Help Needed: Shooting Volleyball

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Sinister_kid, Sep 16, 2009.

  1. Sinister_kid

    Sinister_kid TPF Noob!

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    Alright, well i am the "School's Photographer" as my yearbook teacher would like to put it and i am pretty much contracted to shooting all the sports throughout the year. I have been having some troubles with volleyball for some reason. Here's my situation:

    D80 w/ 18-135mm lens.
    Shooting at like 1/90-1/180, depending on zoom level.
    Aperture, lowest setting for zoom level.
    ISO: 1600 w/ High ISO NR (ON)

    My pictures aren't turning out like i would like them, i don't have any examples at the moment or i would post them. But i'm looking for a way to maybe to able to shoot at a higher shutter speed without risking getting tons of noise in the photo.

    Any help is greatly appreciated! Thanks!
     
  2. syphlix

    syphlix TPF Noob!

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    you can get a fast lens... the 50/1.8 is practically free so it's a good choice if the focal length works for your situation...
     
  3. CSR Studio

    CSR Studio TPF Noob!

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    Where are they playing vollyball that you need to be wide open at 1/180 and 1600 ISO? Is it really that dark? I have shot at Turner Field, ISO 800, 1/250 at f5.6.
     
  4. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Volleyball can be a tough sport to photograph,and if your photos as you write "are not coming out" correctly, the solution is to do something differently. First off, volleyball is a rather fast sport, a 1/180 second at any telephoto setting is too slow of a shutter speed; 1/400 to 1/640 is more appropriate to stop the motion on a spike shot. Focusing demands are pretty high for slow kit lenses with maximum apertures of f/5.6.

    The ball moves around a lot of serves, and dig shots are hard to get with slow gear. The easiest shots are taken from the back of the court, and shooting the blockers or the spikers. Many top shooters use electronic flash to freeze motion. A simple flash in the hotshoe and bounced off the ceiling of the gym will help your camera's 1600 ISO look much better than no flash.

    One, simple balcony-mounted electronic flash unit and a cheap remote receiver/transmitter, like the Cactus triggers, would go miles toward getting you better shots. If you can manage to shoot, with flash, at 1/200 second and at f/5.6, you will have better shots than what you are getting now.
    If you insist on going ambient light, you need to ditch the zoom lens, and get a FAST lens, like a 50/1.8 or 85/1.8 and work with that. Your shot-to-in-focus ratio might not be great, but if you shoot enough matches, you will get enough photos.
     
  5. Sinister_kid

    Sinister_kid TPF Noob!

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    In a highschool gym.

    We aren't allowed to use flashes. Me and my photography teacher both got yelled at last time we used them. Even if bouncing them. No clue why we can't they never explained that to me.

    My buddy has the 50/1.8 lens for nikon and i might have to try using that at the next game. Thanks for the help!
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    No flash allowed....kind of odd...people in the stands here are snapping flash photos with compact digital cameras throughout matches and tournaments, and those of us who shoot for local area newspapers use two, balcony-mounted strobes. Of course, we're adults,and we have equipment that makes us look like we know what we're doing.

    Again, if you want to shoot ambient light volleyball, you'll need a fast lens that lets in a lot of light. If you are the "official" photographer, it's kind of lame that school officials are so backwards...like I said, spectators here in the stands are blasting away with digital cameras; parents, boyfriends, grandparents, they're all shooting flash photos on every shot with their little digicams. Maybe your instructor could speak to whoever is in charge of the events and get them to wrap their head around the modern era of flash photography. If you actually ASK atheletes if they were bothered by the flash, and I have, they often say, "What flash?" The don't even SEE it, or so they say when actually asked.
     
  7. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    As a sports shooter I can explain it. At a sports venue you do not matter as a photographer. The players, coaches, officials, and fans are not there to see you, they are there for the sport. The use of outside lighting, unless properly done with the right equipment, can be distracting to the players. A sports photographer is not there to distract the players, rather they are there to capture the action with little or no fanfare or notice on the part of anyone else. At the venues I shoot, as a photographer, if you get noticed because you distract the players or the action you will not be allowed back at that venue.

    Fortunately I do have the access to the proper lighting in certain venues that I shoot in and it does make the job much easier. But not every venue has the equipment or if they do, not every venue lets just anyone use it.

    At two of the venues I shoot in I have unfettered access the lighting. One is at the college I shoot for, and one is in a professional venue where I am one of the photographers that is allowed to use the lights. Most other venues I am like every other "Joe" on the floor living with ambient light.

    Unfortunately sport/action photography is a very demanding form of photography on both the shooter and on the gear used. Indoor sport photography requires fast glass. Fast glass means expensive glass. It is the nature of photography equipment.

    If you have no way of improving your glass situation then you are going to have to learn to get the shots that are possible with what you have. Not every great sports shot is of the peak of the action. As a sports photographer you are there to tell a story. Sometimes the greatest stories don't come from the action, but from the players, coaches, fans or officials themselves.
     
  8. Sinister_kid

    Sinister_kid TPF Noob!

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    I will try and talk to some people, I don't see why bouncing flash off a wall would be all that bad. My photography/yearbook teacher said that he would talk to the coaches to see if we can stage some shots, which will be lame in it's self, where i can use the flash.

    This is very true.. thank you very much for the insight. I have access to some other lenses.. sadly i would have to use the school's cameras as well. (I shoot nikon.. they use canon). I will have to try this out and let you guys know how it turns out!

    Thanks again guys!
     
  9. benlonghair

    benlonghair TPF Noob!

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    Maybe shoot at a practice? That's not really a staged shot, it's just a shot where if somebody screws up because of it, it's not a big deal.
     
  10. robertwsimpson

    robertwsimpson No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    to me, a 50mm prime seems too short. I'd be thinking about the 85 at minimum, and I'd rather a zoom... you should consider renting a good one for a weekend to see what works well for you before you go dropping dough on something you might not end up liking.
     
  11. Sinister_kid

    Sinister_kid TPF Noob!

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    The only thing about shooting at practices is that they won't be in their jerseys and i don't know, i just don't really picture seeing a practice shot being the yearbook and looking good i guess you could say? BUt i could be wrong too.
     
  12. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 TPF Noob!

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    If flash is not an option then you need faster glass, period.

    85mm 1.8 can be had for $450 and will give you some reach depending on where you're standing, and will allow you to lower your ISO which will make your photos less noisy.

    50mm 1.4G is another possibility, about the same price but less reach.

    50mm 1.4D is another option, about $120 less in price. I'm not sure how the AF speed is compared to the 1.4G.
     

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