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Old Feb 24, 2009, 2:51 PM   #1
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Recent Mens friendly match, late afternoon with cloudy overcast conditions. Trying to absorb Mark's excellent comments to improve the 'keepers'

Any CC welcome







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Old Feb 25, 2009, 11:29 AM   #2
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Definitely a big improvement since your Feb 1st post.

In general I would say you should bump up your ISO as your shutter speeds are a bit slow. At least one shot with 1/320 and most with 1/500. 1/500 is acceptable but you were shooting at ISO 200, go up to 400 without hesitation.

Also, the shots all seem to lack sharpness. Not sure what lens you're using so that could be a problem. Also, if you haven't applied USM in post, that will contribute to softness (especially when not using top quality optics).

Some shot specific comments:

1. Nice tight framing but it's an akward shot for me - the boy just looks akward here.

2. Way too much deadspace - even if you want the one defender in the frame you should still frame the shot much tighter.

3. Motion blur and focus isn't on - the front player is in better focus but still not sharp and that's not the player you want in focus anyway.

4. Like the framing, like the shot concept - but this is where the sharpness really hurts. A shot like this is all about the expression. If the sharpness were there this would be a really good shot.

5. a bit crooked - look at the vertical posts in the background. Again, sharpness isn't there. I'm also curious - how much are you cropping? you've got a real short focal length on this shot - so either the player was right on top of you or this is a hefty crop. If you're doing hefty cropping that could be a big contributor to the lack of sharpness.

6. Shutter speed is a problem here - 1/320 is too slow. Sharpness again is an issue. Also, the framing - the trailing player really adds nothing to the image as he's not involved in the play so giving him so much of the frame distracts from your subject and pushes your subject against the wrong edge of the frame (i.e. with a player moving left to right across the image you usually want the player in the back portion of the image so he has space to "move into").

But again, it's a big improvement from the beginning of the month. The take-aways for next time are:

1. Get your shutter speeds up - I wouldn't ever bother shooting below ISO 400 with a 5.6 lens. Even ISO 800 is OK on that camera.

2. Need to frame tightly in-camera vs. heavy cropping.

3. If you're not cropping heavily we need to figure out why the images are as soft as they are - is it a lens issue or a technique issue.

Keep up the good work.
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Old Feb 25, 2009, 4:21 PM   #3
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Many thanks for taking the time to comment, it's greatly appreciated.

I am using a Sigma 70-300 APO (Ebay for about £50) so sadly the optics will play a big part - although I think a lot of it is still me! I don't do a lot of USM as I am struggling more with that than I am taking pics :? I was using Aperture Priority mode with 'Dynamic focus' and thought maybe I should have used 'centre' as most of the time somebody is close to the centre so should be better for auto-focus? Also, I find the lens is slow to focus so end up tracking players for a short while to give the camera a better chance of catching it spot on. Have to try and sweet-talk the good lady into a decent lens

1. He was stopping and turning as a second later a defender was in the picture, so probably a timing issue on my part.

5. I cheated slightly in that I was actually on the pitch! Being a club friendly then men didn't really mind except some got a bit to close and at times I was almost used as a goal! Still, I got the chance to try some more pictures in a not too competitive friendly.

I will certainly go to the next game armed with your comments and thanks again for taking the time. I think it's probably a lens and cropping issue. Some of these are about 2/3rds cropped, so I do need to get more right in camera.



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Old Apr 10, 2009, 8:05 AM   #4
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Howdy Steve,

Im a big amateur Hockey shooter myself and love going to my local Hockey games to shoot the afternoon away. I myself was taught a couple of things by Mark that you might want to think about with Hockey...

1. Try not to go long shots the focus is just crap unless you have a 2.8 lense seeing as Hockey really is a winter sport and its always overcast. Cropping works well here.

2. Go for the emotion. Hockey is action packed but the emotion is so much better. 1 on 1 running up the side lines isOK but the quick flicks with a score are a great action shot when put together.

3. The one thing I always think of is wait for them to come towards you. I find if Im not getting any facial expressions the photos are boring... thats just my opinion.

Anyway keep on shooting. Hope to see more photos soon.

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Old Apr 10, 2009, 3:51 PM   #5
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Hi Matt,

Thanks for the comments. Unfortunately the season has all but finished, but lots to think about for next season. The emotions are definitely a strong point, Did a recent Ladies game and the end of match celebration was more exciting than the pictures of the action!

Off to do some motor sport at the weekend ;-)

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