BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Craig Salmond
 

Extreme Sports Photography


I've always wanted to do sports photography, specifically extreme sports. I want to photograph rollerbladers and skateboarders like on the x-games on ESPN. Anybody know of any good photographers or websites that I can get inspired/ideas from?


To love this question, log in above
10/2/2005 7:39:57 PM

 
Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  your not going to get them without some very expensive glass,what ya got?


To love this comment, log in above
10/4/2005 5:36:15 PM

 
Forrest C. Wilkinson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/15/2005
  I don't photograph skateboarders and rollerbladers very often, but the concept of sports photography is very similar no matter what sport it is. And Sam is correct, you are going to need a good camera and a good lens attatched to that camera to take good sports pictures. I've been shooting sports for about 1.5 years, I work for a very large newspaper in the area and shoot at many professional sports such as NFL, MLB, NBA, College and High School mainstream football. I can answer your questions and help you out with composition, but there is no real inspiration that you can get, I would say you need more technique. I have a few pictures in my gallery, I can upload more if that would help you, or show you some examples. The number one thing is to be quick, and have a fast shooting camera. I would recomend the Canon 20D, or the Canon 1D models, the 20D goes for about $1200 without a lens, the 1D goes for about $2,000 without a lens, and the 1D mark II goes for around $3000-4000 without a lens. Now to go with the camera you're going to need a lens that will also cost you $1000+ if you want top quality, but you can go as low as $150-200 if quality isn't an issue. Reccomendations would be the 70-200mm f/2.8 Canon L, 300mm f/4 L, Canon 300 f/2.8 L. Either of those cameras will be plenty fast, 20D has 5 frames per second, and the 1D's have 8.5 frames per second. Focusing is another major issue, the 20D has 9 focus points (pretty good) and the 1D has 35 focus points (incredible). With the 1D, you will almost always have the proper focusing whereas you'll lose some shots on the 20d to back-focusing. Please elaborate with your question and I will check back and give you another response. Hope this helps.


To love this comment, log in above
10/4/2005 7:55:12 PM

 
Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  um,iguess he really didn't say if he even had a camera?


To love this comment, log in above
10/4/2005 8:46:15 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  I am shocked and amazed.


To love this comment, log in above
10/4/2005 8:49:15 PM

 
Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  thanks greg, good chuckle.


To love this comment, log in above
10/4/2005 8:54:14 PM

 
Craig Salmond   Okay, you're right. Sorry that I didn't say whether I had a camera or not. That's because the question was for information regarding other photographers. Having said that, yes I do have a 20D. I am aware of the extra expense of the lense and with time I'll get some wide-angle L series lenses-primes if I can afford the extra expense, but wide-zngle zooms that I use with wedding photography. Right now I have a 17-85mm EF-S lens but I can rent the top quality until I can buy. And right now I just want to experiment, with all kinds of sports. Thanks Forrest. I'd appreciate any help you could give me. With the 20D, what AF focus mode would you use, AI Servo, or AI Servo? Are they fast enough for a skater who would really be moving? I really like the very low angle shots at the top of the half-pipe or vert wall where they catch them in the middle of their tricks (spins, flips, grabs and grinds, etc). Thanks again!


To love this comment, log in above
10/5/2005 7:35:56 AM

 
Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  sorry about the short post craig,at least a 200mm f2.8,a 300 f2.8 would do better.you might get there with an f4,but maybe.don't know where you'll be located.we're not making fun of you,it's just the info.ok?you only need a decent camera,the lense will get you there.
sam


To love this comment, log in above
10/5/2005 8:47:10 PM

 
Forrest C. Wilkinson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/15/2005
  I wouldn't necessarily say that you would need a 300 f/2.8, because extreme sports like skating are usually shot close up. And if you decide you need more zoom, you can just buy a 1.4x Canon Teleconverter that only loses you one stop. The 70-200mm f/2.8 is only $1200 whereas the 300 f/2.8 is $3800; I don't know why you would even consider this lens if you were not shooting sports professionally. The 70-200mm is very versatle and is Canon's best zoom lens, and if you really need it, the 1.4 teleconverter is around $150, and it will put you up to 280mm and as a last resort you could have the 2x teleconverter that would put you to 400mm, however would loose you two stops. The 20d is a plenty good camera for sports, I would recommend AI Servo focus; however, sometimes, if you're standing in one spot, it's best to do manual focus. Let's say, for instance, you were standing at the end of a grind-rail and the skater is going to be coming at you, instead of risking him skating out of focus; since you know he will have to jump onto the rail, focus to the beginning of the rail and shoot immediately as he jumps on the rail. As far as low angle shots, set your focus point to the center point and then follow the subject up the ramp and shoot in mid-air. Let me know if there is anything else.


To love this comment, log in above
10/6/2005 1:26:48 PM

 
Melissa  L. Zavadil
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/26/2005
 
 
 
Hey forest, I didn't know that you were a sports photographer? Anyway I was taking a look at your photos and I came across that panned car. I think you might have forgot to ps/spin the wheels?? Here is a pic of my son it is not photoshop'ed it is a real pan do you see the wheels? On a pan shot the wheels need to be blurred.
Just something that I noticed. :o) Really, I just noticed this and am not making a crack at your photos!! They are really nice. :o)
Melissa


To love this comment, log in above
10/6/2005 2:15:47 PM

 
Melissa  L. Zavadil
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/26/2005
 
 
 
OK, why didn't that photo come up??


To love this comment, log in above
10/6/2005 2:19:27 PM

 
Forrest C. Wilkinson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/15/2005
  Melissa,
As a matter of fact, I am a professional sports photographer for the Star-Telegram which is one of the largest newspapers in the Southern United States. I normally cannot post any of my pictures that are in print, and this shot is in print with a blur on the wheels put in by my photo editor. However, I still had a copy of the shot how I edited it originally, and because I was shooting a number of events that day, I had no time to selectively radial blur the wheels. As a matter of fact, I was in such a hurry at that event that I didn't even have enough time to get down into the press area, so the car is actually in the pit area. I haven't had a lot of time recently so I haven't uploaded a lot of my sports pictures, but I am doing so today.


To love this comment, log in above
10/6/2005 2:39:27 PM

 
Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  you have a press pass don't you craig?
or from the stands?
local?
portfolio?
yeah me


To love this comment, log in above
10/6/2005 8:12:18 PM

 
Log in to respond or ask your own question.