Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sports Photography - lucky for the Pune Football Club

Having tried my hand at shooting Cricket for last couple of weekends i got used to holding the heavy 400mm lens so wanted to try out some other sports. Pune Football Club guys were playing JCT at Balewadi Stadium and most importantly we got free tickets (not that the tickets were costly though!) i thought of trying this. I found 2 major difference in shooting football compared to Cricket.
1 - Action spread across the field: In cricket most of the action happens at the pitch so bit easier to track for majority of shots
2 - usually one would have lots of players in the frame in football so important to note on composition
3- Most of the important shots would be around the goal posts, causing less distance between the subject and the background leading to difficulty in background separation. Same issue with shots near the sidelines of the far end

In this instance another important factor was that  the match was played under lights. This was a huge issue in terms of exposure. The lights in the stadium were not sufficient and even with ISO 3200 at f/5.6 it was giving around 1/640 which did come a bit blurry. Though the 7D handled the noise pretty well i feel it would be a big issue with lots of other DSLRs.

- Shooting Mode: I did try with Aperture priority initially to try maximum background blur and minimum noise - but ISO at 1600 was giving only 1/200 shutter speed. This is too slow to freeze action and most of the shots came out blurry. So i changed over to Shutter priority - tried keeping it at 1/640s , increased ISO to 3200. This ensured f/5.6 so not an issue - even though with an underexposure warning! I could use a bit of post processing to gain extra exposure (with slight loss of quality) but a blurry picture is almost impossible to correct.

- Focus & Drive mode: Since it's a fast moving sport Auto-focus is the way to go. For most of the shots near the goalpost - specially with the goalkeeper trying to save the goals i found that using the AF-ON button to focus on the goalkeeper and then using continuous drive mode (shutter button used only for metering and capture) to take multiple shots gave me some good results. Even for shots trying to capture players taking long passes it's very important to use AF while trying to track the ball. AI Servo AF would help further as one's waiting for the right moment to click since the players would be moving most of the time. To quickly get the AF lock onto one player spot AF works best in my experience. 

I would have loved to be on the other side of the ground - the expressions would have added so much to this picture!
Canon EOS 7D, ISO 3200, 400mm, f/5.6, 1/640 sec, Shutter Priority, AI Servo AF, Spot AF, High-speed continuous
- Image type: RAW shooting is the best as per me.

The following image would have looked lot better if the background was bit blurry. But f/2.8 is out of reach for me - and also the action was very close to the background - which did not help at all.

Canon EOS 7D, ISO 1600, 400mm, f/5.6, 1/320 sec, Aperture Priority, AI Servo AF, Spot AF, High-speed continuous




Canon EOS 7D, ISO 3200, 400mm, f/5.6, 1/640 sec, Shutter Priority, AI Servo AF, Spot AF, High-speed continuous

Canon EOS 7D, ISO 3200, 400mm, f/5.6, 1/640 sec, Shutter Priority, AI Servo AF, Spot AF, High-speed continuous

Canon EOS 7D, ISO 3200, 400mm, f/5.6, 1/640 sec, Shutter Priority, AI Servo AF, Spot AF, High-speed continuous

Canon EOS 7D, ISO 3200, 400mm, f/5.6, 1/640 sec, Shutter Priority, AI Servo AF, Spot AF, High-speed continuous


Canon EOS 7D, ISO 1600, 38mm, f/2.8, 1/50 sec, Shutter Priority, One-shot AF, Spot AF, Single Shooting
After loosing out last 4 matches in the league Pune FC put up a great performance today - trouncing JCT with 4-0. Happy to capture one of these goals.

Check out some more information under the reference section. I would try capturing some more games - hopefully with much better results. Better noise reduction is another area i need to improve upon - hoping to sort this out before the next match!

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