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Photography Question 
Cindy Sanders
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/17/2008
 

Cannot Get the Correct Exposure


 
  Exposure Issues
Exposure Issues
© Cindy Sanders
Canon Rebel XSi (E...
 
 
Hi. I received advice earlier on how to take pics at a hockey game, but when I tried the settings given to me, I could not get the correct exposure. I'm adding one of the pic's set to manual mode - 1/125 - 4.0 - iso 400 (800 was very grainy) EF70-300mm @ 70.0 and on evaluative metering. Can anyone explain to me what I'm doing incorrectly? Thank you,
Cindy


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2/21/2009 8:26:06 PM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
  Cindy,
Photography requires light, and if you are under-exposing you need one of several things to happen:

- You need more light
- You need the camera to be more sensitive to light
- You need to let in more light

Doing the first requires changing the lighting conditions (e.g., adding a flash). Doing the second requires increasing ISO (makes the camera more sensitive to light; like high ISO film). Doing the third requires changing camera settings (increasing the aperture diameter; decreasing shutter speed).

There are limitations in accord with what you are shooting. As you are looking to shoot sports/action, you do not want to lower shutter speed a lot unless you desire blur. Your other options are a wider aperture or higher ISO. If your camera delivers grainy high ISO images, you may actually need to consider different equipment. For example, I love my Sigma SD14, but it is not very good for low-light conditions. If I were to want to seriously shoot high ISO with existing light, I'd really need to get another camera (on the other hand, it is fine with long exposures and low ISO). I see why you may want a longer lens to shoot hockey, but you can pick up some additional light with a faster lens (f2.8) ... probably at no small expense, and with a trade-off on depth-of-field.

So, I'm not sure that you are doing things so much 'incorrectly' as that there may not be enough in your setup and with existing lighting to support what you want to shoot. You may be able to adjust 16-bit exposures to recover some of this, but if it is a need, you'll want a better long-term solution.

I hope that helps!


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2/22/2009 8:44:50 AM

 
Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/11/2005
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  Cindy, try an experiment, preferably using the same lighting conditions as the hockey game ... put your camera on a tripod, put in aperture mode at F4, ISO 400. Click the shutter button or cable release ... then, check what the camera thinks is an auto-exposure. Is it bright enough? And if so, what is the shutter speed? My guess is it's more than 1/125th sec that you show ... unless somehow you've accidently set your exposure compensation way down; e.g., minus 3.


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2/22/2009 4:38:05 PM

 
Cindy Sanders
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/17/2008
 
 
  The one that got away
The one that got away
ISO 640 - 50mm - f2.0 - 1/250
© Cindy Sanders
Canon Rebel XSi (E...
 
  What do you think the ref. is looking at?
What do you think the ref. is looking at?
ISO 500 - 50mm - f2.0 - 1/200
© Cindy Sanders
Canon Rebel XSi (E...
 
 
Thank you Ken and Richard. Your advice has helped me a lot. I did the experiment with my camera as suggested. I found that on manual mode for some reason the camera sets the exposure compensation to -2 under these conditions. Strange, huh??? So I used my 50mm f1.8 lens today and I got a lot better shots. Again thank you both Cindy


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2/22/2009 6:09:46 PM

 
Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
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  Looks like you are getting closer Cindy. Richard & Ken gave you some great advice.
I forgot to mention that I also either use my long lens to get high to shoot over the glass or sometimes I go into the corner of players bench area (just watch out for pucks) and shoot from there so that the glass is not in front of my lens. As a "rule of thumb", I like to shoot a couple stops over what my lens shoots wide open as this is often the sharpest aperture for a lens. That is why I try to shoot f/6.3 or f/7.1 with my 100-400mm f/4.5 lens.
I am hoping to get the 5D Mark 2 soon for its better high ISO performance in these type lighting situations. I don't mind using higher ISO settings and as long as I dont have to lighten the image when editing, I can usually keep the noise down.
I didn't do so well my first time shooting my nephew's game but after a couple of practices for me and the team, I was able to find what was working for my setup.
Good luck!


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2/23/2009 1:24:19 AM

 
Cindy Sanders
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/17/2008
  Thank you for you advice Carlton. I'll be sure to use it at the next game.
Wow 5D Mark 2 looks like a great camera. Hope to see your photo's from it soon.
Cindy


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2/23/2009 1:23:30 PM

 
Bruce A. Dart   Hi all,
Good answers to this. One important thing for everyone to remember is that like sports, photography takes practice to be consistently good -- especially photographing sports. You can know what to do but your timing is apt to be off in just the same way that an athlete's timing is off when they come back to a new season!! Also, in regard to the "noise," several cameras have a "noise reduction" setting that does help somewhat. While some complain that this degrades the image (and it probably does in the purest sense), I find it preferable in these situations to the noise. As mentioned, the newer cameras handle the noise better at higher ISOs but you have to weigh the expense versus the shots you will get. If you are doing the photos for fun it may be hard to justify. If you are getting paid, well you have to have the right equipment to do the job. Even as a professional I find it hard to justify equipment that I would only use once in a while. However, a couple of additional options here: depending on your location, there are many places that rent photo equipment at pretty reasonable prices if the shoot is important; AND how close you are to your subject is another consideration. While a telephoto is probably preferable, lenses in the "normal" range and priced much more attractively and a "fast" lens such as the 50mm f1.8 can be purchased for about $150. The higher resolution usually allows some cropping to show a closer shot as well that may offer a partial solution.
Bruce


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2/24/2009 5:24:34 AM

 
Dale M. Garvey   Ask first if you use flash. My rink will not allow it because you might blind the player. The new Nikons have great sensors but ar pricy. D300 about $1400 but you can shoot at 2500 ISO. The D3 at 6000 with little noise. I understand that the D90 is a good choice. In Richmond, Va the rink was very bright and the reflection off the ice was great. You are probably having trouble with the meter because it is reading off the entire scene. Spot meter off a player and see if it is giving you the setting that you have set manually.


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2/24/2009 7:29:34 AM

 
Cindy Sanders
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/17/2008
  Thank you Bruce and Dale. Your advice is greatly appreciated and I will put it to the test at the next game.
Again thank you Cindy


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2/24/2009 1:29:18 PM

 
Bill Wyatt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/17/2005
  Low light means higher ISO settings forget about some setting someone gave you. Crank up the ISO settings put in shutter priority and go for it. Use a flash if you have it set the flash to forced 1/250 mode. Try anything think outside the box there is no setting for low light fast action!


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2/24/2009 7:49:54 PM

 
Bruce A. Dart   Cindy,
Everyone has things that work for them and, for the most part, you have to sort out what works for you. One of the fun things about photography is that there are exceptions to every rule and more than one way to do something. While I have never photographed hockey, basketball, vollyball and other events are similar -- each very different but similar in lots of ways in terms of how you have to photograph them. My experience with gyms has been that light reflects off the floor (the rink with hockey) and skews the exposure somewhat at times. I have more consistent results with shooting few practice frames to note a decent exposure and then setting the camera on manual at that exposure and leaving it there. If the exposure of the arena varies, the people are usually more consistently accurate. There is enough adjustment in photoshop to compensate slightly if you need to. I am continually amazed that, given any ten photographers, there are often nearly ten different ways to approach the same thing. That's another reason why it is critical for us to learn from each other!! Keep shooting.
Bruce


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2/25/2009 5:32:14 AM

 
Kim Johnson   I may be wrong, but you're gonna have to concentrate on stopping action at a hockey game. Which means to me your gonna have compromise on graininess and sharpness, by using a high ISO and a wider aperture. After all, what the point of properly crystal clear photos, if the action on the ice is nothing by motion blur. Open your lens all the way up, set your ISO to 800, then start with the highest shutter speed you have that you can get a decently exposed photo. Once you find a shutter speed that will stop the action, play with the other too elements (ISO and aperture), to find a happy compromise.


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2/25/2009 12:30:29 PM

 
Cindy Sanders
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/17/2008
  Thank you Bill, Bruce and Kim your advice is greatly appreciated. The kids have another game this week and I'll be sure to be trying out everyone's suggestions. Cindy


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2/25/2009 1:06:22 PM

 
John G. Clifford Jr
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/18/2005
  You can use the spot meter built-in to your camera to get a reading off of a white surface (ice, sideboard), and then add a couple 'stops' of exposure. For instance, if you zoom in on the ice and the meter reads 1/500 @ f/4, then set your camera to 1/500 @ f/2, or 1/250 @ f/2.8, and you should have the proper exposure.

The assumption here is that white is two stops brigher than 18% grey... and your camera meter 'thinks' everything is 18% grey.

Try it; it will work. Note also that, if you're shooting in an indoor area with even lighting, once you get the manual exposure, you can leave the camera in manual mode (fixed aperture, shutter speed) and all of your photos will be properly exposed.


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3/3/2009 10:00:31 PM

 
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