Athletic help!

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by JackSellers16, Jun 25, 2010.

  1. JackSellers16

    JackSellers16 TPF Noob!

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    Some family members are running in a athletics tournament tomorrow and i want to kick start my photography with some great shots so any advice on camera settings would be great ? And composition?

    For example; Would it be better to use aperture priority or shutter priority?
    Would you stand/sit higher above the track or track level?
     
  2. Robin Usagani

    Robin Usagani Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Come on man.. of course shutter priority. If you just want to freeze the moment.. it will be so easy. Just set the shutter really fast. How fast? It depends what you want. Do you want to make the legys blurry a little to show the effect of running or not? You can also set it to like 1/60 of a sec or so and pan it so you see the person running with blurry background. Lets hope there is enough light (not an indoor event).
     
  3. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Tomorrow?

    Nothing like trying new experimental techniques on important shots.

    Indoor or outdoor?

    Use Aperture priority to control DOF (depth-of-field) not shutter priority. But, you must keep an eye on the shutter speed.

    Get lower than the atheletes. It makes them look bigger and more powerful. Fill the frame, if you can, other wise you will have to crop later which means tossing out pixels.

    I hope your camera has a good AF module, your lens(s) can focus fast, and you're familiar with using continuous focus mode and a dynamic focus area.

    More info once you tell us:
    • if the event is inside or outside
    • the speed of your lens(s)
    • and the camera body you will be using.
     
  4. Hardrock

    Hardrock TPF Noob!

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    +1 for Av. What he said^^^^^^
     
  5. Robin Usagani

    Robin Usagani Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Av? Really?
     
  6. Hardrock

    Hardrock TPF Noob!

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    Usually with sports you want to isolate the subject from the background so you would need to adjust the F-stop for the correct DOF. Also you usually want to use the fastest shutter speed to stop the action and using the largest F-stop will get you the fastest shutter speed.
     
  7. Robin Usagani

    Robin Usagani Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Hmm.. i guess that makes sense. Only if you pay attention to the shutter speed though or it will be blurry a lot. You wont have that problem if you have enough light though.
     
  8. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Which is why additional information would be helpful.
     
  9. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The difference between a sports snapshot and an technically outstanding sports photo is the making the action pop from the photo. That requires just enough DOF to capture only the important action and the rest is just nice Bokeh.

    If you make it simple by shooting in TV mode your aperture can becomes hard to control and careful attention has to be paid to get the aperture desired.

    Shooting in AV mode makes it easy to control not only your aperture, but your shutter speed via your ISO. When shooting sports I am never above f2.8 and I am shooting in manual mode. If your are not comfortable in manual mode the AV is the best choice. By picking your aperture, you insure the kind of Bokeh you want. To control your shutter speed you adjust your ISO. On most bodies, very easy to do quickly if needed on the fliy. Outdoors in daylight that is usually not an issue. You can easily get a wide aperture with high shutter speeds and low ISO. When shooting indoors, most venues have pretty consistent lighting, often consistently bad, but consistent. One you get your your general settings dialed in, there is usually not a lot of reason to change. If you do, however ISO is quick to adjust to get the shutter speed you need.

    Sports photography generally requires a minimum of 1/250th shutter speed. Generally 1/500th is preferred, until you start getting to into motor sports, capturing a pitched or hit baseball or something else with very high speed action. When shooting sports it is better to have frozen action that pops from the photo with a bit of high ISO noise than to have either blurry action or a huge DOF and no pop to the photo.

    KmH's suggestions for shooting are good for most sports situations.
    Set your AF to a full time focus. Canon calls it AF Servo. If possible get your AF off of the shutter release button onto another button on the back of the body. Track the action full time through the viewfinder and anticipate the action. Multi exposure frame rate setting can be good, but spray and pray will never replace anticipating the action and getting the shot you are expecting and looking for.

    To the OP, good luck and be prepared to spend a bunch of money if you get hooked. The 400mm f2.8 is only around 7 or 8 grand now. I got mine for just over 6 thousand. The 300 f2.8 was a bit cheaper when I got it. :mrgreen:
     
  10. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Aperture priority is my preferred sports exposure mode for most, but not all conditions. "Athletics" in UK parlance means track and field to me, and I am pretty familiar with track and field shooting. There are many different athletic events, but Aperture Priority auto, used with the appropriate ISO level, is a good place for a beginner to start. First off, as others have said, you need to keep an eye on the shutter speed: if you have consumer-speed lenses like f/3.5~5.6 zooms like 18-55, 55-200,or 70-300,etc, the first piece of advice I have is to JACK THE ISO SETTING UP to at least 800 ISO. In bright light, this will cause absolutely no problems. In poorer light, like shadows, cloudy days,or early or late in the day as the light level is dropping, the ISO boost to 800, or 1,000 will be your best ally with consumer-speed lenses. Under bright,sunny conditions, even ISO 1,250 or 1,600 can give good photos with slower-speed lenses. A bit of noise but deep depth of field and a fast shutter speed is the absolute best compromise with normal, consumer-type gear and an inexperienced shooter.

    With consumer-speed lenses like say the 55-200mm f/3.5~5.6 or the f/4.5~5.6 type 70-300 lenses, at ISO setting like 100 or 200, the exposure times even wide-open can drop to dangerously slow speeds like 1/250, or even slower, leading to perfectly-exposed, low-noise, smeared, blurry shots. While an exposure of 1/1000 second might sound fast, with a telephoto lens set to 200mm to 300mm zoom, that speed is not all "that fast". An ISO boost to make doggone sure that you have at least 1/800 to 1/1000 second will ensure stop-action shots that are mostly sharp, even with slightly bad technique, like snap-shooting, failing to keep up with the action as you shoot, and so on.

    Standing at track level, on the field, is generally where I like to be. I know people always preach about using the lowest ISO, but with consumer-speed lenses, that is frankly lousy advice--you need to get the ISO ratcheted up to around 800 when using consumer-type bodies and lenses. Once you get to a shuttr speed of 1/1000 or faster, then you can consider stopping the lens down a bit, to maybe f/6.3 or f/7.1, which will give you additional depth of field, which will help provide what I call "cushion" for missed focusing, slower AF systems, and just,well, some "cushion" so that missed focus is not a killer problem.

    I do not know what camera body or brand you have, but on some of the lower- to mid-level bodies, using more than one AF point, in Continuous AF mode, can often help the slower consumer-level lenses like the 55-200 or 70-300 find and track focus better than using just one, single AF point. Try and really pay attention to what you are doing, and don't let people chatter with you and ask you questions as you try to shoot.

    Best of luck to you!
     

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