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Photographing Cricket

Photographing Cricket - Tips on photographing this popular summer sport.

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Category : Sports and Action
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Cricket


Gear:

  • Fast Long lens – 70-300mm mark should be fine for local grounds but for larger arenas you'll need something with much more reach. A longer zoom lens will be more useful than a prime as if the ball comes to a fielder near you, a long focal length such as 300mm could miss it.
  • Wide-angle lens – 24mm lens will capture the whole scene
  • A good portrait lens (medium focal length) is handy to have for shots of the players off the pitch
  • Tripod/Monopod – Either is fine to use, however a monopod will give you more freedom to move quickly.
  • Remote release – You can set the camera up, watch the action and simply hit the remote when you want to take a shot. It'll also help prevent shake spoiling your shot.

Technique:


Are you a cricket fan?

If you're a regular spectator at your local club you'll already know when it's a good time to take a shot. If you've not watched that many cricket matches try just spectating at a few before taking your camera along to get a feel for the game first. There's also plenty of magazines and websites out there where you'll be able to see what type of shots other photographers take.

Sit still

Once you find your spot, try and get somewhere that doesn't have cars and advertisements sitting in the background, it's best to stay put as you'll just get complaints if you keep moving, particularly if you insist on sitting behind the bowler. Keep your eyes on the field too as you really don't want to be hit by a cricket ball.

Exposure

When you have players in white clothes stood on what the camera sees as a dark background it'll choose to meter for the darker background and you'll end up with players in clothes that are over exposed. As a result you'll need to use exposure compensation to dial down the exposure slightly.


Focus and panning

Pre focusing on a spot you know the bowler will step into, as you can do with cars on a track, can help increase your chances of capturing the shot. If you prefer to follow the action try panning with the bowler. For a smooth pan, use your tripod or monopod for support, stand with your feet apart,
keep your bottom half still and turn your upper body, following the bowler's path. Continuous focusing will help keep the bowler sharp and switching to continuous shooting mode will take several shots as you pan through, which will increase your chances of getting the result you're looking for.

Shutter speeds

Generally you'll need fast shutter speeds to freeze the action but switching to slower speeds (1/30th) will blur the movement on the pitch, exaggerating motion and speed. Blurring the bat as the batsman swings for the ball or capturing the bowlers arm as it swings overhead are popular slow shutter speed shots. Also try getting someone to hold and spin a cricket ball in their hands as the slow shutter speeds will turn the movement into red circular shapes. One point about freezing movement: if you can't get your shutter speeds quick enough try a slightly wider aperture and switch to ISO 400. Later in the day you may need slightly higher ISOs but most modern cameras now have good ISO performance even at the higher ranges.

Off the pitch

Take a look at the names of the players if you want to add captions to your work and don't forget about capturing the odd spectator, batters padding up and the scoreboard so you have shots that sum up the whole cricketing experience.


Final points:

  • Watch the field – you don't want to look up and find a ball's about to crash into you and your equipment
  • Expose manually
  • Fast shutter speeds to freeze the action but do experiment with motion blur and slower speeds
  • Imagine a clock, put a right-handed batter on six and they're more likely to hit the ball between 12 and 3 o'clock.
  • Know your sport
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