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My last BB game of the season, and my reflections of my first sports season behind the camera

dave351

Michigan, US
96 posts

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dave351 Registered since 28th Jan 2010
Sat 09-Mar-13 05:23 AM

First of all, I wanted to give a big thanks to everyone who has taken the time to help me throughout the BB season. I've had a great time learning to shoot, and even though the editor still doesn't like my photos, I feel like I've made some improvements along the way.

First, a few photos from Friday night - Class D district championship game between the Akron Fairgrove Vikings (green) and the Buena Vista Knights (white). I was at the game to shoot the Vikings for the magazine, but unfortunately (for the Vikings), the Knights dominated the game from the start. All pictures with D700, 70-200 f/2.8 @ 1/640, ISO 5000. Slight NR and color adjustment in LR.

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I think the most important thing I learned is that there is no "right" way to photograph a fast-moving sport such as basketball. In this forum alone, I found that I'd receive different (conflicting?) advice on a particular setting, yet the photographers who gave the advice both had amazing portfolios. While this was initially very frustrating, I've actually come to appreciate the fact that we each have to find our own "perfect storm" of settings to meet our own particular gear, shooting style, and whatever other 100's of variables exist between each of us.

For anyone just starting out, I suggest you take each and every piece of advice you receive and try it - whether it makes sense or not. And if you try it and it doesn't work, write it down and keep it handy... because when you change a few other variables, you might find that it was the right advice applied at the wrong time.

The biggest obstacle I had to overcome initially was feeling comfortable taking the ISO past 3200. I shot in a lot of poorly-lit gyms and flash just wasn't an option for me. Initially, I was really struggling with trying to get the tack-sharp images I wanted (from my portrait background) and I was handicapping myself by shooting at lower than optimum shutter speeds. Eventually, I came to the realization that I needed to pick my shutter speed (1/640 for me) and adjust my ISO around it - and lo and behold, I started getting sharper images! Bright, sharp and noisy is apparently better than dark, motion-blurry and not-quite-as-noisy. If I do get a chance to go shoot one of the regional games, I am excited to actually shoot 1/800 or 1/1000 in a well-lit gym!

I'm in the process of jotting down other camera settings that I fought with, and I'll add them to this post later on in case anyone cares to see one newbie's journey into sports shooting.

One last thing... I know I already thanked everyone for their help, but I wanted to give another thanks for the great attitudes on this forum. There are so many photography forums on the web where newbies get flamed for not knowing. Or when advice is given, it's of the type that says "I'm right, everyone else is wrong." I appreciate that everyone here is so open-minded and respectful of everyone else. That was what encouraged me to keep trying different things and not give up.

Anyway, off to bed. Comments on the images are always appreciated. I am going to try to be around and contribute to the community more in the weeks & months to come. You're a great group of people and I really appreciate you!

~Dave

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