I still get rusty....how to clear the mind for sports photography.

February 26, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Springtime.  Action. Sports.  Rugby.  The pace picks up.  Very fast.  Too fast.  My mind has gotten rusty over the winter months.  Maybe too much good food, too many naps on the couch.  Oh, heck.  What ever the reason, I find every year my first sports outing to photograph is my worst.

My brain is just not in the fast lane of shooting sports, yet.

So to help you out its important to get your camera settings correct before you get to the event. The settings below are for a daytime outdoor event:

1.  White balance - set to Cloudy if you own Nikon.  You know what I mean...

2.  ISO - Native 200 and start pushing it up from there if light fades. 

3  Aperture - f2.8 to f4.0.   I always make this mistake of going too low on f stop.  f3.2 to f4.0 is fine because of this.  The depth of field is way too shallow when shooting up close at f2.8.  It's inches!  So to keep that bokeh results (background out of focus) and still get tack sharp images of the action, stick with f4.0.  

4.  Shutter speed - minimum 1/1000 but I like the 1/1250 spot for me.

5.  And shoot in RAW format - you will be pleased with the results.  My cameras are set to shoot RAW to the CF card and duplicate jpeg to the backup XQD card.  I always use the RAW files to edit from.  (think editing from a film negative vs. editing from a scanned copy of a photo...get it?)  Options are huge.

And for those who like to machine gun everything.  Just stop it.  Wait for the action to come to you.  Don't start shooting until the action fills at least 60% of the frame.  Think about the shots you want.  No back of head shots.  Think Face/Ball/Tension - you need to have all three for a good photograph.  And you will find you spend less time in post production sifting thru bad shots.

It also helps to be in somewhat good shape for sports photography.  Yes, my knees talk to me every time I try to stand up from kneeling - part of life.  But keep exercising and it helps a lot.  Just walking on a treadmill keeps the joints oiled.

So there's some quick points on dusting off the rust and getting back into the game.  You will find that by the end of the day you know you need another outing to really show you are ready for the season.

Maybe next time I will go to a practice instead of waiting for a game to get my brain back in the game.  

Have a great week!

Mike

ISO 200, 200mm, f3.2, 1/2500 sec, WB - cloudy.


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