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BRIGHT SUN (mid-day fastpitch)not happy

Discussion in 'Sports Photography' started by fielddad, Sep 24, 2008.

  1. I did 2 games this weekend .Sat. it was overcast Sunday the sun was bright. I was OK w/ Sat.But IQ was poor wiyh the bright sun , I need help.
    D200 80-200AFD W/1.4 Kenko conv.manual setting 1250ss,2.8f,auto ISO,C fo
    cus,spot metering,portrait image.
    This was from Sunday
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    This was from Sat.
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    Then back to Sunday
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    Any suggestions ????
  2. hmmm, see what the pros say, but I would try dialing EV down to -0.3EV to keep the highlights from being blown. I also don't shoot Spot, it will do well on say, the face, at the expense of the rest of the frame (blown). I pretty much shoot CW (6mm or 8mm). There are some that shoot Matrix.

    Yeah, Sat was the 'perfect' day, overcast - amazing how we all want that great big softbox in the sky, eh? :wink:
  3. Dave


    Feb 7, 2007
    Suwanee, GA
    I've come to realize that the 80-200 doesn't perform as well in bright sunlight with white clothing as I think the 300 f/2.8 lenses do. Definitely dial in some negative EV to darken the shots a bit...and try underexposing the whole image a bit if possible...that should help.
  4. jfriend


    Nov 11, 2005
    SF Bay Area
    Spot metering in just about any action sport is really not going to work. The spot is pretty small and you'd get a 3-stop different exposure if the spot happened to be on the white uniform vs. the black uniform which is something you often don't have time to control.

    On a bright sunny day, I often find that matrix metering with -0.3EV does a pretty good job because it looks at the whole scene and tries to identify both highlights and shadows and give you an overall balance, independent of exactly where a metering sensor is pointed. The exceptions to this are if you fill most of the frame with a bright white uniform (it will underexpose a bit) or a black uniform (it will overexpose a bit).

    Center weighted is a compromise and it can work better if you have mid-tone uniforms, but an inconsistent background (sometimes complete shade, sometimes reflections off cards) because it reduces the effect of the background on your exposure. I tend to use matrix unless I think I have background conditions that are going to give it trouble.

    The third option is to go manual. On a uniformly lit and sunny softball or baseball field, you've got very even lighting. In the mid-day, you can even get a lot of reflection off the infield to help fill in shadows. As long as you aren't sometimes shooting into the sun, you can use the meter and a few test shots by looking at the histogram to figure out what exposure makes sense for the conditions and then just set that exposure in manual mode. Then, you just fire away and get a perfect exposure independent of exposure sensor targeting. This can be really useful when you have white or black uniforms to deal with. The gotcha here is you have to pay attention to when your lighting conditions or angle changes and re-adjust. For example, if you swing around and take some pictures of folks on the bench in the shade, you'll have to remember to either change the manual exposure of flip back one of the auto metering modes (S, A, P).
  5. Jerry,

    John provided excellent advice, IMHO.

    I shoot manual in similar conditions with a D200. I would generally shoot on a day like you had, ISO 200, Centre weight, AFC, centre point for AF. Depending on what part of the game I might be shooting, and where I'm positioned, I find that I can generally keep the settings constant for a sequence or a number of plays. For example, if I'm trying to get bat on ball, I want to push the shutter speed toward 1/2000 or more, so I also open it up. If I'm shooting base action, I might let the shutter speed drop a bit to increase my DOF with a slightly larger aperture (I find I shoot most baseball during the day at f/2.8 to f/4, helps to keep the background blurry). The key point is that I'm making the choices to try and get a specific outcome, if that makes sense.

    If you go here there are some examples in conditions virtually identical to yours.

    If I may be so bold, good shots, your taste may vary, but think about cropping some of them a bit tighter, and straightening your horizons.
  6. tjk60


    Dec 4, 2007
    troy, mi
    Except down here you can use Center weight and center point! :biggrin::biggrin::biggrin::Wink::Wink:
  7. Thanks for the help.It appears to everyone that my biggest two problems are my metering choices and over exposed.I have a couple more weekens coming up to try it all again ,thats the best part about this hobby/sport/lust .and Markb thanks for the crit.on my straightening ,i was looking at everthing but that.
  8. Sauk


    Aug 4, 2008
    Sandy, UT
    When I shoot baseball I always meter to get exposed faces. If I blow highlights out I am ok with that as I want to be able to see a face, not some dark shadow.

    Sometimes I think people are to worried about highlights and not the important thing like a face that is properly lit :) 

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  9. Sauk
    Thanks for the picture.I like the detail in his face. Do you meter off of the field,uniform, or what?I know sometimes we have to over-expose to get the details but what is your settings?
  10. From my experience, when lighting remains relatively consistent, it's best to set your exposure manually until the scene is lit properly. This way you don't have to worry about whether or not your CW or Spot meter hit the right spot.

    PS: Am I the only one that noticed the catcher in the first image looks like she's getting in a cheap shot with her free hand?
  11. Sauk


    Aug 4, 2008
    Sandy, UT

    That was taken with a Mark III and to get it into an auto ISO type of shot I had to shoot in shutter priority with the F stop max at F4. The ISO would then move around to make sure I got whatever my shutter speed was set to. (not as nice as the D3 that I use now)

    But usually when I shot a game like this I used a +03 to a +07 to make sure when going from shade to sun their faces would be exposed properly.

    Also I would suggest cropping tighter as well. That would help focus our eyes to the action and not to any background noise.
  12. LRogers


    Sep 3, 2008
    Delaware, US
    Medic, too funny. I assumed her hand slipped off the glove when the slide hit her glove hand. But then I thought what a great shot and then "Clearly she's out...."
  13. Yup I'm with Matt... expose for faces and if some whites blow, so be it, better than the whole shot "blowing" :cool: 

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  14. See Steve King's excellent Detroit Tigers thread for more examples....
  15. Chris, you're a true mensch!

    Here's one thing to always remember... what is it that you're shooting? Period.

    What are your eyes or that of your "customer" drawn to? It's NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, the highlights gang... NEVER! Who cares about blown highlights? DJ says it best "better than the whole shot "blowing". Right?

    When you're watching that event your eyes don't care about the highlights, they're used to seeing those white whites become a big blob, that's what looks normal/natural for that lighting. And the darks becoming really darned dark happen too, this is life, this is the lighting you're given. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, shoot for the FACES, the midtones, and remember to METER on the face or something that very closely resembles what you want the picture to look like.
    This is not easy, it's not simple, and it takes a lot of concentration and preparation as well, but hey, it gets great shots.
    Maybe it's just me, maybe it's because I learned to shoot using Plus-X or Tri-X B&W film, but when I use Manual exposure, which I do nearly 50% of the time, the rest is Aperture Priority, I learn about my lighting, I watch my meter, then I use my camera to actually meter on what I need it to work with. OK, so I'm a control freak, and I control my camera, not vice-versa.

    I use spot metering a majority of the time, since I'm always keeping my focus/metering spot where I need it to be so the frame is exposed correctly. If I use center weighted I get the metering based upon what is in the CENTER of the frame. How often is the face in the exact center of your frame? Hmm, never? Matrix metering averages the WHOLE frame, and since your faces aren't going to be in the middle of a very BRIGHT frame, that won't work either.

    Your technique is what will make a huge difference so don't use the easiest or simplest way out, if you do then you could just trade out for a P&S and let the average work for you.
    Just my $0.02.
  16. Sauk
    I don't want to loose the expressoins of the players, so I guess if some things get blown out so be it.Thanks for the settings!
  17. DJ
    Thanks for the great examples!
    Always enjoy seeing your work and thanks for the reply.I'm just a rookie but the input I get from everyone is really acelarated my learning curve and thats why I'm up at 5am to go watch my daughter play softball and hopefully capture 2 or 3 pics that will be better than last outing!!!!!!!!
  18. you should work on focus and backgrounds and get rid of the tc.....
    your esposures are ok
  19. chemisti


    May 24, 2007
    McKinney, TX

    I would prefer that all of the images be cropped tighter...

    I took the liberty to use one of your images for illustration. If you don't like this - let me know and the image will be deleted immediately.

    I also used NX2 to darken the background slightly...

    I am a huge fan of sliding shots with lots of dirt - I love the dirt coming out of her glove. I shoot 120 - 180 softball games a year and have never gotten dirt out of the glove like that!

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  20. What everyone else said and I'll add dropping the Kenko. If it was a Nikon TC then fine, but I think the Kenko is adding to poor IQ.
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