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Indoors Tennis Photography

posted Feb 18, 2010, 5:31 AM by Nenad Hodnikovic

More than fifteen years ago I went for the first time to photograph indoors pro tennis. Then I had no digital SLR camera and was using my Nikon F301 ( known as N2000 in US ), and ISO 400 film.

That was a Delta Tour of Champions circuit, with former ATP pro stars like John McEnroe, Henri Leconte, Yannick Noah, Bjorn Borg and other great players of the 80' and 90'. Funny enough, it took place in the very same sports hall as recent ATP 2010 PBZ Zagreb Indoors.  Nowadays I use digital SLR Canon, just for the sake of practicality and instant results.

Indoors sports' photography adds many challenges to photographers. The light is constant, quite contrary to outdoor events, where light conditions usually change even over a one particular match. That's the good news. And the bad news are - there is rarely equally sufficient light indoors, comparing to a normal sunny or even not overly cloudy day.

Given that, a photographer must consider two things:
  • using speediest possible lenses - the ones with a very low F number (such as 1.4, or 2.0)
  • using highest possible ISO sensitivity that does not produce too much noise.

It leads to conclusion, that you are probably left "out" with any small pocket compact camera, even with an "ultra zoom" compact model. Simply, both groups of cameras have their limits:

  • very tiny sensors, with overcrowded pixels - producing a lot of noise on any ISO setting over 400
  • lenses starting at f/ 3.5 (up to 5.6) - the "light eaters" AND
  • very long shutter latency time...  the third problem with shooting the "ball sports".

Generally, you will still be able to get some pictures, even these high resolution ones... but, actually these will be probably only worth as personal memories, not even applicable to display it at a local news portal.

Even modest DSLR cameras with bigger and brighter lenses - so called "pro-summer" class - may not perform good enough to award your photographic skills and enthusiasm with the technically well or excellent results. But - at least, these cameras offer very low shutter latency, so you may get more photographs of the interesting moments... like exact racket and ball contact or some interesting player movements or gesture.

Photographing in Theater

posted Feb 17, 2010, 1:14 PM by Nenad Hodnikovic

Recently I went to see and photograph the dance play in HNK Varaždin, CRO theater. The "Vindi" dance troop prepared "Alice in the Wonderland" and performed excellent. It was not my first encounter neither with "Vindi" girls, nor with the very nice interior and stage of HNK Varaždin.

However, photographing a theater show may prove very difficult task.

The Light - Another light hunting story!

If you want to pay the respect to the artists, then you have to leave your flashlight at home, or at least - force the shut down state of the built-in flash. So, there's all the light that performers need, and any flashing is at least not polite...

Since there is not a rock spectacle light show, you can't expect to have very bright lamps and reflectors pointed toward stage. Forget low ISO sensitivity and turn it to maximal possible value that will enable you shooting some well focused scenes.

It's quite possible that you end up with some blurred pictures, namely - if you are not a pro photographer, with big DSLR cameras and speedy lenses, and have instead compact, ultra zoom or entry level DSLR models with modest lens... - you may not be able to shoot at very high shutter speeds.

The good news is that you may end up with some very fine pictures... with good contrast between the performers and the dark stage background. And... having to shoot with wide open aperture... you'll end up with very soft images... more natural in color than ones you produce using flashlight.

I presented here the show chronologically and have intentionally left all images intact, with no post processing nor tweaking in PS or other similar programs. The slide show consists of 60+ images, some of them being way less then perfect, just to illustrate the difficulties of theater show photography. Your comments are welcome!

The stuff: Canon 350D, Canon EF 85, f1.8 lens, set at f/2.0 to 2.2.  Shutter speeds range from 1/60 to 1/100 sec.

For the last three images in the slide show below I used Canon EF 28-90 lens, set at f/4.0 and 4.5.

Advice Request by M, 2009, Jan 28th

posted Feb 1, 2010, 12:41 AM by Nenad Hodnikovic   [ updated Feb 1, 2010, 9:15 AM ]

Dear M,

You asked about situations, where photographer needs a 150 to 300 mm lens, equivalent to classic 35mm film.

On many consumer or "pro-sumer" level DSLR cameras the sensor is about APS C size, or nearing 18 x 24 mm, therefore, it's diagonal being smaller than one of 35 mm frame. Tipically, 35 mm frame has the diagonal about 1.4 to 1.6 times longer, than most sensors on these consumer / semi professional DSLR cameras.

And that means, we discuss here a lenses with focal distance of 105 to 200 mm.

There are several occasions, when 150 to 300 mm telephoto range lens, equivalent to classic 35 mm film, will be more than welcome.

First and foremost is the - distant object. You can't capture such object's details with "normal" lens (50 mm lens on 35 mm Leica format cameras and 30 mm lens on consumer DSLR models). If shooting such image with the normal lens, your desired distant object may become too small to be suitable for the main motive - main part of the photo.

Such motives are found when shooting sport, concerts, architecture and wild nature - especially wild and dangerous animals that you can't approach to much, unless you like putting yourself into dangerous situations.

It happens in the nature, that you simply have the good view from one standpoint and cannot approach any closer to get such great view of the interesting motive in the far distance.

Sport and concert photography involves shooting from the distance and at the same time, you need to produce photos that focus on only one or couple of actual performers, to emphasize the importance of the moment and drama.

When shooting architecture, you may decide to go for the details as well as totals. Therefore, a solid telephoto lens will provide ideal means for completing the task.

I will try to put several example photos these days here on "tigiphoto"!



An example of using normal lens angle to capture a total court situation, as the most important motive.

 An example of using narrow angle, telephoto in sport photography to emphasize the importance of the main motive (here tennis player serving).     

Sad History

posted Jan 30, 2010, 7:40 AM by Nenad Hodnikovic   [ updated Jan 30, 2010, 8:00 AM ]

Here in Europe, Polaroid cameras never caught that wide acceptance as they did in US. We were merely accustomed at traditional 35 mm film technology for the every day photography.

However, with the development of digital imaging and photography, lessening costs and ever improving quality of final product - the photographic image itself, even these popular 35 mm films started to vanish from the shops, and camera makers shifted their product lines and business constantly from analog to digital, replacing older analog models with newer digital ones... and since then many times later replacing digital existing models with latest "state of the art" technologies, ever offering more megapixel and more features.

The greatest manufacturers of 35 mm cameras, such as Canon, Nikon and Olympus have survived the transition from analog to digital photography.

On the other hand, former great name of instant photography - Polaroid died and went to bankruptcy in year 2001.  Here is an embedded story about the Polaroid business and bankruptcy.  Watch it close... it is very educating story!

Can you, after watching the slide show compare the story with other, currently mega profitable businesses?


posted Oct 19, 2009, 1:40 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Jan 28, 2010, 12:37 PM by Nenad Hodnikovic ]

Photograpic projects in my area!

The Drive

posted Oct 19, 2009, 1:17 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Jan 30, 2010, 5:50 AM by Nenad Hodnikovic ]

Chasing the light!!

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