Baseball shots tips

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Dr. Boggis, May 25, 2006.

  1. Dr. Boggis

    Dr. Boggis Guest


    I've got some good seats to see the Padres take on the Cardinals
    tomorrow night, so I'm hoping to take some shots with my new D50. I have
    the Nikon 18-70mm (f/3.5-4.5G) lens and also a Sigma 28-300 (f/3.5-6.3),
    and was hoping for some tips on settings etc for getting decent action
    shots, as well as some wider angle scenes of the ballpark. I'm very new
    to DSLRs so I won't be offended at what you may consider the most basic
    help! Shutter priority and keep it as fast as the light will allow?
    Sports mode? I won't be taking a tripod.

    Thanks for any help...
    Dr. Boggis, May 25, 2006
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  2. Dr. Boggis

    Paul Furman Guest

    Probably will need to boost the ISO setting for action at 300mm f/6.3
    and that'll be manual focus.
    Paul Furman, May 25, 2006
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  3. Dr. Boggis

    Mark² Guest

    My 2¢:

    Take your meter readings off of the green grass and use that for all as lighting conditions change. This will prevent your
    meter from being fooled by white uniforms or dark uniforms/skin. Green
    grass makes for an excellent middle-tone, and is great for metering things
    like weddings and ball games--where attire is often extreme whites and
    darks. If you're shooting plays at the bases, you'll want to stay pointed
    at the base area rather than tracking the runner. Otherwise you'll get
    motion blur around the first baseman (and everything else in the frame)
    except for the runner...which makes for a rather weird rendition.
    Usually -better/more natureal to have the stationary player (the first
    baseman) still and sharp, leaving any motion blur to the moving
    runner...unless you are simply focusing ONLY on the runner's movement, etc.
    Just in case you hav REALLY close seats (like just of of first base) where
    you could use fill flash from a powerful shoe mount...make sure you switch
    to second curtain any ghosting shows up BEHIND the action, rather
    than weirdly showing up in front of the runner, etc.

    If you're shooting the batter, think about where his best movement will be
    when his position is most interesting. Are you after his stance? His
    swing? Ball-off-the-bat? Ball travel? Do you want to capture the entire
    scene (batter, catcher, ump and ball travel)? --Of course if you can't get
    close enough to frame tightly, none of these will matter so much...but its
    worth thinking about. Pitcher shots can be interesting with all the various
    arm movements and release angles. Many pitchers look quite contorted when
    their arm movement is frozen.

    Remember that you can crop later when trying to get quick action.
    This helps when you're trying to capture a play in the field, since it's
    very tricky to be fully zoomed on a playeras the ball gets there.

    Your telephoto zooms at a very slow f6.3. This means you'll have to really
    crank up the ISO, or you'll never get the shutter speeds you need (under the
    lights). -Better to have a little high-ISO noise in a sharp picture than to
    have excessive motion blur or camera-movement blur. Try to shoot at 1/250th
    or higher if you want to freeze the action (that isn't going to freeze the

    If you're taking shots of the pitcher, focus on where he'll be when he's in
    his motion toward the plate, and then stop AF if your camera lets you do
    that via a button, etc. and frame with some space in front of him so you
    catch ball movement on the release, rather than have him end up throwing his
    arm right into the hard edge of your picture.

    Remember that shots don't have to be close telephotos to tell the story.
    Sometimes giving some context (umpire and fielder) to the center of
    attention (batter) is a good thing.
    Here's an example in a shot I grabbed of Tony Gwynn's final big league hit
    (Qualcomm)...right toward his favorite 5.5 hole:

    The best news is...with digital, you'll have an immediate indication of how
    its going--unlike film.

    Where are your seats at Petco?
    There are a lot of good angles from the seats in the new ballpark compared
    with Qualcomm...where everything seemed so far away.

    I'll likely be there the next night (Saturday)...

    Mark², May 26, 2006
  4. Dr. Boggis

    Bigguy Guest

    Do take a monopod if you can... f6.3 is a bit slow if light is poor.
    Pump up the ISO to 400 or even 800.
    Use manual exposure - meter off something in scene like grass, flesh or
    other mid tones... this will stop player's white outfits from over-exposing.
    Check histogram...
    (Shoot RAW if you use this workflow).
    Look for 'peak of action' - a sports trigger finger needs practice ( the
    difference between a killer shot and an 'almost spot on' is timing).
    Shade light is much nicer than direct sunlight...
    Get close to the action - even a 300mm needs some help.
    Enjoy... :)

    Bigguy, May 26, 2006
  5. Dr. Boggis

    Dr. Boggis Guest

    Oh, I'll be enjoying, even if my camerawork isn't up to scratch!

    Thanks for the tips. It gets dark here about 8.30pm these days, right in
    the middle of the game, so I'll have to keep an eye on the meter for the
    changing light conditions. Of course the stadium lights will be on for
    most of the time, but I'm also going to get there way early to catch
    some of BP and so on.
    Dr. Boggis, May 26, 2006
  6. Dr. Boggis

    Dr. Boggis Guest

    [snip lots of great stuff]
    Nice! Captures the moment very nicely. I was at that game too :)
    Yep - we're in row 6 of field level 117, by the visitor's bullpen. So
    I'm hoping to get some good action shots of plays at first and second...

    Thanks for all the advice and things to think about!
    Dr. Boggis, May 26, 2006
  7. Dr. Boggis

    Mark² Guest

    So how did it go?
    Any pictures you can post?
    Mark², May 28, 2006
  8. Dr. Boggis

    Dr. Boggis Guest

    The game was great, we won 7-1 .... but the seats weren't as good as I'd
    hoped for photography, a few too many heads in the way, and the first
    base umpire and coach obscured the pitcher. I've only just got back into
    work where I have a computer to handle them, but I'll put a link up if
    any of them are worth showing.
    Dr. Boggis, May 30, 2006
  9. Dr. Boggis

    Dr. Boggis Guest

    OK, well here's a panorama I made from some shots before the game.

    It's a bit blown out on the left, and a bit dark on the right, but I'm
    not sure there's much I could do about that. I took meter readings
    across the whole scene and then shot with an "average" setting. Is there
    a better way to do it?

    Also just one of Mike Piazza blowing his gum before the game. Nothing
    that special about it, unless you're a fan!
    Dr. Boggis, May 31, 2006
  10. Dr. Boggis

    Bigguy Guest

    Nicely exposed...


    Bigguy, May 31, 2006
  11. Dr. Boggis

    boggissimo Guest

    boggissimo, Jun 1, 2006
  12. Dr. Boggis

    Mark² Guest

    How did you manage to get those seats?
    I assume most, if not all, of those are season tickets someone owns.
    Mark², Jun 2, 2006
  13. Dr. Boggis

    Dr. Boggis Guest

    A friend called me up and asked if I wanted to go to the game (he didn't
    say where the seats were). When I met up with him, I asked him if it was
    worth bringing my camera, and he said "well, the screen might get in the
    way, but yeah", and I tried to stop my grin from splitting my head in
    half. He's a season ticket holder, yep.
    Dr. Boggis, Jun 6, 2006
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