Indoor Sports, light limited and need the speed.

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by SandShots, Dec 28, 2008.

  1. SandShots

    SandShots TPF Noob!

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    Hello All,

    Got some friends that coach High School Wrestling and asked if I would take some pictures, wich i gladly agreed too.

    Off the top of my head there are some issues to overcome and workaround. These wrestling tournaments are held indoors at the school gym's.

    I shoot with a Canon 40d, the fastest zoom i have is a 2.8, i do have a 580 flashhead but i dont know if i'll be allowed to use it. Theres alot of action in there so the shot will have to be relatively fast to avoid the blurrs.

    Any Tips N Tricks to for this shoot besides raising the ISO all the way up?
     
  2. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    This may get kind of long but stay with me here. Sports photography is my main interest so I understand what you are talking about.

    You have covered the first and most obvious thing. You are going to have to bump you ISO up to get a minimum of 1/250th of a second. For wrestling you can get away with 1/250th although 1/320th would be better. Shoot fast, but for wrestling depending on you position, not necessarily at f2.8.

    A good DOF chart in hand can be invaluable depending on how close you happen to be. Keep in mind at 70mm at f2.8 at 10 feet from the action your DOF is only .65 feet. Same setup with a 50mm lens and your DOF is about 1 1/3 feet and at 35mm you have a whopping 2 1/2 foot DOF. That could come into play if you are mat side.

    The only way around drastically bumping the ISO is to add your own light. I agree that using the flash mat side may or may not be allowed. Flash for fill light however should not be a problem. If this is a one mat tournament they a couple of 580's or for a cheaper route a couple of vivitar 285's or sunpack 393's if you can find them would be great. A couple of tall light stands, or super clams depending on the setup of the venue to hold the flashes and of course some form of wirless triggers need to be used. If you go this route a good hand held light meter is invaluable.

    A couple of resources to give you an idea of what I am talking about.
    Strobist: On Assignment: Big Gym, Little Lights
    Strobist: On Assignment: Prep Basketball
    Both deal with basketball, but both are relevant.

    A couple more.
    Strobist: On Assignment: Speedlighting a College Gym
    Strobist: Q&A, Speedlighting a Gym

    This is an excellent resource to have bookmarked, many here besides me are subscribers. Strobist

    Of course the same thing can be done with monoheads but at a greater expense. If you choose to go the strobist route one of the primary things to remember is safety. Safety of your equipment and safety of the spectators. Lightstands need sandbags to weigh them down so someone does not topple them. Super clamped items need safety cables attached to the clamps, arms and the strobes. If you introduce equipment like this into a venue you are responsible for it, it's safety and the safety of the spectators.

    If you choose to go the strobist route, you need to get on it now, yesterday would have been better, and get some practice time in. In that venue if possible. Record what works and keep it.

    A good sports photographer keeps a little notebook of the venues they shoot in with the general settings for the gear they use for later reference. I shoot for one particular college in the area and have shooting information on small cards taped to the outside of the lens hood for the gear that I commonly use. Quick glance and I know the last good setup. My notebook holds shooting information for the other different venues I travel to both indoors and out.

    As for shooting itself, I would suggest that you shoot manual if you feel comfortable doing so. Especially if you go the strobist route. If you don't add to the existing lighting then if you can shoot manual. If not I would suggest that you shoot aperture prefereed over shutter prefered. Yes you are working to keep your shutter speed at a certain level, but it is easier to do so, and keep the f-stop you want by manipulating the ISO than by manuplating the shutter speed. If you shoot in shutter prefereed value you run the risk of ending up with an f-stop that you do not want.

    You can clean up a noisy photo in post processing, but you can not recover any lost DOF in post processing. A good sports photo highlights the action and the background is blurred. A great sports photo highlights all the action and still has that pleasing bokeh to make the action pop.

    Set you camera to Highspeed instead of single photo actuations and to AI servo for your focus mode. Get your focus off of the shutter and onto either the dedicated af button on the 40D or onto the * button if you are using a grip since Canon so thoughtlessly didn't provide a dedicated af button on the grip.

    You may want to use spot metering or center weighted depending on the venue and the singlet colors being worn.

    Finally, before you shoot, go practice. The athletes do and so should you. Go to a couple of the practice sessions, shoot them like you would at the meet and learn from there. Good luck.
     
  3. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    Flash is a no no at floor level. Dozens in the bleachers with moms and dads. But floor level is considered taboo, in any floor sport. When I shot sports for the paper it was 3200 T-max, with 2.8 lenses. Normally around 5.6 and about 1/250. I was shooting college arena's so lighting was probably a little better than a highschool gym.
     
  4. SandShots

    SandShots TPF Noob!

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    wow lots of info, thanks for taking the time to write all that out with links.

    i doubt ill shoot with strobes out there, lots of stuff to settup for a free shoot. i shoot alot in manual mode and do shoot alot of action, but mainly outdoors, baseball and softball.

    i'll try to go to a practice session this wk and bring in some shots for critique and take it from there.
     
  5. Ejazzle

    Ejazzle TPF Noob!

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    i shoot my wrestling team with a flash all the time. its a highschool sport. its not the olympics. No one has ever said anything to me.

    when i am on the mat a lightning bolt could strike a foot away from me and i wouldnt notice.
     
  6. SandShots

    SandShots TPF Noob!

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    got any samples of the shots youve taken?
     

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