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Thread: First Assignment!

  1. #1

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    David

    First Assignment!

    My son is a professional Triathlete who has been flying all over North America to events for 5 years.
    I will be accompanying him to Ironman Canada in Whistler, BC on August 25. This is the first time I will see him in action.

    I have just purchased my first DSLR, a Canon 7D, and a 70 - 200 lens.
    What are the best settings to use when I will only have about half a dozen 5 to 10 second windows of opportunity to photograph him.

    I'm thinking "AI Servo" I believe this is an autofocus setting where I can hold him in the viewfinder and he will remain in focus as he runs / cycles past.
    Another setting I want to use is "Low Speed Continuous" shooting so I just hold the shutter release and the camera fires about 3 x per second. How "fast" a memory card should I use?

    I'm totally lost as to "Mode" or shutter speed, apeture, and ISO. Due to lack of experience, I may just default to Automatic and let the camera do it all, but know this will only get me an average result.

    Should I set up where he is traveling straight towards me, or get him at an angle to his direction of travel?

    Tripod? Yes, or No...

    What do you suggest for a rookie using this equipment at my first sporting event.

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Just add 'MacKenzie'

    Re: First Assignment!

    First and most important thing I'd suggest is - do not expect to come home with a library of great pictures. This sort of thing takes a lot of practice. And, as well as getting to know your camera inside-out so that you can operate it without thinking (which in itself takes along time), it is only practice that can make you a good sports photographer.

    Don't just photograph your son. Photograph lots of people, so that you build up that 'eye' for the event.

    Quote Originally Posted by skilsaw View Post
    I have just purchased my first DSLR, a Canon 7D, and a 70 - 200 lens.
    What are the best settings to use when I will only have about half a dozen 5 to 10 second windows of opportunity to photograph him. ... I'm totally lost as to "Mode" or shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. Due to lack of experience, I may just default to Automatic and let the camera do it all, but know this will only get me an average result.
    You'll need a fast shutter speed. That, I'd say, is the priority.

    However, I can't over-emphasise that this is you just starting out with a new camera. With respect, you are very inexperienced. You write that you don't just want average results. I'd suggest that is what you aim for and no higher. Treat this as a test run for you and the camera. It's a 'getting-to-start-to-know-the-camera' session. Don't go to auto. Yes, that will give you some decent pictures, but you're not going to learn anything.

    So, why not set the camera to Auto ISO. Put it into Tv (Shutter Priority). Think about having the shutter (and the sports guys on here will have more idea than me) at something like 1/1000, 1/2000.

    Quote Originally Posted by skilsaw View Post
    I'm thinking "AI Servo" I believe this is an autofocus setting where I can hold him in the viewfinder and he will remain in focus as he runs / cycles past.
    That's good. Yes. Again, it's a skill being able to master the use of AI Servo. Use this as a practice session.

    Quote Originally Posted by skilsaw View Post
    Another setting I want to use is "Low Speed Continuous" shooting so I just hold the shutter release and the camera fires about 3 x per second. How "fast" a memory card should I use?
    Why 'Low Speed'? Why not 'High Speed'? Particularly when cycling, things are going to be moving pretty fast. 3fps are not very many when things are moving quickly. Any decent quality card will cope with that situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by skilsaw View Post
    Should I set up where he is traveling straight towards me, or get him at an angle to his direction of travel?
    Again, think of this as a learning exercise for you. Try both. If you stand where he is going to be going past you, say left to right, then it gives you the opportunity to track him as he passes and start developing panning skills. The 'head-on' is going to test your skills in using AI Servo as the distance between the camera and the subject is going to be changing quickly.

    Quote Originally Posted by skilsaw View Post
    Tripod? Yes, or No...
    No. It will just get in the way. If you're going to be doing a lot of this sort of shooting, you might want to think about investing in a monopod.

    What do you suggest for a rookie using this equipment at my first sporting event.
    Do not expect miracles. You're just starting out. People make great pictures, not cameras. And people have to learn how to do that. You cannot step out on day one and make magazine-quality pictures. The guys who have their work published in sports magazines have been doing this for a long time.
    Last edited by Donald; 12th August 2013 at 07:25 AM.

  3. #3
    allenlennon's Avatar
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    Allen or "Lurchy" is fine

    Re: First Assignment!

    i agree with donald. Perhaps practice at home with local sporting events like your sons doing, or ask him to do a few test runs for you, perhaps even cars. And practice with diffrent settings like shutter speed, iso and aperture, and try with diffrent weather conditions so you can somewhat know what to expect.

  4. #4

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    Re: First Assignment!

    Thank you Allen and Donald.
    The challenge will be taking pictures, and looking at them on the camera screen, then making some adjustments and trying again. I won't have the opportunity to download the pictures and really analyse them during the event.

    When I get home I will be able to look at the results closely and think about what to try on my next attempt at my son's next triathlon.
    My first priority will be to just get pictures. Good or bad, I can learn from what I get.

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