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A sunny Sunday afternoon

By kilo363
I don't know what makes a 'good' cricket photograph. I have never ever been to a cricket match before. As the speedway wasn't on yesterday and it was a gorgeous sunny afternoon in Scotland, I thought I'd give it a bash and see how I got on.

Thanks to Ian Glassford of Ferguslie CC for allowing me access.

Tags: Cricket sport Sports and action

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Davesumner 14 28 300 Australia
16 Aug 2010 8:36AM
Hi Al,

Well I can say, I'm no sports photographer but I know that you really have given yourself a challenge here, strong afternoon sun and guys wearing white.

Well given that you've done pretty well not to overexpose all of the white although image 4 is the worst one for that. As with all sports shots, the trick is to have the moving parts moving whilst the important bits are still sharp. With speedway you can pan and get the wheels moving but the rider frozen in time. Cricket isn't as routine as that so it is definately harder to acheive.

I really think you've done as well as you could regarding the subjects and given the circumstances but I think that you could have improved the shots a little more in camera or in post processing.

As far as I can tell, you are using Picasa to edit your images and I'm not sure whether this allows blurring or not. However if these were mine, I'd have tried to get the aperture as wide open as I could to try and lose the background a little. I noticed at least one of these shots was f/8.0 and another was f/5.0, were you using full auto or adjusting the aperture manually?

Anyway the problem with all of the images for me is the background. Not only are they too visible, they don't really add to the situation. I think as wide an aperture as possible to help increase bokeh and then hammer it with the blur tool. Also I would probably have gone around the other side of the pitch to try and get a bit more of a crickety background like the crowd or other players.

Great action shots though but wioth just a bit of ball movement they would look more dramatic. I've uploaded a mod for image 1 where I cloned out the tree and blurred the background more. I removed a good few of the daisies and the line that ran along horizontally. I brightened up the shadows a little, added some contrast and toned down the green. A slight blur on the ball and hopefully it is helpful to you.

paulbroad 13 131 1290 United Kingdom
16 Aug 2010 2:34PM
A decent set of cricketing images and commendably sharp - assume you used a tripod. Just one showing quite a bit of over exposure - V4 - as you used RAW, must be well out or you would have corrected it.

Background is a slight issue, and as you were so far away, I would have expected the background to be very out of focus. Pro sports photographers tend to shoot wide open to reduce depth to a minimum.

kilo363 11 3 Scotland
16 Aug 2010 6:53PM
Thanks all,

Dave, that was the first thing I found, the white uniforms and the strong sun. I have to contend with strong sun often at speedway, and highly contrasting uniforms and background at ice hockey, so I tried a few things to get the best results I could. You're right about v4. I really liked the stance and the expression in that, but having the whites reasonanbly well exposed has made the background too light.

I didn't do a lot of processing to be honest. I shot in RAW and corrected glaring exposure errors in Lightroom and exported as full size jpgs. I only really used Picasa for cropping and exporting the smaller size jpgs. I didn't do any cloning at all, so what you see is straight from the camera other than basic lights and levels.

The Aperture thing is a wee bit more complex Smile Let me explain. I used 2 cameras and 2 lenses. On my D300s i put the Sigma 150-500. At 500mm wide open is f6.3 It was really the first time I have used it in anger, so I was trying various apertures to compare results later. On my D2Xs I was using my good lens, Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8, but with a 1.4 t/c attached giving me f4 as wide open.

I used the 150-500/D300s combination on a monopod, and hand held the 70-200/D2Xs. As I said it was my first ever cricket match, so wasn't sure of the best place to shoot from. However the background in the early shots is actually worse because of street furniture etc. I was trying to shoot fairly wide open most of the time. Maybe next time (I'm back on Saturday by invitation) I'll use the 70-200 at f2.8, but, doing that gives me a high shutter speed and no blurry ball lol.

Quite like your mod. The horizontal line is the boundary rope. I will go back and look at some of the bette shots and see what I can do with photoshop.

All shots were natural, in fact I've never ever met or spoken to the players. You're right a wee bit of burning may well help the whites. It's a fairly big ground, so I'm well away from the action. As I was leaving I found a view that I will try at the weekend and see what I get.

Monopod and handheld as described above, although, I hm thinking about trying a tripod and prefocussing on the wicket and using a cable release with one of the cameras next time. You'll see above my reasons (and limitations) for choices of aperture

Thanks to all 3 of you, I'll see where I go from here. And when the speedway/Cricket seasons end, it's Ice Hockey time lol
danh 11 61 36 United Kingdom
16 Aug 2010 7:17PM
Cloning out distractions = no. It's sports photography so you're supposed to capture the moment - not create it afterwards.

Sports photography is nearly always about shooting wide open and keeping your shutter speed good and high (minimum 1/640th, preferably a fair bit higher) by manipulating your ISO.

Pre-focusing on the wicket will do you no favours at f2.8. Just practice and you'll get better. These are great for a first effort.

The modified blur looks horrible, to me - sorry.

That is all.
kilo363 11 3 Scotland
16 Aug 2010 10:57PM
Hi Danh, I must confess I tend to leave my sports shots as I take them. I was more thinking about prefocussing with the 150-500 at F6.3 (which is wide open) but that was just planned as an experiment. I'll give the 70-200 a go without the teleconvertor on Saturday and see how that goes,
Walkthru 11 2 2 Australia
17 Aug 2010 1:42PM
I'm no expert at sports photography by any means, but the only real critique I have of this is that the crop at the bottom edge appears a little too harsh - I feel that the ball needs a little bit of space to be being played into - would make the shot a little more dynamic for me. Otherwise is a good study of concentration on the batsman's behalf, as you've caught his expression well.

The harsh sunlight is just a reality of 'real-time' sports photography.


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