October 2015 | Issue no. 18 | by mark shaiken “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” Jim Rohn. Ellie In athletics, the body is the vehicle to perform, compete, excel, exceed expectations, and eventually win. What better way to explore physique than to focus on the athletes whose sport is to develop and display physique. In do :: or :: diso Issue No. 7 (October 2014) we explored how to photograph muscles. Cross lighting from above. A year later, do :: or :: diso returns to muscles, using the cross lighting technique to focus a bit more …Read more →
Soccer – If you think it is a slow, no contact, low excitement sport, think again. The contact and grit is palpable, the pitch – feverish, and the action is quite explosive. It is emotional.
“The key to any good sports story is identifying the defining moment.” Dan Jenkins… sports author. In point of fact, there are many defining moments and each image you capture should be your attempt to catch a defining moment and convey a part of the story. Catching the moment(s) is more than just squeezing the shutter release and ripping off 10 shots a second, because your camera can, while you hope for the best. If luck was all you needed, then we all would take shots as good as Rhona Wise, or Mark Terrill, or Rich Clarkson, or Dave Black . . . and we all do not. So, there must be, and is, more to catching the moment.
You catch the moment with prep before the game so you know the players, a bit of their tendencies, the teams, the rivalries, who is emotional, who is chippy, who is cool, who is demonstrative. You catch the moment by “waiting for it” – you don’t have to shoot all the action all the time; pre-visualize a shot you want and wait for it. It will happen.
This month do :: or :: diso hits the tennis courts and looks at the sport of the French and English Royalty. Court tennis has its origins in France during the Middle Ages and became a favorite of British royalty, including King Henry VIII. That tradition continues today at Wimbledon, the grande tournament of strawberries and cream and Royals patronage.
Today’s tennis “belongs to the individualistic past – a hero, or at most a pair of friends or lovers – against the world.” Jacques Barzun. Some athletes relish and thrive in the loneliness of individualism: “I enjoyed the position I was in as a tennis player. I was to blame when I lost. I was to blame when I won. And I really like that, because I played soccer a lot too, and I couldn’t stand it when I had to blame it on the goalkeeper.” Roger Federer. The notion of the intensity of the hero against the world led Jimmy Connors to observe: “People don’t seem to understand that it’s a damn war out there.”
This month do :: or :: diso turns its attention to a single piece of software: Photo Mechanic. Simply, Photo Mechanic is LIGHTENING FAST. With it, you can move photos from your CF / SD / XQD card to your hard drive and then review the photos as fast as you can hit the “Z” and the “T” keys on your keyboard. All of this speed enables you to determine which shots are your best. Then, you can import those best shots into Lightroom, do some quick edits, and the best images are ready in a flash for the web. This article is intended to give you a straightforward introduction to the PM magic. For this discussion, all images are shot, ingested, reviewed, straightened, and brought into Lightroom, in Raw. It is best to print out this article and then follow along step by step with both your PM trial version and LR opened.
This month, do :: or :: diso turns the lens on coaches. For a supplemental slideshow to this article (a new feature of do :: or :: diso), visit me on vimeo and remember to watch in HD.
“Look, coaching is about human interaction and trying to know your players. Any coach would tell you that. I’m no different.” – Bill Parcells
Have you ever tried ignoring the game and just shooting the coach in action, working the referee, exhorting the players, calling a play, directing the defense, or orchestrating an offensive play? Coaches are as much a part of the action as the dunk, the dink, the bunt.
The inclination when you shoot a sports event is to grab a lens with some length and zoom in on the action. A perfectly good strategy. Fill the frame with a telephoto. For football, soccer, and baseball, 400-600mm; for basketball and volleyball, 70-200mm. Each of these lenses has the capacity to yield great shots. But, is that the only strategy for sports shots? Negative. What about the other end of the lens spectrum – wide angle? Is there a place for a wide angle lens in sports photography? Absolutely.
Wide angle is typically anything less than 50mm. For sports, a little cheating is fine so I would redefine wide angle as anything less than 70mm. The typical lenses: 24-70mm; 14-24mm; and a fisheye – usually 15mm or 16mm and funky as all get out.
This month, do :: or :: diso talks with Matthew Hicks, a Kansas City sports photographer. Hicks is a man on a schedule running from match to game to athletic event, setting up his computer, racing through images, uploading them to an FTP site, packing up, and moving to the next match on his schedule. Daunting, but the perpetual smile is the hint that he would have it no other way.