Lessons in Silence

Lessons in Silence One of the things about being the Dad with a camera in Little League is you have to learn to be an observer...and nothing more.

See if you capture the critical play and know the umpire got it wrong..you'd better stay quiet.  It is the umpire's field, he called it the way he saw it, and he's the authority not you.  To kick, shout or throw a tantrum is to dishonor your team and status as a photographer.  It will also get you asked to leave and not come back!  Anyway the umpires called a good game, excellent strike zone and kept it all moving. Besides if you focus on your craft, you capture a moment and show how to be a good relaxed Dad.  

My son did well.  Pulled in a fly out in right, grounded into an infielders choice, and caught for an inning.  He got settled down and did well behind the plate.  He had a great play guarding the plate...but I will refer back to the lesson in silence and not tell you the call!  See whether he got credit for the out or not it did not matter for the purposes of me getting to stay on the field!  He hauled the ball in, got a tag on the runner, and improved during his second tour behind the plate this season.  I got to see all this without a fence in front of me, and with a 60-250mm (90-375mm with a 1.5 crop factor) telephoto lens!  HEHE!

So that takes me to today...first game I was able to shoot all season from start to finish.  I vowed today to make sure I did as little as I could in post production.  So I shot RAW + JPEG, set the camera to vibrant, worked the exposure settings between shots to get the best one, played with highlight and shadow controls in camera...and worked it as well as I could.  Big thing in post is cropping, and then some extra highlight controls (it was very bright!).  By working hard, and getting the JPEGs right I got the work done quickly today.  If something needed extra work it would only take a few seconds to switch to the RAW and try to recover a few more highlights of shadows to enhance the shot.  Today I did not have to do that at all.

So in a few minutes I'll share the photos with both teams (the other team's coach was my son's coach last fall)...and head off to bed...job all done!

Now all I need to to get paid for this sometime!


P.S. Mr Pentax K-5 with 60-250F4 all day long

Ground Ball!

Kevin at the Bat!

Kevin at the Bat! Kevin takes a practice swing as he steps up to the plate...looks bigger than six huh?  One of two photos I took at his last game of instructional T-Ball.  I'm glad I made them count, while I enjoyed the whole game without a large camera tied to me.  Sometimes it is very helpful to enjoy life through your own lenses.

I took this photo through the fence with my Fujifilm X20.  It is quite sharp, and provides a lot of dynamic range to pull out and play with.

I took some liberty with it in PerfectEffects, and I am pleased with the results.  I did vignette the photo as well to focus the eyes on the batter.


Friday Night Lights!

  Big Time Friday Night Little League Lights

Here is Friday Night Lights as I am living out right now....

My son was out in right field, and it was a long night of walks...17 of them in fact.  So the only action all night long were the throws between the pitcher and the catcher.

Making the best of it I got a high vantage point in the parking lot, went as high ISO as I dared on my Pentax K-5 and shot away.  I was at 1600 here and at F4.0 on my long telezoom.    Pretty much convinced me that one are two artsy type shots were all I'd get last night.  This would be the one reason I'd like a fancy full frame sensor...but I don't have the extra five thousand to get the body...not to mention more to get the right lenses.

When you got what you got, you just need to work that gear to the max...work your technique and make art with the scene God gave you.

Amazing how everything in photography is a microcosm of life!


Easter Child in Motion

Easter in motion! Easter is not a static event.  One must cover the sport as well as you do the church events!

Tracking motion is hard.  I need more practice.  The basics are to set the shutter speed lower than freezing the major motion.  In this case I went down to 1/80 of a second.

You then have to track the subject, and capture the part you want to see in focus because it is moving inside that focus plane.

With the number of kids floating around here you'd think I'd be in better practice!



Posing Eyes

[slideshow] Last week my good friend Rich asked me to demonstrate a few things I learned in Skips Summer School, so this post and several to follow will let me do just that.

One very important, but usually forgotten task is to pose eyes.  I did not have a chance to set up a portrait session, but I will demonstrate this works for any type of photography.  In this case sports!

In this sting of photos note on the picture of the boy grabbing a pebble and getting the catcher gear on, you do not see the pupils.  Yet you will follow them to what they are looking at!  This allows you to create some drama and set the stage for a good photo.

In the remaining photos note how the eyes add or subtract from the image.  In each case the boy catching (well trying to catch) has eyes visible or hidden from view.  I think most viewers will automatically have a great sense of connection to the photos where they can see what the boy was focusing on.  This applies to whether or not you can see the object of the boy's interest (the ball) in the photo.

And a final learning point...remember I said to get the ball in the photo?  Well there is the tip again!  Photos with the ball in them make the photo more relevant and understandable.

So whenever you edit any photo session, apply these rules of thumb.  It will lead you right many, many more times than not.

(Thanks to Roberto Valenzuela and Scott Kelby for those tips...and their books have many more)