Critique Please

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by HomeingPigeon, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. HomeingPigeon macrumors regular

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    Aug 1, 2007
    #1
    This was taken with a Nikon D40. Since taking these pictures 4 days ago I haev gotten the sb-400 and plan to use that in the future. But other than a better flash what can I do to improve these pictures?

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  2. rouxeny macrumors 6502

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    Jan 22, 2008
    #2
    Um, where to start.

    Obviously, as you mentioned, your lighting needs some work. I think a flash is a good investment. Both shots, the second more than the first, are really dark.

    Otherwise, in terms of how to improve them, I think for basketball shots, the timing of when you take a picture is really important. For example, the moment somebody dunks makes a far more interesting shot than 1/2 a second later when he lands on the floor. Anticipating those moments and being in the right place for them probably isn't easy. For the first shot, I think it'd be a lot better if at least you could see the player's face.

    I think you may also want to try some different angles, maybe try sitting on the floor and shooting up. That might give you the "towering" basketball player look that you see a lot.

    Just me 2/100
     
  3. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #3
    1. Add exposure compensation. I'd probably start at about 1 1/3 stops more, and see how that looks, or increase exposure in ACR and see where it looks best. Heck, even the auto levels thing in Preview bumps things up from the current levels pretty well. (Tools-> Adjust Color)

    2. White balance. If you set the white point in PS' Levels to a sock, you'll see a marked difference. (I don't know how to set that automatically in Preview.)

    3. More zoom.
     
  4. lloydh macrumors member

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    #4
    White balance on the first shot.

    Perhaps a faster lens (larger maximum aperture), making for a more dramatic shot and enabling use of a lower ISO.
     
  5. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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  6. wheezy macrumors 65816

    wheezy

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    #6
    The lens - plain and simple. Buy a fast zoom or standard lens if you're doing indoor photography. I'm guessing you're using the kit lens and it will not deliver what you're looking for.
     
  7. johnnytraveler macrumors member

    johnnytraveler

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    #7
    Have to agree with lens speed.

    Actuslly, I'm kind of surprised that flash is even allowed. I'd hate to be driving to the rim only to have a flash pop me in the eye. :confused:

    On second thought, that would make the perfect excuse for my missed layup.:)
     
  8. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #8
    For a lot of schools and high school leagues, you just have to put the flash up at least on the 10th-12th row. High up flash doesn't go into the players eyes unless it's aimed there.
     
  9. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #9
    As far as timing goes; use the burst mode and toss the uninteresting/bad shots before you post-process the good ones.
     
  10. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #10
    Most flash units won't continuously fire. Many of those that will can be melted by doing so. The OP is much-better served by learning to time their shots than by "spray and pray."
     
  11. termina3 macrumors 65816

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    #11
    Sports photography is one of those subsections of photography where you have to have the right equipment to get the shot. There's just no dancing around the issue that your D40 and kit lens are insufficient for getting the shot in a poorly lit gym.

    Get a faster lens, a D3, and mount some strobes (either temporarily on lightstands in the corners, pointed up and into the wall, or semi-permanently in the rafters/catwalks) and you'll be talking. Or two of the three and you'll be golden.

    I'll be surprised if the refs, players, and coaches let you use an SB-600. It's distracting to the players. Of course, I'm also surprised they let you use the pop-up flash.

    I'm talking a lot about gear, but that's not to say that with the gear you'll get the shot. It's more that with the gear you have an opportunity to get the shot. If you want the perfect photo, you also need the timing, positioning, and knowledge of the game already mentioned. Also as already mentioned, you want to capture action when it's at its height. Look for extended fingers. Generally, the shot a millisecond after the big action is as good as the shot of the action. In basketball, look for extended fingers.

    Oh, and faces are always better. Think of the best SI photos... great facial expressions. Great emotion. That conveys a story. Someone's butt doesn't.

    Absolutely... I used to time my bursts, but since I've started shooting more indoors sports I've learned to time a single shot. It's very difficult, and something that is as much ability as skill (that is, born with vs. learned).
     
  12. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #12
    True enough, but I guess I was going on the assumption that a better lens with a larger aperture is clearly going to be a first step based on the shots originally posted.
     
  13. t0mat0 macrumors 603

    t0mat0

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    #13
    I'd recommend looking at the basketball section of a few papers etc to see what sorts of photos they use, then compare with yours.

    Or use the web!
    http://www.nba.com/
    or google pictures basketball...


    e.g. log onto NYT and view the picture for this article
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/18/sports/basketball/18knicks.html?_r=1&ref=basketball

    Plenty of free great sports phootgraphy to compare to :)

    You might finding the series of articles about photography at the Olympics interesting - gives views from a cameraman's perspectives of sports events. Don't ahve the web adress offhand but i'm sure others will remember it.
     
  14. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #14
    Even then, the OP is better-served by learning to take the correct shot than by just hoping they catch the moment.

    However, if we assume the OP is shooting at f/5.6 and we look at the shots, it's obvious that more light is the way to go- as if the OP wants just two stops of additional light and they're already focal-length-challenged, it's ~$1400 for a 70-200 f/2.8 zoom, or ~4500 for a 200/2 prime- which might put them in the ballpark for light- or they could spend $50 on another flash, $60-100 on cheap radio triggers, ~$30 on clamps and get their flashes up high where they won't blind anyone and shoot with what glass they already have for ~$150.

    Sports Illustrated can afford fast glass for their photographers, but they always use strobes- that's because strobes are a much better answer. Gym lighting sucks- even if you can get the exposure with fast glass, you're still talking about a poorly lit shot.

    Go 12 rows up, clamp and duct tape your strobe and trigger to the bleachers and aim it at the basket. Do the same at the opposite end if you want both sides, then take your shots happily zooming in and out.
     
  15. dllavaneras macrumors 68000

    dllavaneras

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    #15
    Actually, the OP shot both pics at F4, 1/320 and ISO 1600, with a focal length of 70mm. Faster glass will always be welcome, but (as pointed out before) it'll still be a poorly lit shot. I have minimal sports shooting experience, but the strobes appear to be your best shot.
     
  16. termina3 macrumors 65816

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    #16
    Falling in with compuwar and dllavaneras on the strobe thing.

    Strobes will definitely give you the biggest bang-for-buck. But they're aren't as universally useful as fast glass.

    So if you were only shooting basketball or indoor sports, then I'd wholeheartedly suggest going out and dumping some serious cash on strobes. But otherwise go with the cheaper route and save for better glass--which will serve you in other areas as well.

    And yes, strobes do work in other situations, but there's no real argument about eventually wanting to get fast glass.
     
  17. wheezy macrumors 65816

    wheezy

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    #17
    I was about 25 rows up in a corner section for this shot, and this is cropped somewhat (but not much). The EXIF is:

    Canon EOS 20D :: 135 mm :: f 5.6 :: 1/160 sec :: iso 800

    [​IMG]

    This is a pro arena where the lighting is much much brighter. A faster lens will help, but getting improved lighting on where you want to go will give you the best results.
     
  18. Sdashiki macrumors 68040

    Sdashiki

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    #18
    Was the lighting in there THAT bad?

    And whats with all the "critique" me threads, where the OP all but disappears.

    you wanted opinions, now...say something!? :cool:
     
  19. wheelhot macrumors 68020

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    #19
    Okay, judging from the first photo, did you use your camera flash? It looked like there is a light source hitting the red shirt player. Anyway Im pretty amazed that there is not much blur in the shots eventhough its very dark, what was your shutter speed?

    And how do you improve? Shoot in burst (so you can get the decisive moment easier), faster lenses, higher ISOs (well more noise, but newer DSLRs is getting okay results at high ISOs). And like someone say, sports photography is one of photography category which requires a good body to take good pics.
    Also, looking at pro basketball photographers will give you more idea how to take shots, I realize this after looking at flickr and some other photo sites and it gave me an idea how to position my camera, tilt my camera and such.
     
  20. jake-g macrumors member

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    Feb 28, 2008
    #20
    flash, flash, flash. Use enough flashes that you can use low enough power on each unit so your recycle time is at or below 1 sec. Or battery packs, but you still need at least 2 strobes.

    Oh and grab a couple super clamps to put them on, a couple pocket wizards to trigger them, and you are all set.
     
  21. CTYankee macrumors 6502

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    Jul 18, 2002
    #21
    White balance is way off, shoot RAW to make that easier to fix.

    FACES!!!! If you don't see a face on your subject, delete it.

    Level horizon. Even if it isn't obvious, the brain notices.

    Peak action...not just action.

    Get in tighter...longer lens (more $$$)

    Make sure you can use flash. In some places on camera flash is not allowed, only strobing. It varies by state.

    Finally, www.sportsshooter.com to learn.
     

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