Thursday, August 7, 2008

Steelers Training Camp 2008 in Latrobe, PA

I was invited by a friend to shoot from the field during the Pittsburgh Steelers training camp. First, it was a blast! Any chance I can get to shoot I jump on due to my love of the art! Second, I give sports shooters credit for what is required of them to shoot sports. Even with my Nikon 70-300vr combined with my D200, obtaining 'great' images were very challenging. The second major challenge is to anticipate where the action will be next. The quaterback drops back to throw, I watch his eys, he is looking left, I look left, he throws right... Ugh! I missed a great shot. It is not the same as a wedding or other event. Maybe it is due to experience but the action appears to be more predictable to follow. :-)

In the first photo I was very close to where the kickers were practicing and obtaining a usable photo was possible.

As always I shot this in RAW and converted in Lightroom 2.0 to a B&W image with a white vignette to create a different look. This picture is of Jeff Reed [3].

The second photo is of Willie Parker, star running back for the Steelers. This too was taken in RAW and converted in Lightroom 2.0 to a B&W using different techniques. One noticeable difference is the darker darks and the dark vignette rather than the light vignette along the sides.

More 'artistic' images from the Steelers training camp are available on my site

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Low Light Photography Part 3

This shot violates a few points from my previous post. How? I shot this at 1/25 second. Yes, the image shows movement but it is exactly the mood I wanted to present. How did I shoot this image?

1. I waited until the moving spot light was focused on the front right side of the guitarist which caused a silhouette effect. This was shot at f/2.5 and 1/25 of a second.
2. In post processing I converted this to a black and white image using Lightroom.

The amazing part about digital photography is the ability to practice, experiment, and delete. Have fun and get out and experiment.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Low Light Photography Part 2

If your camera has different focus points, take the time to adjust the focus point to the area of the photo you want in focus. [Please read your manual if you are unsure how to change the focus points.] On my Nikon D200 and D50 the adjustments are made on the back of the camera. The D200 has a 'lock' feature to ensure the focus point doesn't change when the camera is brought up to the eye.

When you are shooting wide open [aperture to the smallest number e.g. f/1.8] the area in focus will be very small. Hence, if you do not change the focus point and leave it in the middle nothing of value will be in focus. In this case I focused and exposed on the face of the closest guitarist [singer] and used spot metering combined with manual exposure. If I would have used aperture priority, when the light moved over the second guitarist from the front guitarist my camera would have changed the shutter speed to match the change in light. I have found in low light photography manual exposure is the setting I use more than aperture priority. This might not work for you but my suggestion is to experiment using manual exposure combined with spot metering and make note of the results.

Experiment, practice, and have fun!

More to follow...

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Low Light Photography Part 1

I have the opportunity to shoot many events each month in little to 'no' light. Most of the events I shoot do not permit the use of a flash. Over the past seven years of shooting in low light venues, I have learned many tricks, tips, and techniques.

  1. I heard a famous, experienced photographer say, "You are taking a picture of light with a subject in it." I forget who stated it but the phrase stuck in my mind. Especially when I am shooting in low light or almost no light events.
  2. Use the 'fastest' lens you can afford. My suggestion is to purchase a 50mm f/1.8 or f/1.4. Currently, I use my 50mm f/1.8 as my main lens in a low light situation. However, this image was taken with my Tamron 17-50 f/2.8.
  3. Study any available light and determine if you can use it as fill light. If you are shooting a youth event and the light is 'moving' the key to success is to pre-expose the shot and 'lock' it in by using 'M' manual mode. The reason I use manual mode is to avoid the moving light from adjusting my exposure when I do not want it adjusted. If you shoot in aperture priority, then you run the risk of the shutter speed changing which could cause you to get an overexposed or underexposed image. Typically, I find if I can get the shutter speed at least to 1/30 or 1/60 of a second with my lens wide open most of the shots will not appear 'blurry'. This shot was taken at 1/50 and f/2.8. I exposed the shot on the upper left of the image to ensure the face of the drummer was not blown out. This caused a dimensional look and added some impact to the image. The drummer's left had has some blur in it but it shows 'action'.