It’s playoff time on the local high school girls volleyball scene. When Monday’s sports page showed that a match was scheduled to be played at nearby Hamilton High School yesterday it got my attention. Hamilton’s volleyball team features a 6’5” middle hitter that I have previously posted photos of on this forum. Hamilton has won four straight division championships, and is going for five in a row. I decided to catch the action.
It turned out to be not much of a contest. Hamilton swept Trinity High School 25-16, 25-23, 25-14. I was also a bit disappointed in the caliber of play. I’ve seen much better performances by other local high school volleyball teams. I brought home only 160 images. Normally the number is at least double that. Fortunately I was able to snag a few keepers.
Editing my images gave me a good opportunity to practice dealing with images produced under difficult lighting conditions. The Hamilton High gym has an ancient lighting system whereby digital images of sports action shot there vary greatly from frame to frame in terms of color and exposure. By shooting RAW and converting my images in Adobe Camera RAW I found it relatively easy to make the necessary adjustments to color temperature and exposure. After adjustments I ended up with a different color temperature on every image. Although I made a custom white balance camera setting for this gym it was probably an exercise in futility for a lighting system like this one. The next time I shoot an event in this gym I may use auto WB. Does anybody reading this have experience using auto WB in a situation like this?
I used the trusty D700/80-200 f/2.8 combo. Exposure was manually set at 1/500, f/3.5, and ISO 10,000.
Comments are encouraged.
1. This image and the next one feature Miss Jones, player #10, the 6’5” star of the Hamilton High VB team. She didn’t do as much spiking of the ball as I have seen her do in other contests, but she still ended up with 16 kills for the evening.
The one thing I noticed about the post processing is that the noise reduction seems a bit heavy in that everything is a bit too smooth. Downsizing the pics to post here might be playing into that a little.
For the white-balance, I have seen where others have said that auto-WB does a good job with the cycling lights.
---------+---------+---------+---------+ Joseph K Seattle, WA, USA
I'd be glad to send you one of my RAW images. I'm interested to see what The Master is able to turn out with his editing magic! However, I have never attempted to e-mail a RAW image, and my concern is whether it might be too big to go through to you. I think my ISP has a limit of 10 MB for an e-mail transmission, and the RAW images in this case are each around 14 MB. Is there any one image in particular that you would like to have? Let me know and I will give it a shot.
I don't know your e-mail address. It's probably best that you send it to me via private message.
Agree on the NR. On my calibrated monitors your VB shots seem to have excessive noise reduction, and usually excessive sharpening to compensate. Their skin looks like plastic mannequins, then the oversharpening is apparent where their dark shorts/kneepads/socks meet their light skin.
Not only is the skin a dead giveaway, but the hair of #3 in blue spiking the ball in image #5 shows it as well.
Having said that, if that's your style or what your local newspapers prefer, then that's perfectly fine.
Thanks for the heads up. I don't submit anything to local newspapers, so I don't have to meet their requirements. I agree that there's a subjective element and personal taste involved in these matters. I do like my images sharp, but it may be advisable to cut back on the NR/sharpening if it detracts from the appearance of the images to others.
Regarding the NR I"m not aware that I am overdoing it, but it so happens that I am just getting underway in doing a review of Real World Image Sharpening by Bruce Fraser and Jeff Schewe. I bought this book several months ago and consider it one of the best photography books I have ever acquired. Because of it I made major changes in the way I edit my images for sharpening, noise reduction, and downsizing. It was also a factor in my deciding to shoot RAW only. In my review I'll make it a point to zero in on what the book says about NR to determine if I need to fine tune my NR procedure.