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focus and pressing the camera shutter.

Discussion in 'Badminton Photography' started by kwun, Feb 5, 2007.

  1. kwun

    kwun Administrator

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    i spent 3 days covering a badminton event this weekend. i learned a few things this weekend about taking badminton photography that i want to share with you guys.

    1) for really low light, feel brave to use highest ISO setting. i was shooting at ISO2000 / f/1.6 / 1/250s shutter, or ISO3200 / f/2 / 1/250s shutter. only at this setting then the photos comes out properly exposed. i used to shoot at ISO1600 and then "push" it on post processing. the result is that the noise is just as bad as ISO3200, but i lose the shutter speed. also, the contrast and color accuracy of the pushed photos are much worse. with ISO2500 to ISO3200, i was actually getting decent color despite the high ISO and low light. yes, the photos are noisy, but i have learned not to pixel peep and if i do need it, there is always noise removal software which works rather well.

    2) Nikon AF tracking actually works. before this weekend, i was wrong to underestimate how good the D200 AF tracking is. i used to set it to one point and keep on trying to get the subject on that one focus point. but this time, i put the camera to complete auto AF tracking. it actually tracked the subject pretty well and i got many many more in focused photos than last time.

    3) learn the shutter delay and click shutter only once. 5fps is useless and waste of CF card space. i forced myself to learn to feel the shutter delay, and i was able to learn to press the shutter once for one frame just the right moment before the action. it took a few hundred shots to get used to the timing, but the accuracy is much better than holding the shutter and let the camera shoot at 5fps. the critical moment in a badminton action is just too short to be captured with 5fps. i would even say 8fps is too slow.

    i came home with 1/3 the number of shutters clicked, but the number of keeper is actually comparable as before. so the keeper rate is much higher.
     
  2. kwun

    kwun Administrator

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    here are some photos i got from the weekend:

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  3. crosscourt

    crosscourt Regular Member

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    Nice photos, especially the penultimate one!

    Your third point reminded me of a documentary I saw a very long time ago about press photographers. The interviewee was saying that whilst he had a camera that could take x shots per second, most of his usable shots were shot number 1 rather than, say, shot number 5 in a sequence. You can control the composition of the first shot but after that anything can happen.
     
  4. ctjcad

    ctjcad Regular Member

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    Hmm, 3rd point is interesting..

    ...hmm, i don't exactly know nor have i done it before, but from what i understand abt taking multiple fps shot(ie. 3fps, 5fps and so forth), is it possible also to anticipate ahead of time a certain action before clicking the shutter?? More like taking a chance. I understand what kwun wrote that we'll be "wasting" memory card space and we might not like whatever pics that come out nor we'll get a picture we're looking for. If so, then what is/are the "real" benefit(s) of having an (x)fps feature??:confused: ..anyone else want to expand more on this??..:cool:
     
  5. crosscourt

    crosscourt Regular Member

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    If you have a camera that takes, say, 5 fps, with an exposure of 1/250, that means that you have recorded 5/250ths of the action that took place in that second and so therefore will have missed 245/250ths of that second. So if you just point your camera and take 5 shots the chances are that you will not get the exact shot you want. Better to be ready and, as kwun says, slightly anticipate the shot and get it with your first exposure. The first exposure is the one you have most control over after all.

    As to why the function is there, if you are taking candid shots and are not sure what is ging to happen then I think being able to shoot 5 fps might be useful. An example might be that on a windy day you might not be able to anticipate someone's hat being blown off but if you are shooting at 5fps you might be in luck and catch it.
     
  6. ants

    ants Regular Member

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    The pics is nice. But the photos a little too grainy.
     
  7. taneepak

    taneepak Regular Member

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    In reality the difficulty of capturing the 'decisive moment' is more than that of releasing the shutter at the right moment. Since we all react with a certain hesitation we will require a certain amount of thinking time in order to release the shutter at the right time. Cameras have a time delay and different cameras have different time delays. An average time delay for a high quality slr camera is about 25 milliseconds, mainly taken up by the mirror getting out of the way, the aperture diaphram closing, the auto focus doing its work, and the shutter operating. A high quality rangefinder camera like the Leica M has a much shorter time delay. You can ask your camera manufacturer for the time delay of your camera, if it is not found in the manual. This is just time delay from the final pressing of the shutter release button to the exposure.
    In practice these things must become a feeling in the finger tips. Therefore improving finger tip feeling is desirable. With more practice you will be surprised how good your anticipation can be.
    Most of the cameras of my era have 2 pressure points in the shutter button. If your camera has these 2 pressure points you can make good use of them. The technique is to depress the button to the point immediately before it trips the shuttle to get yourself in the ready mode so that for the exposure itself you only have to depress the last fraction of a mm. It also makes for a less jerky picture.
     
  8. wood_22_chuck

    wood_22_chuck Regular Member

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    Interesting, taneepak. Now post some pics.

    -dave
     
  9. kwun

    kwun Administrator

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    the "decisive moment" is an interesting discussion. the phrase "decisive moment" is coined by the French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. the most interesting, or most amazing, thing about Bresson is not that he is there right at the decisive moment, but instead he is there right before the decisive moment.

    we badminton photographer can learn from him by looking at where and how we can prepare ourself in the vicinity of the badminton court in order to be there before the decisive moment: think about where the actions are, think about what type of shots the players will more likely to play. and most importantly is something that i have done quite a lot, is to learn from other badminton photographer, look at how they frame their shots, where they grab the action.

    the other interesting thing about Bresson is that his camera is a extension of himself. his peers have noted that aside from always carrying his Leica rangefinder camera, they have found that while he is moving about, his fingers automatically adjusts his camera setting to fit the environment. if he walks into a dark room, you will see his fingers automatically adjusting the aperture ring, for example.

    well i am glad that exposure is pretty consistent in a badminton gym and nowadays we have autofocus. :D
     
  10. red00ecstrat

    red00ecstrat Regular Member

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    Learning English from abc. Learning photography from HCB!!!
     
  11. red00ecstrat

    red00ecstrat Regular Member

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    will there be a decisive moment in badminton photography? yes, but i guess that "moment" is different from what HCB'd defined!
    what do u guys think the decisive moment in badminton photography would be? the moment of a bird that makes contact with a racket? floating in the mid air with both legs bended? palyer just about to land with a bird flying towards your lens? or something else??? should be a lot more! and in fact, it's all up to a photographer!
    but in snap shot taking. there will only be ONE decisive moment in a shot. it must be precise and there won't be a second chance or second best! I guess that's what HCB was talking about.
     
  12. kwun

    kwun Administrator

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    good point. badminton is repetitive, if we miss one jumpsmash, another one will soon come along. so trying to time the action is not really a decisive moment with that definition.

    however, throughout the duration of the match, there are events that happen once only. perhaps those can be considered decisive moments?

    here is one i took last year. Angie forced a short lift, and at that very instant she decided to jump smash it down, which is something that she doesn't do very often. i believe she only did that once during the whole tournament and the photo captured the dynamics of her stretched out posture. i quite like the photo despite it being a bit underexposed.

    does it count?

    (of course, the picture isn't that significant without the story that comes with it...)

    [​IMG]
     
  13. taneepak

    taneepak Regular Member

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    Some of the pictures you fellows have posted do capture the decisive moment. In many photographic situations, there is one and only one "right" instant to trip the camera's shutter. HCB refers to the critical time for making the exposure as the "decisive moment". Decisive moment is that fraction of a second when a high-jumper is just clearing the bar, when emotions reach a breaking point-did anyone capture Taufik spontaneously bursting into tears when he won the 2004 Olympics?-, when time and place combine to provide a unique photographic opportunity. Actually, you photograph these situations by instinct, composing, focusing, and exposing faster than it is possible to think consciously. Anticipation and visualization are essential.
    One thing you can do is to get yourself an empty slide holder, the one that holds a 35mm colour slide or cut one yourself from a piece of cardboard. Use this to frame what you want to take. The closer you hold the holder to your eyes the wider the angle, the further away the more the telephoto effect. This helps your visualization.
     
  14. red00ecstrat

    red00ecstrat Regular Member

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    That's right kwun. I think that isn't the exact definition of HCB's decisive moment.

    I don't know if the term "decisive moment" is appropriate to be used to describe some action shots in badminton photography.........perhaps not for action oriented pictures? I don't really know kwun!
    To me, the meaning of decisive moment is more precious. You can never take control of it. In fact, It predominates over every photographer!
     
    #14 red00ecstrat, Feb 7, 2007
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2007
  15. lurker

    lurker Regular Member

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    I dun think u can pinpoint 'decisive moments' during any events... every situation is different.

    but for badminton game...
    hmm... issit those major upsets?
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    close games?
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    behind the scenes happenings?
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    i guess one has to be there to tell, hell even tho i'm at the MO for a few days i can't tell which is the decisive moment ;)

    i still got so much to learn
     
    #15 lurker, Feb 7, 2007
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2007
  16. lurker

    lurker Regular Member

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    btw kwun, what lens were u using?
    f1.6? whoaa...

    the 85mm f1.4? 50mm 1.4?
     
  17. Bobatea

    Bobatea Regular Member

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    I have to agree a lot with what kwun said. From what I've learned taking photos so far, it is actually most of the time better to anticipate that moment to take the photo. With 5 fps or just holding the shutter down, it's actually quite difficult to get that moment you were aiming for. I've looked back at the photos I took during the Japan Open and realized that I really did try to anticipate the shot instead of just shooting away.

    Regarding the decisive moment, I believe it's really whether or not the "emotion" is being portrayed correctly. It does not have to be a super high jump smash or the moment the bird is hit. Those are in their own right a decisive moment, but it can also be like taneepak stated Taufik breaking down into tears. If you've looked at some of the pictures I posted during the Japan Open, you'll see one of Xie XingFang bending over exhausted just staring back at the shuttle that landed in at the back of the court (I believe it's there). The focus is on the shuttle instead of Xie to try and bring the focus to the shuttle and emphasize how hard Xie is focusing on it. In my opinion, it's not the greatest photo, but I do believe it tries to portray the "emotion" of that match. If you remember, it went all the way to 30-29 in the final game and Tony and Candra were laughing on the side because of how amazing the game was.

    I'm looking forward to this years Super Series: Japan Open. Hoping to get some good shots there. I Wonder if there's a way to get better seating for taking photos :D ?
     
  18. red00ecstrat

    red00ecstrat Regular Member

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    decisive moment?

    What do you guys think that would be? Picture 1? Picture 2? Picture 3? All of them or None of them?
    How to define in this case?
    On the other hand. I think there is a very clear guideline on HCB's definition of "decisive moment" . I believe that is "Getting the best or getting nothing!"
     

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  19. Bobatea

    Bobatea Regular Member

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    I personally like #3 because it shows the tension Lin Dan is releasing after winning. To me it portrays his excitement in his accomplishment and you can see that through his position and his tensed muscles. It conveys the moment with emotion. I like #1 too because it could be interpreted as the moment before Lin Dan were to break down and start crying... but it's Lin Dan :p .

    Btw, Kwun I really like the photos you posted. I like the angles you used and especially liked the one with Eva just staring at that bird:).
     
    #19 Bobatea, Feb 7, 2007
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2007
  20. kwun

    kwun Administrator

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    i really need to read up more on the definition and interpretations of "decisive moment", it seems like everyone have a different take to it!
     

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