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My first sports event (figure skating) - advice needed!
Posted By: pbo, 05-18-2009, 06:10 PM

So, this Sunday I went to the final day of 25th Ann Arbor Springtime Invitational Figure Skating Competition (phew, a long name!) to try start in sports photography!
I think I did okay for the first time - got some good photos, but the ratio of good ones to the not-so-good ones (misfocused, blurry, no-person-in-the-frame shots) is about 1 good photo to 25 bad ones So, a lot to learn!
I used a relatively cheap Sigma 70-300 4~5.6 DL Macro Super on a K10D, all manual (200-250 shutter speed, f/4.5, ISO 400 (later 640), WB set on ice, continuous shooting mode, focusing on the spot left to central - when shooting vertical it's about where their feet - and ice - are located). PP was just de-noising, auto-contrast and auto-color in Picasa, and cropping.
The album is located on my flickr - too many photos to show them all here in one post :D I would really appreciate if you could give some feedback and tips!

I'll put some pics here too









And an extra:

More - on flickr!

But these are good ones - had to delete more than 1500 junk photos... I'd really like some tips on how to improve my performance - right now I'm thinking about going to more events soon and try more; also, maybe talk to some photographers shooting there for tips, and stick to someone as an assistant or something... I'm also *thinking* about getting a faster telephoto with SDM (the standard screw-type AF on my current sigma is kinda lame), maybe a DA* 50-135 (I noticed myself shooting at around 100-135mm range, so I think it might suffice), or a Sigma 70-200mm; then again, it's really undecided since money is a problem...

Anyways, I'm looking forward to your help!
Thanks!

Bo.

Last edited by pbo; 05-19-2009 at 11:24 AM.
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05-18-2009, 10:25 PM   #2
Damn Brit
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Nice and sharp but the composition is letting you down a bit. Having the subject dead centre makes for less than inspiring images. Try and get the subjects just left or right of centre.

Try Googling 'Rule of thirds' as well, that will help you.
05-19-2009, 01:02 AM   #3
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everything is in focus. Why am I interested in seeing the rink, the glass, the boards, the crowd?

Awesome poses on all, distracting background on all.
05-19-2009, 08:17 AM   #4
pbo
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QuoteOriginally posted by Damn Brit Quote
Nice and sharp but the composition is letting you down a bit. Having the subject dead centre makes for less than inspiring images. Try and get the subjects just left or right of centre.

Try Googling 'Rule of thirds' as well, that will help you.
Hm... Funny thing I didn't notice that before... I will recrop them and see if they look better!

QuoteQuote:
everything is in focus. Why am I interested in seeing the rink, the glass, the boards, the crowd?

Awesome poses on all, distracting background on all.
Ehm, the lens was wide open, and I was sitting in the photographers booth - on level with the skaters. I did see on Internet some pics where they are shot from above so that it's just ice and the person, or the skater and background blurred out - but I need a faster lens for that, am I correct?

05-19-2009, 08:58 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Damn Brit Quote
Nice and sharp but the composition is letting you down a bit. Having the subject dead centre makes for less than inspiring images. Try and get the subjects just left or right of centre.

Try Googling 'Rule of thirds' as well, that will help you.
Seconded.

Also, you mentioned mostly using the 100-135mm range. I would suggest zooming in beyond that since there's alot of negative space around the skaters.
05-19-2009, 11:23 AM   #6
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So, I did a bit of re-cropping and moved subjects away from center - tell me if it looks better now or if I overdid it...
05-19-2009, 11:28 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by kevinschoenmakers Quote
Seconded.

Also, you mentioned mostly using the 100-135mm range. I would suggest zooming in beyond that since there's alot of negative space around the skaters.
I think you are right - there is a lot of useless space that I had to crop out... When I was shooting I was afraid that I would cut out peoples legs or hands in the shots - so I didn't zoom in further and kept a "safe" distance. I'll try to zoom a bit further next time...
05-19-2009, 06:49 PM   #8
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You did well for the first sporting event. As you photograph events/sports more you will get a feel for where the action will happen. You did very well with stopping the action and focus. Next time you will get the triple axel in mid-flight.

05-19-2009, 06:57 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Scottnorwo Quote
You did well for the first sporting event. As you photograph events/sports more you will get a feel for where the action will happen. You did very well with stopping the action and focus. Next time you will get the triple axel in mid-flight.
Thanks! As a matter of fact, I did get a skater-in-flight shot, but her face was soooo terrified... that I decided to keep it for myself
05-19-2009, 07:48 PM   #10
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You know, I think Kevin has the right idea. Zoom in and isolate them more. You don't need to see the ice and surroundings to know it's ice skating, you just need to see their poise.
05-19-2009, 09:52 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Damn Brit Quote
You know, I think Kevin has the right idea. Zoom in and isolate them more. You don't need to see the ice and surroundings to know it's ice skating, you just need to see their poise.
I will try it next time - and it should also partially solve the problem of all things in focus. Also, I'll be trying out a new Sigma 75-200/3.8 constant aperture lens I just bought from b&h - figured a 700 dollars 2.8 lens is really not worth for me right now.
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