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Old 15-08-2006, 16:44   #1 (permalink)
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Sports photography...any tips?

Luckily for me, as a rugby fan, the NEC Harlequins have their training headquarters on land owned by the organisation I work for. Later this week they are playing a full match there - 1st Team v 2nd Team - and my boss has asked me to go down and take some pictures.

Last time this happened I managed to get one or two good shots but that was more through luck than judgement and I wondered if anyone had any tips for making the most of the opportunity?
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Old 15-08-2006, 17:05   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Sports photography...any tips?

You want a fast shutter speed, minimum 1/250. Try shooting in Shutter Priority and the let the camera sort the aperture. If necessary, to get the shutter speed, up the ISO.

From a composition point of view try to anticipate where something is going to happen. If you shoot where it is it's possible gone whilst your clicking. This is where two eyes helps, one looking through the viewfinder and one looking elsewhere. Also, because thing happen very quickly try continuous shooting of about 3-4 shots. Hope that helps and have a good time, Angela. Waiting for some shots
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Old 15-08-2006, 17:18   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Sports photography...any tips?

Thanks Stephen!

Given my inexperience and the nature of what I'll be photographing, is it worth putting the lens onto autofocus to give me one less thing to think about or is that only going to slow things down?
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Old 15-08-2006, 17:22   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Sports photography...any tips?

Set the camera on continuous shooting mode. When you are panning or shooting some action, this will give you the best chance of capturing 'the moment'. Remember, if you are going to shoot some static stuff, spectators, bigwigs etc, you might want to go back to single shot mode. Also with the non-action shots you might need a bit more DoF than the action stuff, so apature priority (or program/auto) would be a better bet for this.

A monopod might be useful if you have one, not so much for the action, but the set pieces/spectators, or just long-range shots in general.

Don't forget, a bit of blur can add to an action shot, particularly close-up action, so experiment a bit with slower shutter speeds.

Finally, take plenty of memory, and above all, have fun.

Others will be able to make more suggestions. Looking forward to to seeing the results.
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Old 15-08-2006, 18:12   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Sports photography...any tips?

What about the focusing mode guys ? Spot focusing ? AI mode?
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Old 15-08-2006, 18:35   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Sports photography...any tips?

Angela.
AI mode.
A 70-200/300mm lens.
Set for continuous shooting.
Set for shutter priority.
Try to keep one or two players in front of the action (easier said than done).
Spare memory (lots if you've got them).
Spare batteries (as many as you've got).
Polarizer if you've got one and if the suns comes out to play.
Small light weight camera bag.
External flashgun (only if it's really a dull day).
ISO no more than 200 at a push 400.
Shutter speed 1/250, 1/320 depending lens length.
Try to stay somewhere around the half way line, but be ready to run for a line out when they happen. If it's a following game you may need to do some fast walking or running to keep up with the players.
Comfy trainers is a must.
Above all else RELAX and ENJOY yourself, don't beat yourself up if miss something.

That's all I can think of I hope you have a really good time
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Old 15-08-2006, 18:53   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Sports photography...any tips?

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What about the focusing mode guys ? Spot focusing ? AI mode?
I'd use AI Servo but has Angela's Pentax got it? I thought it was only on EOS cameras.
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Old 15-08-2006, 19:34   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Sports photography...any tips?

Thanks everyone...so this is what I can do

Set to Shutter Priority - 1/250 minimum
ISO to 200
Set for continuous shooting (used to that with The Lurchers so that's good!)
50-200mm lens will have to suffice
Memory - have a 1gb card that gives me over 300 shots in *** mode (next best to RAW, which only gives me about 70)
Got the camera bag
Will make sure batteries are fully charged and carry a spare set!

No external flash or polarizer and if someone can explain what AI mode is I'll tell you if I have it!

I doubt there will be much spectator action as it's only an internal game so I suspect only the trainers will be there. Mind you, Dean Richards (Head Coach) is usually good for a photo opportunity!!
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Old 15-08-2006, 19:42   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Sports photography...any tips?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Angela View Post
if someone can explain what AI mode is I'll tell you if I have it!
Jut found an explanation for this. I *think* if I set the lens to AF I get the same thing.
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Old 15-08-2006, 19:48   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Sports photography...any tips?

Will you be able to stand on the touchline? I ask because 200mm may not be long enough to get close to the action if you are stood behind the try lines or in the stands. AI mode means the camera and lens will continue to autofocus on the subject whilst it is moving.

Also, if you want to freeze the action, then you will need to push the shutter speed to 1/500 sec or faster. Increase the ISO for this if required.
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Old 15-08-2006, 19:55   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Sports photography...any tips?

Quote:
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if someone can explain what AI mode is I'll tell you if I have it!
It's Canon speak Angela... It's an autofocus mode on the camera, it gives you continuous autofocus when tracking moving subjects where the focus distance keeps changing.

Your camera might have something simular but just called something different, check your camera's manual in the autofocus section.
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Old 15-08-2006, 20:04   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Sports photography...any tips?

David, yes I will be on the touchline. It's just on their training pitch and not at The Stoop so no problem there. And, anyway, 200m is the best I can do!

Sonsey, yes I have that. I can set to autofocus in either single or continuous mode and it will continually adjust the focus with the shutter release half-pressed.
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Old 18-08-2006, 13:39   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Sports photography...any tips?

Anyone have a direct link upstairs and can get the rain to stop please!?
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Old 18-08-2006, 13:56   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Sports photography...any tips?

There's a good article in "Digital Photo" mag this month on shooting in the rain
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Old 18-08-2006, 14:01   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Sports photography...any tips?

Take a brollie, freezer bag and a couple of elastic bands that should help.
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Old 18-08-2006, 15:24   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Sports photography...any tips?

Quote:
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There's a good article in "Digital Photo" mag this month on shooting in the rain
Thank you sooooo much!!

Managed to dodge the showers and I've taken about 200 shots....remains to be seen whether any of them are any good of course! Had to come back to work now so will go through them later.
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Old 18-08-2006, 15:25   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Sports photography...any tips?

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Take a brollie, freezer bag and a couple of elastic bands that should help.
I'll try and remember that for next time!!
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Old 21-08-2006, 12:45   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Sports photography...any tips?

I am sorry I have only now got chance to reply to this thread and I realise that you have already done the shoot but this may help for next time

When panning (tracking the action with the camera) most people stop panning as they press the shutter release, this is wrong and what you should attempt to do is continue tracking the subject making absolutly sure that they are still where you want them in the shot.

When panning you can often use slower shutter speeds to increase the sense of action. As you will be tracking the subject it should be in focus where as the background will then be a blur. This can often make a huge difference to the impact the final photo has when viewed later.

My last tip would be to select a wide apature (small F stop) as this will also help isolate the subject form the background, popining it out of the page and thus bringing the action close to you.

All three of these tips take some practice to master (both the skill needed and knowing when to use the different settings) but as I always say, its digital and cots nothing if you have the storage space, so shoot lots and don't worry about the ones that don't work. Hopefully in there you will have a good amount of great keepers!!
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Old 21-08-2006, 12:53   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Sports photography...any tips?

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveyuk View Post
Take a brollie, freezer bag and a couple of elastic bands that should help.
I've got a Rain hood - essentially a big plastic bag. Problem is condensation, so only use it when really tipping down or when out for long time, like hiking.

Best thing for light, even medium, rain is a chamois leather laid out along the top. Absorbs drips (and prevents them forming on the camera/lens) and will get very wet before needing wringing out
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Old 21-08-2006, 13:01   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Sports photography...any tips?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
I am sorry I have only now got chance to reply to this thread and I realise that you have already done the shoot but this may help for next time

When panning (tracking the action with the camera) most people stop panning as they press the shutter release, this is wrong and what you should attempt to do is continue tracking the subject making absolutly sure that they are still where you want them in the shot.

When panning you can often use slower shutter speeds to increase the sense of action. As you will be tracking the subject it should be in focus where as the background will then be a blur. This can often make a huge difference to the impact the final photo has when viewed later.

My last tip would be to select a wide apature (small F stop) as this will also help isolate the subject form the background, popining it out of the page and thus bringing the action close to you.

All three of these tips take some practice to master (both the skill needed and knowing when to use the different settings) but as I always say, its digital and cots nothing if you have the storage space, so shoot lots and don't worry about the ones that don't work. Hopefully in there you will have a good amount of great keepers!!
Steve, thank you for that. I have lots of things to practice using the lurchers as moving targets!!
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