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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Sports Talk 
Thread started 27 Dec 2010 (Monday) 17:16
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?'s on Strobe use for indoor sports

 
munzzzzzzz
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Dec 27, 2010 17:16 |  #1

Forgive me for a few relatively basic questions. I've had my interested peaked in indoor sports photography, and I've been doing a lot of reading and searching but haven't found threads that directly answer my questions regarding the use of strobes (i.e. AB's, not speedlites).

1) Is it still up to personal preference, or would most agree that a good, sharp lens (say a 70-200 f/4L) combined with a few strobes would provide better results than a slightly faster lens (maybe a 70-200 f/2.8L or a 135 f/2L)? I am in the market for a new telephoto lens which may be used for indoor sports down the road, and also own several studio strobes (Einsteins), so if I can, I'd rather stick with something like the 70-200 f/4L than have to deal with the extra bulk of the 70-200 f/2.8L so I have that extra stop when and if I ever need it for indoor sports (which would only be a small percentage of my total shooting).

2) Do most people using strobes bounce them off of walls or ceilings when in gyms? I see a few references to using them direct (and there are obviously reflectors designed for this - PCB 11" LTR & 22" RLR) but I also see talk of this being frowned upon. I can understand why this might be the case.

3) What percentage of HS sports games do you think someone is shooting with strobes (just a ballpark - < 25%, 50%, >75%, etc)?

4) What percentage of HS sports games have a problem with people using strobes/have banned them?

Thanks in advance for the info!


6D | 40mm f/2.8 | 50mm f/1.4 | 70-200mm f/4L IS | 580EXII | 2x PCB Einstein | Various Modifiers

  
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canonnoob
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Dec 27, 2010 18:12 |  #2

1. I shoot with a 70-200 2.8 IS mk II because I could afford it, there is still no subsitute for fast glass, even with strobes in this situation.

2. I bounce my strobes, and use the 11 LTR. They seemed to work fairly well ( have only shot a few games with the 11 LTR- used to use the 11" normals.) I rarely see anyone using them direct, but if someone does it is ususally speedlights not studio strobes.

3. I shoot all indoor sports with strobes so 100%.

4. I have yet to have a school say no. But then again, I supply proof of liability insurance and other tid bits that they feel comfortable with.


David W.

  
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bobbyz
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Dec 29, 2010 22:59 |  #3

f2.8 helps a lot with focussing in low light. And if you want to be sports photograpgher then get used to the weight. Why do people think 70-200mm f2.8 IS is too heavy. I am small handicapped person and I can shoot a whole football game with 300mm f2.8 and 1dmk2 and 70-200mm f2.8 on another body.


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DC ­ Fan
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Dec 30, 2010 14:22 |  #4

Just left a basketball game where a photographer on a magazine assignment showed up with a pair of White Lightning 1600 monolights, which he placed in the gym's balcony corners, aiming the heads toward the ceiling. He connected Pocket Wizard wireless triggers to the monolights, and then used a Pocket Wizard transmitter to fire the monolights. This photographer also used a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens.

On the other hand, other photographers in this area have been spotted using Canon 7D's with Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses and no strobes, using the gym's available light. For most purposes, a fast lens -- fast in gathering light and autofocus -- is a mandatory starting point for basketball photography.

There are no definitive answers to your questions about lighting, because no one is interested in going to every basketball game and surveying every photographer, athletic director and referee -- that won't happen. It is safe to say that the best way to be disinvited from a basketball game is to fire a a shoe-mount flash from the endline. Common sense and experience says that photographers are at their best at basketball games when they stay out of the way and do nothing to attract attention.




  
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ChasWG
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Dec 30, 2010 17:42 |  #5

I shoot all my son's MS basketball games using strobes. I use either a Canon 85mm f1.8 or a Canon 24-70L f2.8, fast glass is the answer. Focusing speed is Last year I tried to use my 70-200 f4L and it didn't work too well. It just wasn't fast enough glass wise for the strobe set-up I was using.

I'm using 4 speedlites fired in pairs and bouncing them off the back wall. I never fire them directly at the players for a couple of reasons. The first is that I think it would really inpact the kids. the second is that I'm shooting in MS gyms. They just aren't as large as HS gyms and only have bleachers on one side and no balcony rails to attach to. So everything is mounted on a set of 10ft. stands and secured in safe places.

I shoot every game with my set up and have yet to hear any complaints from a ref, coach or player. They just don't see the strobes being fired. I did have a couple of parents from the loosing team a week or so ago complain to themselves. The only thing is that I was firing more at the team I was covering while they were at the offensive end I was shooting. I only shot a handful of images while the other team was on offense at my end. So the strobes firing should have effected the kids I shooting more than the other team.

The score was 21 to 1 at halftime and I was shooting the winning team. The only people who see the flashes are the parents of the loosing team.

I've never been banned or asked to stop using the flashes.


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JeffreyG
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Dec 31, 2010 13:52 |  #6

Most working people around here shoot for the paper and they are not going to bother setting up strobes. They show up for less than half the game and boogie.

I shoot everything ambient because the AD would want me to set up any kind of strobe set that I'd be willing to use before the freshman game at 5:00 and then take it down after the varsity ends at 9:00. No thanks.

There is one other non-news guy I see shooting here much, and he shoots on spec. In most gyms he shoots ambient like me. In the one gym I shoot the most (the darkest) he sets up two small flashes to use direct from the bleacher railings. I'm sure he does it because this gym is really dark (f/2.8, 1/800 and ISO 12800) but IMO the results are just not worth bothering. The players get lit and frozen OK, but they look like they are playing in a cave since the small flashes do not light up the whole gym.

If you are going to strobe, do it with enough power that you can bounce and light the whole space.


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dwarrenr
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Dec 31, 2010 16:36 |  #7

munzzzzzzz wrote in post #11524049 (external link)
1) Is it still up to personal preference, or would most agree that a good, sharp lens (say a 70-200 f/4L) combined with a few strobes would provide better results than a slightly faster lens (maybe a 70-200 f/2.8L or a 135 f/2L)?

Agree with canonnoob, but will add...I don't think anyone would disagree that shooting with strobes will give far better results then shooting ambient...that is image quality.

munzzzzzzz wrote in post #11524049 (external link)
2) Do most people using strobes bounce them off of walls or ceilings when in gyms? I see a few references to using them direct (and there are obviously reflectors designed for this - PCB 11" LTR & 22" RLR) but I also see talk of this being frowned upon. I can understand why this might be the case.

I'll bounce when I can. When the gym does not allow me to bounce I'll shoot direct. I have not had complaints shooting direct. Also even when shooting direct I'll still use the smaller 7" reflectors. :D

munzzzzzzz wrote in post #11524049 (external link)
3) What percentage of HS sports games do you think someone is shooting with strobes (just a ballpark - < 25%, 50%, >75%, etc)?

I'd say it all depends on the size of the city the school is in. At larger metro schools prob 75% or more are shoot with strobes. At small schools maybe .001% of the time.

munzzzzzzz wrote in post #11524049 (external link)
4) What percentage of HS sports games have a problem with people using strobes/have banned them?

I can only speak personally, but I have never had a HS tell me I can't shoot with strobes. I'll send an e-mail out to the AD at least 4 days before I'm going to shoot and get permission. In that email I'll them the I only shoot with strobes and reassure them that they'll be setup as to not bother the players, coaches and refs. I've never been turned down.


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Tim ­ S
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Jan 18, 2011 15:34 |  #8

I shoot mostly on spec but occasionally for a weekly paper. On certain games there may be four papers represented. Myself and one other guy shoot ambient with the same equipment (50D, 70-200 f/2.8). One fellow uses on camera, direct flash which I don't care for but no one has complained so he keeps doing it. The fourth man sets a large strobe on the balcony rail and uses PW to fire it. He shoots from the same corner I do but usually leaves by halftime. He seems to fiddle with the light a half dozen times during the game but gets very nice images.

The AD is a friend so I have asked about using stobes and he said "whatever I need to do is OK". I'm usually at 1/500, f/2.8, ISO 3200. I would like to try strobes just to get the ISO down as I sometimes get request for poster prints.


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MT ­ Stringer
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Jan 20, 2011 22:00 |  #9

My game total is approcahing 140 over the last two years using strobes. I had a complaint a couple of weeks ago form the varsity coach before their game even started. He said the lights were bothering his players, who were still sitting in the bleachres looking at the strobes! I couldn't convince him otherwise. What a doofus. So, I shot the freshmen and sophomore games, then took the lights down and went home. Some people just don't have a clue. I have asked players repeatedly after their games if the lights bothered them. Some say "What lights", others say "No Sir". A freshman coach last week came up to me smiling and said "I didn't even notice the lights during our game until just now when I was walking down the hall and saw the flash through the open door (start of the JV game).

AB 1600's, 13 foot light stands, ISO 320-400, f/3.2-3.5, 70-200 f/2.8, MK3 or 7D. Skyports and Cybersync's. I bounce when at all possible. In the larger venues, I have had to set up the lights on the second level and shoot down and out over the floor. Many thousands of shots.

Here is a link to some reading material for ya.
https://photography-on-the.net …ht=skyports%2C+​alien+bees

Hope this helps.
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ZXDrew
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Jan 20, 2011 23:04 |  #10

@MT Stringer - Have you ever thought of using the hypersync feature of the MiniTT1 and FlexTT5?


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MT ­ Stringer
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Jan 21, 2011 10:59 |  #11

ZXDrew wrote in post #11683038 (external link)
@MT Stringer - Have you ever thought of using the hypersync feature of the MiniTT1 and FlexTT5?

I don't have those Pocket Wizards. I shoot one shot at a time.


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CoachB
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Dec 18, 2017 19:06 |  #12

If anyone could help I would really appreciate it. Need help with off camera flash set up. Can I shoot a team of 12-15 basketball players with two speed lights and umbrellas? I have the equipment just don't know how to use it. The last basketball team that I shot I had to higher the ISO because of the poor light in the gym. I didn't use speed lights. Lots of grain and not sharpe team picture.




  
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Dan ­ Marchant
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Dec 25, 2017 21:05 |  #13

munzzzzzzz wrote in post #11524049 (external link)
....so if I can, I'd rather stick with something like the 70-200 f/4L than have to deal with the extra bulk of the 70-200 f/2.8L

Monopod - best money I ever spent.


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ksbal
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Dec 28, 2017 15:06 as a reply to  @ CoachB's post |  #14

Yes, you can. for the static team shot, umbrellas are fine if they are big enough.. otherwise ditch them and go bare, with speedlights close to center so you minimize shadows. depending on how much background you want showing, you may need to worry about a custom white balance, or gelling the lights, and /or dragging the shutter, where a tripod/monopod would be handy.


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rotty022
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Jan 23, 2018 11:43 |  #15

i've shot several HS basketball games. the lighting is poor in most gyms. i use the 70-200mm f/2.8 on my 5dmiv. i use strobes. i can adjust in lightroom and photoshop to get a great-lit picture.




  
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?'s on Strobe use for indoor sports
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