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Messages - FTb-n

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Standings as of this post:

Neuro             14897 posts, 10 boxes,  one rumored EOS GEEK
Mt. Spokane        9055 posts,   9 boxes, one very envied EF 50 f0.7 IS
Marsu42            4944 posts,   7 boxes, one EF 400 f2.8L IS Mark II
Private By Design  2709 posts,   7 boxes, one EF 300 f2.8L IS II

All seems right to me -- except I'd rather have a 50 f0.7, but that's just me.

I always (ok, almost always) power down before removing the card.  I never power down to change a lens.  I most often power down before storing it -- I try to do so every time, but have forgotten.

EOS Bodies / Re: what is the body you want to see canon release next ?
« on: November 02, 2014, 07:33:05 PM »
SL2 with the 70D sensor and improved video AF.

My 5D3's suit me fine.  But, I would be interested in a compact DSLR for travel light needs and for my wife. 

I like full manual for stills, but video isn't a big interest for me.  The 5D3 is truly fantastic for those more talented with manual focus while shooting video -- which isn't me.  Our best video camera for me and for my wife to use is an SX20.  I'd like to replace this with an SL2 which can use my lenses or just the 18-135 (or the new pancake).

Photography Technique / How do you nail your exposure when shooting sports?
« on: November 01, 2014, 12:52:21 PM »
I often look at exif data of sports shots (when available) and am surprised at how many sport shooters use an auto exposure mode.  Av or Tv seem most common.  It isn't that I expect "real photographers only shoot manual".  It's how they get reliable results from an auto mode that surprises me.  (Or, maybe they don't??)

I've tried Av or manual with Auto ISO and often get wide swings from overexposed to underexposed shots.  If I use partial metering, jersey colors can wildly affect the exposure.  Evaluative or center weighted metering gives me more problems with the background adversely influencing the shot.  So I most often spot meter on faces during warm-up and shoot full manual.  (During the action, spot metering a face then recomposing means lost shots.)

Indoors, some gyms have dark spots, so I try to change the shutter accordingly during play.  Most often, this is based more on my eye than the meter.  When the scene looks darker, I bump the shutter speed, shoot, then chimp the LCD to see if I was close.  But, outdoors, I run into more light swings.  Either cloud cover results in constantly changing light or players move in and out of shadows based on the direction of their play.  Still, I try to note the correct exposure -- or something close -- and change settings when I anticipate play moving into different lighting conditions.

My results are generally close, plus or minus 2/3 stops.  I still get a bunch that may be off a full stop.  But, I'd like to nail the exposure in camera.

How do you nail your exposure when shooting sports?

Post Processing / Portrait-specific post processing software
« on: October 31, 2014, 09:49:54 PM »
Anyone use portrait-specific post processing software that you can recommend -- or warn against purchasing?

I don't have Photoshop and only use Lightroom 5.  For the most part, this has met all my needs.  But, what do you use for portraits of students who have more than a mild amount of adolescent blemish reduction needs?

I often see Portrait Professional ads on these pages (I know that the ads aren't endorsed by CR) with samples that overdo things a bit.  Anyone have experience with this software?

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: clown* photographer
« on: October 24, 2014, 11:51:27 AM »
oh boy..you just had to ask...didn't you...LOL! It's complicated. It is a light painting set-up.
Sorry, but I'm glad I asked.  I found the story of your creation far more fascinating than a ring light.  Thanks for sharing it!!

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.

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