Friday, December 23, 2011

Basketball game coverage

A good friend of mine asked me to cover a couple of basketball games in Willow Springs Il., it was for his amateur league that he created and he wanted somebody to cover the games. I said yes as I know that it is going to be a fun gig. The downside to it though is that the game starts at around 8 am. Too early for me especially on a cold, almost winter Sunday morning.

That same morning I packed my camera bag with the equipment that I am going to use for the event. I had to bring only equipment that I know I am sure I'm going to use. I cannot bring extras that will only weigh me down. So my bag only included these items:

50d body
5d mk2 body
70-200 IS USM 2.8 lens
17-40mm f4L lens
Canon 430ex II
Extra batteries

That was it. I had to bring 2 bodies only to save me the time in changing lenses. A 70-200 equipped in the 50d is not really useful for taking a team shot but is excellent for the game itself, vice versa with the 5d equipped with the 17-40mm.

As what I said, I mainly used the 50d equipped with the long telephoto for the game itself. Mainly for action shots. The 50d has excellent focus speed and burst mode for sports photography. The 5d's main use will be for close group shots that require you to use the full frame of the camera. If I had only one body, I'd use it for both wide and tele shots.

I never really did use the flash at all. I was thinking the court might have poor lighting...though it wasn't bad at all. For the whole event I put my camera to shutter priority, so I can specify a faster shutter speed. I then set my ISO to auto ISO, which I rarely do. For instances like this, I'd rather have the camera adjust it for me than bothering with it myself. There's only so much you can do to prevent noise in the pictures, but instances like this you'd really have to bump up your ISO. I'd rather use natural lighting in this situation than use a flash...that's just me. I then adjusted my exposure compensation between 0 to +1. This tells the camera to automatically adjust the ISO and the aperture to satisfy that range of exposure.

Just to let you know, when you are using auto iso (not all slrs have the feature), the body adjusts the iso, and either the aperture or speed (depending if you're on aperture or shutter priority) to satisfy the exposure range that you set it to...although it is dependent on the focal length of your lens. Lets say you are in aperture priority using a 100mm lens. The body will adjust the ISO and the speed according to your 100mm lens...meaning, it will never go below 100th/sec for the speed if you're exposure compensation is at 0. If you set it to +1, the body will try to set the speed to a lower ratio according to your lens. The more compensation you dial in, the more light the body will try to let in. It's kinda hard to just have to try it out for yourself.

Anyway, I try to maximize the shutter speed that I can get from that lighting situation inside the basketball court. The shots weren't bad at all. I post processed some of the shots to brighten them up a bit.

After the game, the teams wanted me to do a team shot so I then switched to my 5d mk2 with my 17-40mm equipped. Same thing, no flash, only natural light. The 17-40 gave me the wide angle shot to include everybody in the frame:

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