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Thread: Wonderful photo - rotating zoom ring during exposure

  1. #1

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    Wonderful photo - rotating zoom ring during exposure

    There was a great photo in the Washington Post, of a rookie pitcher who pitched Tuesday evening. He's been hyped since he was drafted, and really lived up to it in his major league debut.

    The photo is here, with an explanation of technique, which has one mistake, I think. The photographer must have meant, "rotating the zoom ring," not, "rotating the lens." If registration is required to view the page, it's free.

    My first thought was that it must have been composited, but then I realized that the pitcher's lateral motion at this point exactly matches the apparent motion created by the zoom in the crowd heads behind him. Incredible concept and execution.

    Cheers,
    Rick
    Last edited by rick55; 14th June 2010 at 02:42 PM. Reason: Removed duplicated word

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Wonderful photo

    Brilliant indeed. I suppose the concept is one that's been thought of and done before. But this execution of that concept is mighty impressive.

    I remember, many years ago, seeing a image based on the same concept - of horses in a race. It was almost head on - the photographer was obviously leaning over the rails at a race track and got them coming, almost straight towards him. Can't remember who, where or when. Always thought - Wow, I want to do that. Never have!
    Last edited by Donald; 10th June 2010 at 03:53 PM.

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    Re: Wonderful photo

    I'd expect that had a different feel (I'm tempted to say better), because I think it would show the action emerging from the vortex. This image does feel a bit dissonant: the sense you get from it, of the action emerging in front and to the side of the vortex, doesn't quite ring true physically. I'm not sure he quite achieved his stated goal of showing the energy at the ballpark. I see it as more of an artistic effort than one that tells a story about energy. A bit gimmicky, perhaps, but wonderfully done.

    Cheers,
    Rick

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Wonderful photo

    I agree, the image has two points of interest; the centre of the zoom and the pitcher's face. My eye jumps between the two.

    Ideally, the latter alone would be the aim, one would think, but that is rather easier to do, even in PP with a radial blur filter effect, so is rather predictable.

    However, this, capturing the matched subject movement to radial blur speed/distance, is an incredible capture and no mistake.

    Thanks for sharing,

  5. #5
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Wonderful photo

    I've been trying to achieve that technique but it called for a long exposure, something I don't think would work at a ball game. I guess eight seconds would be long enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by rick55 View Post
    There was a great photo in the Washington Post, of a rookie pitcher who pitched Tuesday evening. He's been hyped since he was drafted, and really lived up to it in his major league debut.

    The photo is here, here, with an explanation of technique, which has one mistake, I think. The photographer must have meant, "rotating the zoom ring," not, "rotating the lens." If registration is required to view the page, it's free.

    My first thought was that it must have been composited, but then I realized that the pitcher's lateral motion at this point exactly matches the apparent motion created by the zoom in the crowd heads behind him. Incredible concept and execution.

    Cheers,
    Rick

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    Re: Wonderful photo

    In my opinion, the description he gives doesn't match the photo.

    He doesn't mention zooming the lens during the exposure, but that's what creates that effect ... similar to what I've done here ...


    Wonderful photo - rotating zoom ring during exposure
    But that would result in the "zoom blur" also affecting the player (who is not at the centre of the zoom) - unless - the player is hit my a flash, freezing the motion (to a greater or letter degree), like Joe McNally has in this wonderful shot here ...

    Wonderful photo - rotating zoom ring during exposure

    The lens rotation mentioned is something I do to put more "energy" into a shot, but it doesn't look like it's been applied here (the ground looks pretty level) ...

    ... so doesn't add up in my opinion.

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    Re: Wonderful photo

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    In my opinion, the description he gives doesn't match the photo.

    He doesn't mention zooming the lens during the exposure, but that's what creates that effect ... similar to what I've done here ...
    I agree - I think he said rotate the lens when he really meant, "rotate the zoom ring." That's a very cool image: the kind of effect I imagined in the photo Donald mentioned.

    But that would result in the "zoom blur" also affecting the player (who is not at the centre of the zoom) - unless - the player is hit my a flash, freezing the motion (to a greater or letter degree), like Joe McNally has in this wonderful shot here ...
    That's what I thought at first, but looking at the heads of the spectators behind the pitcher, I changed my mind. I think the actual motion of the pitcher is cancelled by the apparent motion of the zoom. Possible?

    I like the McNally shot, also. This is also the kind of thing I imagine from Donald's description of the horse-racing shot: the main subject coming at you out of the vortex.

    The lens rotation mentioned is something I do to put more "energy" into a shot, but it doesn't look like it's been applied here (the ground looks pretty level)
    I agree - I wonder if he uses that technique sometimes, and that resulted in the slip of the tongue during the interview about how he executed this particular image.

    Cheers,
    Rick

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    Re: Wonderful photo

    It's an amazing picture and if I hadn't read his explanation I would have assumed it was contrived. My only reservation is that it must have been cropped because in the original picture the zoom effect would have been central. Is cropping allowed in genuine photojournalism photography? My understanding it that Magnum does not allow cropping except in the camera. But it is still a great photograph.
    Barry

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    Re: Wonderful photo

    i've played with panning/zooming and this does not necessarily need to be cropped if the proper combination of panning and zooming is applied.

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    Re: Wonderful photo

    The more I look at that photo the more I think it was done in photoshop. There's no doubt it was a 1/30th second shot looking at the motion blur of Stephen, however only the background suffers from the zoom effect. Look how sharp Stephen's face is.

  11. #11

    Re: Wonderful photo

    If you blow the shot up to about 500% you can see his head, and particularly his hat are perfectly in focus and totally unaffected by the zoom process as described. By his hat the zoom effect stops on one side, and very neatly continues the other side of his head. The central area of the zoom effect is a small group of people in the top left.

    Newton says
    I focused the camera on Strasburg and when he pitched his head remained still enough to keep that part of the photograph in focus.
    His head might have stayed still enough for focus, but the applied zoom effect would have created a zoom effect across the whole area of that part of the shot, including the head, because the lens must have been pointing to the left. He says he 'focussed on Strasburg' but maybe he means one of the right side focus points was on Strasburg and the centre of the lens was on the TL corner group in the crowd.
    Last edited by carregwen; 14th June 2010 at 10:51 AM.

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    Re: Wonderful photo

    Might it be that the movement of the pitcher cancelled the apparent movement due to zooming?
    The left arm has almost disappeared, which could fit with zoom+movement, and I'd expect it to be as visible as the right arm when it was from a non-zoomed photo and pasted in, given the stage of the pitcher's action (just before launch?) Also the left foot has a bit of 'zoom' effect (as far as such details are visible on a small image)

    Remco
    Last edited by revi; 14th June 2010 at 10:09 AM.

  13. #13

    Re: Wonderful photo

    Quote Originally Posted by revi View Post
    Might it be that the movement of the pitcher cancelled the apparent movement due to zooming?
    Could be that. I suppose if he was leaning back in an opposing direction to the zoom, it might have done it.

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    Re: Wonderful photo

    As I said, I was initially pretty sure it was photoshopped, but the more I looked, the more I believed it could be done as described. The part of the crowd that's not zoom-blurred is about where the pitcher's head will be at the start of his motion. The crowd there isn't in focus, they're just not zoom-blurred. So that fits with the photographer starting with the lens focused on the pitcher's head.

    If you check this video, at about the 15-second mark, you can the same pitcher pitching from roughly the same angle. The silly dialog bubbles are to try to get you to look at more videos of minor league "prospects." You can see that at the point where the photo was taken, his whole body is pretty much moving as a unit almost horizontally. So if the zoom is tracking perfectly, it could have the effect in the photo.

    And as Revi says, his hands, feet, and midsection do show some motion. If the pitcher was frozen with a fast shutter speed, then composited, his right hand might certainly be moving, but probably not his left, and I think his midsection would be frozen.

    Cheers,
    Rick

  15. #15
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    Re: Wonderful photo

    Bryan Peterson describes this technique in his book Understanding Exposure and Understanding Shutter Speed. It's a nice technique if you like it.

  16. #16
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    Re: Wonderful photo

    I really like this "zoom-burst" style photos. They all look amazing.
    Have been experimenting with this technique a few times. The biggest problem i encounter when shooting this type of photos is how to get the subject in focus. Normally i set my shutter speed at 1/20 and get as much DoF as possible.
    Thx Rick for sharing.

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