Night Outdoor Soccer Photography

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by pixguru, Feb 14, 2008.

  1. pixguru

    pixguru TPF Noob!

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    OK, I am a bit more than a newb but a slow learner....just kidding. I am going to try a shoot my first soccer game under the lights (right at sunset) and would like suggestions for best camera settings. I have not done well with high speed low light so I rented a lens and extender I am going to try and since I have not used them before any suggestions are appreciated. My equipment will be as follows:

    Camera: Canon Rebel XT
    Lens: Canon Extender EF 1.4x II with the Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

    Obvious the automatic setting doesn't ever work thus the need for any recommendations.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions you may have.
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    The important thing will be the shutter speed...too slow and any movement will be blurred...and movement of the camera & lens will blur everything. IS will help fight camera shake...but it won't help with the moving players & ball....the only thing that will help that, is a faster shutter speed.

    So, to ensure a fast shutter speed, put the camera into Av mode and set the largest aperture. It's unfortunate that you have an F4 lens, instead of an F2.8 lens. Also, the extender (teleconverter) will steal a stop from you. So your effective max aperture will be F5.6. I might be temped to leave out the teleconverter to gain back that stop of light.

    So, you have the camera in Av and set to the max aperture (F4 or F5.6). The camera will give you your shutter speed. If it's not fast enough, you will need to turn up the ISO. This will increase the speed of the shutter but add noise to the photo. Noise is better than blur though...so keep increasing it until you can get sharp shots.

    This is why pro sports shooters use the fastest glass they can. 300mm F2.8 for example.

    Also, the use of a monopod might help to steady the camera & lens.
     
  3. Seefutlung

    Seefutlung TPF Noob!

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    Unless the match it is at a professional stadium ... or a very good college stadium ... you're screwed at f/4.

    I shoot a lot of sports and I used to be a news photog ... as a general rule, HS night time sports have crappy lighting. What I found for soccer is the normal crappy football lighting is even more crappy for soccer as the lights are focused for football, soccer is played on a wider field, so there is some extreme light dropoff (a stop or 2) along the soccer sidelines. Which in turn means you will need a long and fast lens as oppossed to a short fast lens and wait until the action comes your way.

    minimum ISO=
    1600 (you may need 3200)
    you will have better IQ at a properly exposed 3200 than an under exposed 1600 (even if its only slightly under exposed).

    minimum shutter speed=
    1/500 to stop action (may get away with 1/250 if the players are younger or female)

    Minimum aperture=
    2.8 For sports always shoot as long as you can and as wide open as you can to isolate the principal subject.

    Important Note:
    Do Not Use Flash
    Flash is a diservice to the participants ... regardless of what the players say.

    There is always a clance that your flash may affect a player ... which may effect the play which may effect the game. Which is why news photogs from medium to large newspapers don't use flash.

    Gary
     
  4. pixguru

    pixguru TPF Noob!

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    I have the 2.8 reserved for the next soccer tournament....that is what I meant to rent this time but my mistake. Thank you both for your feedback, it will be nice to actually beable to use both and review the comaparison in shots.

    THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME TO SHARE YOUR EXPERTISE
     
  5. Seefutlung

    Seefutlung TPF Noob!

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    Don't know if this is your first time shooting soccer or not ... but if it is here are some tips.

    Soccer is tough to shoot, Unlike football where the play is predicable and you position yourself accordingly ... soccer is all over the place. My fav place to shoot is by the keeper, about midway from the goal to the sideline. Wear something neutral like black or gray and the refs may let you shoot from there. If you use a 70-200 2.8 you can cover about 50%+ of the field ... a 300 about 90%+.

    It's okay to move with the flow of action ... never touch the ball or talk to a player. Chatting with a ref is okay ... don't discuss any call or lack of call.

    I found that silk ski glove liners worked well. They kept my fingers warm yet they were thin enough not to hinder camera operations.

    Good Luck and Good Shooting.
    Gary
     

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