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First Try at Sports Photography

Discussion in 'Sports Photography' started by mbarrett635, Aug 3, 2007.

  1. Hey, taking sports photos is easy! I went to my son's soccer camp yesterday, and photographed his end of camp tournament game. Easy, and all keepers! (Okay, I'm joking -- which smiley face is the sarcasm button?).

    Seriously, I did have a few that I liked -- more than I expected, actually -- but I fear my PP skills aren't even close to my general photography skills. Here are links to a few samples, which I shot in RAW and processed in Capture NX.




    I find that following a game through a telephoto lens is a whole new skill, and even when I did well, often I would focus, frame the shot, and then not press the shutter! I obviously need to get used to taking continuous shots.

    Anyway, any comments or suggestions gratefully accepted -- and feel free to be brutal, as I'm here to learn, not to get pats on the back. Thanks.
  2. Jeff Mims

    Jeff Mims

    May 25, 2005
    Well you make it look like photographing sports are easy. :smile:

    These are some really good shots. Are you serious about this being your first attempt? Or did I misread?

    Really good stuff here.
  3. Chris_B


    Mar 12, 2006
    Arlington, VA
    Nice shots Mike. You captured the action very well. I would try to hold the highlights a little better with some - EV. I think you had + 0.67 EV dialed in for those shots. If you took that out, you may have held the highlights better and had a little more contrasty shots. I also use center weight metering like you did during mid day soccer which works pretty well.

    Keep it up. You are off to a great start.
  4. Those are perfectly good shots...the first one in particular is difficult. The only advice I would give is to use a faster apature if you have one and the shutter speed can stay in bounds. That will blur the background more and make the foreground "pop" more. Your #2 photo does this to some degree, and benefits.

    Welcome to the club. It is hard...much harder than one thinks going in. Congratulations on your first effort.
  5. Mike,
    You did just fine if indeed this is your first attempt, because it doesn't really look like it. You captured good action in #1 & #2, with #2 the ball is slightly missing which is a small nit, and on #3 it has good contrast and angles that please the eye, just crop a bit closer on the bottom is all.

    Since I'm guessing that you used the 18-200VR based upon the focal length then you probably couldn't get a much larger aperture to blur out the background to leave it OOF (out of focus) even more. Settings at ISO200 & Aperture Priority are a great start, so you've been doing your homework or been getting help, all of which is allowed, and encouraged! :) 
    If you do get a chance to shoot them again make sure you're set so that the lens is as wide open as you can get it for more OOF backgrounds, and Chris' suggestion of using -EV is great to keep the whites and lighter objects from losing all detail. Your +EV setting kept the dark shorts & jerseys detail, but caused a blinding white blob in the shirts of the players in #1. Sometimes you can't avoid that when they're playing with jerseys or clothes that are black & white together.
    Keep it up!!
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 3, 2007
  6. Thanks for the positive comments and encouragement. This was my first try, but only after studying here for several weeks for whatever tips and tricks I could pick up. These were shot with a 70-300VR, so I had a little more range at my disposal but no more aperture (I'd love to pick up a 70-200VR, but my wife is only slowly getting over my most recent expenditures, so it will have to wait). The +EV setting was a mistake -- I had dialed it in for an earlier shoot, and forgot to reset it (I'm still getting used to the new D80, also).

    I expect to take a lot more photos throughout my son's soccer season, so we'll see how things progress. Thank again.
  7. Jeff Mims

    Jeff Mims

    May 25, 2005
    I'm sorry I couldn't give tips or advice. I'm still learning myself (just my second year of shooting softball). But I know good stuff when I see it.

    I've learned a lot from the masters that post here. They've really set a high standard.
  8. Randy


    May 11, 2006
    pls post the pics so they display here.
    these are very good...
    watch the bright light and try ev=-.3
    aim for someones eyes, pref the kid w/ the ball
    shoot in RAW
    watch your backgrounds since you are using the 70-300
    (be conscious of what's in the background before you fire)

    these show some kinda artifacts, either from over USM or more likely a size conversion.....how did you upload them to the gallery ? Never us MS' Resize, it detracts from IQ
  9. Mike,

    Good shots. I won't contradict anything anybody has said, other than suggest you might consider, in this situation, shooting manual.

    From the looks of the shots, it was mid-day, hard light and the field was probably close to an east-west orientation (the sun is over your left shoulder).

    So, a polarizer might help, since in Harrisburg at this time you'd be pretty close to 90 degrees.

    It also looks like you might not have had a lot of clouds, so for many of the shots you could just nail the exposure and shoot away. Following Randy's advice, you could pick your aperture to blur the background (f/4.5 on the 70-300) and then concentrate on the shot. The other advantage? of manual is that you don't have to worry about either +/- EV.


    Welcome to the Cafe and keep posting.
  10. I'll echo what others have said. Didn't see these over at Nikonians, but there's a good tutorial that I found helpful, it's where I found the -0.3EV hint, among others.
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