. (Flourescent lighting causes a bluish/green cast).

3. The "mode" you should be shooting in is probably the "action mode" (which will allow your camera to auto-focus on moving subjects).

I do have a question though: You said you are an amature, just starting out in the SLR world. Does this mean that the DRebel is your first SLR-type camera ever? If it is, I would not think that shooting fast moving subjects under poor/difficult lighting is something you should jump on this soon in the program.

Mikefellh Oct 10, 2004 1:59 AM

Unfortunately the image contains no Exif information so we can't tell what settings you were using, so we can't tell you where you went wrong.

If you aren't already, I'd shoot RAW in that situation...that gets the info from the CCD without processing from the camera...that way it is easier to correct for white balance on the computer later (although it means longer save times and less pictures per card).

In your photo it looks like you not only have the fluorescent and mercury-vapour lights, but there's a third light source as well...I'm assuming flash? In this case it just looks like you're using the internal flash which is just lighting up the pavement rather than freezing the boarders. Internal flashes doesn't have much throw. Another thing about using the flash in this situation, it will throw off the white balance since it adds a third light colour in this situation so auto would be best and then fix in the computer later.

JimC Oct 10, 2004 9:16 AM

You new Digital Rebel should let you get much better results than you got with your old Elph. :cool:

Your camera has a custom white balance feature. This will allow you to set the white balance using a photographic gray card (18% gray) or white card in the lighting conditions you'll be using it in.

Check your manual for white balance, and it should give you the procedure for custom white balance. A popular technique is to use white coffee filters (which should get you pretty close). Although even a white piece of paper can get you closer in a pinch. You'll need to set it in the lighting at the skateboard competition. Try to pick an area that has an even mix if there is more than one lighting source when you set it.

If you can shoot in RAW, you'll have more exposure latitude later, as well as the ability to change the white balance. Although, this will slow your camera down a lot for repeat shots (up toabout 30 seconds wait between burst of 4 shots). So, you may want to go with JPEG and tweak the colorlater. You'll need to decide which is best.

AsMikefellh said, the flash would have a different color temperature . So, this would throw it off. Chances are, your internal flash is going to be useless anyway. So, you may want to force it off. With it forced off, this will also allow you to take repeat photos faster (or use your model's continuous modes), since you won't need to wait for the flash to recycle.

Theoretically, it's good for around 22-36 feet, shooting at ISO 800 with the kit lens, depending on focal length (or more at ISO 1600, as each time you double the ISO speed, your flash range increases by a factor of 1.4x). But, chances are, ambient light would add so much to the exposure at higher ISO speeds, that it wouldn't give you a lot of benefit anyway (from a freezing action perspective), and it would probably not be appreciated by the skaters (I can see a flash blinded skater crashing now).:whack:

As Kalypso suggested, shoot in your camera's Sports Mode. With most models, this forces the camera to use the largest aperture (represented by the smallest f/stop value) available for any given focal length. It's like shooting in Aperture Priority (Av) Mode with most models and selecting a larger aperture. With the Digital Rebel, this also appears to let your camera use it's AI Servo Autofocus Mode.

Unfortunately, your kit lens is not really bright enough for most existing light shooting. So, if you can afford a brighter lens, go for it. You may want to check the Canon Lens Forum for recommendations.

If you can shoot at a vantage point where you can catch the skatersa closer range, and can afford an extra $75.00 - $100.00, get yourself a 50mm f/1.8AF lens (a real bargain lens), which would have a 35mm equivalent focal length of 80mm on your Digital Rebel). This lens would allow you to shoot at shutter speeds anywhere from about4 to 10 times as fast as the kit lens, depending on how much zoomyou used with it (the maximum aperture of the kit lens is f/5.6 at full zoom, and f/1.8 is tens times as bright). It would also let you set the ISO speeds lower in many conditions, still allowing shutter speeds fast enough for the desired effect. The lower the ISO speed, the less noise you'll have.

Now, the downside of using a larger aperture is that you'll have less depth of field. This means that less of the image will be in focus, as you get further away from your focus point. So, you'll have to balance the need for faster shutter speeds with desired depth of field. Shooting in Av Mode would give you this flexibility (but I don't think AI Servo will work in anything except for your Sports Mode). So, you'll just have to experiment for best results, in the conditions you'll be shooting in.

You'll probably want to practice panning with the action, too. If you get it "just right" (slow enough shutter speed to allow blurring of the background, yet fast enough to freeze the skater if you are a skilled panner), you can get a cool effect of blurring the background, while still getting a sharp photo of your subject, exaggerating the motion of the skater.

If you can't get shutter speeds as fast as desired, shooting your subject coming straight toward the camera, or going straight away from the camera will minimize motion blur.

You'll need to increase ISO speeds to keep motion blur down. I have no idea what the lighting is like inthat parking garage. If I had to take a SWAG, I'd speculate at around EV 7. So, with the kit lens, shooting at ISO 1600 (which will be nasty from a noise perspective), you'd get shutter speeds from around 1/160 to 1/60 second, depending on how much zoom you used (the more zoom you use, the slower your shutter speeds will be with the kit lens).

Check the lighting, and try not to use ISO 1600 unless you have to. Once you're done, use software to clean up the noise. A decent free package is Noiseware. You can download it from http://www.imagenomic.com

You may also want to check out Noise Ninja and Neat Image:

http://www.picturecode.com

http://www.neatimage.com

To get a better idea of how EV (Exposure Value), Aperture, and Shutter speed work together, see this table. It's based on ISO 100. So, each time you double the ISO speed (which increases noise), you can use shutter speeds twice as fast:

http://home.earthlink.net/~terryleedawson/dcnotes/tables.htm



Amateur Oct 10, 2004 6:45 PM

Kalypso wrote:
Quote:

I would not think that shooting fast moving subjects under poor/difficult lighting is something you should jump on this soon in the program.
I must respectfully disagree with Kalypso. I think you should go for it. You will learn more in one attempt than a hundred times sitting out. a good way to learn the limits of your equipment is to exceed them (unless you are talking hang gliding, rock climbing and the like).

Oct 10, 2004 8:27 PM

Amateur wrote:
Quote:

Kalypso wrote:
Quote:

I would not think that shooting fast moving subjects under poor/difficult lighting is something you should jump on this soon in the program.
I must respectfully disagree with Kalypso. I think you should go for it. You will learn more in one attempt than a hundred times sitting out. a good way to learn the limits of your equipment is to exceed them (unless you are talking hang gliding, rock climbing and the like).
While I agree in theory, I don't believe a poorly lit, fast moving sporting event is the best time to try & learn the limits of your equipment...not if you want any decent pictures to show for it.

Amateur Oct 10, 2004 9:30 PM

I think the best time to learn is when you have a subject to shoot.Afterwards, I'll go home and look at mylousy pictures and try tofigure out what I didwrong. I'll learn as muchas I do from my decent ones.So I have a lot of lousy pics, didn't cost me anything to try,I had some fun in the process, and am much less likely to make the same mistakes again than if I simply read about it.

Oct 10, 2004 9:55 PM

Amateur wrote:
Quote:

I think the best time to learn is when you have a subject to shoot. Afterwards, I'll go home and look at my lousy pictures and try to figure out what I did wrong. I'll learn as much as I do from my decent ones. So I have a lot of lousy pics, didn't cost me anything to try, I had some fun in the process, and am much less likely to make the same mistakes again than if I simply read about it.
The original posted question was "What mode on my Rebel should I been using to photgraph moving subjects (skateboarders) What ISO? any reccomendations on how to get the white balance right"?

You picked one comment from my reply to make your own judgement call on. Feel free to post some images you made under difficult lighting (don't forget to provide detailed info on how they were made...unless you haven't figured out what you did wrong).

Shooting without knowing your equipments limitations will result in "I'll go home and look at my lousy pictures and try to figure out what I did wrong". I've found a faster way to learn...you are free to choose your own.

Amateur Oct 10, 2004 11:22 PM

Kalypso,

The original post was asking for advice on how to take pictures, not how to abstain from taking pictures.

I picked the part of your reply that I disagreed with and commented on it because I thought it was patronizing to Bongloard andI did so with respect.

The rest of your post was useful information, I apologize for not mentioning that.

I don'tagree with advisingsomeone not to even attempt to shoot a subject that is obviously of interest to them. You may mock the idea of learning by doing (mistakes and all) if you wish. I am not going to swap sarcasm with you as tempting as it is.

Why don't we agree to disagree and let this thread die.
David



steve Oct 10, 2004 11:46 PM

Play nice boys - help the original poster and drop your argument, just agree to disagree ;)

I would suggest that the fellow gets himself a nice high-power Canon strobe like the 550EX - he needs controlled light and a faster shutter speed. The camera's builtin flash is never going to do it and he'll never get anything worthwhile from available light in that environment.

:|

Amateur Oct 11, 2004 4:55 AM

Sorry, I didn't mean to start an argument.

Setiprime Oct 11, 2004 10:44 AM

Bongloard -

As you can see now by the other answers, it's pretty much about how much light you can get in and how fast !!

That's what all the talk is about on other threads.

You are up against a VERY tough situation. Someone suggested a 50mm f1.8 lens. That is a good choice for a couple of reasons. It is not the most rugged lens because of the plastic construction, however,most importantly it is FAST and is a very sharp lens. The cost is reasonable also.

Punch up your ISO to 1600 (granted you will get more noise) but you will get a stop or two more. You can clean it up some in post processing.

The lighting coloris a nightmare. If you try to add your internal (built in) flash, you create more problems to an already tough situation.

I would get as close to one of the strongest light sources and stay there. Get as close as you can to the action. If you get the 50mm lens (above) you will do your zooming with your feet as it is a prime lens.

Sometimes the competitors will do there stuff in front of where the cameras are. Everybody likes to "showoff".

Remember its all about Light !!

Good luck and please come back with your experiences - we want to know how it went.

Good luck and Good shooting.

pennyberg Oct 11, 2004 7:05 PM

Just to echo, lens and white balance. Can you elaborate on the settings you used?

GregM Oct 12, 2004 11:39 AM

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Thanks everyone for their replies!!

I have alot of learning to do, but I have to say that the best way I learn is to get my hands in there and play. Im not going to learn anything by sitting on the couch taking photos of the coffee table.

The shoot went pretty bad as i expected, but I had tons of fun playing around with my camera. I tried using the sport mode, but it was still VERY blurry, so i went with the "P" mode and shot at a high ISO. I got maybe 2 photos out of the 70 I took that are semi good.... but It was a good experience either way!

Do I need a different lens if i want to speed up my shutter? or will an external flash work?


JimC Oct 12, 2004 2:14 PM

BongLoard wrote:
Quote:

The shoot went pretty bad as i expected, but I had tons of fun playing around with my camera. I tried using the sport mode, but it was still VERY blurry, so i went with the "P" mode and shot at a high ISO. I got maybe 2 photos out of the 70 I took that are semi good.... but It was a good experience either way!
Yes... looking at the Digital Rebel Manual, it doesn't look like you can choose the ISO speed in Sports Mode (and that appears to be the only mode that AI Servo works in).

There is a firmware hack to give you AI Servo in other modes with your model.But, this would probably void your warranty. So, install it at your own risk.

If you shot in Aperture Priority (Av Mode) and selected the Largest Aperture (represented by the smallest f/stop number), this would probably do the same thing as Sports Mode (without the AI Servo). Shooting in P mode the way you did should select thelargest aperture in lower light anyway, so it really wouldn't make much difference in those conditions.

Quote:

Do I need a different lens if i want to speed up my shutter? or will an external flash work?
As I suggested in my first post in this thread, I'd spend $75.00 for the 50mm f/1.8 (about what most reputable online vendors are selling it for). It will let you shoot at shutter speeds from 4 to 10 times as fast as the kit lens for the same lighting and ISO speed.

If you were at full zoom with the kit lens (55mm, which is a 35mm equivalent focal length of 88mm), the largest aperture you'd have would be f/5.6. The 50mm f/1.8 lens would give you a 35mm equivalent focal length of 80mm (close to what you'd have with the kit lens at full zoom), allowing shutter speeds 10 times as fast for the same lighting conditions and ISO speed (f/1.8 is tens times as bright as f/5.6).

Even if you do get an external flash, I'd suggest buying this lens. It's a very sharp lens from all accounts, and would be useful in conditions where a flash is not practical.

If you go with an external flash -- Yes, you can freeze the action with it. But, don't expect it to be simple to use, either. For one thing, if you let in too much light; then you'll still get some motion blur from ambient light exposure. If you sync at a faster shutter speed (or stop down the aperture) to make sure that ambient light is not contributing to the exposure enough to see any motion blur from light other than the flash; then, you'll get darker backgrounds.

This is because in order to keep from overexposing your subject, the flash won't be able to illuminate the background behind it, if you use exposure settings that keep out enough ambient light to prevent seeing any subject movement from ambient light exposure.

So, you'll still need to practice to get the desired photos either way. You may also want to check the Canon SLR forum for user feedback using various flashes (Canon 550EX versus Sigma 550DG Super, etc.). BTW, Canon has a new model coming out now, the 580EX.

I don't want to alienate any Canon users. However, I will tell you that based on forum posts I've seen, the Digital Rebel's flash exposure accuracy (using either internal or external flashes in E-TTL mode) leaves a lot to be desired.So, for best results, you'll probably want to use the Auto Mode on a flash. Users more familiar with the "quirks" of E-TTL should be able give you better advise in this area.

If it were me, I'd spend the $75.00 on the 50mm f/1.8 either way, and I think you'd get better results without the flash if you can get the shutter speeds fast enough without one (without the skaters being annoyed and distracted by the flash).

I am not skilled inshooting low light sports. So, many other users could probably give you better advise. But, that's the way I'd try it (fast lens, no flash);if I could get the shutter speeds fast enough without the flash.

Otherwise, I'd probably do the opposite (stop down the apertureand sync at the fastest shutter speed the camera supported to keep out some of the ambient light, and use a powerful external flash).

On the downside, you'd have a relatively shallow depth of field going with a brighter lens, so focus will be more critical -- especially at closer distances to a skater.

The photo you posted had the EXIF stripped out of it by whatever editor you used for downsizing it. Can you give us the exposure information (focal length, aperture, shutter speed, ISO speed) for awell exposed photo with the flash off? That would give us a better idea what you'd be able to get with a different lens.

Is this something you want to do on a regular basis (same type of skating, same location and lighting)?

Also, would you like me to move this thread down to the Canon SLR forum, where you'll probably find users that know a lot more than me about shooting in these conditions, that would also be familiar with your camera?

GregM Oct 12, 2004 7:16 PM

Jim,

Thanks so much for all the advice.. I am definately looking into getting a new lens for my camera, but $ isnt something that's falling out of my pockets right now, so i'll have to make sure and research it, and save up for the right one.

I will upload the origional photo from my rebel when I get home from work tonight so you can see the RAW data.

Oh and yea, this is something i plan on doing QUITE often is photographing skateboarding and skiing.. not nessecarily in underground parkades, but moving subjects will definately be a big part of my work.

Although Ive got quite a few really good shots when im shooting at an outdoor event, so I don't think that's so much of a worry.


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