Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Sport Photography

Most of this was written with Rugby, at a local level, in mind. It will apply just as readily to other sports though.

You don’t need the newest and most expensive camera out there to get the best shots. You do need a camera with an instant shutter, and you will need a lens that goes out to at least 200mm… at a minimum. Realistically I wouldn’t want to try and shoot sports with a compact camera… but it might be fun to try!


The first and best piece of advice I would offer to anyone thinking of trying their hand at any sort of action photography is that if you see it in your viewfinder, you’ve missed it! You need to anticipate the hit or shot or whatever it may be in the sport you’re watching.


With any sort of sport you also need to watch some before you go and photograph it. You need an idea of what is likely to happen and to click that shutter just at the right time.


If you haven’t shot a given sport before I would also research online ahead of going if possible. There are lots of free resources online now. Look for images of the sport you want to shoot and see what type of photographs have the most impact for you.


The other big question is where to stand for the best shots. Well for rugby, at the level that I shoot at, I can move around the pitch to an extent. I have two areas in particular that I spend most of my time at. Somewhere around the 22 is a good spot. I’m using a 70-200mm lens for rugby right now, and if my subject is more than about 20m away I’m not going to get the shot I want. The 22 gives me a range from the halfway line to the tryline and halfway across the pitch. If play breaks down around the 22 with my team attacking I move round behind the posts and shoot straight on.


Don’t be afraid to crop your photos in post for maximum effect. As long as the image remains sharp, the bigger in frame the better is a simple rule of thumb!


On an overcast day unless you are shooting with professional lenses, you will find it hard to get sharp images later in the 2nd half. Even with professional lenses, in the middle of winter it can be difficult to get a decent shot. If you’re shooting for fun, don’t give up. Just stand behind the posts and ramp up your ISO. You can get some really interesting shots of players coming straight at camera, with less chance of severe motion blur.


If you’ve taken anything from this that’s helped you, let me know!

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Tunbridge Wells Rugby Club

TWRFC gate

Most Saturday afternoons you’ll find me following the 1st XV from Tunbridge Wells Rugby Club.

My brothers played for the Club back in the late 80s and when I became bored of shooting landscapes it was a natural place to go and try my hand at Sports Photography.


Tunbridge Wells Rugby Football Club are part of the Tunbridge Wells Borderers Sports Club, and play their home fixtures at St. Marks recreation ground at the top of Frant Road in Tunbridge Wells.

The first team currently play in the London 1 South league RFU level 6, our second team play in the Invicta Leagues run by Kent County RFU as do our third and fourth fifteens who play in current mid Kent leagues, Mid Kent B and C respectively.
There is also a thriving junior and minis section which plays matches on Sundays throughout the season.

Rugby club Players entrance

The Club was originally formed as the Old Skinners' rugby football club in 1931 and remained linked to the Skinners’ school for many years, despite the increasing number of non old boys who played for the club. In 1970 it was decided that the club should become an 'open' club. This lead in 1973 to the club being renamed Tunbridge Wells Rugby Football Club, and to the club going from strength to strength since.

No Golf to be played

The Club currently have four pitches on a ground of some 23 acres, perched on top of a Wealden Ridge overlooking Frant in Sussex, and despite being a member of the Kent County RFU the Kent Sussex border runs through the middle of the 1st XV pitch with two pitches also being entirely in Sussex!


More information on Tunbridge Wells Rugby Club can be found at http://www.twrfc.com(where you may recognise some of the above text!)

rugby club players entrance door hook

I plan to do a few posts on Rugby photography soon. Although if you look at the dates of previous posts you’ll have spotted I’m not a frequent poster.

Predator rugby training

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Sigma 70-200mm Macro

Sigma 70-200mm macro

Just a quick roadtest of the Sigma APO 70-200mm F2.8 II EX DG MACRO HSM.

This shot was taken at F5.6 1/320th @ ISO 200. Look at that DOF. This was taken at the minimum distance this lens focuses at which is constant through its full range at 100cm/39.4in and maximum magnification of 1:3.5.

I've done a quick curves adjustment, but nothing else. No sharpening.

Personally I've never used a macro lens before because it hasn't been a priority for me, and although this isn't a 'true' macro it looks like it's going to be fun. I can understand why light is so important for macro work now. If I want any kind of DOF I'm going to have to light my subject up to get a decent aperture.

I plan to use this lens mainly for sport and also for some theatre work so I'll be sure to post further results once I've had a chance to try it out.

Time for a post!


Thought it was about time I posted something!

One I took a while ago. Just another demonstration of what you can do with one flash, handheld to the left.

As always I set my exposure to what I wanted for the background and then added light to suit the subject. Using Commander mode on a Nikon D200 I was able to select the Flash settings from the cam and change them as needed without wandering back and forth.

And here's one I took just as it was... no flash for a change!