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spinning Sep 3, 2008 2:03 PM

These are of my daughter this summer except the one of the guy. He was diving off the 10 meter board My daughter was learning a back and 1/2 with a 1/2 twist....kind of funny in the picturesfrom this angle. I was on the 5 meter. They were taken with a fuji s6000

JohnG Sep 3, 2008 2:38 PM


First, welcome to the sports forum. You'll find a lot of helpful people here. But I'll also warn you - we're helpful in that we point out how you can improve. It isn't a mutual admiration society like other gear forums here. But once you get over that, you'll find the advice here to be very beneficial to help you get better.

Here are a few thoughts:

Not a big fan of the first 3 shots. The reason being, once you get over the fact you froze some action, the resulting shots are not interesting. It's a rare sports shot that captures a person's butt and is still good :G- which is why #1 isn't a good shot. Shot 2 is an akward position so it's not flattering to the diver. And again, it's showing the backside of the person. So, backside plus unflattering = not a great keeper. The third shot is nicely timed, but again I don't think the perspective works because it's the top of her head. That same shot where you could see her face would be VERY good.

Shots 5 & 6 are good angles and good framing but way too underexposed. And here is where when you jump up to a DSLR you're going to have to spend some time improving your technique. The sky in these shots messed with your metering and you'll have to learn to compensate for that.

The other thing you'll notice when you move to a dslr is you'll get much sharper / more detailed shots (if going with a good lens).

But, even with your current equipment you can work on a couple things:

1. Keep trying different angles but review the shots a bit differently. Forget it's your child and forget the coolness factor of freezing motion. Is the resulting shot a flattering one of the diver? Is it a good angle (and not highlighting their behind) and is it decent form. The "form" is out of your control. But one of the first rules of sports shooting is you'll have way more throw-away shots than keepers.

2. Learn about exposure compensation and metering. I see you shot these in a 'sports mode'. Does your camera allow you to use exposure compensation in sports mode? If not, does it allow you to use Aperture Priority mode WHILE using continuous focus and WHILE using continuous shot? If so, that's a route we can talk about using. If not, that's another thing that can be worked on when you go to DSLR (i.e. ditching the sports mode since it's usually not good enough to get good results).

Keep at it! Give these suggestions some thoughts. Sports shooting takes a lot of thought and effort - it is absolutely NOT a point-and-shoot thing. Your positioning is important as well as your understanding of photographic principles (i.e. ending up with properly exposed subject). So it's a journey not a destination. An often frustrating journey. But people here can help you out.

spinning Sep 3, 2008 3:03 PM

Nope not at all upset by your comments. That is why I posted them. I want people who shoot sports to see so I can be guided into a better camera and given the directions I need to get the shots.

Funny you should mention the butts! LOL! We did say the same thing. They day I climbed up on the 5 meter they were all working on back type dives. I still like these for the historical factor for my daughter I wouldn't frame them but I wouldn't delete them from my hard drive....1. at this age her butt is still not an issue! HAHA 2. Learning a new dive 3. learning from the photo what she is or isn't doing. 4. and they are rather funny to look at!

The last 2 are also my favorites but they were taken by sheer luck! She had just learned the reverse off 3 and I just quickly grabbed the camera. As for the guy...I truly had no idea how to shoot his photo. He was diving down from the 10 meter so I didn't know what to focus on or anything. DUmb luck it was even centered as well as it is and not too blurred.

"forget the coolness factor of freezing motion" I don't exactly understand what you mean by this. Won't any picture be freezing the motion? or are you saying the back ground should be more out of focus? and she in focus?

I will have to look at the settings on the camera and see if I can try some different settings. Summer diving is now over and we head indoors so I won't be able to get many good opportunities to try until next summer.....sigh another downer about summer being over.......

Thanks again for your help!

JohnG Sep 3, 2008 3:17 PM

spinning wrote:

"forget the coolness factor of freezing motion" I don't exactly understand what you mean by this. Won't any picture be freezing the motion? or are you saying the back ground should be more out of focus? and she in focus?

What I mean is: when people first start shooting sports they're impressed by the fact they 'caught the action' i.e. they didn't completely miss the shot. A perfectly in-focus, perfectly exposed shot can still be a bad shot if what it captures isn't interesting. Sometimes it takes a bit to get over the "hey she was moving and I got the picture anyway". You have to get to the point where you KNOW you can freeze the action and think - OK, what do I want a photo of? I know what dive she's going to do, so what point of the dive would look cool and what is the best angle to capture that moment? What can be helpful is to just watch the same dive from different vantage points without even trying to take a photo.

As far as the subject being in focus and the background out of focus - it depends ENTIRELY on what the background is. In the shots where it is the sky, no there's no reason for it to be blurred. But when it's a concession stand or parking lot or crowd - yeah, you'll want to blur that. But that's a topic for down the road. By the way, I will point something else out. In your other thread I recommended a 70-200 f4 lens. you would NOT be able to get some of these shots with that lens as you'll be too close. Very often sports shooters will have both a longer lens AND a shorter lens on 2 different cameras. Many people cant afford that so they have to change lenses. When you're just getting started however, you often can't afford a QUALITY telephoto lens (70-200) AND a QUALITY wider angle zoom (like a 24-70). So you have to make compromises. Therein lies the challenge with using quality lenses (and by definition there are NO quality superzoom sport lenses - you wont find a 18-200 lens that is good for sports use). So, if you want CONVENIENCE of such a lens you have to give up quality. If you want quality you need at least 2 lenses. If you want BOTH to be quality you're talking a lot of money. If you don't have the money you have to decide which of the 2 you want to be QUALITY and which it's ok to have consumer grade. Which will be determined by the style of shot you like and the position you will most often shoot from. My personal recommendation is if you can only afford one quality lens - spend the $$ on the telephoto - you'll take more shots in the 70-200 range than you would in a 24-70 range. For the occasional 'different' shot like shooting from the other board you can get by with the kit lens.

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