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Category: New Questions

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Photography Question 
JOAN MCANELLY
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/20/2006
 

Shooting Sports: How to Prevent Blur?


I took pics of football last night - with my setting on "sports". I have never seen such a mess! What did I do wrong? Everything was a blur. Please help!

10/20/2007 1:18:06 PM

 
Todd Bennett
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/8/2004
  Joan,
What equipment were you using? ISO? Lens speed? Flash or no flash? Digital? We can't help without more info.

10/20/2007 1:56:31 PM

 
Dennis Flanagan
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/31/2005
  Joan, when you put your camera on "sports" setting, all the camera is doing to attempting to give you a shutter speed fast enough to stop action. If your light levels are not high enough, it won't do you any good. Another possible problem is the fact that you were shooting at night. Because you are shooting under lights while the rest of the night is surrounded in darkness, your meter does not handle it well. I suggest going on the field if possible, or as close as possible and getting a reflected meter reading off someone close to you, or simply by holding your hand in front of your lens about 6 inches and meter from that, then use manual mode. Make sure that the light hitting your hand is the same as what is reflecting from the players.

10/20/2007 2:12:02 PM

 
JOAN MCANELLY
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/20/2006
  I was using XTI 400D, ISO 100, lens EF75-300mm and also tried the 18-55mm lens. It seem to take better pics on auto but was very dark, I have not had this camera very long at all. I have never done manual settings before, but it looks like I really have a lot to learn. Thanks

10/20/2007 3:05:45 PM

 
Todd Bennett
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/8/2004
  Joan,
First off, donít get discouraged. Action photography is tough at best - especially at night at a high school football stadium.
ISO 100 will not usually do it with night action photography, even with a 2.8 lens. You have to crank up the ISO to 400, 800, 1600, etc., depending on the lighting. Most high school stadiums are not lit well at all, which creates major problems for photogs. A flash can help - but, depending on where you are shooting, may not be advisable. A monopod will help, but they take some time to get used to. I hope this helps.

10/20/2007 4:35:54 PM

 
Todd Bennett
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/8/2004
  P.S. High ISO = noise. You have to be aware of that. You have to decide between the amount of noise, blur, etc., that is acceptable. All of this depends on your intended use.

Editor's Note: Also check out two excellent courses: Basics of Sports Photography and Photographing Fast-Action Sports with a Digital SLR.

10/20/2007 4:40:16 PM

 
Bruce A. Dart

member since: 1/7/2007
  Joan,
The don't get discouraged, and action photography is tough at best could not be more true. In spite of photographing professionally for some 30 years, I have been photographing one night event for the past 15 years and still have not totally figured out the BEST way. Fast lenses and a higher ISO help. If your camera has a high ISO noise reduction setting then by all means also use that. It helps. Fortunately the Nikon D200 has that, not all cameras do. Another key item to watch for is the stadium lights. They will definitely skew the exposure with the camera set on any auto mode. Sometime the Aperture Priority mode works well (setting the widest open aperture and getting the fastest shutter available.) However, at 100 ISO you will be at least two to three stops from getting a minimal shutter speed to stop action. I usually zoom in to get a light reading, note that, and switch to manual with that setting. Be careful not to include the lights (as much as possible) in the images and focus on the action. For football, locating a little farther downfield and getting the action moving toward you also helps as they lateral movement is not as great and the diagonal relationship of movement is easier to stop action than perpendicular. Action coming straight toward you (or away) is easiest to stop action.

10/23/2007 4:42:52 AM

 
JOAN MCANELLY
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/20/2006
  Thanks everyone! I put my slave flash on and I have been taking pics of my ceiling fan, the extra flash really does help alot! I am going to try again using all of your tips and see how I come out. I will let you know, Thanks again so much!

10/23/2007 5:48:30 PM

 
Hans Abplanalp
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/8/2005
  Hi Joan

Hand-held, in a football stadium at night, using ISO 100 and a 75-300 mm lens you were probably shooting at far too low a shutter speed. The shutter speed should be at least as fast as the lens length. In other words if your shooting with your lens at 300 mm, the shutter speed should be set at least 300 otherwise everything will be blured simply because of camera shake.

Good luck in future!
Hans

10/23/2007 10:39:40 PM

 
Dana Gambill

member since: 12/5/2004
  Hey Joan,

ISO 100 is appropriate for most daylight situations, but not necessarily for night shooting. At least ISO 400 would be best.

Any kind of action or movement, if you want to freeze it, like a football, baseball or soccer game, you'd want to have the shutter at about 500. The sports shooters could tell you what they shoot at.

The long lens you chose is good, but for night shooting, best if you can put it on a monopod to avoid camera shake. Even during the day, if you look at pro ball games, most, if not all the sports photographers have their long lens' on monopods.

If you want to get reaction shots, like the players in the dug out, you could lower the shutter speed because their movement would be minimal.

Your shorter lens would be good for getting shots of players after the game, without the monopod, and using your flash if shooting at night. If you watch the end of a pro football game on tv you might be able to see what those photograpers do also.

You're on the right track! Whatever you do, have fun with it! - Dana

10/24/2007 11:14:06 PM

 

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