Quest for better pics

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Sillysoft, Sep 27, 2006.

  1. Sillysoft

    Sillysoft TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello,
    I recently bought a digital camera and started taking pictures. But I really dont know what Im doing. The camera I have is a Sony Cybershot DSC-H2 and I am taking "action" photos of my football practices. The problem is I take photos that end up with motion blur and not the best quality and the lighting position sucks. I was wondering if anyone can point me in the right direction on how I could take better shots. Perhaps Im not using proper settings on my camera? Im just using whatever setting it came out of the box with. Here are some images that Im referring to:

    [​IMG]

    As you can see from the pic above there is a lot of motion blur and the colors look "faded" and not very detailed over all.

    [​IMG]

    Again here is another one that shows blur and also not very detailed and the colors look very "bland". You just dont feel the "action" if you know what I mean.

    Can anyone point me in the right direction? Maybe the settings on the camera need to be changed? Or do I need to get a tripod?

    Thanks
    Silly
     
  2. JDS

    JDS TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2006
    Messages:
    592
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Oakdale, TN
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Is this at a high school? Unfortunately, there won't be a whole lot you can do at night, as most lights aren't quite as bright as in a pro stadium... ;)

    If your camera has a shutter priority, try messing around with that. The faster the better, as it will 'freeze' any motion. But if you go too fast, especially at night, your images will come out extremely dark. A little dark is 'fixable', but if you get too dark, there will be areas where all your detail is lost...
     
  3. Sillysoft

    Sillysoft TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Its a major park facility in Arizona, next to a baseball stadium. So it has the stadium lights, obviously not as big as a pro stadium of course. I guess I should play around with the settings then. These pictures just seem to bland and not interesting at all. Like you cant feel like your there watching, hard to describe. But with work hopefully it will get better.

    Thanks
    Silly
     
  4. Big Mike

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

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2003
    Messages:
    33,821
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Welcome to the forum.

    You have a couple of problems here. First, it's dark. Maybe not dark to our eyes but unless it's day time sunny...it's dark enough to cause problems. Even with stadium lights...it's still quite dark in terms of action photography.

    Cameras have three ways of dealing with dark situations. Firstly, open the aperture (hole in the lens). With any lens, there is only so big you can get....I'm sure you are already as big as it will get. Next is shutter speed...a longer shutter lets in more light...but as you see here...a longer shutter speed will show motion blur. The next thing we can do, is to turn up the ISO setting...which makes the sensor more sensitive to light. This will help a bit but the trade off is that you will get digital noise in the image.

    In some situations, using flash might help...however, for the flash to be useful, you would have to be within 10' or so of your subject.

    Football and other outdoor sports are some of the hardest things to shoot. When you watch a pro game or a div 1 NCAA game...look at the photographers on the side lines...most will have huge white (Canon) lenses. These are long telephoto lenses with a wide aperture to let in lots of light. The catch is that those lenses cost more than a small car. In a lot of situations, that is what it takes to get the type of shots you see in SI magazine etc.
     
  5. Sillysoft

    Sillysoft TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the tips. Yeah I noticed those lens at all the big games. Im starting out small, just want to start somewhere and work my way up. I thought this $300-$400 would be a good starter camera. After reading up on this board and reading the manual for my camera I been playing around with the shutter, ISO and aperture. I can already see a difference in the motion blur, taking a picture of a ceiling fan and someones hand moving up and down.

    Thanks again for the input, I feel confident I can at least move forward with better shots. Maybe one day I can be an "expert". One of my friends have started a sports and entertainment news site so I will be going to major sports around the state writing and taking photos. This will go along way to help me.

    Silly
     
  6. Sillysoft

    Sillysoft TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    I tried taking photos this past weekend with higher ISO and shutter speed and it turned out ugly. Just too dark and just looked crummy. Here is a comparison between high shutter speed and high ISO setting compared to the automatic adjuster setting on the dial:

    With high shutter speed:
    [​IMG]

    With automatic settings on the dial:
    [​IMG]

    As you can see the auto setting picture looks more "lively" and colorful. Yet I still get a lot of motion blur on 90% of the shots, even when someone is walking. It didnt happen here because everyone was standing and not really moving (You can see one guys hand in a motion blur). The high shutter looks very dark and very "cold" if you know what I mean. Also another problem I see is I cant take quick pictures. I take one pic and then want to take another right away but it wont take a picture. It makes a sound like its going to but nothing. Is it because of the flash? I used flash for all the pics I take at night. Is there a setting that allows me to take quick photos? I want to get action shots but if I have to wait between shots then I will never get what I want.

    Thanks
    Silly
     
  7. Big Mike

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

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2003
    Messages:
    33,821
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    The main difference I see between these two is the flash. The first one is lit mainly by flash. The light from the flash falls off rather quickly (inverse square of distance)...so closer objects are lit much more than farther subjects. It's almost impossible to get even lighting over a distance with one on-camera flash.

    The 2nd one, the players are too far away for the flash to really light them up. It may have helped a little (if you had it on?)...but most of the light is from the field lights. As you see, it works because they are standing still.

    As for the waiting between shots...that one of the problems of a cheaper digital camera...and I'm sorry to say that $300-$400 is a cheaper digital camera.

    If you can't afford something better, you will have to to the best with what you have...and it seems that you are learning to do that. If you can try this during the day, rather than the evening...you will get much better results. Maybe you will have to try practicing at different events that happen during the daylight.

    Another option would be to get a cheaper 35mm SLR film camera and a fast (F1.8 ) lens. You can probably find a used one somewhere. You will have to pay for film & developing and you won't have instant feed back...but I think it will help you get your shots.

    Again, shooting sports is very hard...especially at night. Your current equipment is going to limit you. Sure, you could learn to pound in a nail with a pair of pliers...but using a hammer would make things much easier.
     
  8. Sillysoft

    Sillysoft TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    I read the manual for my camera and it has "burst mode". That might work, seems to drain the batteries though and you cant use certain shutter speeds. If you would of asked me 2 weeks ago if I thought a $300-$400 camera was cheap I'd say heck no. But what I have learned thus far I see that I very well indeed have a cheap camera. I could afford a better one but I just bought this camera a few weeks ago and dont know if I could take it back.

    Practice starts at 6pm so it already is getting dark by the time we are ready to shoot. I will just have to keep learning and hopefully find a means to take ok shots. I hate to buy a expensive camera if I dont know what the heck Im doing still.

    Thanks
    Silly
     
  9. Sillysoft

    Sillysoft TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    I been checking out the manual and the settings all week long. I noticed one thing I didnt do that I thought I did and thats increase the aperture on the camera. Its been at the lowest size this whole time at 2.8. It goes all the way to 8.0. So Im going to try to set it to manually so I can manually set the aperture and shutter speed. Does anyone suggest the settings I should use for aperture/shutter/ISO? Also should I use flash or not?

    Thanks
    Silly
     
  10. Big Mike

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

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2003
    Messages:
    33,821
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Aperture is tricky.

    A low F-number (F2.8 ) means a bigger aperture.

    A higher F-number (F8 )means a smaller aperture.

    You are doing the best you can with what you have. Use your biggest aperture (F2.8) and a higher ISO setting...then you are stuck with whatever shutter speed will give you an exposure. You camera is probably doing both of those things already.

    Flash may be your only way of getting decent shots in this case. Does your camera have a hot shoe? Maybe think of getting an accessory flash...or better yet...find a way to use a slave flash in an off camera position.
     

Share This Page