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Night Baseball -- Chapter Two [Improved PP of photos]

Discussion in 'Sports Photography' started by Harry Lavo, Jun 14, 2007.

  1. Finally, the New England Collegiate Baseball League is back in action starting this past weekend. I've now got two games under my belt, including one the other night where the temperature hit 47 before the game was over.

    Man, this is tough shooting and processing. Even with more reach this year (280-300mm) and faster lense (Nikon 80-300 2.8/Kenko 1.4x combo), the light is still marginal. On a sunny day, when the game begins, I can get a fast, ISO200, 1/2000 shot. A half hour later we are at 1/500s, 2.8, ISO800. A half hour after that 1/250-320, 2.8 flirting with "Lo", ISO1600. Try pulling a detail crop out of that and getting any kind of quality. I certainly haven't found any magic...the shots I've put up on pbase vary in their treatment...some are pretty decent...some are pretty marginal. They are there because I think they are interesting baseball shots, not because they are paradigms of tecnical proficiency.

    Struggle notwithstanding, I've had some decent shots in the first two games, a couple that I'd like to share here. Others (about two dozen) are at www.pbase.com/hflphotos if you'd care to visit.

    1/2000s f/2.8 at 200.0mm iso400
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    Okay, I cheated...that is what I can get at the start of the game with the sun still shining in the West.

    1/320s f/5.6 at 300.0mm iso800

    This one is more typical...slower, ISO800, a crop needed and noise reduction as well. Still, the "leaper" caught the throw and made the tag...but just a hair too late. Unfortunately, the D50 in RAW format just couldn't keep up to catch the actual tag. Incidentally, this shot was made with my lowly Sigma 70-300mm f4-5.6 (that's why the shot is at 5.6).

    1/320s f/5.6 at 300.0mm iso1600
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    Another Sigma shot, this time at ISO1600. Some cropping and noise reduction needed.

    1/250s f/2.8 at 120.0mm iso1600
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    Full dark now, I'm needing to use the Nikon 80-200 for its f2.8 speed. Still ISO1600 required and slow shutter speeds. A pretty severe crop needed for this one since the lense was set at 120mm for a shot at home plate rather than 200mm.

    1/400s f/2.8 at 86.0mm iso1600
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    Finally the Nikon 80-200 gets to show some of its stuff. A bit higher shutter speed, but still ISO1600 and flat-out 2.8. But relatively little cropping and only moderate processing. You can call up the original in my gallery if you so desire.

    Quality issues notwithstanding, I'm really happy to have the Leaque in action again. This is baseball the way it was meant to be enjoyed. Think not? Ask this little fellow who decided to opt out of the teams fifth inning "grocery contest" and just pick up the goodies and skidaddle instead.:smile:

    1/400s f/2.8 at 200.0mm iso1600
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    Thanks for viewing, and criticism and comments welcomed per usual.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2007
  2. this is why i quit...
    2.8 + the TC I assume = f4 which is not nearly enuf...i couldn't get happy w/ 2.8

    considering the conditions you have captured some good action and if you used some NR s/w these would look alot cleaner (less noise)
  3. Hi Harry,

    I can definitely empathize, I took my first BB night shots the other night and yes, it was cold, just east of you....As Randy says, noise reduction is definitely your friend here ;-)

    I tried my TC, but it was worthless....
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2007
  4. GBRandy


    Feb 28, 2006
    Green Bay, WI
    Yes....those kind of conditions could drive a guy to do some very drastic things.....

    A TC is not going to work in this environment....been there, done that....

    In the end gymnasiums are even worse my friend.....but you figure your way around it as best you can. :redface:

    ISO 1600
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    ISO 3200
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  5. :eek:  as drastic as going to da dark side :eek: 

    great pics GBR !
  6. Sheesh, you know who your friends are :tongue:

    Agree, that's some tough conditions in balancing a higher ISO and still getting enough SS to freeze motion. Take the TC out of the equation for night games.

    I like the composition in your shots Harry, but night games can definitely be a head-banging experience. Keep shooting and having fun.
  7. Tosh


    May 6, 2005
    At the moment, one benefit of life on Da Dark Side is that you don't need as much light. :biggrin:

    Click on the image to see it in its slightly larger fully uploaded size without degradation.
    ISO 1600, 300mm lens wide open at f/4, 1/800. No NR in-camera or in PP.

    I went to Shea Stadium last night with 3 Nikon Cafe members to watch the Mets play the Twins.
    The Twins won, 6-2, with the talented and charismatic Torii Hunter hitting a 3 run homerun.
    That's Torii celebrating the victory at the end of the game.

    Here's the Cafe member who scored the tickets for us, fiddling with the settings on his D2X. Any guesses?

    ISO 1600, 300mm lens wide open at f/4, 1/320. No NR in-camera or in PP.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 24, 2007
  8. Larty


    Apr 12, 2007
    Dang... those are some clean 1600 ISO "from the dark side" pictures... NICE!
  9. Hi Glenn -

    Yeah, I can't get that kind of detail out of my D50 without some PP. What model of Canon were you using? And is the lens handheld? Stabilized? At least one inquiring mind wants to know.:biggrin:
  10. Tosh


    May 6, 2005
    Thanks, Larty.


    I was using the 1DMK3, handholding a 300 4L IS USM lens.
    IS is Canon's version of VR, and I had it activated for most shots (so probably these as well).
    I did my usual PP, but there was no noise reduction either in-camera or in PP.

    I haven't done a review and cull of the few hundred shots that I took, but I've processed a few from different times and ISO's.
    Here's an ISO 1000 shot of last year's A.L. MVP Justin Morneau doing goose stepping stretches pre-game while there was still daylight.
    Same 300mm lens, 1/1600 at f/4.
  11. It's obviously a very nice rig. Nice shot of Morneau. Envy you the seats!:smile:
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