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Old 04-09-2007, 18:38   #1 (permalink)
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What's happened here?

We had the Ultimate Frisbee Championships held on work's playing fields this weekend - what a difficult thing to shoot Frisbee is! I got about 4 decent shots

This is, believe it or not, one of the better ones but I'm not quite sure what's happened to it. There is some white fringing along the white parts and I have no idea what it is or what has caused it, or if it is possible to avoid it in the future. Could someone shed some light please?

It was a very bright sunny day and settings were

ISO 200
1/500
f/5.6

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Old 04-09-2007, 18:52   #2 (permalink)
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Re: What's happened here?

A couple of things spring to mind Angela so I'll offer them up and see if anything works.

The first is that a frisbee is rarely perfectly round and flat, they get knocked out of shape slightly during usage. The fact that you are taking a photo of both a moving and spinning disc suggests it is not a perfect shape simply because in the air it isn't a perfect shape anyway.

Although you were using 500th sec exposure, bear in mind that the AF system is looking for areas of high contrast and in this picture the edges of the frisbee are probably the highest contrast anywhere in the image. However, there is a delay, however small, between the AF taking effect and the shutter being fired. This is simply a human limitation as you are using AF to focus while semi-pressing the button but then there is a delay as you wait for the AF to lock on and you pressing the button fully to fire the shutter. Thus you will almost certainly get a slight blurring or fringing.

The biggest reason that comes to mind is that you were only using f5.6 which does not give a great DoF. I can not tell for sure the exact line of flight the frisbee has taken but as it flies in a straight line, it is definitely at a tangent to your own position and therefore its distance to the camera is changing. Locking that down to a sharp frozen image whilst using a low DoF is not going to be easy and would very much be a matter of luck rather than judgement.

As it was a very bright day, could you not have shut the aperture down considerably, to at least f11 and maybe f16 and up the ISO to 400 as part of the reciprocal adjustment. This would allow you to maintain a faster shutter speed, probably doesn't need 500th second but not sure what lens length you were using, and have a greater DoF to play with thus ensuring that the frisbee would fall in a sharp area pretty much anywhere where you are focused?

The frisbee being white doesn't help matters much as against a darker background the camera is fighting like mad to try and get a sharp edge, there is natural light flaring on the edges of such high contrast.

I think actually you were taking a photo of something that is deceptively difficult and hence the rather disappointing set of shots you came away with. Don't feel too bad about it, it would have been very tough to get a perfect shot methinks.

Cheers,
Rob
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Old 04-09-2007, 19:32   #3 (permalink)
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Re: What's happened here?

OOF and burned highlights (which tend to flare - and flare worse with OOF object) is my guess

Personally, I'd keep to f5.6 (or whatever would allow focussing on just the two guys) and, using manual focus, pre-focus on the guys. Then when the frisbee's close to them you'll know it's in focus.

You may have to focus 'on the fly' but it's one of the reasons to never use autofocus - practice makes perfect!
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Old 04-09-2007, 22:06   #4 (permalink)
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Re: What's happened here?

Gotta ask---how do you change your DOF? What setting on the camera do you need to set in?
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Old 05-09-2007, 08:46   #5 (permalink)
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Re: What's happened here?

Thank you both for your helpful comments - even if they do contradict!! I should have thought about the aperture
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Old 05-09-2007, 10:06   #6 (permalink)
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Re: What's happened here?

Getting on his soap box, he prepares to hold forth...

This is a really good example of where digital cameras fall down, unless you've worked out their limitations. With a completely manual film camera, and a bit of experience, your reasoning might have gone something like this:

1. I want to photograph people throwing frisbees. That means fast action, so I'll load with 400 ISO film and uprate it to 800 ISO to get a little extra speed.
2. Here we are at the park and it's a bright day, so I can set my shutter at 1/1000 and the aperture at f11 ( see Sunny 16 rule - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ) giving a little over exposure to allow for the uprated film.
3. There's a game that looks interesting. I'll focus on those two guys over there.
4. Something's happening. Keep them in frame and press the shutter release as soon as the frisbee enters the scene.

Then, when you come to enlarge or scan the shots, you'd expose for the highlights and dodge in the shadows, thus avoiding the 'fringing'.

...climbs down, folds soapbox into a small flat package and places it in pocket.

Frankly, Angela, I think your shot is very good, you've captured the action very well. My own instinct would be to de-saturate it, apply some unsharp masking and then raise the contrast a little. I'd also try using the burn tool to see if there's some tone I could bring out in the frisbee.
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Old 05-09-2007, 10:29   #7 (permalink)
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Re: What's happened here?

Thanks Sejanus! I'm restricted only by my own knowledge of camera use so the limitation is more likely to be with me rather than the camera!
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Old 05-09-2007, 11:19   #8 (permalink)
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Re: What's happened here?

I wasn't suggesting that there was any problem with either the camera or you, Angela. My current theory is that an understanding of how the film process works, can help you make better pictures with top end digital cameras, which are, for better or worse, designed to mimic film cameras.
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Old 05-09-2007, 11:43   #9 (permalink)
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Re: What's happened here?

Not takn that way at all Sejanus - but I am still very much aware that my lack of knowledge, and experience, is a definite hindrance!

I'm about to book myself on a course and had dismissed the course that also covered the film process but based on your comments, I might reconsider that decision.
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Old 05-09-2007, 13:38   #10 (permalink)
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Re: What's happened here?

Angela, if it helps, I have just finished my year long City and Guilds Foundation in Photography Level 2 course. I literally handed in my 30 mounted prints and 3 bulging lever arch files this morning. What I was going to say is that we covered film on the course and I learnt how to develop my own film and make prints from the negatives onto different types of paper. It really does help you understand how light works with film and you can apply a lot of this to the digital process, as sejanus suggests.

In fact, I am considering getting some basic darkroom equipment as the magic of seeing your own prints develop is amazing. There's quite a lot to it as well, so it's good to have another area of learning under my belt.

Anyway, good luck on whichever course you decide to go on. Nothing will be wasted.

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Old 05-09-2007, 18:41   #11 (permalink)
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Re: What's happened here?

I think the position of the sun was your main problem here Angela. From the looks of it the sun is in front of you which is casting a shadow on your subjects while illuminating the background making it bright and contrasty, I think this may have caught your camera out a little and it's shifted focus from the intended subject towards the background. The white frisbee looks like it's reflecting the sun quite a bit causing it to completely burn out the highlights.

When I'm shooting fast moving subjects in bright conditions I always try and get into a position so that the sun is behind me, this will help with focusing and will also give you a more pleasing result in general as you will cut down on the shadows covering your subject. I'd also stick with a f/5.6ish aperture as it will help "pop" your subjects from their background while keeping shutter speeds up and your ISO low, if you time your shot's right (as you have done above) the frisbee will be close enough to the players to remain mostly in focus.

Just keep practising, you'll quickly work out what works best for you aswell as your camera, allowing you to adjust to it's particular quirks.
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Old 06-09-2007, 15:31   #12 (permalink)
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Re: What's happened here?

Isn't it motion blur? At a 500th the subject will move about 3/4 of an inch for every 10 mph. The hats, the frisby even the legs of the jumping figures all show some blur as you would expect. But the stationary objects don't seem to.
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