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Disappointment
Posted By: Sailor, 06-16-2009, 10:07 AM

On Sunday, my daughter Abbie, a reasonably accomplished marathon runner and triathlete, competed in her first duathalon (running, biking - no swimming) at Sylvan Beach Park in LaPorte, TX. She picked up some hardware by coming in 3rd overall (women), but she had planned on winning (she led for about the first half) and was pretty disappointed in her performance and low energy level (I pointed out that the fact that she was running a fever 36 hours before the race may have had an effect, but my words were of little consolation).

Frankly, I was equally disappointed with my photography. I used my K20D and DA 18-250 and tried various techniques (prefocusing, continuous AF, etc.), but none - not one - of my photos are crisp and sharp. After looking them over on my laptop, I briefly - to my shame - cursed my camera before remembering:

(A) My Dad's observation: "a poor workman blames his tools."

(B) I've seen scores of excellent shots of runners, cyclists, etc. on the forum.

(C) In the past, I was able to successfully get action shots with a manual focus - manual exposure MX.

Please take a look at the two examples below and give me any tips that might help with this kind of shooting.

Thanks,

Jer

Abbie on the bike and still in the lead:



Abbie, worn out, approaching the finish and now in 3rd:


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06-16-2009, 10:13 AM   #2
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I'm still new with my K20d... but the first thought I had was if you were paning your shots - did have SR turned off?
06-16-2009, 10:25 AM   #3
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The second one looks as good as many of the "Event" photos that I've seen sold at the events. Good job Abbie, I'll bike any distance but I don't do running or swimming. That's impressive stuff.
06-16-2009, 10:35 AM   #4
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I looked for an article on panning. Here's one:

Pan for Golden Pictures | Illustrated Photography

Shooting with a fast and very expensive f/2.8 lens at high ISO would prevent motion blur, but you wouldn't get the interesting background blur associated with panning.

06-16-2009, 10:46 AM   #5
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First off there is absolutely nothing to be disappointed about from your daughters experience. That truly shows her drive and passion to want to be first , but I hope she relishes in her most amazing accomplishment.

As for photographic advice - yeah all I can offer is faster shutter speeds maybe higher ISO (the K20D does well even at 1600). I have not done much panning so take my advice with a grain of salt.

I have never had much luck with AF.C maybe it's me but the AF.C / BIF combo rarely works for me so much so I just don't even try anymore.

There is a feature on the K20D catch in focus that I have wanted to try. Thread here https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/37864-catch-focus.html You might try MF and give that a try.
06-16-2009, 04:42 PM   #6
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by stl_stadtroller Quote
I'm still new with my K20d... but the first thought I had was if you were paning your shots - did have SR turned off?
A good thought - I wasn't intentionally panning, but subconciously I might have been (as I have done with birds in flight). In any case, SR was on all of the time.

Jer

QuoteOriginally posted by VaughnA Quote
The second one looks as good as many of the "Event" photos that I've seen sold at the events. Good job Abbie, I'll bike any distance but I don't do running or swimming. That's impressive stuff.
Thanks, I'm proud of her - especially after watching one of these - the first three women came in within moments of one another. It seemed like 10 minutes or so before the fourth gal crossed the line.

Jer


QuoteOriginally posted by asdf Quote
I looked for an article on panning. Here's one:

Pan for Golden Pictures | Illustrated Photography

Shooting with a fast and very expensive f/2.8 lens at high ISO would prevent motion blur, but you wouldn't get the interesting background blur associated with panning.
Thanks so much for providing the link; I really appreciate your trouble. I'll dig into it.

Jer

QuoteOriginally posted by daacon Quote
First off there is absolutely nothing to be disappointed about from your daughters experience. That truly shows her drive and passion to want to be first , but I hope she relishes in her most amazing accomplishment.

As for photographic advice - yeah all I can offer is faster shutter speeds maybe higher ISO (the K20D does well even at 1600). I have not done much panning so take my advice with a grain of salt.

I have never had much luck with AF.C maybe it's me but the AF.C / BIF combo rarely works for me so much so I just don't even try anymore.

There is a feature on the K20D catch in focus that I have wanted to try. Thread here https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/37864-catch-focus.html You might try MF and give that a try.
Thanks, Dave - I'll pass your kind words along to Abbie.

You know, I was in Tv mode and setting for 1/250 or 1/350s - assuming that would be fast enough - I wonder, maybe I should have goosed it a bit.

Jer
06-16-2009, 07:15 PM   #7
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Nice shot on the 2nd photo.

I always shoot in manual mode for birds in flight shots. If I am staying on the same spot I already pre-meter the camera. That way, with my chosen aperture, I already know what will be the given shutter speed. AF.C and center point focus only. I'm not sure if this method helps the K10D a bit as all it needs is to get a focus on the subject. Hope this help.

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Conrad
06-16-2009, 08:14 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edicon Quote
Nice shot on the 2nd photo.

I always shoot in manual mode for birds in flight shots. If I am staying on the same spot I already pre-meter the camera. That way, with my chosen aperture, I already know what will be the given shutter speed. AF.C and center point focus only. I'm not sure if this method helps the K10D a bit as all it needs is to get a focus on the subject. Hope this help.

------
Conrad
Thanks, my friend. I'll give it a try.

Jer

06-16-2009, 11:05 PM   #9
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I'm another one voting for a faster shutter speed Jer,

I made the same mistake 10 days ago, when a special friend of mine was belly dancing
06-17-2009, 10:27 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by little laker Quote
I'm another one voting for a faster shutter speed Jer,

I made the same mistake 10 days ago, when a special friend of mine was belly dancing
Thanks, Stu - that'll be an easy thing to fix if it was the problem.

Jer
06-19-2009, 04:03 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sailor Quote
Thanks, Stu - that'll be an easy thing to fix if it was the problem.

Jer
Jer,

I would guess that to be the problem, especially when shooting her on the bike.

Gymnasts are relatively slow moving and I am at around 1/500 to completely freeze them in midair.

another option is to add a flash and use the flash to freeze her, but given that you are outdoors and it seems to be daytime that may prove difficult or even annoying for your daughter.

congrats on her achievements.
06-19-2009, 04:08 PM   #12
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I too shot similar pictures Jer. Shot in AV but increased the ISO to 800, which the K20 handles very well, to keep the shutter speed at around 1/600 to 1/800. If I had to do it again I may have gone to 1000 ISO. Was shooting at F 4.5 using my Sigam 70-200. Well done! JIM
06-19-2009, 04:22 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Duplo Quote
Jer,

I would guess that to be the problem, especially when shooting her on the bike.

Gymnasts are relatively slow moving and I am at around 1/500 to completely freeze them in midair.

another option is to add a flash and use the flash to freeze her, but given that you are outdoors and it seems to be daytime that may prove difficult or even annoying for your daughter.

congrats on her achievements.
Very interesting - since that's the case, it's clear 1/250 is too slow for what I was trying to do - live and learn! And thanks for the kind words.

Jer

QuoteOriginally posted by Jimbo Quote
I too shot similar pictures Jer. Shot in AV but increased the ISO to 800, which the K20 handles very well, to keep the shutter speed at around 1/600 to 1/800. If I had to do it again I may have gone to 1000 ISO. Was shooting at F 4.5 using my Sigam 70-200. Well done! JIM
Thanks, JIM. Yup - with my K20D there's really no reason not to go to 800. I should have done so, especially with my DA 18-250, which needs to be stopped down.

Jer
06-19-2009, 07:00 PM   #14
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I shoot in AV so I can adjust the aperture and ISO to keep my shutter speeds up to catch the baseballs and soccer action.
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