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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Sports Talk 
Thread started 09 Sep 2018 (Sunday) 21:36
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Practice shots for next week's U8 soccer game (C&C welcome)

 
mike_d
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Sep 09, 2018 21:36 |  #1

I have shot indoor soccer and basketball but my daughter is now starting AYSO U8 soccer outdoors. The games will be from 1-3pm and I just realized how little experience I actually have shooting people in mid-day sun without the freedom to find some shade, put the sun to their back, or a use a diffuser.

I took my daughter to the field today at 2 pm (still marked from yesterday's games) to take some test shots. The fields run east-west. I stayed around the southwest corner in an attempt to keep the sun at my back as much as possible. Shooting from behind the goal line created pretty strong side light. I shot manual, slightly overexposed for direct sunlight per sunny 16, then brought the shadows up a lot and lowered the blacks to add back some contrast. White balance is Canon's daylight preset.

I shot these with the 70-200 but also have a 100-400 II. Even on a small field, the 70-200 isn't much good past the halfway line. But I'm afraid the 100-400 might be too long and I might not be able to get clear shots with it at distance anyway since the kids tend to bunch up at lot.

The backgrounds are pretty bad but it is what it is. Even shooting wide open isn't going to hide them so I'm considering stopping down a bit to get more kids in focus. Like I said, they tend to bunch up at this age so there can easily be 4-5 kids around the ball at once.

Shot from behind SW corner. Exposure pushed +0.40, Shadows +80, blacks -20

IMAGE: https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-S4LXxdc/0/f8c00ddb/X2/i-S4LXxdc-X2.jpg

Shot from behind goal, corner kick at NW corner. Shadows +100, blacks -30

IMAGE: https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-Fhxtn7f/0/f4c81710/X2/i-Fhxtn7f-X2.jpg

Shot from near goal. Throw in from south sideline. Exposure +1, Shadows +100, blacks -30

IMAGE: https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-kBBsjVh/0/2d1f0166/X2/i-kBBsjVh-X2.jpg

Shot from behind SW corner. Exposure pushed +0.70, Shadows +100, blacks -20

IMAGE: https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-WC7pSFB/0/95640aa8/X2/i-WC7pSFB-X2.jpg



  
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Dan ­ Marchant
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Sep 09, 2018 22:26 |  #2

Nice shots. Lifting the shadows in post can help reduce the dark shadows from direct sunlight.

mike_d wrote in post #18704506 (external link)
But I'm afraid the 100-400 might be too long and I might not be able to get clear shots with it at distance anyway since the kids tend to bunch up at lot.

Too long? It's a 100mm lens.... any closer and they will be running between your legs :)
Almost all my sports stuff https://danmarchant.co​m/portfolio/sports-photography/ (external link) is shot with the 100-400. You just need to remember to zoom - oh and only use the single AF point to track your subject, otherwise you will likely lock onto someone else or even the background.


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mike_d
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Sep 10, 2018 10:33 as a reply to  @ Dan Marchant's post |  #3

I'll take both lenses and see what works best depending on the play. Sometimes one team dominates and the ball spends most of the game at one end. I only have one body so being a bit wider could help if they spend half the game in my face. They do switch sides at the half so they could spend the other half at the far end of the field where I'd really need 400mm to get anything. I'm not sure how much I'll be able to move around once the game starts since the sidelines are pretty crowded with people and their canopy tents, chairs, coolers, etc.




  
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Sep 10, 2018 10:39 |  #4

I suggest getting out and practicing your shots on a gloomy day. I think your shutter speed should be pretty sufficient, but you will definitely go up 2-3 stops ISO, plus AF might be just a touch slower with lower contrast subjects. Your aperture may need to be shrunken down a bit, you can see that your DOF at 150mm f4 is barely enough to keep the child in focus. This is where the 100-400 might actually be a better choice, it will force you to be up at f5.6 minimally when zoomed out, so that you don't have to worry about having body parts all out of focus.


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Hannya
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Sep 10, 2018 11:44 |  #5

I get my best shots with 70-200mm mostly. U8s play on a small pitch, concentrate on those running towards you if behind the goal line, or sit on the sideline. You can probably shift position during the game. I often move after about 15 mins with kids games, but don't shoot into the bright sun. I usually try to sit in the shade if there's any, but take sunscreen! Sit low, don't stand. #2 and #4 show a nice running position. #1 looks awkward as her foot is planted on the ground. I always try to get them with both feet off the ground if running. 5D ought to have good enough frame rate. Have fun.


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john ­ crossley
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Sep 10, 2018 13:42 |  #6

Well whatever lens you use and wherever you shoot from you will not be able to cover all of the action across the whole of the pitch. So the best thing is to pick a spot and wait for the action to come to you.
Also I would suggest shooting in AV with the lens wide open and adjust the ISO so that you get an absolute minimum shutter speed of 1/640 second, or use manual if the light is consistent.


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Sep 10, 2018 16:36 |  #7

john crossley wrote in post #18704950 (external link)
I would suggest shooting in AV with the lens wide open and adjust the ISO so that you get an absolute minimum shutter speed of 1/640 second, or use manual if the light is consistent.

Personally f/2.8 is too shallow dof in good light. f/4 will give you more dof to get two players in focus as they are not always in exactly the same plane of focus. For kids, 1/1000th is ideal. Bright light up to 1/1600th. 1/640th is too slow in good light.
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mike_d
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Sep 10, 2018 16:40 |  #8

Hannya wrote in post #18705070 (external link)
Personally f/2.8 is too shallow dof in good light. f/4 will give you more dof to get two players in focus as they are not always in exactly the same plane of focus. For kids, 1/1000th is idea. 1/640th is too slow in good light.

When I shoot her indoor soccer games, I'm at f/2.8 on the 70-200, 1/640sec, and ISO 16,000. Even at 1/640, there's still some motion blur in the hands and especially feet when they're kicking. As bad as the light is, I know that no one else present is getting anything better with their phones or at best Rebels with kit lenses so the other parents are happy with my images. I definitely want to be at 1/1000 or better when the light is sufficient.




  
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Sep 10, 2018 16:56 |  #9

When I am out in good light I prefer the shutter speed to be 1/1600 or a bit faster. You ISO can easily be 400 or 640 if you need it and I would stop down 2/3 or 1 full stop from wide open. In my opinion, the 100-400 is perfect for 80% of what you want to shoot in soccer. It isn't really long enough for the far other side of the field and it can be a problem when they get right on you but, like I said, it will be perfect 80 or more percent of the time. You want to shoot tight and really get those great facial expressions.

Unfortunately, on a bright sunny day, you will need to do what you did in post-processing. I hate to raise the shadows 100% but sometimes you need to. If you ever have a chance to shoot on an overcast day you will absolutely love the results.

One more thing, get low when you are shooting. For little kids, I would sit on the ground. For college, I sit on a camping stool.


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Sep 10, 2018 17:00 as a reply to  @ mike_d's post |  #10

Exactly the same with me for indoor middle school basketball...

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mike_d
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Sep 16, 2018 00:53 |  #11

I shot the game today with the 100-400 II. I had the 70-200 2.8 on me just in case (needed for the indoor game an hour later anyway) but never needed it. I sat about 10' up the goal line from the southwest corner and back about 10'. I was able to cover the entire field and even get some croppable shots near the far goal line.

The light seemed a little less contrasty today vs. last weekend so I don't think I'll need to push the shadows as much. There still wasn't a cloud in the sky but maybe there was more water vapor to scatter the light slightly. Dunno. Having less kids on a bigger field than at the indoor games I shoot made it a lot easier to get clear shots.

I'll post some pictures when I've had a chance to process them all.




  
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mike_d
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Sep 19, 2018 11:58 |  #12

Here's a couple from Saturday. The lens worked great but the zoom is a little stiffer than my other lenses. I'm not sure if its just my copy (bought used) or the lens design. I used the 5 point AF zone and that ivy in the background was too tempting for the AF at times. But it tracked very well when it stayed on target.


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Sep 29, 2018 11:45 |  #13

"One more thing, get low when you are shooting. For little kids, I would sit on the ground. For college, I sit on a camping stool."

Probably the singularly most important thing. Keep your camera at their eye level or lower. I kinda disagree with the suggestions to shoot stopped down. Yes, it gets you more DoF to do so, but a soccer field distances, even U8, I've never seen where f2.8 provides too shallow DoF. The additional isolation shooting wide open provides makes the subjects pop... and defuses distracting backgrounds which you find so often at youth venues. But again, shoot to suit your style.




  
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mike_d
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Sep 29, 2018 14:27 |  #14

I was sitting on the ground for the game shots above.

I've gone back and forth on the DOF vs. isolation issue vs. reach issue in my head a few times. I'm headed out to game #2 in a few minutes. Since they play 4 periods and switch sides, I think I'll shoot two periods with the 70-200 @ 2.8 and two with the 100-400 @ 5.6 and see what I get. That way I'll have chances to get each team's faces with each lens. Maybe when I win the lottery I can use a 200-400 f/4.




  
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Sep 30, 2018 13:52 as a reply to  @ mike_d's post |  #15

You look good and low on these... I actually use a very small three legged camp stole to sit on. Works great in many case. I also have a 400 that has a hard sided case I'll sit on.

I absolutely loved shooting little dudes and gals. Enjoy it.... it doesn't last long.




  
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Practice shots for next week's U8 soccer game (C&C welcome)
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