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03-30-2014, 12:13 PM   #1
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Help with sport pics

Help can some please tell me what im doing wrong......or not could it be a lens problem,im using a k3 with a sigma 70-300mm on,sports is some thing i dont normally do but lately have been taking pics of my sons rugby matches here are 3 from today where have i gone wrong

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03-30-2014, 12:31 PM   #2
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First one looks a little hazy, do you have hood on the lens? If not that would help. I think you are trying to show too much, it's an overall shot of a lot of area.

Second one looks pretty good to me focus wise. I think you missed the composition and I would have tried to crop it to a vertical but not bad.

Third one, what are you trying to say? You include too much, zoom in more and get rid of elements that don't matter. #14 is blurry, not close to the action and should not be in the frame. Or if #14 is the story then get him sharp and the others slightly OOF to show what you are trying to tell us. One story there would have been #14 watching the action, but to get that you needed to be a little to the left and keep him sharp and everything else OOF.

Are you shooting jpeg or RAW? Shooting RAW, processing and cropping in software would help a lot. I don't see anything terribly wrong with the images, but composition is poor and that takes practice. But often a crop in post processing will make a poor shot look fantastic, get used to thinking like the camera not what you see with your eyes.
03-30-2014, 12:41 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forum big paul.

The second shot is pretty good, certainly not a problem. I like the action and expression of the tackler it captures. You could bump up the vibrancy and contrast some using software.

What's specifically bothering you about the others?

Here are my thoughts:

The first one has little contrast and that is most likely due to your shooting into the overhead sun, or it's a foggy washed out day (we get a lot of those in the Pacific northwest). You also have to figure out what the optimal distance for effectively capturing action works best with your lens. What really counts with sports shots are the faces and expressions of the players. When combined with action that a phone camera couldn't capture, you've got a keeper.

The first shot anyone with a phone could have taken and it shows too much to be compelling. To be effective at a focal length of 100mm you need to shoot within say 8-12 yards. For a 300mm focal length, about 40 yards. Anything longer and it gets either mushy, or too wide to be interesting. It took me a couple of years and 20,000 shots to figure out that it's OK to not shoot action beyond the sweet spots of my lenses. Your second shot shows what happens when things work.

Similar matters apply to the third shot. It takes in too much and dilutes the interest of the scrum. No. 14 and everything to his left is unnecessary within the frame. It is also too soft.

What you are doing very right is keeping a shutter speed over 1/1000. I prefer a minimum of 1/1500. With your camera you can bump up the ISO to beyond 800 in daylight easily to achieve this on a dismal day.

Hope this helps,

M
03-30-2014, 01:07 PM   #4
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Hi guys I normally do crop but left the first to show the haze it was a bright day and no I did not have a lens hud on, its the softness That's a problem I struggle to get the focusing sharp.is there any setting's that are best.
thanks for your help

03-30-2014, 01:22 PM   #5
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There are only so many pixels. So if you spread them across too much area things get muddy. Keep your shutter speed up and tighten in on what you want to show, get a lens hood.

Like Miguel says, shooting beyond the capabilities of your kit just makes lousy pictures. Part of being of being a good photographer is knowing when a shot will work and when you just cannot make it work with the gear you have. Pro sports shooters will take 100's or 1,000's of shots to get a few that are published. Get used to trashing a bunch and only keeping the good ones.
03-30-2014, 01:31 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by big paul Quote
is there any setting's that are best.
I believe on the K-3 posts there are threads about effective AF settings for shooting action. Compare these with what you are using and then experiment a lot. Make sure you are knowledgeable about the sport you are shooting so you can anticipate the action. Try shooting with a vertical orientation for closer up action or sports like basketball. Be aware sports scenes often have terrible backgrounds and try to manage that. You want to have the frame be at least half-way filled with bodies. Cropping works but it dilutes quality inversely.

M
03-30-2014, 02:38 PM   #7
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Anybody would be happy with #2. As far as getting more things in focus, upping the ISO would help there too by allowing the camera use smaller apertures. Those shots are all at full open for that lens resulting in shallow depth of focus. That works great in #2 where you have the main subject sharp and the background soft, but not so much in the others. ISO 400 is too low for the job and that camera will go much higher.
03-30-2014, 03:29 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by clicksworth Quote
upping the ISO would help there too by allowing the camera use smaller apertures. Those shots are all at full open for that lens resulting in shallow depth of focus.
For the most part I would disagree with this statement in a sports and wildlife shooting context. You want to shoot sports at the largest possible aperture. This is important to minimize the commonly ugly backgrounds (bleachers, fans, traffic, billboards etc.) that frequently distract from the action within the frame. A larger aperture also enhances the perceptual separation of the subject and adds a depth to the image. This is why ideally you don't want to be shooting cross-pitch at a large group scene: the subject of the photograph becomes questionable or banal.

After allowing sports shooting skills to grow and develop over a period of time, the OP may have a need to move past his consumer-level zoom into something with better AF and optics. While that will cost significantly more money, one benefit of a better lens is that shooting with a wider aperture (f2.8-f5.6) provides the best sports shots (if one's skills are there).

M

03-30-2014, 03:44 PM   #9
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My first reaction is to point the finger at your lens. The number of keepers you are going to get with that lens is minimal....but it is what you have, so lets work with that for now.
Advice offered to date is good and I would endorse everything said....particularly the lens hood, a very understated piece of equipment.
ISO, yes experiment with that in conjunction with the depth of field. Use AV if you aren't already....easier to make on the run adjustments for light, shadows etc.
Learn how to use the rear AF button and dis able the half press function on the shutter button ( just remember later that you have done this).
Also consider a monopod and a good head ...suggest the Manfrotto 222 or similar pistol grip .(you will see nearly every pro at a major event using monopods).

Thats the technology bit of the discussion.

Now have a think about your technique. IMHO it is important to follow the game through the lens when possible, as much as is possible, to get an idea of what action is happening in your field of view and then learn to anticipate a little, or read the game. Not easy.....but once you have the hang of it you will capture a lot more and you will be already "panning"...which in turn will compensate for some of the lens' shortcomings.
Also think about your positioning on the ground...where is the sun? which is the dominate team....where is the action likely to be, example: if there is strong cross wind will that affect which side of the ground the play will gravitate to? If you are only shooting a family member then many of these questions will not be as important, but you will still want to position yourself in the most strategic spot.
There is a lot more to sports photography than initially meets the eye, and while equipment is important, technique is equally so.
For the record I shoot Equestrian, Aussie Rules Footy and MotoX.
Good luck and look forward to seeing more.
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