Shooting surfing (i.e. sports, stoping the action)

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by MostlyDigital, Mar 24, 2007.

  1. MostlyDigital

    MostlyDigital TPF Noob!

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    Hello, I do not post often, but I read the forums quite a bit. I love photography, but it can be very frustrating when you do not see the results you are looking for. So, I decided I would ask for some help.

    My problem I guess is basically blurred photos. I shoot with a Canon 30D, and use a Canon 75-300mm USM III lens from the beach. I shoot in raw format, and usually use a polarizing lens. I know this is not a very "fast" lens, but I am unsure what that means.

    What I am aiming to capture is the surfer (who of course is in motion) with water spray around him. But I do not want motion blur. I want to stop the moment in time.

    I just recently read that for sports photography I should be shooting at the least 1/640 at f/11 the minimum. This will stop the action and keep my subject sharp. If this is true here might lie a chunk of my problem because I am using the in-camera spot meter and trusting it's exposre. Some examples for exposure I have been using might be like 1/800 at f/5.6 with my subject 200 or more feet away.

    Now I will try to ask some questions... should I be shooting in JPEG mode? I am so concerned with tweaking my pictures (even though i kno next to nothing about photoshop) that maybe I am just complicating things. Can you get excellent pictures just shooting in JPEG? Also if anyone is expereienced in shooting sports (esp surfing) can you give me a few pointers? I want my subject exposed correctly while also capturing a good exposure of the wave he is riding. Lastly should I be useing the autofocus, like alservo mode? I might have trouble focusing my subject correctly also.

    Thank you for any input you all feel like sharing, and if I didnt leave enough information please ask. :thumbup:
     
  2. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    Well, I probably wouldn't use a polarizer because it will let less light in, thus slowing down shutter speeds, and it's one more thing that I have to worry about.

    Seems like you need an f/2.8 lens if you're getting motion blur. Those 2 extra stops will be bringing your shutter speeds from 1/250th to 1/1000th!
     
  3. DeepSpring

    DeepSpring TPF Noob!

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    As far as the auto focus if you find it is selecting the wrong point to focus on set it to only focus the center spot. Focus and quickly recompose the shot. This could become a little bit challenging as the surfers are moving fast and by the time you re-compose the shot he is out of focus.
     
  4. justinspeaks

    justinspeaks TPF Noob!

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    i have this lens and i use it for surf photography and on a well lit day i use a combination of 1/800 or 1/1000 and f/8 or f/10. its a pretty alright lens for the price ive got some solid shots with it, you just gotta figure it out and practice. also jpeg is fine thats all i shoot with and i have had no picture quality problems. i dont like using a polarizer the pictures seem to come out better without it. just practice and youll get the hang of everything and find out what works for you
     
  5. MostlyDigital

    MostlyDigital TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the replies. I guess no polarizer it is.

    Yeh the lens is good quality for the price. But with a 2.8 lens would that effect the picture being more blurry because the surfer would be at a distance? I thought a wide open aparature made for blurry subjects that are at a distance?

    justin do you shoot in auto mode or manual? also how do u meter for good exposure of the surfer? thanks.
     
  6. justinspeaks

    justinspeaks TPF Noob!

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    i shoot in manual mode and i just take a few shots and see how those look and make adjustments from there.
     
  7. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I photograph Wakeboarders on our rivers. Forget the polariser it stops too much light. My photos are all taken with a ****ty old lens at f4 and even then the exposures are usually above 1/1000th at ISO200.

    There is no reason you need to shoot at f11 unless you are trying to get the background more in focus. You don't need a small aperture to get a sharp photo.

    As for shooting mode RAW has its benefits. However these benefits have nothing to do with anything that can't also be achieved in JPEG format. RAW is great if you need to adjust your exposure, adjust the level of sharpening, or the white balance. But if you get these right when shooting then JPEG is just all around easier.
     
  8. Dave_D

    Dave_D TPF Noob!

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    Your minimum aperture at full zoom with your lens is f5.6. I would try winding up the iso as high as your image quality is satisfactory to you thus allowing for a faster shutter for your "stop action" effect. Obviously you will only have optimum results on a sunny day. Other than that, save up for fast glass!
     
  9. Dave_D

    Dave_D TPF Noob!

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    By the way, where at in Jersey?
     
  10. MostlyDigital

    MostlyDigital TPF Noob!

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    So that means my maximum aperature is? 22?

    Monmouth County.
     
  11. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Your maximum aperture is f5.6. Davd-D was talking in numbers not size. The minimum (smallest in my books) would be f22. It depends on how you talk about it. (is there a standard)?
     
  12. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The f stop number is the same on every lens. It's a measure of how much light is passed by a lens so a $15 cheap-o will give you the same exposure at f5.6 as a $1500 f2.8 Nikon at f5.6. The quality won't be the same but the exposure will. If you are not using a tripod, get one of those and use it and you will be amazed what that does for your telephoto work. mike
     

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