Curling Photography

Discussion in 'Photography 101' started by Stryker412, Mar 2, 2014.

  1. Stryker412

    Stryker412 Member

    I'm attending the nationals this week outside of Philly. Can anyone give suggestions for manual settings on my Canon T3 with a 70-300mm lens? I've gotten a few good shots but almost all are over exposed and I have to lower the contrast using software. I mainly use auto settings. I'm still learning the ropes but am always afraid if I shoot all day on manual that when I get home all my shots are blurry or worse. I also hate to miss good shots because I have to fiddle with settings. Is there a good setting I could use all day? Here is what I have after the first day. ... 5099655505
  2. ddindy

    ddindy Member Staff Member

    Wow, I'm jealous! ; I watched the Canadian curling championships 25 years ago when I was working in Seattle. ; I've been a fan of the sport ever since.

    I suspect that all of that white ice is fooling your meter. ; I suggest setting the exposure compensation to some negative number. ; Take several test shots before the event and adjust it accordingly. ; Search the web for tips on shooting snow scenes; shooting on ice is a similar situation.

    Worried about blurry shots in manual? ; Set your shutter speed first, and adjust the aperture and/or ISO as needed. ; Practice your panning technique with slow shutter speeds, too; I think that could result in some cool shots.

    You may also want to pre-set the white balance (although the shots you posted look good). ; I'm not familiar with Canons, but if your camera has a way to pre-set the white balance based on some known white/gray scene (such as the ice), then do that before the event as well. ; My Nikons have a "preset manual" white balance option, where I point the camera at a "neutral gray or white object," take a shot, and the white balance setting is saved for future use. ; I've used it for roller derby and hockey and it's definitely a good practice.
  3. Stryker412

    Stryker412 Member

    Thanks for the tips. I tried a number of settings yesterday, even speaking with freelance photogs there and I just couldn't get them right. ... onshipDay2

    The major problem I face using auto or sport is the camera defaults to ISO 3200 which is too high. I think 1600 looks fine. When I process the photos on 3200 I have to darken them a bit which brings out a lot of noise in the dark areas (like pants or hair). Any ideas for preventing that? The photos were resized on Picasa down to 1200 px which brought a lot more compression artifacts than are on the full-sized photos.
  4. Stryker412

    Stryker412 Member

    What are some reputable online lens rental services?
  5. ddindy

    ddindy Member Staff Member

    Ah, there's your problem: ; your mode dial is on the wrong end.

    Look at the EXIF data on some of the shots that you're really happy with. ; See what shutter speed, aperture and ISO the camera picked and start shooting with those settings in manual mode.

    If you prefer to have the camera make some of the decisions, use Tv mode (shutter priority) and auto-ISO with an upper limit of 1600. ; Again, use the shutter speed from your good shots as a starting point. ; Alternatively, you can use Av mode and open the lens all the way up.

    I've rented from several times and am very satisfied. ; Another highly regarded firm is Borrow Lenses.
  6. ExploringWDW

    ExploringWDW Member

    When shooting indoor sports, I find that the best way to get consistent results is to use manual mode in Auto ISO. I shoot Nikon with the same fairly slow 70-300mm lens. Reiterating what Dennis said, I set the aperture to wide open (f/4 at the 70mm end), and set the shutter speed to something that will freeze the action. The camera picks the ISO and since the aperture is always wide open it holds the ISO as low as possible. If I want to change it up to blur the action I can adjust the shutter speed slower and then I get lower (less noisy) ISOs.

    Are you using spot meter mode? If so, that may drive you nuts with white ice and all the black uniforms. White will cause your camera to under expose and make the white ice look grey. Black will cause your camera to over expose and make black look grey. Google "exposure compensation for snow" for all the details on why that happens. The Canon "evaluative" mode may help with this problem since it will expose for the entire scene.

    If you still have problems with getting inconsistent results use Dennis' suggestion of using a few test shots to get everything dialed in, including the ISO. (turn OFF auto ISO) In this case, with the 70-300mm lens, set your aperture to f/5.6 so that it stays consistent for the entire zoom range. Pick a shutter speed that freezes the action and an ISO that give a nice bright exposrure and stick to it. If you want to play with blurring the action and panning shots, slow down the shutter and take a few more test shots to dial in the ISO and shoot that way for a while.

    None of your photos look bad and many look great. You may also be having trouble with nailing the focus. I have the same problem in lower light situations with that lens. If you nail focus the lens is very sharp, you can see the threads in the patches on their uniforms, but its tough to get that every time. If Scott Thomas chimes in on this thread he may be able to shed some light on getting the focus issues worked out.

    Rent yourself a 70-200 f/2.8 and all your troubles may go away! (+1 for

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