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RP33 Mar 9, 2006 2:47 AM

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I took several pictures this weekend of a basketball tournament and when I got home to view them I found a lot of the white jerseys were blown out. I was not using any flash and I just got my new Canon 50mm 1.8 so I was not real familliar with the settings so I used ISO 1600 and Iso 800 with 500 shutter speed. The only other setting was WB was on Fluresent because of the advice of one of the other people shooting there. Most of the pictures are real nice except for the blowing out of the white. This example is one of the less in focus ones but I had it handy. I did have a little problem getting a sharp focus but I think that is just me getting use to the camera.

Mark1616 Mar 9, 2006 6:40 AM

Hi RP,

When shooting sports where there are players with light clothing I under expose by 0.3 which helps, I also go for centre weighted metering rather than matrix. Were you using manual settings (it looks so as more than just the whites are over exposed and the blacks are not black) or did you go for either aperture or shutter priority. It depends who you talk to about this as to which they use. Personally I use shutter priority as I like to control the dof, but others go for shutter. I would suggest try them out and see what works for you.

When setting the WB I carry some white paper with me and use this to set the camera.

As for focus, don't go for multi point, as you will often get the back wall rather than the players. Depending on the sport I am shooting, will usually go for either centre or one of the two outside points. I use the latter for field sports when I am further away, as this then gives room in the shot for the player to run into so gives a nice balance.


RP33 Mar 9, 2006 7:20 AM

I was in Tv mode and set at 500.

How do you use the white paper to set the balence?

I have herd of it but not done it yet?

JohnG Mar 9, 2006 7:40 AM


I'm with Mark (I think) - I prefer aperture priority or manual when shooting - but he's right - each person is different. Out of curiosity was any of the other photogs using a strobe? It just looks like everything is flashed out - tough to do in indoor basketball. No matter. Mark's other advice about EC is right on the money. Until you get more of a 'feel' for setting EC - when and how much, check your histogram. It will tell you if you're blowing your highlights (those parts flash in the image) or if you're dangerously close to the right edge of the histogram (or, for that matter if you're too skewed to the left). Also note that indoor lighting in high school or other non pro level gyms may be very uneven - what works by one basket may not work by the other.

As for setting a custom WB - the manual shows how to do it. Basically you take a picture of something white (or a grey card works) where the white object is in the lighting you will be photographing and fills the center portion of the image. Then go into the camera's menu option and there is an option to select an image for custom WB. After that is set, change the WB setting on your camera to custom. But, check your results - 90% of the time it works great. But in some gyms, the lights don't have enough overlap and the difference in cycles between lamps will cause color temperature shifts so in a 4 shot burst say, you end up with 4 different white balances. You'll see it pretty fast. I've only shot in one venue where I've run into it - but I shot there twice and it was the same effect twice. Just something to keep in the back of your mind.

Good luck and keep shooting!!

davidreeves Mar 9, 2006 9:56 AM

Boy those whites are really blown out and I assume that you are shooting in a college gym, where the lighting tend to be much better than in a HS gym.

What I have found that works best for me in college gymsis shooting in manual and starting with a shutter speed of 1/500 and aperature of f2.8 and ISO of 1600. In the college gyms I have shot in, this normally underexposes the images slightly and I think gives me a better image overall. There are times I can go as high as 1/640 on my shutter and that seems to give me the best action freeze. There are also times I have to drop my speed to 1/400. I dont like to go below that unless I absolutely have to.

Bottom line, it totally depends on the gym you are shooting in. In the HS gyyms, I start in manual at 1/400 ISO1600 and f2.5. In some gyms I have to go down to f2 or even f1.8and even drop my shutter speed to 1/320. I hate using an aperature setting that wide because the very shallow DOF creates focus issues and my keeper ratedrops significantly. My lenses also seem to produce sharper images at f2.8 or f3.2 than they do at f2.

In the venues I shoot in, a custom WB hasnt worked for me. It works provided I shoot from the position I set the balance but if I move, it seems to change the dynamics. Most of the time I shoot with auto WB and adjust in software if I need to.

If you shoot in the same gym(s) that is a huge advantage because you can ultimately figure out what works the best and not have to mess with settings.

I have shot alot of gameswith the Thrifty-Fifty and it is a great lens. Your images will be better the higher your aperature number. If you can shoot at f2.8 or 3.2 with that lens your images should be pretty sharp. I would even sacrafice stop or two and underexpose the images slightly to gain clarity and sharpness. The slight underexposure is easily corrected in software. At the moment, my lens of choice for bball is my Canon 85mm f1.8.

Keep shooting away and experimenting!

RP33 Mar 9, 2006 2:32 PM

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This was a high school gym but it would rival any major college gym. Lighting was very good and no flash was allowed. I did notice that when my apetur was higher the picture was much sharper.

davidreeves Mar 9, 2006 5:14 PM

are you sure this is a HS gym?

Western Illinois is a college andthere is a shot clock on the back board ,,, they dont use shot clocks in HS ...

RP33 Mar 9, 2006 5:40 PM

The Mid Con Championship tournament was played at the UMAC this year it is the gym for Union High School. It is very nice.

davidreeves Mar 9, 2006 6:03 PM

dang very nice is an understatement

Our nicest HS gym in this area doesnt even come close!!

I see you got 1/500 and f3.5, thats outstanding and you should see noticeable improvement in sharpness and clarity

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