Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Rob Lynn Photography, 1st Post.

Hi, and thank you for coming to my new blog! I used to use wordpress for my photography blog, however with an interface that is getting more complicated with each update, and a system that is quite glitchy, I've decided to move onto a new system.

I've decided that blogspot has quite a bit of a good reputation, that I will use them.

My last blog post I spoke briefly about photographing Professional Wrestling. I figure since it's important information that sheds some insight onto sports photography, that I will go over it again. Here's a copy/paste from the last blog.

By the way, if you’re considering a website, new or old for yourself PLEASE, you OWE it to yourself to check out Sandy @ outworld arts stuff. She does top notch work and has a quick turn-around.

So what’s been going on? Just been pounding the pavement about my photography, and making photographs for competition and the portfolio.

I’ve been looking into keyboards that are much more comfortable for typing long items on, and looking into a wacom tablet for editing photographs. They are so much more intuitive than a mouse…think of drawing with a brick! Ouch!

Recently I “partnered” up with I will be representing them at some combat sport related events as a photographer or writer or even both! I’ve done a few articles, and a gym profile for them with more on the horizon. If you go and sign up for an account, add me on there as a friend.

There are two MMA promoters that I do a lot of photography for. VFLmma and Iron Will Fighting Championships. Check out both if you are looking into MMA events.

Now I want to talk about photographing action and some of the “technical” aspects of it for a little bit and what makes it hard for just mom to pick up her pocket camera and get some photographs of her son playing indoor ball.

Ask any professional photographer, shooting indoor sports is one of the hardest things to do. It’s demanding on the equipment, demanding on the photographer and hard on the body (depending on the event). At this moment I have not shot a wedding yet, but it’s coming soon and I would say that weddings are the hardest to do.

Anyway, the reason indoor sports is so hard is because of the lighting. In photography you have 3 factors in exposure. Aperture of the lens, ISO setting of the camera, and shutter speed.

While f/4 and 1/500 of a second will produce the same exposure as f/8 1/120, it will be different creatively speaking. f/8 allowing more depth of field, but 1/120 not freezing any action.

In shooting sports, you want the absolute fastest shutter speed you can get. The faster the better. If you can shoot at 1/1600, you’ll kiss the ground before your feet.

All of these settings, ISO (the sensor’s sensitivity to light), aperture (the diameter of the lens opening) and shutter speed (this is pretty much easy to figure out) make the exposure. While any combination of equal exposure (f/4 gathers 2x the light as f/5.6 but if we give f/5.6 2x as long a shutter speed it’s equal exposure), what is the best to portray the scene?

Now with more expensive, and newer cameras coming out the ISO sensitivity of the camera’s sensors are improving, but still ISO 3200 and 6400 (very high ISO) are still “noisy”…

What is noise in a picture? It’s random specks of color and loss of detail.

Now we’re going to quickly talk about color temperature…this is measured in Kelvins.

Just speaking quickly, different light sources have different color temps. This really means nothing if all lights are the same. Usually a custom white balance or even auto in a lot of cases will figure it out…however things get REALLY ugly when you start mixing them.

Mix a flash with fluorescent lighting, and it gets ugly. You can gel the flash to change the color of the light…but what happens when there are multiple lights that have been changed with different brands of lighting, colors of lighting and no gel or combo of gels you have matches what ugly color is coming out of the ceiling? You kill the ambient light…that is overpower it with flash.

But what if you’re photographing an event where you’re not able to blast a full power flash in a competitor’s face? You can’t kill ambient lighting. You grin, bear it and take the photos. You deal with the color temperature and present the best you can do.

So you crank the ISO of your camera, set the shutter speed to whatever lets in some ambient (to light your background and areas where the stupid ettl (through the lens metering) doesn’t meter for) and go.

Now you’ve got to deal with refresh time of your camera’s flash…

When I shoot MMA I consider ISO 3200 f/2.8 1/800 to be acceptable but LOW lighting. Ideally I’d want 1/1600 as my shutter speed.

When I arrived at the Pasquerella center in Johnstown PA, with the lights cranked….I metered ISO 3200, f/2.8 and 1/200!!! If we count in f/stops 1600/800/400/200, you get the idea on light difference. With each stop the amount of light is either doubled or cut in half.

To say the pasq center has low lighting, is about the biggest understatement in the history of understatements.

Sometimes the ONLY way to remove a color cast is the desaturate the image (black and white conversion) and sometimes the only way to get photos in those dungeons is to underexpose the image by 2-3 f/stops, and bring it back in post…which brings MORE noise into the photo! Rough all of the way around.

It was the first time I shot professional wrestling, but definitely not the last. Check out AON Wrestling. A pretty neat production, and even though I personally am not a fan of pro wrestling, these guys are entertainers, athletes and really good at what they do. I really hope you check them out. Especially considering tickets are only 10 bucks or so. That’s a great night for mom or dad to take the kids out and see some neat entertainment.

Check out the photos on my site to be uploaded over the next few days.

Rob Lynn

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