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Messages - FTb-n

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EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: clown* photographer
« on: October 23, 2014, 11:44:06 PM »
Wait...wait...I thought that I resembled that remark????....  8)
Infrared, is that a DIY ring light and power box?  If so, would you mind showing off the business end and telling us about it?

I'm always fascinated by DIY lighting.

Photography Technique / Re: Shooting in a Dark Skating Arena Advice
« on: October 20, 2014, 11:00:06 AM »
Curious if you change anything as you shoot a group of skaters.  Are you going with f/2.8 always or stop down to get more of them in focus?
Shooting freestyle groups can be tough, especially if the choreography has each skater doing photogenic elements in unison.  I look for portions of the choreography that gives each skater a moment to shine alone.  If you don't know the routine, it helps to be able to shoot with both eyes open so you can tell when another skater is preparing for a jump or another element.  Still, you're going to miss a bunch of shots.  For these groups, I keep it wide open and I'm primarily looking for individual shots.

Synchro is different and I will shoot wide open and stopped down to 4.5, maybe 5.6.  If shooting from the boards, I like to get a shot wide open, looking down the line as they skate by with only the second or third skater in focus.  If the line is skating toward me and perpendicular to my focal plane, I'll go wide open because shutter speed is more important here.  If I try to get more skaters from a line in focus, stopping down means a slower shutter speed (or higher ISO) and I make sure to pan with the movement as I shoot.  This helps if the skaters are moving at the same rate and not in a pinwheel.

When shooting competitions, I generally can't shoot from the boards so I forget about the more dramatic shots of looking down the line.  Actually, I am more likely to shoot from the top of the bleachers with synchro so I can show the synchro elements as the judges see them.  Hopefully, this means straight lines!  The key is to find a point where you can look over the plexiglass and to be on the same side as the judges.  Most routines are choreographed to face the side of the rink where the judges sit.  In this case, I typically stop down to 4.5 or 5.6 and leave it there.

One nice plus to competitions is that you may get the chance to shoot in a rink used by a large university with LOTS of light.  The shots in the gallery link below were shot at the home rink of the Minnesota Gophers hockey team.  It was a dream to shoot with this much light.  These shots were at ISO 4000, f4.5, and 1/640.

Lenses / Re: Building my lens system - where to go from my basic kit?
« on: October 18, 2014, 03:37:31 PM »
Sorry to here that the 24-105 is working for you.  I love mine for walk around use and any shots with moving water.  The IS is a big asset with slower shutter speeds to control the motion blur.  I would definitely keep the 35 1.4.  This appears to be your benchmark lens and it's nice to have a fast prime like this in your arsenal.  Maybe consider the 70-200 2.8 II next.  This happens to be my most used lens, but our subject matter may differ.  I just can't see it becoming a paperweight.   Then consider the 16-35.  Save the decision to replace the 24-105 with the 24-70 for last to see how much you really need the 35-70 range.

Lenses / Re: 70-200 2.8 II or 100 2.8L and 135 2 and 200 2.8
« on: October 17, 2014, 10:52:07 PM »
OR, if you aren't just looking for tele-supertele range, I say the zoom plus the 35/2 IS would be a great rounding out if you are going to be picking up the 7d2.


The 35 2.0 IS is nice lens and complements the 70-200 nicely.  For light challenged events, I will use this lens on one body and the 70-200 on another.  It also makes a nice "normal" lens for crop bodies.  Plus, it's a poor man's macro.  Okay, not really macro, but you can get quite close with this lens.

Photography Technique / Re: Shooting in a Dark Skating Arena Advice
« on: October 17, 2014, 12:47:03 PM »
Thanks everyone for the advice, technique and equipment!  After the gala I'll post some pics!
One last tip.  If this is a multiple day event, take the time to review your photos on your computer after each shot.  I learn a lot about what worked and what didn't when I review my photos and often alter my strategy for the next day's shoot.

Have fun.  I hope that you find it as rewarding as I do!!

Lenses / Re: 70-200 2.8 II or 100 2.8L and 135 2 and 200 2.8
« on: October 17, 2014, 12:40:35 PM »
Get the 70-200 f2.8L II.  I got mine when I had a 60D, then I added the 7D, and now the 5D3.  Crop or FF, this lens is my most used lens by far.  It rivals primes in its range for IQ and its AF and IS performance is top notch.  There is a reason why this lens is popular among photojournalists, sports, and wedding photographers.

If you go the prime route, I think you will regret it.  You will end up making what might be a tough choice of which lens to leave home, or do I bring them all?  If you bring them all, you will constantly be questioning whether you have the right lens on the camera and may spend too much time changing lenses.  Plus, you need to figure out how to carry it all.

I carry two bodies, one with a short zoom (17-55 2.8 on crop, 24-70 on FF) and one with the 70-200.  Whether I'm shooting events, sports, travel sightseeing, or the kids playing with the dog outside, the 70-200 is the lens that I grab most often.

Of the three primes that you mention, the 200 2.8 offers no advantage over the zoom (save for weight).  The 135 is a great lens and can give you tighter DOF.  It can also offer better low light performance if you need faster shutter speeds.  But, if shooting candids, I'd rather use the IS on the slower zoom.  I can capture good candids at 1/40 with this lens and no camera shake. 

The 100 2.8 offers much better macro than the 70-200.  You didn't mention the need for lots of macro work.  If this is a must, then a dedicated macro lens may be a must.

As mentioned before, start with this zoom and specialize later.  In my case, I love the 24-70 2.8, but I'm considering the 50 1.2L for poorly lit venues.  (Actually, I'm hoping that Canon updates one or two of its 50's very soon.)  It would never replace the 24-70.  If I go with a fast 50, it would be for special circumstances.

For what it's worth, I will often take one body with the 70-200 and the 40mm pancake to kid's sporting events.  The 40 is a great backup for team photos.  It's cheap and easy to carry in a jacket pocket.  Still, I rarely use it because even with team photos, I often have enough room with the zoom at 70mm.

Photography Technique / Re: Shooting in a Dark Skating Arena Advice
« on: October 16, 2014, 12:00:15 PM »
From a lighting perspective, this isn't that tough.  Roller skating rinks, "moonlight bowling", and wedding receptions can be tough.  But, this isn't tough at all for current Canon crop and FF bodies.

The key is to have bodies and optics that can track the skater and stay on focus without hunting.   F2.8 glass or wider will best leverage those cross-type focus points.  Focus speed of the 70-200 Mark II is fantastic.  Combine this with the 7D or 5D3 AF system, and tracking the skater is a breeze.  The 5D3 is particularly good at this with it's 8 expansion points.

I can't say this enough -  those spotlights are you friends.  They can be very bright!  You don't need a flash (and shouldn't use one here).  Ice shows typically have four spots and with solos, all four are on the skater.  At any given time two-three will give you direct front and side lighting.

In fact, one tip that I missed is to turn on the highlight warning.  It's ok if you blowout some of the ice, but you don't want to blowout a skater's costume.  With these spots, this can happen.

Seriously, there will be enough light. 

You will have to adjust to rapidly changing light levels.  When there are multiple skaters on the ice, there may only be one or two spots on a skater at a time.  Two more tips:

1. USFSA or ISI skate club shows with multiple skaters are often choreographed to give one skater his/her time in the spotlight.  This is where the single skater skates center ice and does a spiral or a jump.  Be ready for this.  All spots will be on the skater at this time.  And, it will be the best chance to get a good shot of the skaters doing their best elements.

2. At the end of a routine, during a finish pose, spotlights often pan across the skaters.  If you need or see a shot of a particular skater, focus on them, set your shutter speed for one full spot, and wait for the spotlight to pan across the skater.  Be ready, especially if the spot operator is "pan happy."  This can offer some great photo opportunities.  The side lighting of a single spot on a skater in his/her finish pose can be great.

Lighting can easily be conquered.  Practice getting the shot.  Practice during ice show practice. 

With many skaters, there are one or two particularly good moments in their routine that you want to capture.  Look for those.  Spirals offer a great opportunity.  Take note where they do them so you can get a shot with the skater doing a spiral heading toward you or across your field of view. 

Split jumps offer some of the best jump shots because it's a jump where the skater typically poses in the air -- with a smile.  Better skaters will give you hang time.  Be sure to know where they do the split jump and which side of the rink they face so you can position yourself accordingly.

Some of the great Olympic shots are of skaters in the apex of a triple jump.  But, this can vary widely with the skater.  Different skaters have different facial expressions during rotational jumps.  Some can hold a smile throughout the jump.  Others show the look of pain on their face.  This can lead to some unflattering shots.  Split jumps are often more flattering.

Here's a link to a few shots of soloists from this year's show.  All shot with a 5D3, 70-200, ISO 4000, f2.8, and most at 1/500.

Here's the link previously posted to the 2012 show, all shot with the 7D, ISO 1600-3200.

Photography Technique / Re: Shooting in a Dark Skating Arena Advice
« on: October 16, 2014, 12:30:54 AM »
You're screwed.  But give it the best you got.

Nonsense.  If your show is lit with spotlights like the Stars on Ice video, no problem.  Use the 70-200 f2.8 -- perfect lens for this.  5Ti or 5D3, use ISO 1600-3200, shutter speeds to 1/320-1/500 for younger kids, 1/500-1/1000 for more advanced skaters who can perform rotational jumps -- flips, lutz, etc.  Check out my post on page one of this thread.

Photography Technique / Re: Shooting in a Dark Skating Arena Advice
« on: October 15, 2014, 04:54:12 PM »
Not all rinks or all ice shows are lit the same way.  But in my experience, with roughly 10,000-15,000 images a year of skating, the 70-200 f2.8L II is a great lens to use.  Its range is perfect on the 5D3 if you can shoot from the boards in the players box.  It also works well with crop, but can get tight when the skater nears your side of the rink.

Spotlights are generally quite bright.  With soloists, you can have four spots on the skater.  ISO 1600, f2.8, at 1/500 can work well.  Although, I now shoot more at 3200 and between 1/500 and 1/1000.

For full frame, I would hesitate going wider than 2.8.  Tiny DOF on moving skaters is not very forgiving.  Keep in mind that most often you end up tracking the torso of the skater, but it's the eyes that you want in focus.  They could be in a different plane, so some DOF is helpful.

Photography Technique / Re: Shooting in a Dark Skating Arena Advice
« on: October 15, 2014, 02:22:46 PM »
This question is right up my alley.  My daughter skates with a local club and now at the level where she earns solos in the annual ice show, she has her Axel and several doubles in her repertoire.   Shooting ice shows is the reason that I invested in my 70-200 f2.8L II.  It's also the reason why I upgraded from an XT to a 60D, then a 7D, and now a 5D3.  A 1Dx would be great, but frankly the 5D3 is filling my needs quite well.

Your T5i can handle this, but if you are going to rent, rent a 5D3.  With either body, your ISO will be between 1600 and 3200.  I will often go beyond.

Whether its your T5i or a rented 5D3, get to know the camera.  Know how to change settings and how navigate the menu before you get to the rink.  Be prepared to trouble-shoot an errant setting and to change a shooting mode in a hurry and in the dark.

Lightroom 5 is great for noise reduction.  You need more with the crop body than the with the 5D3.  Shoot RAW.

The key is to get lots of practice.  I assume that your rink is built for hockey.  The best vantage point is the players box.  It gets you at ice level and you avoid the plexiglass.  The 70-200 on the 5D3 has great range from this position.  I typically shoot in landscape.  With a crop body, things can get tight when the skater gets close forcing a vertical shot.  I use a monopod with a Manfrotto tilt head and quick release.  I use the collar on the lens and the tilt head on the monopod lets me tilt up or down.  The collar gives me the horizontal to vertical option.

Shutter speed will vary with the talent of the skater and the action on the ice.  1/200 minimum for younger skaters and spirals.  Pan with the skater when you shoot.  For rotational jumps, 1/500 is minimum.  When I shot with the 7D, I was at first afraid to go beyond 1600 and often lived with shutter speeds of 1/320-1/500.  Today, I typically shoot 1/500 to 1/1000.  A sharp noisy photo is better than a blurry clean one.  It's easier to clean up noise than blur.

With my 70-200, cropping a shot from the 5D3 is sharper and cleaner than one from my 7D.

With the 5D3, I shoot with high FPS setting, AI SERVO, spot focusing with 8 expansion points, AF Case 2 (yes, I prefer this over Case 5 which is for erratic movement), back-button focusing, spot or partial metering, manual mode, RAW, AWB, f2.8, shutter 1/500-1/1000, and ISO 2000-4000.

Regarding the IS on your lens, leave it on.  Above 1/500, it may not help, but it doesn't hurt and it will help if you must go lower.  Lately, I shoot a lot at 1/1000 with it on and off and cannot say that I've noticed a difference.  The biggest problem with turning it off is forgetting to turn it back on when you need it, like with a shot backstage.

Anticipation is key.  Shoot during practice so you know the routines and practice your timing.  Unless you use a 1Dx with 12 FPS, do NOT rely on spray and pray to get the shot.  Even with the 8 FPS of the 7D, burst mode is no substitute for timing.  Surprisingly, I am more likely to burst during a slow spiral than a fast jump.  With the spiral, I'm looking for background and little happens between frames.  With jumps, a lot can happen between frames at 8 FPS.  Split jumps are often the best to shoot because you can get some hang time at the peek of the jump.  I do often burst a couple frames when I try to get the apex of the jump (sometimes due to a heavy finger).  This is what you want to shoot.  For rotational jumps, get the take-off, try to  get the apex, than the the landing.  Single jumps are tough.  If the skater is facing you during the take-off and landing, they then face away from you during the apex of the jump.  Just about ever point in between these can be very unflattering.

The 7d and the 5D3 are great for tracking the skater.  Use AI Servo.  But understand how it works.  It keeps track of movement to predict where the subject will be when you trip the shutter.  Skater's change direction frequently and can through off the AI Servo.  This is a bigger problem for Rebel's than the 7D and 5D3.  To get around this, get in the habit of lifting your finger off the shutter briefly when the skater changes direction.  I assume that you are "riding" the shutter (or back focus button) to track the skater.  With AI Servo, ride it, that is, be sure to pre-focus for at least second before shooting.  This gives the chip more info to predict the focus when the shutter trips.

The other issue that you will run into with the 5Ti is it's buffer.  Even if you aren't bursting lots of shots, you can still shoot a bunch in a hurry and fill up that buffer.  The key here is to know the routine and don't fill the buffer getting the take-off to a jump.  Save a couple frames for the apex and landing.

Again, practice, practice, practice.  Practice to know figure skating so that you can see when a skater is getting ready for a jump and zoom so they don't jump out of the frame.  Watch for sit spins, skaters often go into a standing spin and out of your frame if you are too tight.  Practice timing spins.  Practice to learn the routines.  Practice to learn the limits of your camera.  If there's a dress rehearsal, this can be your best chance to get shots and to learn how the lighting will be.

Figure skating is about the skating.  Full body shots are often best.  Save the closeups for ending poses.

I prefer to shoot in manual mode and pick an ISO that supports shutter speeds of 1/1000 when all spot lights are on the skater.  I then bump the shutter speed down when fewer spots are on the skater.  Chimp a lot so you know that your exposure is in the range.  You will get to the point where you know what shutter speed to use with 4 spots vs. 3 vs. 2 vs. 1.  I don't like auto exposure because the background and or the costumes are rarely 18% gray.

I must note that I have had a lot of good luck with 1/500.  It all depends upon the skills and speed of the skater.

Check out this link for more detail.  Scroll to the bottom for a complete write-up on shooting ice shows.  This was written after a show in 2012 that was shot with a 7D -- before any experience with the 5D3.

This link includes exhibition galleries.  Those after April 2013 were shot with the 5D3.  Sorry, don't have the 2013 or 2014 show photos posted here.  But, the 2012 show photos are.

Here is a gallery of shots from the 2012 show shot with the 7D.  Shutter speed range was typically 1/250-1/640 with ISO 1600-3200 -- maybe half at 1600 and half at 3200.

Hope this helps.

Landscape / Re: Hoya Polarisationsfilter for Landscapes.
« on: October 15, 2014, 10:37:45 AM »
HD!  I have Pro-1 and HD clear filters and the HD polarizer.  The HD are MUCH tougher and harder to break.  There are also much easier to clean.  Fingerprints wipe off very easily.  Within the Hoya line, I highly recommend the HD filters.

Another highly regarded filter to consider is B+W, but I  can't offer first-hand experience on these.

Dumb question.  How can manual mode with auto ISO still be manual mode?

There are three elements to exposure control -- aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.  With film bodies, the ISO (a.k.a. ASA) was fixed.  But, digital bodies introduce the ability to change ISO and offer auto ISO as a feature.  It does seem that the PASM (program, auto aperture, auto shutter, manual) mode settings are rather dated from the days of film and it is long overdue to add fifth mode with an auto ISO setting.

For what it's worth, the current Canon bodies offer two easy to use dials.  In manual mode, these can be set to two of the three exposure control elements.  I would like to see the integration of a third dial so that I can readily change all three without having to hold another button down while rotating the dial.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: How to differentiate crop vs. FF
« on: October 14, 2014, 09:37:36 AM »
Interesting thread so far.  My jump to FF wasn't that long ago.  I still use my 7D, but in comparison, the 5D3 images have more pop to them.  That's part of the key.  After getting the shot, it is easier to see the difference between FF and crop when comparing two similar photos side-by-side.  However, good crop bodies with good glass can produce great images that can be hard to discern from FF when there's no side-by-side comparison.

Every body has boundaries where getting the shot and image quality is challenged.  For me, the FF 5D3 was a better choice when I realized that I pushing my crop 7D beyond these boundaries.   That's the biggest difference.  If you live within the sweet spot of a crop body, the advantages of a FF body are minor.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: How to differentiate crop vs. FF
« on: October 13, 2014, 03:13:23 PM »
FF Advantaged:

- Better low light/high ISO performance
- Greater color depth
- Narrower DOF, which means better control of DOF
- Generally speaking, features in demand by pros more likely in FF (the 7D2 may buck the tide a bit on this)
- Sharper images given EF glass.  This one surprised me.  Check out the comparison of a 70-200 f2.8L II on a 1Ds Mk3 vs. a 60D
- Strengthens muscles if carried for 20 minutes every day.
- Simplifies one's bank account  ;)

Photography Technique / Getting the right exposure for outdoor sports
« on: October 12, 2014, 02:22:37 PM »
I mostly shoot indoor sports where lighting tends to be consistent and getting the correct exposure is fairly easy.  But, I occasionally shoot soccer and cross country where cloud cover can change the light quickly and players can sometimes be in the sun, sometimes in the shade.  I could use some tips for getting the correct exposure.

For cross country, the courses tend to serpentine around a field so I pick a spot at the beginning, one in the middle, and one at the finish line to get runners from our school.  Keeping the sun in front or to the side of the runner's face is a factor in selecting my vantage points.  My ability to hoof it from one spot to the next before the runners get there is another.

I'm using a 5D3, sometimes a 7D, with a 70-200 f2.8L II.   I've grown leery of Evaluative meter mode because it tends to overcompensate for the sky and it can change wildly.  I most often use spot or partial metering.  I have more comfort in manual mode.  Aperture or shutter priority modes seems to lead to wide swings in exposure.  Jersey colors are not always 18% gray and the meter can often be blown out by the background.

My current technique is to try to get a bunch of test shots before the event with kids facing the sun and away from the sun so I know the range of shutter speeds to use.  F-stop is fixed at 2.8 and I pick an ISO that lets me pick a shutter speed between 1/1,000 and 1/4,000 -- ISO 400 often works.  While shooting, I'm watching the needle and the light on the runners.  I try to judge when the runner's face's appear shaded, then dial down the shutter speed to bump up the exposure.  Generally, I make sure that the needle is in the middle or to the right.  When I can, I glance at the LCD, but there often isn't time.  Sometimes the sun makes it difficult get a good read from the LCD.

My consistency needs help and I often get a bunch of shots that are over-exposed.  Lightroom fixes this, but I'd like to get better at nailing the exposure.  Listening to Scott Kelby talk about the 7D2, it fascinates me that pros typically shoot JPEGs to get their shots to their wire service with minimum delay.  This got me wondering how they nail the exposure since there's less room for error with JPEGs.  I most often shoot RAW.

So, for those shoot outdoor sports, how do you nail the exposure?  What meter modes do you like and do you trust Av, Tv, or Auto ISO?

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