Football Season and Shutter Speed

snerd

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My grandson starts football with game one on Sept. 5th. Middle school, 6th grade. I just ordered a monopod and wanted to ask about settings for fast-action sports. I was thinking I'd use shutter priority? Probably 500 minimum? I'll be using my 70-200L II and hopefully I can get some great shots for him and his mom and pop. Everything before now was on my old S3IS so it's a whole new ball game. Any other tips I can use? Thanks!
 
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Oh! Here he is last year riding Jr bulls. My son sent this to me.

$n.jpg
 

KmH

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For action sports, when I didn't use manual mode I used aperture priority instead of shutter priority.

I use aperture priory to make sure the DoF stayed more constant and shallow to blur the background.
I let the ISO float (auto) but kept an eye on the value being used and on the shutter speed the camera was selecting.

The ISO won't change much unless the lighting changes, but image noise is preferable to blurry because the shutter speed got to long.
You will want the shutter speed to be at or above 1/500, unless you're able to catch the peak of action when 1/250 may be fast enough.

The key to good action shots is getting faces and the ball in each shot.
To do that, anticipating the action is the key and placing yourself so the action is coming at you.

I generally only used a monopod with lenses that had a focal length of more than 200 mm, since the minimum needed shutter speed of 1/250 satisfies the camera shake preventing shutter speed guideline of - 1/the focal length of the lens.

For 2 reasons with action shots, you want the camera to be low enough you are shooting at a somewhat upward angle:
1. It makes the players look more powerful and commanding.
2. It helps minimizes background distractions.

So for most of your shots you will want to be on or near the ground, on your butt or or on a knee.
I often used a Walkstool. Walkstool Comfort 26 - inch XXL Compact Stool Portable Folding Chair with Case for sportsandtravel Photography
 
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Thanks, good info. All games are scheduled for 4:00pm, so it's going to be HOT!! I looked ahead to next Thursday and it forecasts 101 degrees. Boo! So what is a recommended aperture? Fairly low with maybe center-weighted focus point?
 

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I set the widest aperture each of my zooms was capable of.
Set it to the widest aperture your lens still delivers nice sharp focus at.

I used 3 cameras:
#1 - with a 24-85 mm f/2.8-4 lens mounted for close in shots. As I zoomed, the aperture priority value (set to f/2.8) would automatically change along with the max aperture the lens could deliver as the focal length was zoomed in and out.
#2 - had a 80-200 mm f/2.8 mounted, and being a constant aperture zoom the aperture priority value only changed if I changed it. I usually had the aperture priority set to f/4.
#3 - was at first a 150-500 mm f/5-6.3 mounted on a monopod, but I upgraded later to a 200-400 mm f/4.
 

table1349

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Single focus point, center weighted or spot metering depending on the uniform contrast. Dark vs Light you will probably want to spot meter. Similar degrees of color such as dark green vs dark blue center weighted will work. Aperture as wide as possible and still have the action in focus. For me that usually means f2.8. Since I shoot sports I own no lenses slower than f2.8. For football I usually don't bother with any more than two bodies. One body has my 400 f2.8 and the second body has my 70-200 f2.8. I generally have a 24-70 f2.8 on me for pre & post game as well as halftime if needed.

While I agree that faces are nice, IE... try not to get a lot of behind the action shots, it is the action that is the most important to capture. Concentrate on the action from the proper angle and you will generally have faces as well.

Finally, know the game and know the players. Shoot toward the players strengths and how the action is going to flow.

One last thought and this is the toughest one to master. When you are shooting sports you grandson not only does not matter, he does not exist. There are 22 players on that field nothing more, nothing less. The only thing you cheer for and want is ACTION. Doesn't matter who wins or who looses. You follow the action from the first kickoff through the final play at the end of the game. Keep that body to your face and your eyes on the action. Yes I said eyes. If you learn to shoot with both eyes open you will learn to see the action in the view finder and see where the action is going with you other eye. Good Luck.
 

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Stay about 5 yards ahead of the line of scrimmage, or a bit farther. Pee-Wee age football is a bit unpredictable to say the least,and the players are a lot more unpredictable than in high school or NCAA football. When the ball gets closer to the goal line, move down to the back of the end zone, and hope for scoring plays. Pay attention to the way the game is flowing; if a team runs the ball in the flat a lot, be ready for runs coming out and toward your sideline.

The BEST thing about youth football is it is almost always played in full DAYLIGHT!!! Good, glorious DAY-light!!!!

Pay attention to the background; standing on one sideline you will likely be shooting against the light, while if you are on the opposite side, the players will be front-lighted. At times, depending on the field, there can be absolutely beautiful back-lighting and lovely fall color, with maple trees and all-natural foliage and really clean,gorgeous backgrounds. Many stadiums/sports complexes, however, have loads of ugly chain-link fencing and junky, cluttery stuff in the background, like blocking sleds and equipment sheds, and such...you don't really want that.

Keep alert, and keep shooting. Try and "get on the action" at each snap. Keep working it. Shoot some sideline shots and behind the scenes stuff. Shoot a few frames of the scoreboard too. Some some warmup shots of the grandkid too! Shoot everything.
 
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snerd

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Just got word that he'll be a starting linebacker. WOOT!! Batteries charging and excitement building!!
 
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One hour to go. I'm heading out the door! Looks like the field runs north/south, so I'll either have the sun in my face or at my back. I planned on just using evaluative/matrix metering, but if the sun is in my face should I go with spot/partial metering? Also, testing out in back yard, I got 6000-8000 s/s at 400 iso 2.8 so I've dropped it back to 200 and see 3200-4000 s/s at 2.8.
 

nycphotography

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It's not like it's pro ball... so don't be afraid to use (try) a speedlight zoomed out to 85mm to try to fill in the backlight.

If the others teams moms all get in your face about blinding the little tykes just pop em in the eyes w/ the flash and keep shooting. ha.
 
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nu7yduqy.jpg
I'm here!!!


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This was not easy at all! I will post a few after work tonight. The 99 degrees just about did Me in. I lasted until 4th quarter. Here's one I posted on FB.
eragy7y4.jpg



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Oh yeah, we won 14-0!!


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