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fishinchicks

Flash question

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I just bought a 430ex for my Rebel XT and have been playing around with it a little bit, however, I have not had the opportunity to really use it outdoors.

I will be heading out to a cross country meet in a little while, and was wondering if the flash would be beneficial on a partly cloudy/somewhat sunny day.

I am not sure if I will be putting my 35-80 or 55-250IS lens on. I usually prefer the 55-250 since it has the IS. It is hard to take good, clear shots while encouraging the runners. smile

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Flash can be great to use especially with running but in every case I've used it or seen it used it was off camera and triggered wirelessly.

Today should be a very nice day to shoot without flash amd since its so new to you I would just go with your normal shooting without flash. Take a look at the Photography basics there is a topic on using your flash with sports that you may find helpful.

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Thanks,Dbl. I was hoping that is what you would say. grin The flash will be better used during danceline season I am guessing. By then I should have more practice with it as well.

Hopefully I will have something to show you after the meet today. I think I need to make up a dumby card for checking out all my settings before I start shooting each event.

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Light is fairly constant I would be looking at manual mode today. If your not comfortable Av with maybe +1/3 EC, depends on how much sun you have. ISO in the 400 range.

If you want to have some fun and try something different set your camera to Tv mode and dial in 1/125s, ISO around 200 and try and pan with a runner as they go by. If you get a few like that try, 1/60s and if you get some of those...try 1/30s. Can be REAL cool!

212987087_p8iqU-L.jpg

And then try some backlighted shots.

212987078_pNjnX-L.jpg

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It got cloudy and cold by race time, so my plans had to change. It went from 72 and mostly sunny to 53 and cloudy.

This is one of my shots for the day. This is my youngest daughter approaching the finish line. She had a Personal Best run yesterday, so she was pretty happy.

I was in TV mode to try getting a faster shutter speed.

Canon Rebel XT, 55-250mm IS lens, f/4, ISO 400, metering mode set on evaluative.

2945135996_6fbb770e2f_o.jpg

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I like the shot. smile Being in Tv will not get you any more shutter speed so to speak. That just allows you to set a specific shutter speed as in my first example. About the only time I use that mode is cycling, or panning shots.

If you want more shutter speed in Tv mode turn up your ISO or open your aperture. I believe you already were at your most open aperture at f4 with that lens so your only other option is to up the ISO.

Next chance you get to shoot find a spot on the course that gives you some fall color backgrounds. That will really make your shots stand out. When I shoot XC I always scout out the course and after the start hustle to the spot that gives me great backgrounds and nice light as in the second shot. I am always looking for a background with running, its what makes the shot. Great work and congratulations to your daughter for her personal best time!

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Nice shot, Carolyn. It's sharp and properly exposed and a nice action shot. The only thing lacking, as Dan mentioned, is a clean bg. Scouting out the course beforehand, if possible, is a great idea. When I used to shoot a few XC meets for an area newspaper, some of the shots were with the runner on a hill with me at a lower vantage point. This way I'd get pretty much just sky in the bg. Fall colors didn't mean much back then, due to everything being shot with B & W film.

Be sure to also give my congrats to your daughter.

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This course is beautiful, with a lot of maple trees. Unfortunately, most of the leaves were gone already. We had a wet, windy weekend that put a lot of leaves on the ground.

We have one more meet, so I will be able to play around with AV mode. This course has more opportunities for a decent background - no parking lots surrounding the course.

Thanks for the advice. I really appreciate it!

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Thanks XT. I'll pass on the congratulations.

I do have a few shots where the background is better, but she is farther away, and they need a lot more editing than this one did. There is a big hill that they run down, cross a wooden bridge, then up a gravel golf cart path. The spectators usually stay clear of the hill, otherwise they won't make it to the finish line in time. smile After I do more editing, I'll see about posting them.

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Nice shot fishinchicks! Shooting sports is challenging at best isn't it. I don't have much experience in it but I'm hoping by the time my kids are older I'll have somewhat of a clue. Thanks to you guys helping me out.

XT, did you say you worked for a newspaper before they had color film? gringrin

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MM, many small-town weeklies didn't go color until well after 2000, and some are still B&W (it costs more to print a newspaper in color and weeklies aren't known for their affluence), though pretty much all are digital now. When I got into newspapers at a small weekly (paid circulation 2,500) in central ND in 1992, we shot Ilford iso100 and 400 B&W film and developed it in a darkroom.

When I went to work for the Timberjay in Ely in 2003, they were still shooting a combination of bulk B&W and color film, and didn't turn fully digital until sometime in 2004.

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Thanks mm. Probably the most challenging thing for me right now is to not holler and take photos at the same time. grin Laura wants me to tell her where certain people are on the course, and to encourage her. I have to have my camera ready to take the shot, tell her what she wants to hear, then shoot.

I was just looking at our local weekly paper, and noticed that Laura's picture was in the sports section - in black and white. Didn't think anything of it until now! grin

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Thanks for the info Steve. I was actually making an ill fated attempt to poke fun of Mike, who I suspected was running around shooting newspaper images with an old 4x5 reporter camera.

Thanks though that does make a person think about it. I remember when our local paper ran a color photo the first time. It was pretty cool. Now there's a color section on the front page every week.

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Thanks Steve, for clearing that up for the young'uns. MM, I knew exactly what you were up to. whistle Remember an earlier thread where I stated that I don't have feelings? It's a good thing or you might have hurt them. grin

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MM, I figured you were poking fun at X-T on account of his advanced age, but also figured I'd ignore it. As the aggrieved party, it clearly was up to X-T to reply to you. gringringrin

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Nice work, ma'am! I like the bridge-crossing shot the best, as it's a nice environmental portrait. smilesmile

As you continue to work into the sports realm, it's a good idea to also try to capture images of your loves ones with other runners in the frame. Pretty tight shots with your daughter the focus but other runners vying to overtake her (or her working to overtake them), will add a lot of drama to the images.

As cross-country runners often tend to spread out during the middle of a race, the types of pics I mentioned generally are easiest to capture toward the beginning or at the finish line. Also, at those times, runners heading straight for the camera make for some excellent images.

Since the runners are only moving 10-15 mph, the XT is perfectly capable of tracking and rendering sharply those subjects moving right toward you with the camera in Al servo focus mode and the center focus point selected. As long as there is decent contrast (autofocus needs contrast to work effectively, and there's plenty of contrast with face/jersey in these pics), the Al servo is best when tracking moving subjects. Takes a little getting used to, particularly since if you have the shutter button halfway down and the focus point wanders off the subject you'll be focusing on the wrong spot.

What focus mode were you in with these images?

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I was in AI Servo mode, with auto AF point selection. I haven't played around with the manual on that yet.

I have a few photos with other runners, but there are either grain bins, a storage shed, or cars and busses in the background. The next race will be much better for getting the shots with other runners. I have a goal to get Laura and her good friend from another school in the same shot. They are pretty evenly matched, and tend to finish within seconds of each other.

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Advanced age, phooey. You're not that far behind. You're only as old as you feel. wink

As far as the CC pics go, my personal fave is the last, as you can tell she is really working. Her espression tells it all. I like your goal for the next shoot. That should be a sweet shot. Like Steve said, multiple runners in the shot, with your daughter being the sharpest, and the others slightly out of focus, would be grand. Good luck and don't forget to share.

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Very nice. I also like the last one. The drama from the look on her face is great. As Dan mentioned earlier, try the slow shutter speed with panning. The results can be very cool. After you get a few with a faster shutter speed that you like, give it a try.

It looks like you have a good grasp on things so far.

Advance age, I like that. XT, I know you're not that old! Heck my Dad might even be older than you. wink

Sorry for distracting from your post, Fishinchicks. Hope I didn't offend.

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We need an emoticon with a tongue sticking out. grin

One more thing Carolyn, be sure to leave more room in front of the runners and less behind them. It shows they have a long ways to go.

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Ok, pretty soon I will be taking a poll to see who wants to go to Adrian with me for the next meet. I will have to change from a 3x5 index card to a notebook with all the helpful hints you guys are giving. Not that I'm complaining! smirkgrin

mm - no problem teasing Mike a little in this thread. Gave me a good laugh.

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When is the meet in Adrian? It's almost tempting. It's been years since I shot anything besides wildlife. The last time I shot a CC meet, I had to prefocus and when the runners arrived, snap the shot. That's right mm, a long time ago there was no such thing as autofocus. grin

Oh, and please don't encourage mmeyer. He's doing fine on his own. whistle

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I'm going to give you a different take on shooting groups. My information is based on sales. Who buys what shots. I can tell you that runners in groups don't sell. Runners with a friend do sell, but not in a pack. I can only assume people want shots of their kids as the main focus. My sales bear that out.

I think its a good idea to get runners in the background BEHIND your subject, not next to them, unless at a finish, or in front of them.

Clearly this shot shows a runner in front of a pack. May not be in first place, but he looks like he is. Sold a few different sizes of this shot.

395057113_4bUJX-L.jpg

Another shot toward a finish that sold well. Runners behind the main subject. I'm pretty sure he was not close to the front but it looks like he was.

395057227_qqUiA-L.jpg

These shots always sell. Tight to the runner, this is what I would encourage you to capture with your daughter.

395057154_hzsHd-L.jpg

Friend shots sell well also. This one sold multiple times. Two friends isolated from the pack.

395057289_VBPrF-L.jpg

And last these are always some of the most popular shots. Don't forget the after race.

395056956_VWgKm-L.jpg

You may have something completely different in mind as to what you want to do. That is good, always have a plan. I've found the most success I've had whether it is shooting sports or any other subject is to have in mind what I want to do, what type of shot and where. The rest will fall into place.

Shooting for publications is different than shooting for sales. I do both. Shooting your own child, I would think again based on my sales, that you will be happier with the shots that are clean or emphasize your daughter.

You will notice that these shots all have two things in common. I talk to a lot of people with cameras when I'm working and there are a couple of things that I always say; include a face, not the back. Shoot tight and crop your shots even tighter. These shots meet that criteria. I am not saying that is the only way or the only types of shots to get, but I think you will be happy with your shots if you strive to do just that.

Good luck, I will be shooting a conference XC meet next Monday as well. I am sure you are in the same part of your season as well.

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I forgot to mention that you want your focus point to be single and usually the middle one. Especially if you are shooting in groups. Auto selection will usually pick the closest person not necessarily the one you want. So AI Servo, single point in the center. Keep your focus point on those bib numbers and all will be good with the world. smile

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