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14/07/2013 - 11:14 AM

Where is that ball?

Where is that ball?Loss of the club head is a pretty big distraction for me.
24/03/2013 - 5:44 PM

Midfield Battle

Midfield BattleShutter priority is a no-no for me. I'd always rather have an absolutely frozen sports image rather than go for 'creative' blur and miss/ruin what might have otherwise been an excellent shot.

Sports photography needs a wide aperture for a shallow depth of field and if you shoot in shutter priority you have no control over the aperture and a sudden burst of sun causes your aperture to step down, gives you a massive depth of field, and kills your image. In aperture priority, the burst of sun just gives you a faster shutter speed.

Settings here are good, bar the absence of the widest possible aperture. For sport, 1/800th is getting near to the slowest shutter speed I would use and won't always freeze everything. 1/320th would be of little help to freeze sporting action I'm afraid.

I hope I cause no offence but I'd rather go with the technique illustrated by the photographer here, not that suggested by the member of the critique team. Sorry. Just my opinion. Smile
25/01/2013 - 10:58 PM

Lacrosse 2

Lacrosse 2Apologies for stepping in with some critique but your aperture is so small that the really cluttered background detracts from the image. This small aperture has made your shutter speed too slow to freeze the action and your use of landscape orientation has caused the cut-off of the feet to also be quite distracting. Also your horizon isn't level.

Apologies for introducing such negative comments but this is an image that could have had so much more impact with a few tweaks to your technique and settings. The moment is caught with skill but the technique you used hasn't fully exploited the opportunity you seized upon so well.
18/07/2012 - 1:50 PM

Middle Stump

Middle StumpI'd shoot in manual settings, with aperture wide-open and at least 1/800th of a second shutter speed. Manipulate the ISO to achieve the right exposure for those settings.

This looks as though you've pre-focused on the stumps which, to me, takes away from the shot because it should be the batsman who's in focus here and unfortunately he doesn't seem to be.

If all you're after is the batsman then go for a tripod but if you want to be able to direct your lens to anything and everything on the pitch, at short notice, avoid it like the plague. With a 75-300mm zoom you should be able to hand hold and keep your options open.

Perfect timing though. Smile
21/12/2011 - 3:55 PM

Catch the Ball !

Catch the Ball !As the previous critic referred to here I think this is a much better shot (based on the proliferation of faces) but, accepting your Chief Photographer will have a more experienced eye than I, I still think the movement blur distracts from the image slightly. I also think that the off-level horizon is a slight distraction, as are the two spectators.

That said, for an exposure shot at 1/125th I think you've captured an exceptional photo. Smile

20/12/2011 - 1:45 PM

Final Hurdle

Final HurdleAny reason why you didn't shoot in aperture priority, wide-open, and as a result get rid of the distractions in the background? I think using the full range of 200mm and f4 might have produced a better shot, but I admit that's just a personal preference.

Apart from that, it's a nicely timed photo, albeit at the 'longest exposure' end of shutter speeds used to freeze sports/action.
01/11/2011 - 5:32 PM

Rugby Sevens

Rugby SevensIf you'd shot in aperture priority, wide-open, and used your ISO to manipuate your shutter speed to the same as you have used here, i.e. 1/800th, you'd have given us a better shot by blurring out your background a lot more. Also, shooting from a lower angle usually gives a better image. Caught some peak action very well though.
19/09/2011 - 8:48 PM

The First Big Break

The First Big BreakShot at your full range of 200mm, this suddenly becomes an action-packed frame-filler, albeit just slightly out of focus.

Your background at 115mm f2.8 will be a lot sharper and clearer than your background at 200mm f2.8. The further you extend your focal length, the more your background becomes brilliantly blurred (assuming your subject is fairly close to your position). That's why you loved the 400mm f2.8 so much! Grin
18/09/2011 - 11:43 AM

1 to beat

1 to beatWith all due respect to Frank (Focus_Man), keep your settings as they are - shoot wide-open and use the efforts you've made to get a shot like this again.

Simply put, this is a really excellent shot, MADE by your use of f2.8 to blur your background and freeze the action with a really fast shutter speed. Really, really excellent. Sounds a bit weird but I'm proud of you. Very, very well done. You're now going to progress in leaps and bounds and get better and better. Great stuff. Grin
02/09/2011 - 2:43 PM

Football Focus

Football FocusI think if this had been shot from a lower angle with a wider aperture and at a longer focal length you'd have been on to a winner. As it stands the background is just too cluttered for your outstanding peak-action-moment capture to really stand out.
31/08/2011 - 12:55 PM

Just out of reach

Just out of reachFrom a purely personal perspective I'd never 'shop' a sports photo as much as the modified image has (certainly in relation to the artificially blurred background). I appreciate it's corrected many of the issues that the comment above has highlighted but from my perspective, you're better off working on your techniques to make your shots better (and the inbound 70-200mm f2.8 will help your equipment no end). Sports should be about capturing the moment, not capturing enough light to create an artificial moment in post-processing (I don't mean that to sound like an unfair comment on the excellence and expertise displayed in the mod, apologies if it does). I think that shooting in portrait perspective will serve you well for the majority of football images.

Also, and again just from my perspective, I'd accept a partially 'blown out' white jersey every day of the week, if it allows me to keep detail in the player's face. That said, if you've shot this more recently than your earlier images (and it certainly looks as though you have), you need to go back to the settings you were using before - i.e. aperture priority rather than shutter priority, or manual exposure if the light is consistent. Shutter priority for sports photos is usually only used for creative blur or panning with slower shutter speeds. If you're advised to shoot in shutter-priority, accept the comment in good grace, but concentrate on the techniques that produce the sort of photos you seem to be after, i.e. those obtained in aperture priority or manual exposure. It won't make you a pro sports photographer but it will make you a better sports photographer... until you're good enough to become a pro. Smile

A cheeky question - Was this during the game or warm-ups? Tongue
23/08/2011 - 2:43 PM

Breaking through the line

Breaking through the lineAI servo is where you want to be but you might just need a bit of practice keeping your focus point on your subject. Also, depending on how your camera works, use a single focus point (the little red squares that light up in the viewfinder) rather than all of them or a few of them. Then keep just that single square on your subject. If you use lots of the squares, the camera will think you don't mind which one of the points keeps the focus and, like your photo above, might not use the one in the middle and instead puts one of your background players (under a square that isn't over your main player) in focus (does that make sense?).
23/08/2011 - 12:17 PM

Breaking through the line

Breaking through the lineHi Paully,

I think Focus_Man has called it quite well because you've lost the focus on the running back; either because your focus point missed him, or because your auto-focus didn't keep up (because he was moving too fast or because you didn't have the continuous AF running). If you have the continuous mode engaged, you have to keep your shutter button half-depressed as you track the player's movements. If you just press the button down in one go when you think your shot is composed, your camera will do its best but your focus will probably be off.

Shutter-speed-wise, if you'd boosted your ISO to 1600, you would have achieved 1/500th which would have given you a better chance of freezing the action.

That said, your horizon is pretty level and you appear to have shot this from a much lower angle than your previous work so 'top marks' for changing your technique and achieving a much better image than you were showing us before. Any improvement is a good thing and, while your focus is a little out and you've been unlucky not to get a clear shot of the runner's or tackler's faces, this is much better. Smile

Keep sharing!
10/08/2011 - 12:42 PM


SackedYes, I agree that learning from shots like this will serve you in good stead for the future. This one is badly out of focus (the men and vehicle in the background are also out of focus, but a lot sharper than your subjects) and has detracted from your timing at capturing a great moment. It's also quite badly under-exposed. Again, shooting from your knees would have served you better.

Can't wait to see more of your shots.
10/08/2011 - 8:46 AM

Stopping the run

Stopping the runNice effort but I find football is better-shot in portrait orientation - it saves cutting off the players' feet. You've missed the action here too, I think. I think we're looking at the linebackers looking to close the run down, as no. 70 (probably the right DE) seals the edge, rather than the area of activity where the running back would be. I'm guessing the RB was tackled in the backfield, seeing as he's not right 'on the shoulder' of the FB. You might also be better shooting from a lower angle so as to better-capture the faces of the players - the guy being blocked by the FB (no.43) might have had more of his face visible if you'd been kneeling to capture this shot.

Also, if your exif data is correct, you've used a programme mode which will limit what you can achieve. Try to learn more about using manual settings and aperture-priority exposures. This game would be really difficult to shoot in programme modes (and in aperture-priority to some extent) because a team playing in all black against a team in mostly white will really mess up your camera's internal exposure meter, depending on who's in the frame. Football has that as a threat to image quality nearly all the time.

Looking forward to seeing a bit more of your football work. Smile
05/08/2011 - 9:00 AM

The Windup

The WindupAlong with the comments above, I'm guessing (perhaps wrongly, apologies if I'm in error) that maybe you were using the central AF point in your viewfinder which, while allowing you to get the face in focus, has caused the 'offset' nature of the photo. If you can, practice using different/other AF points that better suit your composition or, if you're really brave, try manual focus.

You should also try to shoot sports in aperture-priority (wide-open), and use your ISO to keep your shutter speed well-above 1/640th (that said you've shot this in 'manual' which is even better, as long as you keep your aperture wide and your shutter speed fast) . This will both freeze the action and give you a shallower depth-of-field. I'm not sure if your exif data is correct because you seem to have used ISO3200 during the day and only got 1/200th, even if your aperture is very small at f9. I assume you may have used flash and this has caused the 'warp' in exif data. If this is the case (again, apologies if my guesswork is no good) try to get used to shooting sport without flash - most places don't appreciate it and normally, you're too far away from the action for it to help much.

I look forward to seeing a few of the batter next time. Smile

04/08/2011 - 12:35 PM

At Bat

At BatI'd prefer to see a tighter crop and just isolate the batter in the frame, preferably by zooming in (in the future), rather than cropping the image down. If you do this, shoot in portrait mode rather than by cutting his feet off in landscape. It will get rid of the distractions in the background. Mind you, if you're cropped tightly in then landscape will fit the swing of the bat a lot better.

Your horizon is slightly off-level but that's easy to correct.

If your exif is correct, you've caused rather too much noise in the image by shooting at ISO3200. Dropping to ISO800 would still have given you 1/1000th shutter speed which, while often a little slow depending on the speed of the ball and bat, would have given you less grain.

I also would have shot from a much lower perspective. You look as though you were standing for this shot. Shooting from your knees might have given you a better view of the batter's face.

That said, for a 'first-effort' this is top-notch. Can you post some football when you shoot it? There isn't enough 'proper football' on this site - too much of that 'soccer' rubbish. Tongue
18/07/2011 - 12:46 PM

Nearly There!

Nearly There!This looks like a really close crop of a much larger photo and, while you've caught a nice moment, the lack of definition/focus in the image really detracts from your timing in capturing this action. There looks like rather a lot of motion blur too so I'm guessing your shutter speed was too slow to freeze what was happening. That said, if this was an indoor event your white balance seems spot-on. Smile
12/07/2011 - 8:44 AM

Tennis Action

Tennis ActionYour horizon is slightly off-level. Otherwise I agree with what's been said above regarding shooting from a lower viewpoint and the absence of any space below toe-level. Well done for shooting with the correct sports-photography settings, rather than opting to go with shutter priority. Smile
If this is your first effort with sports photography it shows a massive amount of ability and potential. I look forward to seeing more of your work.
15/06/2011 - 11:56 AM


Jump!Your excellent shot is weakened by the DOF it has. You should have shot at f4 and 'zeroed' your background a lot more. With a zoom of that range is there any reason why you didn't extend it and shoot a much tighter image? This would have assisted in removing your DOF range too. Also your 1/400th shutter speed is too slow to freeze the action. While the image size on here is limited it looks a little like your focus is on the fence, not the horse and rider. Did you pre-focus on that or has your AF not caught up in time?

If you're going to shoot sport, try and get out of the 'freezing movement so I must shoot in shutter priority' mindset. Shoot in aperture priority, wide open, and manipulate your ISO to keep your shutter speed as fast as at least 1/640th, preferably a lot faster. Sport is about causing your subject to leap off the page at you and the shallower your DOF, the better the image looks. Tracking a fast-moving subject is difficult and pre-focusing on a static object isn't always a good bet (if that's what you did). If your camera has a 'servo' AF mode make sure you use that too and track the object for some distance before you 'fire', to give the AF a chance to get used to the speed of the subject. 'Single shot' AF mode will lose the focus you were after within the short space of time it takes for the shutter to raise.

I hope I'm not stating too much of the 'bl33ding obvious' but without knowing all of the settings and techniques that you used it's hard to know exactly where to comment. I hope that's ok.