Is there any experienced sports shooters out there willing to help me?

Discussion in 'Photojournalism & Sports Gallery' started by redtippmann, Jan 26, 2010.

  1. redtippmann

    redtippmann TPF Noob!

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    Hi everybody!
    Well I have been shooting for a couple of years and I'm really attracted to sports photography. Right now I shoot for my schools newspaper and yearbook. I really enjoy going to events but there never seems to be enough light. I was thinking of buying a SB-600 but I don't know if that would be powerful enough. So should i think of getting the SB-800?

    Also, I've been reading some tips on how to eventually become a sports photographer. I watched some videos online and they all said its a good idea to get a mentor. Well I looked at our towns newspaper photographer and he doesn't really seem to know too much or that he would be willing to help. ( He just walks around with a 18-200 and a flash, and it doesn't seem like he would take the time to help a kid like me) So I was wondering if anyone here would care to help me develop my skills on a more personal level.

    I also did try the mentoring list here on TPF but they all wanted me to shoot studio stuff.

    So any help would be great, Thanks!
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    o_O ooh the mentor list still works :)
    and someone tried it too!! :)

    I'm afriad I am not sports photographer to help - though I would say that since you already have an f2.8 capable lens in the 70-200mm range (which I assume is your dominant sports lens) then if the lighting is still not enough for your needs then a flash would be the next logical setup.

    Also since you are shooting for schools and are also a student yourself, there are some flash setups that you could take advantage of which would use remote flash (eg radio remotes like radio poppers) to get lighting where you need it in a scene. I'm just throwing the idea out there as something for you to consider since the setup you can use will be determined greatly by how you shoot, where you can shoot from as well as the overall amount of money you can invest in the setup.
     
  3. redtippmann

    redtippmann TPF Noob!

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    Thanks! I have cactus v2 triggers but the range isn't great. I'm going to a wrestling match Thursday. I'll try to have the flash on the opposite side of where I'll be to make a backlit effect.
     
  4. kajiki

    kajiki TPF Noob!

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    doesn't anyone shoot available light any more?
     
  5. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Considering that the newest DSLRs are pushing ISO 3200+ and producing very workable results (ie little noise and decent detail levels) I think natural light has never had a better time (if you can afford it). However when dealing with an indoor area one already has very little light to work with; then factor in the fact that most sports shots need a fast shutter speed to work (blurred shots can work very well, but not always and its a fine art to pull it off - such shots are also less in demand though).

    As for today vs the old days don't forget that in the past flash would still have been used at these events - the ground would be littered with spent flashbulbs
     
  6. kajiki

    kajiki TPF Noob!

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    What I've found with location lighting is, if there just isn't any light, then by all means use it but, can your strobes recycle fast enough to shoot? In the book 'Sport in Focus', which I can heartily recommend, there are around twenty indoor sport images, of which maybe one uses flash lighting. These dated '68 to '87. Put simply, flash kills the mood. Just my 2 yen.
     
  7. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I suspect a lot has to do with what gear and options you have when shooting the scene - if its oncamera flash only then I agree there is a good chance that having the flash as the dominant light source will kill the mood of the shot - however if one has a remote setup and can position the flashes from different angles (not nessessarily much closer, just differing angles) then the light can be more dominantly controled without taking on that flast "flash was used" air.

    For the fast recycling part I agree that is a limitation and even if one were to use battery packs to keep the refresh rate up that would put wear on the flash internals and might cause overheating problems (though I think many flashes will cut out before that point). Highspeed flash modes might be possible to work with though it might need more than one flash (since the power output will be low so a single flash would not be enough to retain dominance for an exposure.
     
  8. kajiki

    kajiki TPF Noob!

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    wonder how it all turned out, op?
     
  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Over the course of roughly 10 days, I have exchanged a few PMs with redtippmann and he sent me two gym diagrams, one for wrestling and one for basketball, and I made some suggestions on how best to position a single,remotely-triggered speedlight flash. In my opinion, for a youngster and a beginner with indoor arena remote lighting, he did a doggone good job! He's not going to be working at Sports Illustrated until he's out of college, but he has already developed some knowledge and understanding of how to position just one,single elevated speedlight and to use it to good advantage.

    Sports Illustrated's entire NBA basketball and hockey coverage is shot with ceiling-mounted strobes, BTW. Flash does not kill the mood if used properly.
    Most people these days simply can NOT afford a Nikon D3s and the lenses (plural) used to get the type of quality peak-action sports that are the 'desired' quality level or the 'goal' of today's aspiring sports shooters, nor of todays newspaper editors. Most high school sports venues in the USA have absolutely HORRIBLE lighting compared with NCAA or professional venues, and if your paper wants to run 4-color shots on newsprint, skillfully used flash is the answer for those with "modest" or "normal" cameras that top out
    at ISO 1600 or ISO 3200. Above 1600, "most" normal d-slrs start to very rapidly lose color saturation and vibrance,and get lots of noise, with expensive FF bodies and the pro flagship cameras being the exception,and not the rule.
     
  10. kajiki

    kajiki TPF Noob!

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    so was it 285 into a brolley? don't get me wrong, if the situation requires it then do it, but, what happened to the art?
     
  11. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    No, no brolley. Art? Not all photography is "art". In fact 95% of photography is not about art, it's about photography. About getting a clear,sharp, in-focus shot that captures peak of action that will print in 4-color. Most sports photojournalists shooting strobed arena sports are not trying to create art, but are instead trying to get good,sharp,clear, saleable photographs. Art is nice, but not always achievable, or desired let's say, when the goal is things like high school yearbook photos or local newspaper shots; the general public's appreciation of "art" is dreadfully shallow, in my experience. Lovely, cool panning photos: I have had editors say, "It looks nice, but its too blurry."

    Clever foreground out of focus bokeh shots: "Ehhh, we can crop that out and make a good shot out of it."

    And so on. Most editors want to see "faces". In American high school gymnasiums and on America high school football fields, the lighting levels are dreadfully poor. What's a typical indoor high school volleyball court in Japan lighted up to? Can you pull f/2 at 1/400 second at ISO 3200--because in the USA that is a "bright gym", meaning an f/2.8 lens at 1/200 second is FAR too slow for volleyball stop-action. Lots of perfectly exposed smears.
     
  12. mom2eight

    mom2eight TPF Noob!

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    Derrel,
    I just wanted to say thanks for that post. It is so true about school lighting. Its so hard to deal with especially for people like me who are brand new to photography. Even to capture musicals or such of my kids is terrible, I can't imagine trying to get action shots of sports.
    Red,
    I think its wonderful that you have a dream of becoming a professional sports photog. I love to see passion in teens about their dreams. Keep shooting... I look forward to seeing you in Sports Illustrated one day!
     

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