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Thread: Love the one you're with

  1. #1

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    Love the one you're with

    At the moment, I have to love the Rebel as my 40D is somewhere in Canon repair land. That's unfortunate, as the local hockey season has just started and I'd like to document the progress of the team my husband works with as a trainer (It's just a minor league team with 15-18 year old boys.) So, I'll post a couple of shots from today and maybe someone can offer some tips to wring the most out of the camera (Canon Rebel/400D) and the lens. I mainly used the 85mm1.8 today but tried a few shots with the old 70-210 f4. It was actually OK for some shots but couldn't auto focus fast enough for most due to the horrible light in the arena. The photos will eventually be used on stats sheets and newsletter type materials.

    Here are two shots. Both are shot through plexi-glass. The best spot, distance and light wise, was near the goalie at the top of the arena so that is where I stayed:


    Love the one you're with

    This one was taken with the 70-210. Now, this is not good, but the max shutter speed I could use here was 1/100 at f/4 and ISO 800. Any higher shutter speed and everything was just too dark. ISO 800 is really pushing it with my Rebel. I don't know what other versions are like, but I get grain and nasty colour distortion that starts at 800. 1600 is useless.



    Love the one you're with

    This was was with the 85mm1.8. Shutter speed was 1/640, f/1.8 and ISO 800. For both shots the WB was set at auto. I adjusted the levels in PS4.

    For post processing, I ran the raw files through ACR via auto. That pretty much did the trick, but I also tweaked the luminance noise levels from between 20 and 50 to get rid of some splotchiness. In PS4, I used levels, noise (despeckle seemed to work better than just reduce noise) and USM for sharpening (between 150/5/2 and 300/4/1 depending on the photo).

    I find that even at 100%, the images look pixelated and have coloured "bits" that look awful. Not knowing if it is the camera or what I'm doing, I'm kind of at a loss how to fix them. Flash would just reflect off the plexi-glass (and annoy the players). When I use the noise reduction in Photoshop, everything starts to blur.


    Here are two of the same shot; one with no adjustments at all.

    Love the one you're with

    Straight out of the camera and converted to jpeg


    Love the one you're with

    Auto adjust in ACR, then adjusted the white level to 230. No sharpening or noise reduction.




    I'm rambling! Any tips on taking hockey photos with the Rebel plus lens above and Post production would be gratefully appreciated. If I am asking too much out of my combo, be honest and I'll just muddle through the next few games

    Myra
    Last edited by Maritimer1; 10th October 2010 at 01:50 AM.

  2. #2
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Love the one you're with

    Watch the hips!

    With any sports photography it is all about timing and it depends on what you want to convey with the shot. Do you want to convey movement, then a little blur is acceptable. Do you want to capture the anguish of the athlete's efforts then you want to freeze the action without distracting their play. I would study photograph's of the hockey greats and see what did the photographer achieve in their attempts, plus is it really a stimulating image or one that fills the pages of the daily news. I was viewing some shots of a volleyball match and the photographer really captured the athleticism and beauty of the sport by using a low perspective angle. Granted you cannot do that with hockey, but considering the angle of the shot might make the difference between a mediocre shot and one that hold viewers interest for decades.
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 10th October 2010 at 02:53 AM.

  3. #3

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    Re: Love the one you're with

    Quote Originally Posted by Maritimer1 View Post
    I find that even at 100%, the images look pixelated and have coloured "bits" that look awful.
    Hi Myra,

    Examining full resolution photos at 100% magnification is like seeing how clean your carpet is by using a microscope. In both cases you're going to be seeing a LOT of stuff that you don't want to.

    The big question is though, "why examine something at 100% (and reveal all the high ISO noise) when it's only ever going to be viewed at - perhaps - 15% magnification?

    Also, once you down-sample the image to something that's reasonable to post online (eg from 3500 x 2500 pixels to 700 x 500 pixels) you'll find a LOT of the noise is removed as part of the down-sampling process.

    Here's a challenge for you - take a properly exposed RAW shot - at max ISO - and send it to me.

    To answer your question though, you really only have three things that you can mess with: shutterspeed - aperture - and ISO. Having too low a shutter speed will give you motion blur and camera shake. Too narrow an aperture will also slow things down (although wider will reduce the depth of field, it probably won't be a major issue), and with high ISO you'll get grain ... so it's really a trade-off.

    At the end of the day, which is going to ruin a photo more? (in most cases motion blur and camera shake are the big killers; high ISO noise is normally pretty minor PROVIDING the shot isn't significantly under-exposed, and PROVIDING the image isn't excessively cropped (the more you crop, the bigger the noise gets for an image of a given output size).

    The harsh reality could well be that it just isn't possible to get great shots in this environment with the great you have; I'm sure we've all seen great ice hockey shots, but they could well have been taken with expensive lenses - top of the like cameras - and even powerful remote triggered lighting.

    In your case, if that's all you have to work with, I'd max out the ISO - shoot wide open - and let the shutterspeed fall where it may (and hope for the best).

  4. #4
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    Re: Love the one you're with

    The shot with no adjustment shows that it was very much underexposed. The camera’s metering would have been fooled by the large amount of white in the frame; it expects an average grey. ACR has had to increase the exposure and as a consequence the noise level has risen. Next time you shoot hockey – or anything with large areas of white – remember your meter is expecting grey so adjust your exposure/ISO/aperture to compensate, ie make your exposure 1 or 2 stops longer.
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 10th October 2010 at 05:54 AM.

  5. #5
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Love the one you're with

    Hi Myra,

    I agree with all of the above comments, expanding on a few things mentioned.

    Some shots will be enhanced by a bit of subject movement blur, fortunately, with ice hockey you still get some at 1/640s, 1/500s max. might be a better aiming point based on the above examples. Unless there is some serious mid-air action and you want to see a facial expression, the frozen effect of flash or 1/2000s+ shutterspeed has limited appeal to me - in certain situations, it may even looked a posed, static shot. Also bear in mind if these are going to be significantly down sized (rather than cropped) for use, you may (accidentally) remove the subject's motion blur entirely in PP. Trouble is, if a great shot did arise and there's too much motion blur, it won't stand enlargement for the cover

    I have never PP'd a RAW shot from a Canon 400D*, but for high iso noise reduction, I cannot recommend third party software like Neat Image enough - it is far better at protecting image sharpness whilst reducing noise than the ACR sliders or the PS filters - although for some, these are enough for the reasons stated. There are others, Noise Ninja I believe is very similar to Neat Image.

    * I would also have made Colin's offer of PPing a shot, but I know who(m?), from the two of us, will produce a better result So stick with Colin!

    Cheers,

  6. #6

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    Re: Love the one you're with

    Thank you! I am reading this at 9:14 on Sunday morning here in NS, and am off to the next game in about 45 minutes. If I had some of those big strobe lights attached to the rafters of the rink...Hmm... don't think our little home town would foot the bill for those<BG>.

    Dave, I noticed that static look in many of my shots from yesterday. In particular, there is a shot of the goalie stopping the puck. It is clear but really boring

    I really appreciate the advice. Yes, all my out of camera photos look under-exposed. Tim, I will try the 1-2 stops longer today. As well, since I have to zoom in and crop too much with the 85mm, I'm going to try to work more with the older 70-210 f/4 from the middle of the arena and concentrate more on shots across the rink of the boys on the bench as they cheer on their team mates and see if I can get some contact shots as players hustle and collide.

    Colin, thanks for the offer! I will send a raw your way. The aperture and iso will be wide open and and the shutter speed can look after itself. I've honestly never tried that.


    Myra

  7. #7

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    Re: Love the one you're with

    OK, back from the rink. For every shot, I had the aperture set at 4 (fixed 4 lens), the ISO at 1600 (maximum) and WB to auto and let the camera pick the shutter speed. For a few shots I took of people just standing around, it wasn't bad at all, but the speed went down to 1/40 and 1/60 which is tricky hand held. The exposure is better on the 1/125 shots but there is shake, as you'd said there would be.

    Here are two pretty typical examples. I chose two with different shutter speeds. Lens was the Canon 70-210 f/4.

    SOOC 1/320 f/4 iso 1600
    Love the one you're with


    ACR auto/USM in PS/tiny tweak of curves
    Love the one you're with


    SOOC 1/125 F4 ISO 1600
    Love the one you're with


    ACR auto/USM in PS/slight tweak of curves Crop 17.3%
    Love the one you're with


    Myra
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 10th October 2010 at 09:50 PM. Reason: correct typo

  8. #8

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    Re: Love the one you're with

    Hi Myra,

    They look fine to me

  9. #9
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Love the one you're with

    Hi Myra,

    I agree with Colin.

    Given the circumstances; they are fine - you can see the faces and they are not objectionably noisy. Were you happy with the way these two turned out?

    I guess you've read Sean's recent technique on handholding (while shooting photo's I mean)

    Not that I am saying these have camera shake, they're certainly ok at this size - just that you mentioned some had gotten down to 1/40 - 1/60 and at 210mm and no IS, that presumably was a problem, anyway - worth a read if you haven't.

    Cheers,

  10. #10

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    Re: Love the one you're with

    I am hardly ever happy with the way a photo turns out anymore. One side of my brain knows what the shot "could" look like, with scads of money to buy topnotch equipment and proper training/more experience, and the other side knows that those shots just aren't going to happen in the foreseeable future. Ignorance is bliss, the saying goes. Drat this CinC forum for taking away some of my photographic ignorance and making me more aware and educated!

    Yes, tongue in cheek and just kidding! I'm definitely happier with the exposure and happy to learn i was wrong about pushing the ISO to 1600. I truly thought everything would have greenish splotches throughout. I would not have even tried the aperture route had not Colin and Tim suggested it. I would like to try that technique with the 85mm lens. Might just go to a practice this week to do my own practice.

    Hand holding with all that action is hard as you're constantly moving with the flow. Personally, I have a bad habit of letting the camera dip just after pressing the shutter. When I can, I set my elbows on whatever I can find (as mentioned in the tutorial). I tend to do this more with the lighter Rebel than the slightly heavier 40D. Will try to think about this more and try to counteract it.

    Thanks again!

    Myra

  11. #11
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    Re: Love the one you're with

    Myra, your straight out of camera shot (SOOC 1/320 f/4 iso 1600) is under exposed. Try adjusting your camera’s exposure compensation setting (bias) so that what you get straight out of the camera looks more like the auto ACR result.

    In this simple test shot, the large area of white has caused the camera to underexpose.
    Love the one you're with

    The left hand shot would need the exposure raised in ACR and that would result in raised noise; especially with high ISO settings. Whereas the biased shot on the right would need the exposure slightly lowered and as a result, the noise level would be reduced too.

  12. #12

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    Re: Love the one you're with

    Thanks, Tim. Most of the shots were at 1/125. For some reason, the camera chose a 1/320 for the top one. I had the aperature open as wide as I could (f/4) and set in ap priorty mode. The next time I am in that rink, I will also try manual with 1/125 and f/4 and adjust from there. It was easy to leave it on Ap priority as there was not a lot of time to adjust anything between shots. I'd be able to switch things on the go, but I'd want to check the LCD to see what was happening... that would slow me down I will try to refine this during a team practice when what I "get" doesn't matter.

    Thanks!
    Myra

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