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pbromaghin
03-11-2011, 12:43 PM
My wife and I are going to a Nuggets game and I hope to be trying out a Canon Eos Rebel K2 with an 80-200 lens. We'll be sitting in the Lower bowl, near mid-court. I have never been happy with my results in Pepsi Center, usually with Provia 400 or Super G 800 and gave up trying a couple of years ago.

Any suggestions on what to use this time? This time I prefer to use B&W, but am open to color recommendations, too.

Thank you all.

toro_mike
03-11-2011, 12:54 PM
I'll be interested to hear what other folks ideas are for this as well. Lighting in these type of places is extremely challenging without a huge F2.8 300mm or so lens and a fantastic focus ability (or auto system).

That being said, I've had great luck with Delta 3200 (black and white) in difficult lighting conditions. I'll see if I have any samples floating around. I don't shoot much color, so I'll leave that for others.

segedi
03-11-2011, 12:58 PM
I suggest bringing a wide angle as well. You might be happier with your results with photos of fan reactions than photos of the action!

pbromaghin
03-11-2011, 01:24 PM
Lighting in these type of places is extremely challenging without a huge F2.8 300mm or so lens and a fantastic focus ability (or auto system).

Sigh. I've been watching eBay for one of these in manual Minolta MD for 3 years. Only about 2 or 3 have shown up and they went for way more than I am willing to pay.


That being said, I've had great luck with Delta 3200 (black and white) in difficult lighting conditions. I'll see if I have any samples floating around. I don't shoot much color, so I'll leave that for others.

This happens next Friday, and I think Mike's at Park Meadows has some in stock. Thanks for the recommendation. The Provia was probably a mistake, with the high contrast lighting in that place. I've also learned to take a few meter readings before the game and set it on full manual - The crowd is much darker than the floor so the meter will tell lies if used during the game.

BTW - I've been lurking for quite a while. You may not shoot color much, but what you do looks pretty good to me.

pbromaghin
03-11-2011, 01:49 PM
I suggest bringing a wide angle as well. You might be happier with your results with photos of fan reactions than photos of the action!

That's a good suggestion, one I never thought of. It would be fun, but I'll just be one paying customer with a seat in the middle of many more and won't have the freedom to move around that a photographer would have. The photogs who work for the teams have a radio connection to powerful ceiling mounted flashes that illuminate the entire arena all at once like a giant photo studio. The crowd doesn't even notice it because it's so pervasive. Their shots come out perfectly exposed almost every time.

jp498
03-11-2011, 01:51 PM
I shot film at the td garden at a celtics game last month. NBA allows different venues have different rules. The rule in Boston was no cameras with interchangeable lenses. You'd have to investigate online to see what the deal is in denver. So my wife took a color P&S digital, I took a TLR loaded with TMY2 film which I pushed one stop. I wasn't looking to capture the action so much as to capture some of the excitement and spectacle. It was very busy when I entered the arena; we were basically cattleherded in and nobody was checking any camera to see if it was within their regulations. I could have brought an SLR if I wanted. One thing the staff doesn't want is for you to stand around in one area taking photos while the game is in progress. You should be either at your seat, going the bathroom, or at the concessions buying overpriced beverages. I stood around in a path behind the hoop to get a single foul shot shot and was politely warned to take photos from my seat rather than standing around; I got my photo of that and moved on. They don't want people blocking fans. They were nice about it, as anyone in that area had probably paid pretty good money to be there. Other places I stood, I got the photo I wanted quickly (within 15 seconds) and moved along before I had the opportunity to interact with any of the staff.

Prior to going, I checked flickr for exif information regarding photos other people had taken so I could see what sort of light levels people had. Sports lighting has improved a bunch over the years as HD video requires more light for more detail and range. Lots of good exif information was found. Unless you are trying to capture action like a sports photographer on location, I wouldn't call it difficult lighting. It is worth noting that the court is of course lit a little brighter than the seating area in most arenas so don't assume the whole place is evenly lit as pbromaghin says.

pbromaghin
03-11-2011, 02:16 PM
I shot film at the td garden at a celtics game last month. NBA allows different venues have different rules. The rule in Boston was no cameras with interchangeable lenses.

It's like that at Target Center in Minneapolis. The Pepsi Center here in Denver is wide open. I've even sat in the 2nd row with a pretty big zoom.


It was very busy when I entered the arena; we were basically cattleherded in and nobody was checking any camera to see if it was within their regulations. I could have brought an SLR if I wanted.

Here they check every bag, looking mainly for guns or bottles competing with the overpriced concessions.


One thing the staff doesn't want is for you to stand around in one area taking photos while the game is in progress.

Right, I will be shooting from my seat. In the past I have only ever used manual focus so I would focus on a certain distance and try to capture whatever happened within that range. This time I will have an autofocus and a week to get used to it.


It is worth noting that the court is of course lit a little brighter than the seating area in most arenas so don't assume the whole place is evenly lit as pbromaghin says.

Not sure where you got the idea I said it was evenly lit. The difference in the influence the court and seating have on the meter is my biggest problem.

Mainecoonmaniac
03-11-2011, 03:08 PM
I would first see if they allow cameras at the game first. You'll probably need long and fast lenses like a 300mm f/2.8 if they allow shooting. A monopod is alway useful for using long lenses. As for me, I would not bring a camera and just enjoy the game.

jp498
03-11-2011, 04:37 PM
Shooting sports is a fun activity with the right equipment. I did it all through high school and college. I wouldn't seriously shoot action as a spectator at an NBA game because I'm spoiled and I'd rather at the end of the court with the camera or not do it at all. I miss shooting sports and am a little envious of the guys and gals who cover the games and sit at the end of the court, fending off balls and tumbling players. Normal consumer/enthusiast film camera AF won't cut it for basketball. You need a pro camera from the '90's made by Nikon/Canon if you want good AF for sports for film. Lacking good AF you have to zone focus or have many many hours of practice with a lens to know how to intuitively keep it in focus while watching action. Keeping the other eye open while one is in the viewfinder is good for your personal safety and to see how players are moving in three dimensions as that's not always apparent in the viewfinder. If you have a hankering to shoot sports regularly, you might seek some local opportunities. Just as challenging (unless it's girl's school basketball which can be a little boring due to the gentler pace) but a smaller audience.

Markster
03-11-2011, 05:06 PM
IMO.... Don't ask. They will flat out say "no"... They don't want to lose 1 red cent anywhere on anything, and are rather annoying in this regard. If you have a smaller camera bag take that. No need for the full kit. If it's more likely to pass without notice, go for it. Just go EARLY. Early enough that if they absolutely say "NO!" at the doors you can go lock it in your car, get back, and still not miss anything.

I wouldn't take anything more than a 200mm on the high end (or maybe a 2x converter with the 200 -- but this eats up light) because you don't want to be obtrusive.


Question I'd have is: Do you just want some pictures for fun? Or are you really trying to capture some epic serious shot of players in the middle of a game?

If the first, then take a light kit (no flash -- you can say "hey, it doesn't even have a flash!" to try and plead your case if they object) and have some fun.

If the second, then maybe go about it more seriously, get permission, or go to a college game or a high school game and look for similar passion/setting/gameplay to get that epic shot.


I took my AE-1P into the opera for the Nutcracker this winter. Would have been fine if the people IMMEDIATELY off my left hand side hadn't started the flash going on their digital P&S. Next thing usher goes around saying put that away please.

Oh well, I got a few shots of the room before the show started and before that. Thing is to remain unobtrusive. Remain polite, calm, but just don't flaunt it. That's my philosophy with events and photos.

Of course, throw that out the window if the event is outside. :)

segedi
03-11-2011, 05:16 PM
I think he was agreeing with you, perhaps worded like this it would have been more to his intent:
"As pbromaghin says, it is worth noting that the court is of course lit a little brighter than the seating area in most arenas so don't assume the whole place is evenly lit."
At least that's how I took it based on your previous comment.


It is worth noting that the court is of course lit a little brighter than the seating area in most arenas so don't assume the whole place is evenly lit as pbromaghin says.

Not sure where you got the idea I said it was evenly lit. The difference in the influence the court and seating have on the meter is my biggest problem

pbromaghin
03-11-2011, 05:31 PM
Segedi - I see it now. Thank you for pointing that out.

JP489 - My apologies, sir.

jp498
03-11-2011, 08:37 PM
no apologies at all needed. I'm not used to being called sir.

I was just explaining what parts of sports photography were fun and interesting for me. Hope it didn't come across wrong. You'll have a fun time at the game pretty much no matter what.

segedi
03-12-2011, 10:00 AM
One more suggestion, get used to the servo mode on the camera. The rebel should have one shot, AI and servo modes. Servo follows focus on moving subjects. It also eats batteries a bit more. The worst is setting the camera on one shot during sports action and having lots of out of focus pics!

pbromaghin
03-14-2011, 01:40 PM
Thanks to all of you who have given suggestions. It really has helped.

I have a new question: I plan to go down to the floor before the game and get a meter reading. I recently came to possess an incident meter. Would it be better to use that, or get a through-the-lens reading off a grey card?




One more suggestion, get used to the servo mode on the camera. The rebel should have one shot, AI and servo modes. Servo follows focus on moving subjects. It also eats batteries a bit more. The worst is setting the camera on one shot during sports action and having lots of out of focus pics!

I spent some time going through the manual and playing with the camera this weekend. It looks like the servo shooting mode is available only in "sport" mode, which is essentially full auto plus focus on each shot. So taking advantage of it requires giving up all control over the image.

Playing with this camera has been interesting. My cameras are all from the '40s to the '80s, so I've never used an auto-focus SLR before. I can see why people like all these modern gizmos. The auto-focus on the 75-300 zoom is pretty quick, but probably still not quick enough for basketball. And who knows if I'll have the focus point on the player or on the crowd at double the distance on the other side of the floor?

From experience in this arena I have done most of my shooting at about 100mm but it appears the image stabilization will allow trying all the way in to 300mm. Following toro_Mike's suggestion of 3200 iso film should give enough depth of field to allow for error in zone focusing at around 1/250 sec.

pbromaghin
03-31-2011, 12:26 PM
I know all of you have been holding your breaths, waiting to see the results of the shoot. Well, here it is so you can all go back to your normal ways of life.

I got a roll of Delta 36 exp ISO 3200. Went down to the floor and took incidence meter reading that recommended f8 at 1/250. After making the manual setting on the camera, the floor showed 2 stops over and the seating area one stop below, which was good enough for me. After a few shots I realized that the image stabilization was not suitable for action shooting - it caused too much shutter lag. So I turned it off and bumped the shutter up to 1/350 and shot up the roll.

That was Friday night. On Sunday I developed the roll in fixer and simply erased the whole thing.

There were some great shots on that roll. Some of the best ever.

Really.

jp498
03-31-2011, 01:07 PM
I was curious to see, because I like sports photos. But I wasn't holding my breath. I'm sure you'll get some great photos next time and will better label your chemicals!

When I shot highschool basketball, zone defense was quite evident and positions of players were more predicable than pro basketball, making focusing/following easier, whether using manual or AF. If you don't mind cropping and only have a center AF sensor or center AF sensor is working best, just use that to follow the action and crop to a pleasing composition afterwards.

With basketball photos on film, your great photos are only about 1/3 of what you think you had, which is still plenty. Athlete's arms get in the way or people's faces, heads pivot away from the camera quickly. You also get technically and compositionally excellent photos, but they don't tell a story or show what's going on. I used to hope for just a few photos from each 36exp roll to be able to pick from to be potentially used. I didn't want too many because it would take too long to print them all. Just a happy small quantity of good photos. I'd shoot 3 rolls per game.

toro_mike
03-31-2011, 01:25 PM
Sorry to hear it! Next time... next time... At least you weren't on a paid gig :)

pbromaghin
03-31-2011, 01:56 PM
I was curious to see, because I like sports photos. But I wasn't holding my breath. I'm sure you'll get some great photos next time and will better label your chemicals!

HAH! It was the Ilford concentrate bottle that came home from the store. It can't get much better labeled than that. I had it in my hand at least 10 times and still never realized I was holding fixer. I even mixed it just before destroying the film.


When I shot highschool basketball, zone defense was quite evident and positions of players were more predicable than pro basketball, making focusing/following easier, whether using manual or AF. If you don't mind cropping and only have a center AF sensor or center AF sensor is working best, just use that to follow the action and crop to a pleasing composition afterwards.

I usually just manually focus on a point on the floor or on the hoop and don't bother to shoot at anything that would be out of focus.


With basketball photos on film, your great photos are only about 1/3 of what you think you had, which is still plenty. Athlete's arms get in the way or people's faces, heads pivot away from the camera quickly. You also get technically and compositionally excellent photos, but they don't tell a story or show what's going on. I used to hope for just a few photos from each 36exp roll to be able to pick from to be potentially used. I didn't want too many because it would take too long to print them all. Just a happy small quantity of good photos. I'd shoot 3 rolls per game.

In the past I have felt really feel fortunate to get 1 or 2 out of 36. A lot of my trouble has been with using the wrong film. I used to be in love with Velvia and wasted a lot of time shooting the iso 400 in this environment. I just never was good enough at getting the exposure right and was hoping that the Delta (which has really gotten under my skin lately) would help. This was my first time using B&W at a sporting event in 15 years and before that it would be 1975.

pbromaghin
03-31-2011, 02:08 PM
Sorry to hear it! Next time... next time... At least you weren't on a paid gig :)

Paid? Heh heh, you're funny. The very idea of ever having somebody pay me to do this scares the wits out of me. My best stuff hangs in my cube at work where nobody knows anything about photography. There's not much that I would want to hang on the wall at home.

I've seen some of your work and it's real good. I'm flattered to have people with the knowledge of you, jp498, and others pay attention to my questions.