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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 1:25 am 
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Hi everyone, we recently had an event in Queenstown where a number of riders and skiiers are invited to perform stunts on rails in the town centre. It's a really fun evening and they truck in a load of snow from The Remarkables range so they have a soft(ish) landing!

At this kind of evening event a lens with a fast aperture and an external flashgun can prove invaluable. I shot the following images from a distance of 5-10m with an 85mm f1.8 lens on a Canon EOS 5D with a Speedlite 580 EX II flashgun.

None of the images have been cropped, so as you can see, I may have actually been better off with a slightly shorter lens for this event and position - the 50mm would have been perfect.

The 85mm f1.8 can certainly focus quickly, but I found it easiest to manually prefocus on the desired spot and take the photo as the rider reached it. I also experimented with slower shutter speeds and following the rider as I took the shot in an attempt to blur the background a little and introduce the feeling of motion - the shots taken without this felt too static, although a closer position would have allowed me to better isolate the rider against the background with a smaller depth of field.

Anyway, enough talk - here's the action!

Image

Canon EOS 5D, 800 ISO, 85mm f1.8 at f2.2, 1/160 with external flash, not cropped

Image

Canon EOS 5D, 800 ISO, 85mm f1.8 at f3.2, 1/100 with external flash, not cropped

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Canon EOS 5D, 800 ISO, 85mm f1.8 at f2.8, 1/100 with external flash, not cropped

Image

Canon EOS 5D, 800 ISO, 85mm f1.8 at f2.2, 1/100 with external flash, not cropped

I'm pleased to report the setup worked well with a surprising number of sharp and well-exposed shots - I shot about 200 photos and had about a 25% success rate, which I'm very happy with. I'd really recommend an external flash gun for anyone wanting to cover this kind of action, and I'm pleased I opted for the faster focal ratio of a fixed lens compared to a zoom.

The pros covering the event were closer to the action and using either fast primes or ultra wide zooms. It was almost 100% Canon action and I spotted a couple of 50mm f1.2 lenses - nice! There were also a few remote flashes positioned close to the action.

Gordon


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 6:42 am 
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Nice shots.
I don't get why Canon has such a dominance in sports-photography: Is it faster fps, better lenses?
B.t.w.: Where did you post your flash? In the hotshoe?

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 7:48 am 
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Sorry, no remote flashes for me as the bouncers wouldn't let me get any closer to the action! So my flash was mounted on the hotshoe and firing at a distance of 5-10m from the subject.

As for dominance in the sports arena, Canon has always had the edge on AF, and the best selection of big or fast lenses.

Canon's pro sports DSLRs have also tended to be better - just look at the 1D Mark III for instance compared to the competition.

Gordon


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 8:25 am 
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Hi Gordon, where's the snow on your photos? How much is it in QT now?

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 9:04 am 
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Weeeell, there's not been much this season so far - certainly none at ground level in the town centre, but it's raining heavily as we speak so the hope is it's cold enough at high elevation for it to fall as snow on the mountain tops...


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 3:10 pm 
I hope Vincent does not mind the link

http://www.pbase.com/vthian/athens_olympics_2004

Seems like Canon Rules ! :wink:

David


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 8:42 pm 
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Hi David, those photos say it all, don't they? If you go to almost any big sporting event, from Wimbledon to the Football World Cup the photographer's sidelines are dominated by big white barreled Canon L lenses - the 600mm f4.0 seems to be particularly popular. Fun to see some actual 1200mm lenses actually being used in the field though! I think their numbers are extremely limited...


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2007 10:20 am 
thanks Gordon, great pics!

i'm planning my first skiing trip to Europe this winter and am planning on taking as many landscape and action pics as possible.

What tips could you give for shooting in snow during the day?
- Low ISO's?
- Increase white balance's?
- ND filter a must?
I should probably also get an external flash if I get overcast conditions?

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2007 11:22 am 
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Hi Roland, there's some tips on shooting under snowy conditions here:

http://www.cameralabs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=212

If you're shooting action from a closeish distance, an external flash will be useful, but if it's sunny and the sun is behind you, then you could probably get away without it.

Feel free to start a thread in the landscape or travel sections about photographing in show though! We'll keep this section to action!

Gordon


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2007 12:51 pm 
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In snow it's very hard to expose properly,so one of my favorites is to shoot in RAW: That makes it super-easy to correct WB and exposure!
Also there is normally so much reflected light from the snow that you can stay with ISO 100. And normally you don't need an ND-filter, as small apertures and a fast shutter keep the excess light out.
The flash may well be needed, but not in an overcast scene (still enough light) but in bright sunshine, as the fill-flash (to avoid dark shadows in faces etc.) needs much more energy than under normal circumstances.

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