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  1. #1

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    Photographing at Pepsi Center

    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.

  2. #2

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    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.
    Mike

    "Your apparent youth belies your worldly knowledge."
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  3. #3
    segedi's Avatar
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    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!

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by toro_mike View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by toro_mike View Post
    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.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by segedi View Post
    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.

  6. #6
    jp498's Avatar
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    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.
    Last edited by jp498; 03-11-2011 at 12:56 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by jp498 View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by jp498 View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by jp498 View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by jp498 View Post
    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.

  8. #8
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    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.

  9. #9
    jp498's Avatar
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    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.

  10. #10
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    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.
    -Markster

    Canon AE-1P 35mm | 50mm/f1.8 FDn | 28mm/2.8 FD | 70-200mm/f4-5 FD | 35-70mm/F2.8-3.5 Sigma FD

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