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Photography Question 
Julie Ray
 

Settings for Indoor and Nightime Digital Shooting


 
  IMG_2330
IMG_2330
Jumping event (indoors)
© Julie Ray
 
  IMG_6378
IMG_6378
indoor team roping event
© Julie Ray
 
  IMG_6400
IMG_6400
indoor team roping event
© Julie Ray
 
 
I am shooting rodeo events. They are mostly at night with bad outdoor arena lighting or indoors in bad arena lighting. I have a Canon D30 and a Canon EOS 1D. I have been trying different settings but am still having big problems with blur and out of focus issues.

Using: Canon 70-200mm f2.8 af usm lens
tripod
40x speed media card
Canon 550 Speedlite w/Quantum
battery.
It has been recommended for me to set the setting to M and set the aperture and shutter speed myself as long as the lighting is consistent. Can anyone recommend some setting combinations to try? Thanks in advance!

The pics I have included have not been edited.


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6/3/2003 3:37:38 PM

 
Andy 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/28/2002
  Can you give us the shooting data of those photos so we can work something out for you?

For the first photo, basically you want to freeze the horse in mid air and blur the background. So a fast shutter speed and wide aperture combination works. But watch out for the maximum flash sync speed. The D30 and 1D has 1/200 and 1/500 max syn speed respectively. You would not want to set the shutter speed faster than the max sync speed.

For the second and third photos, you may try the technique called "panning". Your camera follows the subject and blur the background with motion. You need a slow shutter speed this time, say, 1/60, 1/30 or even 1/15 of a second AND SET YOUR FLASH IN 2nd CURTAIN SYNC MODE. This needs some practice but it is not too hard. An Image Stablizing Lens would be a greap help.

Hope this helps.


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6/4/2003 11:56:56 AM

 
Julie Ray   Okay , the Exif info on the picture files is as follows: 1) Jumping pic.
-1/160 sec shutter
-F2.8
-AV setting (aperature priority)
-1EV -800iso -200mm
-247.07mm
-Ettl flash

2) middle pic.
-1/30sec shutter -800iso
-165mm -203.83mm
-Aperature priority

3)last pic
-1/30 -f3.2 -800iso
-108mm -103.42mm
-shutter priority

Thanks so much for the immediate response, I am desperate and won't have time to take a class till later this year. I got my horse before my camera in my new business!

thanks again!


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6/4/2003 6:10:03 PM

 
Andy 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/28/2002
  If I interpret the data correctly from the first photo, you have already max out the ISO and aperture setting (ISO 800 and f2.8) and still did not get a shutter speed fast enough (1/250 or 1/500, the max sync speed since you are using a flash, depending on the camera you use) to freeze the action. The other option will be the same as photo 2 and 3, panning.

If the exposure for all three photos are the same, max speed 1/160 (let's use 1/125), max aperture f2.8 and ISO 800, we have something to work on.

Set your D30 or 1D's focusing mode to Al Servo AF (aren't you glad you have the EOS system?). This will allow you to focus, lock and track the subject (consult your camera's manual if you do not know how to use this mode). If I remember correctly, only the center focusing point is used in this mode and you will not see the square light up when it achieves focus.

Press the shutter half way to focus and keep the shutter pressed half way when you are tracking the subject. Press the shutter fully when you are ready to take the picture.

Here's the setting I will use:

Focusing Mode: Al Servo AF
Exposure Mode: M (Manual)
Shutter Speed: 1/30
Aperture: f2.8
ISO: 200

Try a few times and see if this helps.


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6/5/2003 9:30:38 AM

 
Julie Ray   Andy,

I currently shoot in Al Servo and the ISO goes much higher than 800. The 1D can go to a ISO of 1600 and is expandable to 3200 and the shutter speed range is 1/16000 to 30 sec.

I have been looking at my manual and it talks about the lower settings leaving a light trail behind the subject in 2nd curtian sync. I have my flash on ettl as recommended for it to communicate with the lens and camera. I dont remember the square lighting up when I use the above mode. But I was thinking the focusing point area was anything that stayed within the 45 point area. My subjects move erratically and change position rapidly going further and coming closer to me depending on how they are doing and which event I am shooting. Also I am am having issues with how I shoot shoot , Raw Tif or large fine jpg, and in which color setting srgb or adobe 98 rgb. It seems like post processing companies use the srgb mode. I just want to help my camera do all it can so in turn, so can I. I have a lot to learn but need to do that as I go. I have several nightime outdoor, events coming up and some daytime ones (is the flash good to use for them or is it not needed?)
I am sorry to ask so many questions, but it is so nice to find someone to actually offer some advice and suggestions.


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6/5/2003 10:25:41 AM

 
Andy 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/28/2002
  About the Al Servo AF mode, now I have to dig out my 1v manual. It says, "Initial focusing on the subject is performed by the central focusing point alone. Once this is achieved, all 45 focusing points are ready to focus (when the 45-point automatic selection setting is chosen)." So you are right. As long as the subject stays within the 45 focusing points, the camera should track it for you.

I don't have a 1D myself. But everyone recommend to store the data in the RAW/TIFF format for all the details. You can always delete the unwanted data and convert to other format later using PS or the software that came with the camera. Better yet, your 1D can save both RAW and JPEG format at the same time. For color, probably I will stick with the default (I think it's matrix 1) cause you can alter the color later. The other thing is the white balancing. You probably have to set to Tungsten or Fluorescent (or you may not have to because you are using a flash). Because you got the feedback right away, try a couple shot and see what is the best.

For ISO, you want to set it as low as possible, usually no more than 400. I don't know if you can lock in the ISO. If you can, lock it to the one you want. That is why if the indoor is constantly and evenly lit, you can get the exposure reading beforehand and lock all the parameters up. Imaging you are tracking a dark color horse or a white horse. If you do not manually set up those parameters, the exposure may be off.

Second curtain sync will leave a trail of the subject if the subject is moving and your camera is stationary. If you pan with the subject, the background objects (which are stationary) will leave a trail. If you don't want to see any blurry background and trail and you can get very close to the subject (like within 50 feet), you can try to set the camera's shooting mode to Tv (shutter speed priority) and set it to 500, your 1D's max sync speed. Try to concentrate on the subject only and eliminate as much background as possible because it will be very dark. Try different setting and experiment. Good luck.


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6/5/2003 1:12:54 PM

 
Julie Ray   Andy, It seems like everything I read says that I should set the iso speed higher like over 800. And set the shutter speed at 1/100 or more. Is your advice the same for an outdoor nighttime event with stadium type lights or less?


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6/5/2003 1:37:38 PM

 
Andy 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/28/2002
  I do not own a digital camera but I heard that the ISO should be kept to a smaller number for print quality issues. By all mean, try the different iso and shutter speed combination to achieve your goal. If one does not work, try another combination. You can see the result immediately. Just give yourself plenty of time before the main event to measure the exposure, shoot a couple test shot and decide what settings to use. And, of course, share your pictures here.

I am not sure how different is the lighting of the rodeo arena and the stadium. Usually the sport events in the stadium are well lit (concerts may be different). Basically the techniques for measuring the exposure are the same. Other experts here may have more experience in shooting sports and they may give you some advices.


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6/6/2003 9:10:26 AM

 
Ron Burgis   Welcome to the world of "SPORTS ACTION"! Not as easy as you thought.....You have to max out your ASA when necessary. Choose your spots where you as close as possible to the action you want to shoot. Sometimes you have shut off the flash and use a monopod and pan. If you use "Rear Curtain" flash sync you need a slower shutter speed to allow some blur with the flash going off to make a solid image (takes practice). You have the equipment necessary, just keep shooting!

Ron www.brphoto.photoreflect.com


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6/10/2003 4:16:10 AM

 
Michelle Marsan  
 
  Rodeo 1
Rodeo 1
Indoor, night rodeo event
© Michelle Marsan
 
  Indoor night rodeo 2
Indoor night rodeo 2
© Michelle Marsan
 
 
Julie, thanks so much for asking this question. I had the same problem, only much worse results, with film in a similar rodeo setting. It was indoors at night. The arena area was well lit, but I had to use my zoom at maximum zoom (300mm) and using 400 & 800 speed color print film the pictures were very "hazy" and very grainy. I have a Canon Rebel 2000. I have included 2 of the photos for review.


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6/10/2003 6:06:30 AM

 
Phil Grayson  
 
  B&W Barrel Racer
B&W Barrel Racer
Indoor Arena shot of barrel racer
© Phil Grayson
 
  Bull Rider Action
Bull Rider Action
B&W of Rodeo Bull Rider
© Phil Grayson
 
  Rodeo Bull Rider
Rodeo Bull Rider
B&W of Rodeo Bull Rider
© Phil Grayson
 
  Rodeo Ropers
Rodeo Ropers
B&W of Rodeo Ropers
© Phil Grayson
 
 
My sympathies Julie for I too have shot some rodeos and I'm sure it can be done but maybe not with your current equipment. Too many trade offs in your shooting environment may push the camera/flash beyond their limits. The most important question in the series of trade-offs you have to make is this one. Who is the customer? Or better, what's the end use of the photographs? If its selling to the riders, they want themselves in sharp detail and focus. They don't care about what you have to go through to get that or why it's almost impossible. The jumpers want every detail crisp (at apex of the jump which you got perfectly} and full color. Try that on light absorbing black horses. If its for art or photojournalism, you can live with the blurs and streaks. However if its for the riders, you must get closer, almost on top of them to get the color, detail and sharpness they want. If you are serious about this type photography, you need to get on the arena floor. You need to get the necessary waivers or agreements from a variety of people beforehand as there are RISKs. Scratch this option if you're not a thrillseeker.

If you can't get closer you must have more light on the subjects to get the depth of field, detail and certainly the color. Rent the most powerful flash compatible with that camera and test the results in that arena if you can. I am not familiar with the cameras you use but take the maximum shots you can, at least 5 or 6 in those few seconds of action. The law of large numbers works pretty well if you have the card memory or film to do it. Caution: Know the flash's capabilities so you don't burn it up with rapid fire shots. Get in the best position (closest) for the point of action. Bull riding is impossible to predict. You'll know where the jumps or barrels are so choose the best one for you.

All my suggestions come from 2 years using a Canon AE1 in rodeos, barrel racing inside and outside poorly lit arenas. I recently tried B&W Delta 3200 film, without a flash, at f5.6 or f4 and 1/125 on my 70 - 210 zoom lens and got some detail but there is still blurring. Focusing in poor light and a moving target is a hoot and forget rapid fire shots. I focus on a target that is about the distance I expect the subject to be in and hope they are in it when I fire. At f4 depth of field = not much. I did panning but with ropers and heelers you need to know the best moment to shoot as so many opposing actions occur simultaneously. It's pretty grainy film so art is more my interst. I wish the best for you and only you can figure out what works by just go do it. You'll get enough super shots to make you overcome the disappointments.
Phil G.


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6/10/2003 10:31:34 AM

 
Julie Ray   You all are great! It is a pleasure to get responses. I actually have had lots of luck this last year, but when I upgraded to the 1d I had that fear of power thing going. And Murphys law was waiting to strike in the wings. I am going to shoot a nighttime rodeo this friday night than a youth rodeo in the daytime(yee haaww!!) on saturday! I plan to try setting the camera in the TV mode, set the shutter speeds at 1/125 or higher and the iso at 800 or higher. My images arent grainy yet at 800 iso , so I think this combo might just be the ticket, I'll let ya'll know! thanks again

Julie Ray
www.imagedesignphotos.com


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6/10/2003 9:12:03 PM

 
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