14U Girls Softball

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Been a while, but was able to get out and shoot a tournament, or a part of a tournament I should say. Had a pretty good time as this was my first sports outing with my D600 as well as my 70-200 VRII. Hope you enjoy. Critique requested please.

1 - The leadoff slapper....
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2 - Playing small ball with a great bunt..

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3 -

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4 - Focus... Focus...

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5 - Little late...

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6 -

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7 -

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8 - Wish I could have gotten both faces here. Nonetheless, a decent action shot.

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9 - Bad thing is, third basemen started like this before the action in number 8. Crucial to really squeeze the ball and use two hands.

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And a few more...

10 - Another pitcher.

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11 - Its a race!

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12 - Another slap hit

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13 - Bang, bang play at first.

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14 - Hold it... Hold it...

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15 - Laying the bunt down

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16 - And then running and trying to avoid the ball...

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17 -

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18 -

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19 -

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A few have busy backgrounds. I prefer the ones with cleaner BGs. Nice to have the ball visible in many of them.
Thanks! Unfortunately, at a softball/baseball complex the BG's are almost always busy.

Which ones are you referring to that with the ball visible? Are you referring to having the ball clean or frozen?
 
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Ok, you asked for C&C; some of my comments may be nits...Yes, I'm a 'crop tight for show' guy :smile: And I specifically mention getting low for one, but overall, that would help for all shots.

1. Need a little more room on the right to lead the ball; would crop this a lot tighter (at least to show)
2. Nits: batter's face/eyes hidden, catcher's right hand cut off
3. No batter's eyes; crop in just on the batter
4. Good, would prefer a portrait crop on just the batter
5. Good
6. Good, crop in tighter on the pitcher
7. Good, preferable to shift the crop to the right, so the leading space is in front of the pitcher, if you have it
8. Yes, faces would have been preferable; 9. toss
10. Crop in tighter on the pitcher. Oddly her face looks a little soft to me.
11. Good...can you get lower?
12. Little late, but not bad...don't think the catcher/ump add anything here
13. Almost solid (yup, batter's eyes) but good timing w/ the ball snowconing
14. Good, can come in tighter
15. Good, much better than 12
16. Good
17. Good
18. Decent, but do you have later frame w/ the ball closer to her?
19. Good, but portrait! All that space is wasted, you want to 'focus' on her. And a little hot, esp on her face.
 
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Ok, you asked for C&C; some of my comments may be nits...Yes, I'm a 'crop tight for show' guy :smile: And I specifically mention getting low for one, but overall, that would help for all shots.

1. Need a little more room on the right to lead the ball; would crop this a lot tighter (at least to show)
2. Nits: batter's face/eyes hidden, catcher's right hand cut off
3. No batter's eyes; crop in just on the batter
4. Good, would prefer a portrait crop on just the batter
5. Good
6. Good, crop in tighter on the pitcher
7. Good, preferable to shift the crop to the right, so the leading space is in front of the pitcher, if you have it
8. Yes, faces would have been preferable; 9. toss
10. Crop in tighter on the pitcher. Oddly her face looks a little soft to me.
11. Good...can you get lower?
12. Little late, but not bad...don't think the catcher/ump add anything here
13. Almost solid (yup, batter's eyes) but good timing w/ the ball snowconing
14. Good, can come in tighter
15. Good, much better than 12
16. Good
17. Good
18. Decent, but do you have later frame w/ the ball closer to her?
19. Good, but portrait! All that space is wasted, you want to 'focus' on her. And a little hot, esp on her face.
Hi Chris! Hope all is well. A few items I should have prefaced beforehand. First is that many from the first set were extreme crops. Where I was standing was in right field past first base. The fence dropped there allowing me to get right handed batters well. I was a little apprehensive going in farther. Maybe I should push it to see. I really needed more reach there. So many of those shots was tough to get lower and cropping can be sketchy having only 200mm focal length on.

A few points I will address. Thank you for the critique. It really helps. It appears many of my issues were reach, thought I could try to get more out of some and lack of getting lower (if possible). I must admit it is a little different shooting full frame on sports. Have to do a lot more cropping.

1 - Agreed. I will try to get in tighter. I think a tele-converter is in store for me, but not sure which to get.

2 - Agreed. I had three from that series, maybe one of them have her eyes. She tends to look down when running though. Could not get down lower due to the fence (or guess I could shoot through the fence, but that would be difficult, but maybe should try).

3 - Agreed.

4 - Agreed. Going to try to go in tight to see what happens. Was worried with IQ fall off due to cropping.

5 - Thanks.

6 - I should be able to get tighter on this one. This was TTF.

7 - I should have space. My original idea was when she led off the skip and then to where she landed. Thought that could add to the image. I should be able to get tighter here because I was in the dugout and close.

8 - Would have loved to had a different angle.

9 - Ditto

10 - Not disregarding my technique as I miss often, but I think it was focusing on that mask. However, if you go to my website and view original, her face is pretty sharp. Not sure what is going on. I thought soft as well, but viewing 1:1 or original it papers okay. Agreed with cropping.

11 - Possibly, but would be through the fence. Then would prove to be difficult with a fast moving subject.

12 - Agreed. Should try to push those pixels a little more...

13 - Wished I was lower. Would have been great.

14 - Agreed.

15 - Agreed. I was much closer this time (in the dugout). Shouldn't have an issue getting tighter.

16 - Thank you.

17 - Thank you.

18 - No, I wish I did. Only got the aftermath with her falling to her knees.

19 - Agreed.
 
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Can you explain your rationale behind the crops? You mentioned that many of these were "extreme crops," and if that's the case, why did you crop them the way you did?

That said, I would crop #2 as a horizontal, cutting just above their heads and below their feet. I would crop #3 so that you just have the batter, ball and bat. I would crop #5 that you have just the runner, the catcher, and the umpire. I would crop #7 as a vertical, not a square (too much dead space on the side of the image).

I respectfully disagree with your assessment of #8. No faces, bad angle, bad crop; #8 and #9 needed to be horizontals to have any hope of working, and instead, they are verticals.
 
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Can you explain your rationale behind the crops? You mentioned that many of these were "extreme crops," and if that's the case, why did you crop them the way you did?

That said, I would crop #2 as a horizontal, cutting just above their heads and below their feet. I would crop #3 so that you just have the batter, ball and bat. I would crop #5 that you have just the runner, the catcher, and the umpire. I would crop #7 as a vertical, not a square (too much dead space on the side of the image).

I respectfully disagree with your assessment of #8. No faces, bad angle, bad crop; #8 and #9 needed to be horizontals to have any hope of working, and instead, they are verticals.
Hi Samuel. Thanks for your critique. The meaning behind my indication of "extreme crops" is that I was a substantial distance from the action. I was using only my 200mm. Probably needed a 300mm instead. So in post, I was worried about cropping in to much to not degrade the photo.

For instance, your point about #1. I was well behind first base where the fence was lower shooting batters. For many of the batting photos is where I was worried about really going in tight.

I do understand your assessment of my number 8, and it was a toss for me to get critique. Those are pretty tight SOOC. I was in the dugout on the third base side. The opening for the dugout was right near me. I was shooting the pitcher then realized the catcher coming and base runner was stealing. Not sure of my focal range there, but yes I could have did a lot better job at that one. It could have been a great picture.

This type critique keeps things straight for me and makes me more aware. I hope to shoot more soon. Have to really work on crops with these shots for sure.

Thank you all for the critique!
 
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Hi Samuel. Thanks for your critique. The meaning behind my indication of "extreme crops" is that I was a substantial distance from the action. I was using only my 200mm. Probably needed a 300mm instead. So in post, I was worried about cropping in to much to not degrade the photo.
I understand you probably needed something longer, but that still doesn't answer the questions I posed. What was your thought process on the composition in the images? If you had a considerable amount of space to crop, why did you crop them the way that you did? Was it intentional to crop an image of a pitcher square so that there was empty space on that side of the frame? And if so, why?
 
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I understand you probably needed something longer, but that still doesn't answer the questions I posed. What was your thought process on the composition in the images? If you had a considerable amount of space to crop, why did you crop them the way that you did? Was it intentional to crop an image of a pitcher square so that there was empty space on that side of the frame? And if so, why?
Samuel,

Usually, while in LR4, I usually crop original and pull from the corners. In this case, it makes the crop proportional as all sides of the picture will change. Cropping is one of my weak points for sure.

Thought process on many of the images was to isolate say the batter while swinging and to only have the batter, bat, and ball. In some of the images, with the pitcher, my thought process was, I like the idea of having say the second basemen in the distant, but the focus on the pitcher mainly. In an sense, it feels like the team/defense is behind the pitcher. In many of the cases, I was really wanting to get contact on bat or an expression. Another thought that always enters my head when cropping is to allow room for when printing. Sometimes when cropping very tight it can look like a foot or hand is off. So that enters my mind when processing.

Hopefully I captured a few of my mental notes while shooting and processing. I am not discarding the fact that I am possibly doing this all wrong. If so, I want to correct it.

Thank you again!
 
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If you're using LR4, it might be helpful to constrain the proportions when cropping (on Apple, hold the shift key down while dragging the corners). That will help you see the difference between the end result and however you were framing the images when shooting, and will improve your planning and shooting going forward.

You should also take advantage of the grid that appears when you select the crop tool. The grid will help you follow the rule of thirds (which doesn't always apply to sports images, but at least it may help you be conscious of the fact that you are departing from the basic rules of composition). If you see a considerable area of dead space--especially in the middle of the frame where it is likely to confuse the viewer (such as in #4, where you have a large area of dead space between the batter and ball, and the catcher and umpire)--you should rethink how to go about cropping the image, or whether it is worth trying to crop the image at all.

One more point. I notice in your signature you have the 100-300/4. If 200mm isn't giving you enough reach, perhaps you should use the 100-300 instead. It's rare that I'll use anything less than 300mm when shooting softball (the only exception being non-action images using an ultrawide or fisheye to catch the team gathered together on the field).
 
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If you're using LR4, it might be helpful to constrain the proportions when cropping (on Apple, hold the shift key down while dragging the corners). That will help you see the difference between the end result and however you were framing the images when shooting, and will improve your planning and shooting going forward.

You should also take advantage of the grid that appears when you select the crop tool. The grid will help you follow the rule of thirds (which doesn't always apply to sports images, but at least it may help you be conscious of the fact that you are departing from the basic rules of composition). If you see a considerable area of dead space--especially in the middle of the frame where it is likely to confuse the viewer (such as in #4, where you have a large area of dead space between the batter and ball, and the catcher and umpire)--you should rethink how to go about cropping the image, or whether it is worth trying to crop the image at all.

One more point. I notice in your signature you have the 100-300/4. If 200mm isn't giving you enough reach, perhaps you should use the 100-300 instead. It's rare that I'll use anything less than 300mm when shooting softball (the only exception being non-action images using an ultrawide or fisheye to catch the team gathered together on the field).

Samuel,

Thanks for the help!

I believe I "pushed" some of those. They would be good shots if I had a little longer lens, but I did not, so I should have just omitted them and not worry with extreme cropping.

In reference to the lens selection. For one, I was itching to try my new 70-200 VRII (which is not listed in my signature yet (the Sigma 70-200 is sold)). My 100-300 is currently in limbo of selling, so I really do not have a 300mm any longer. I did think about getting a 1.4x (or 1.7x) tele-converter for the 70-200 for times like this.
 

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