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08-22-2016, 04:38 PM - 1 Like   #196
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More Motocross with the K-1

MX2 250 PRO race.







Tas


Last edited by Tas; 08-25-2016 at 03:26 PM.
08-25-2016, 03:55 PM   #197
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Even more motocross with the K-1

Another jump from a different race. This is image #4 of 11 captured in sequence, the only one not in focus was the shot after this one. At the end of the sequence two more out of focus (OOF) images then the final image was in focus too, making it 14 images, only three out of focus. The track had the riders coming toward me over the jump in the first image, then around a tight bend, across two small jumps then a final small jump at the second image before a flat out curve to run up a hill. It was a spectacular track actually.


A point to note with the K-1 and the three OOF images. The single OOF image was as likely to be my failure to track the subject as much as an AF-C tracking failure so I think it is fair to criticise me as much as the camera for this one as either/both contributed to the image being a bit soft. To look at that image you can see it has front focussed but there appears to be motion blur on the rider too. The two other OOF images were towards the end of the buffer run and something that can be a real pain when shooting continuous high with the K-1. Typically as the buffer fills the shutter release slows and the camera hesitates which often means the loss of synchronised capture between the camera and my tracking the subject. Or that's what seems to be happening and this contributes as much as any other design spec to missed images when shooting action shots with the K-1. I can't recall where it was but I've often pondered whether the battery grip could be used to enhance certain features/functionality and it has been suggested in the forums here by someone else I just can't recall where. As I've use battery grips on all my Pentax cameras since my first (K10D) I'd wondered why they stopped using the wireless remote slot as it was a genius idea. Ditto for the spare SD card slot; why couldn't this have had the connection to make it a second active card slot? Could the buffer be expanded with the use of a battery grip? Maybe for the future if at all?

I mention this due to the all too often negative comments about the K-1 when used in this type of photography, which might be fair enough though until I try a D500 I will have to reserve comment. More importantly for me is the fact that this is the 150-450 wide open at 450mm. I often find it a bit soft when at it's widest aperture, regardless of focal length so I was pretty happy with the sequence the camera/lens combo managed to capture here. The distance to subject no doubt helped somewhat but overall I'm starting to enjoy this lens more with some more use uder my belt. However I still consider the DA*300 produces better images and is a lens that can be used wide open to capture excellent images. It's a pity the zooms are making me lazy, but with the final motocross round this weekend along with an airshow I might just test my own theory and crack out the 300 for another run.

Anyhoo, this is the second image that is the final in the run of 14 images tracking this rider. I paused back button focusing and tried to snag the rider at the right time.


Tas
08-27-2016, 11:14 PM - 2 Likes   #198
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Friday Night Lights

Here are my favs from Friday night's game. We lost, but the team is young and making great strides in improvement each week.











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---------- Post added 08-28-16 at 01:19 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Tas Quote
Even more motocross with the K-1
Nice motocross shots Tas! That looks like a fun venue. Kinda makes me want to give the K-1 a try, but I made a decision to get a couple DA* lenses for my K5iis and K3ii, so gonna stick with those for a while.
08-28-2016, 04:23 AM   #199
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QuoteOriginally posted by rtmarwitz Quote
Nice motocross shots Tas! That looks like a fun venue. Kinda makes me want to give the K-1 a try, but I made a decision to get a couple DA* lenses for my K5iis and K3ii, so gonna stick with those for a while.
Thanks Russell, and probably a good idea to stick with the APSC sensor, the buffer on the K-1 really hampers the potential for the camera.

You've captured a great series of football images here mate, hope you're planning on posting some more.

Here's one more from today during the final round of the championship.



Tas


Last edited by Tas; 09-12-2016 at 01:44 PM.
09-02-2016, 01:15 AM   #200
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A mix

Three different events with the K-1.







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09-02-2016, 07:22 PM   #201
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tas Quote
probably a good idea to stick with the APSC sensor
Since I'm investing in DA lenses, i will definitely be apsc for a while. Not sure the buffer on the K-1 would be an issue for me. I don't employ the spray and pray in my sports photography. In football with this 200mm lens I typically stay about 30 yards from the ball always facing my team...then pre focus on the quarterback and follow the ball to the action and then focus shoot when i see something. I have a pretty high keeper rate using this method -- usually only a handful of out of focus. Most of what I discard are duplicates taken in pregame or huddle/line-up pictures. In a full game i generally get about 150 to 200 pics depending on how many plays there are. I can't imagine looking through a lot more than that during post processing. Of course having available light like in the below game is the best scenario...high school stadium lights are pretty hit/miss.

QuoteOriginally posted by Tas Quote
hope you're planning on posting some more
planning to post a few of my favorites each week. This week it is from my middle school son's game. He isn't in any of these, but these are my favorites from yesterday.

K5iis with DA*200...the more i use this lens, the more i like it.







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09-05-2016, 09:17 PM   #202
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I'm processing my images from a big bike race yesterday. I drove along and leap-frogged with them but ended up having to deviate from my initial plan as the state police escort wouldn't let us by for the first 20 Miles or so. That's not unreasonable but I would have liked to know they were making that change!
This is later in the race when they get all spread out. It's a 5000' climb on dirt at 120 Miles. This guy was in the top 5 and really moving. Because I was using a flash I had a single shot with each rider. That made me work on timing and make those shots count.
K-1 & 15-30/2.8
09-05-2016, 10:01 PM   #203
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QuoteOriginally posted by rtmarwitz Quote
This week it is from my middle school son's game. He isn't in any of these, but these are my favorites from yesterday.
An excellent series again Russell.

QuoteOriginally posted by mattb123 Quote
I was using a flash
The good thing about using flash is you don't need a tripod.

Sorry Matt, I couldn't help myself. An excellent image, and a shame the restrictions on access weren't conveyed earlier as you might have been able to get in and grab groups of riders in larger clusters. Nothing wrong with this though and the composition works nicely with the mountain backdrop and road. I look forward to seeing what else you captured.

Tas

09-06-2016, 10:38 AM   #204
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QuoteOriginally posted by rtmarwitz Quote
Here are my favs from Friday night's game. We lost, but the team is young and making great strides in improvement each week.











my flickr

---------- Post added 08-28-16 at 01:19 AM ----------



Nice motocross shots Tas! That looks like a fun venue. Kinda makes me want to give the K-1 a try, but I made a decision to get a couple DA* lenses for my K5iis and K3ii, so gonna stick with those for a while.
Wow Rtmarwitz, those are some of the best Pentax football pictures I've seen, great job! Can you let us know your different settings/strategies for both the night and day games? Nice job getting crisp faces in that night game, that's not easy.

Read more at: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/38-photographic-technique/275291-sports-p...#ixzz4JUxrZ7QP
09-06-2016, 10:57 AM   #205
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tas Quote
An excellent series again Russell.



The good thing about using flash is you don't need a tripod.

Sorry Matt, I couldn't help myself. An excellent image, and a shame the restrictions on access weren't conveyed earlier as you might have been able to get in and grab groups of riders in larger clusters. Nothing wrong with this though and the composition works nicely with the mountain backdrop and road. I look forward to seeing what else you captured.

Tas
Just for the record I have successfully used a tripod several times since "the incident". Event a couple of times on the edge of a big cliff!
09-06-2016, 01:14 PM   #206
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Hope there is no explanation necessary here.











K-1 + Tamron 70-200/2.8

Edited to add:
As many might have guessed, this is what you would expect to see in the Scottish Highlands.
These pictures were taken in the Bavarian Oberland.
Most of the competitions are pretty static compared to other sports. 'Spray and pray' tactics won't help here, but series help when you get the right start and want to capture the motion.

Michael

Last edited by Clou; 09-07-2016 at 11:29 AM.
09-11-2016, 08:05 PM   #207
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tas Quote
Three different events with the K-1.
Nice mix Tas. Great sharpness and clarity on these.


QuoteOriginally posted by Clou Quote
As many might have guessed, this is what you would expect to see in the Scottish Highlands.
These pictures were taken in the Bavarian Oberland.
Most of the competitions are pretty static compared to other sports. 'Spray and pray' tactics won't help here, but series help when you get the right start and want to capture the motion.
Great pics Clou! An event for real life activity!


QuoteOriginally posted by mattb123 Quote
This guy was in the top 5 and really moving.
Really like the cyclist with a great scenic background. I'm looking forward to some more.


QuoteOriginally posted by jake14mw Quote
Can you let us know your different settings/strategies for both the night and day games? Nice job getting crisp faces in that night game, that's not easy.
Thanks jake14mmw!

I want to say first that I do these for the players/coaches/parents and maybe a little exposure for myself. They are free to download and do with what they want. Maybe when i retire from my day job I'll take it up a little more seriously. I know I'm no expert and learning new things every season I take these pictures. There may be better approach than what I use, but below is what i've developed into over the last three years, and I'm still finding things to change and make better. I really enjoy taking these. This ended up being longer than I thought it would be...hadn't realized i developed into using this much technique until i wrote it down.

Settings are
  • K-5iis shooting RAW DNG files
  • DA* 200mm no uv filter...this is the first year i've shot without it and I think it has made a difference in quality and faster shutter
  • Sirui monopod / leg from N-2004X tripod
  • Sirui K-20x ballhead
  • aperture priority usually set at 5.6 ... sometimes 8.0 if i want more DOF. by the end of 1st half i will usually be opened up to 3.5 and by end of game wide open at 2.8
  • auto iso fast setting -- daytime at 200 - 21560 and evening/night time 800 - 21560. I have iso set to 1/3 stop increments.
  • auto white balance
  • center-weighted metering
  • AFC spot auto focus tracking using single frame drive mode
  • DarkTable
  • Adobe Creative Cloud -- Bridge and Lightroom

I use a monopod and it helps in two ways -- preventing fatigue and holding steady. The K-5iis & 200mm isn't a real heavy outfit, but the monopod really helps. I shot without one for a season. It seems i get more keepers just adding the monopod. I should add that I do not use the battery grip when using the monopod since the extra battery isn't needed...but....If I wasn't using the monopod I would definitely have the battery grip attached for comfort. Using the monopod does make switching from landscape to portrait more inconvenient. 85% of my shots are done landscape, but I do setup for portrait for a half dozen or so each quarter. Sometimes i forget to get portrait shots though.

As the sun starts getting lower in the sky the exposure (obviously) starts to increase. When it gets to 1/500th I'll set the low end of auto iso at 800 and keep time above 1/500th as long as I can. It seems the auto iso on fast setting wants to keep it at 1/500th too. Sometimes, by the time i notice, iso will have already increased to between 800 and 3200, but time will still be at 1/500th. I opt to increase iso over opening aperture since the depth of field helps to get more action in focus. The K-5 performs well for me up to 6400 and some photos can still look decent at 12800. When it gets to 21560 though i try to be conscious of my composition to make sure there will not need to be too much cropping. This last round I had quite a few at iso 10000. Once it gets over 6400 I'll start opening the lens up to keep 6400 as long as i can.

With this 200mm lens in landscape mode I typically stay about 25-30 yards from the line of scrimmage always facing my team. Pre focus on the quarterback whether it is our team or their team and follow the ball to the action and then focus shoot when i see something. I have a pretty high keeper rate using this method -- usually only a handful of out of focus. When in portrait mode I move in a bit (maybe 10/15 yards from line of scrimmage) and usually compose just one person for each shot. I rarely rely on focus tracking and do not shoot continuous drive mode except for maybe the team running through the sign at the beginning of the game when there is plenty of light. The spray and pray technique leaves too much to the camera control. I wouldn't say it is bad, just not my style.

A couple other items in my flow. When your team is on offense and and getting near their end zone about to score I'll usually move to directly face the center quarterback and running backs. After they are in their stance i get a few of those...nice non-moving pics that a lot of folks like you can do these when it is dark. Now and then I'll get on the line of scrimmage and get some shots down the line or of the backfield. I carry the K3ii with DA* 16-50 in a holster for beginning of game, halftime and end of game shots. When i get it out i collapse the monopod and prop it under my pit and over my forearm. This is the first year I've done this and it has added another dimension to the game picture story. I think its a good addition.

Post Processing (I'm definitely not a post processing expert, still working on this each week)
For 3 years I used DarkTable on Linux Mint and it worked well, especially since there is no charge (just contributions). A few weeks ago my hard drive crashed. I thought it was time to move back to windows and start using Light Room, so i made the switch. It was fun trying to get my 12k raw files from the last 3 years off my Linux hdd recovered from a windows OS, but that is another story. I'm pleased with the performance of Light Room especially how much quicker it renders the RAW file with adjustments to jpg. I usually shoot in the neighborhood of 250 or so shots in a high school game and publish around 200. I discard out of focus, dups, blown exposure (very rare). Since these are for the players i usually try to salvage as many as I can.

High School Stadium Lights!!! Some are better than others, and some are outright atrocious. The good lighting will have the same color temp at each lamp and you will not have to adjust white balance or if you do you can make the same adjustment to all the pictures. I shot at one game where there were 4 or 5 different frequencies across the field and since the lights "flicker" they put out different frequency randomly anyway...there is no way to win this war. Two weeks ago I shot in a fairly new stadium and had very little white balance adjusting to do and the camera did well at auto white balance. The lights also provided a very well light stadium and most of my shots were iso 6400 and under. This week's game had nice even color temp, but the lighting wasn't as bright, so my iso went as high as 12800.

Anyway...that is that long/short of what I do to take football pics. I hope it helps someone. A year or so ago i reserved the domain name icansnapit.com and just recently started watermarking with ICanSnapit and haven't decided if i like that or not. I'm also open to and welcome any suggestions.


Varsity had a bye last week, so here are this weeks varsity favs. I'll mix up the middle school and varsity next week.













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09-11-2016, 08:19 PM   #208
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Last edited by mattb123; 09-11-2016 at 08:25 PM.
09-12-2016, 08:55 AM   #209
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tas Quote
Some images from the half a day I spent at Round 8 of the National MX series.
All your images are excellent, and so is your commentary! May I ask for a few more details on how you captured these aerial panning shots? I shot a motocross event yesterday as my nephew was in it (I have a general dislike for loud things, so without him I would definitely have been somewhere else). Showing motion in the air was a struggle, too fast a shutter speed and it looks just weird, too slow and I was stinking at the panning. There's no doubt I need practice at finding a compromise that works for me. Much practice. But I'd appreciate any tips. And then I need to practice.


It was a local track and the entire setup astonished me. Any yahoo who paid their $10 to get in could wander whereever they liked on the course. Seemed insane to me, but I was told by one of the racers that everyone there is a spectator, so they're all paying attention therefore it's OK. The moral: never hire a teenage male who thinks soaring through the air on a dirt bike is a good time to do any risk assessment for you.

Circled below are two photographers, and there was nothing stopping me from joining them in the middle. Except the fear of getting a dirt bike in the face. And knowing a little about physics. Maybe you get a better photo standing on the outside of a corner, but that's also where the bikes tend to head if they lose it. An ideal spot for me would be up that tree.



I managed to do OK panning across flats, and found a shorter focal length helped greatly. This was a k5iis, dfa100mm, f/11, iso800, 1/250s. If there's a next time, I think a panning head would have been a help across straight sections like this. There are rails I can clamp to, but anything seems to go so I could bring a tripod as well. There are not a huge number of spectators here, these races are at a level where the racers and their family/friends are the customers of the track, and not so much a product to draw in hordes of screaming fans with open wallets.



I also did fairly well picking a corner and waiting for riders to round the bend. At least I think I did pretty well, I have no idea what makes a good motocross photo. Did I mention I don't really like loud things? Well, I don't usually go out of my way to look at pictures of loud things either so I have little reference. This was k5iis, DA*300mm, iso3200, f/8, 1/3000s. High shutter speed seems to be ok when you have some dirt flying. AF-C and multi-point mode worked pretty darn well here, most errors were my inability to track with a 300mm lens. I think I'll be less conserve if I have another go, and not shy away from f/4.



I learned a great many things that I'll summarize for my own reference:

1) Figure out the entire days track schedule. I would have planned better which corners or jumps to stake out if I knew from the outset my nephew was racing in the morning and the afternoon when the sun was coming from a different direction.

2) Frozen spokes on the bike can look weird, shutter speed maximum 1/1000s if it's going to be in a position where it matters. Probably 1/500s would be better.

3) A zoom lens would be ideal for this, but the DA*300mm is far better than I am if I plan intelligently.

3.1) The SDM on the DA*300mm may be audible in a silent room, but no one can hear it at a motocross track.

4) Be more aggressive with wide open apertures. I blame years of macro shooting where I never have enough DoF.

5) iso 3200 on a k5iis is pretty great, but I miss iso80. #4 above should help.

6) I almost never use burst mode but did here and 7 fps feels like a machine gun compared to my normal shooting.

7) My memory card holds ~500 raw images, this normally takes me a month to fill. I almost filled it in a day. Be more selective or get more cards.

8) Definitely be more selective about what I shoot! I took way too many photos that I knew would have a busy background because I was afraid the cleaner compositions wouldn't turn out. Mostly, I did ok, so don't bother with what I know will be sub-par.

9) Almost always, it would be better to get track level or lower. I think both my images above would have been improved from a lower angle. Fear of getting run over is a limitation.

10) Look at more motocross photos done by people who know what they're doing.

11) Bring more earplugs and Tylenol.

12) Bring the butterfly net and Monarch tags for between races. I saw more Monarchs in a single day here than anywhere else this summer. Freaky. Wouldn't have pegged them as fans.
09-12-2016, 12:26 PM   #210
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rtmarwitz,

Thanks for taking the time to give so much detail. I do basically the same thing as you at sporting events with my kids. I have a few questions based on what you wrote.

What makes you shoot RAW rather than jpg?

You say you use “AFC spot auto focus”. Do you mean center point focus? I have changed my mind back and forth between Centerpoint and 9 or 5 point autoselect.

I notice that you have a K-3ii, but use it as a secondary camera with a short lens. Why not use it as the primary with the 200mm?
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