Shooting Sports

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Kavanaugh29, Dec 16, 2008.

  1. Kavanaugh29

    Kavanaugh29 TPF Noob!

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    I am supposed to be taking action shots for my brother's hockey team, but they play in an extremely poor lit rink. does anybody have suggestions on settings or ways to get pictures that are useable? i have a nikon d80
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    What lens or lenses do you have? That will make a much bigger difference than the model of the camera.

    Pro sports shooters use 'fast' lenses with large apertures...F2.8 or better. And they often need those large apertures in order to get shutter speeds fast enough to freeze the action.

    If you don't have a fast lens (or even if you do) you will likely have to crank up your ISO...1600 or maybe higher. This will introduce digital noise but that's the trade off.

    If you can't find a good balance and/or can't get shutter speeds fast enough, then you will have to pick your shots very carefully and shoot when the action isn't moving so fast.
     
  3. Kavanaugh29

    Kavanaugh29 TPF Noob!

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    my lens is :
    18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S Nikkor Lens
     
  4. Joves

    Joves No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You will have to use higher ISOs to shoot in there. Also you will want to set the white balance or shoot in RAW to adjust the WB later. You might try shooting in Shutter Priority and set the speed to 125 or greater to stop action.
     
  5. reg

    reg TPF Noob!

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    To be short:

    You can't get there from here.

    You might be able to use the on-camera flash if you make it down to the sides, and that's still only about a 10' flash range, and anything beyond that will need either a new lens or new flash.
     
  6. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    If the venue is as dark as you make it sound you will probably have an very hard time getting good shots with the lens you listed. I typically shot indoor sports with nothing slower that an f2.8 lens. Most of the time I opt for faster primes as the college venue I shoot in has decent, but not great lighting.

    Stopping action requires fast shutter speeds. 1/250th is the minimum for something like hockey, basketball etc. Slower and motion blur begins to creep in. The only way to get to at least 1/250th in a dark venue is to have fast glass, f2.8 or faster and/or high ISO. With the 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S Nikkor my guess is you are going to have to be at 3200 ISO to get close to the required shutter speed.

    Keep in mind that you will probably have a lot of noise in your shots at 3200 ISO. If you shoot in raw you can post process a lot of that noise out. This will soften you shots a bit in the process. One of the best ways to reduce noise from high ISO is to have the exposure dead on. That may be a challenge here. With out seeing the venue it is hard to tell.

    If you can set a custom white balance before hand, I would suggest that you do so. If not adjust it in post processing. If the lighting happens to be florescent also be aware that you will probably get some color shift in your photos. That is just the nature of florescent lighting.

    If you have never shot sports before I would suggest that you set your camera to full time focusing. Canon calls it AI Servo. I do not know what term Nikon uses. Follow the action at all times with the camera constantly focusing on the action. Use one focus point. I normally use the center point.

    You have to be prepared to get the shot by tracking the action with the camera constantly focusing on that action. If you don't and see something you want to shoot, by the time the camera focuses the shot is gone. In tough conditions like this it is better to have a shot that is in focus with noise in it than a shot that is blurry because you wanted to reduce the noise with a lower ISO that affected your shutter speed.

    As for using some kind of flash, I would suggest that you don't do it. If you are close enough to use a flash in this instance you will probably have to be rink side at eye level. Many venues do not allow flash and if they do not have a prohabition against it, the players may not be too happy with a flash going off in their face. There are ways to strobe an areana but it requires multiple light sources above the playing field typically either bounced or shot over the players heads so you are getting fill light. If you are interested in learning to do so the Strobist site is a good place to learn to do so cheaply.

    In large venues the strobe system is usually in the catwalk rafter area pointing straight down on the play area. The local venue here has a large number of installed strobe units specifically designed for that use. I have access to them when I shoot there and they are very nice. They are also very expensive to buy and maintain. That includes insurance in case of an accident.

    If you have a chance, go to a pratice or two and get some practice time in yourself. Every fall I start by going to the pre season practice sessions at the local college I shoot for to get some practice time in myself. Sports photography by it's very nature is very demanding both in terms of equipment and on the photographer. It, at least for me is also one of the most enjoyable. Good luck.
     
  7. Sarin

    Sarin TPF Noob!

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    Completely agree with the above statement. I've just started to photograph football (soccer, not the one where you use your hands:lmao:) and need to shoot at 1/500+ to get the ball in focus. I quickly noticed the limitations of my lens (70-300mm f4.6 - 5.6) and realise why the pro's have massive fast glass lenses. Even outside on a sunny day it's still a pain in the arse for me to get a decent shot. It gets easier if you know your game and can predict the player movements. Still, it's tough and for every 100 photos i take only one will be usable.
     
  8. AlexColeman

    AlexColeman TPF Noob!

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    You need a F2.8 lens or better if the conditions are as bad as those that you will be shooting in. Anything above that will unnecessarily raise the ISO, and ruin the quality.
     
  9. Marco

    Marco TPF Noob!

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    I think you may not be able to get good IQ, sharp, static shots with your equipment if that is what you are after.

    The other option of course is to go for a more motion orientated shot. Get the camera on to Tv, put it at 1/60 (or less), pan with the action and get some motion into the shots. With good timing and a bit of practice you should be able to pull something off.
    You would need to get fairly close with that lens though.
     
  10. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Even with fast glass, a dungeon will require his ISO. I would still rather have a noisy shot than one out of focus or with motion blur. Besides if your exposure is dead on you will have less noise. Plus noise can be reduced dramatically in post processing.
     

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