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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Sports Talk 
Thread started 06 Jan 2009 (Tuesday) 09:19
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Flash for Firday Night Lights

 
AzzKicker
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Jan 06, 2009 09:19 |  #1

I just got into the Sports Photography side business and in my quest for ideas and looking at competition I see some photographers using FLASH for Night H.S Football games.

One question I have is WHY? They look so FAKE.


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TopGear1Ds
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Jan 06, 2009 12:26 |  #2

The answer is necessity. Many HS stadiums are just too poorly lit. I'm talking f/2.8 ISO6400, just to get acceptable shutter speeds.

Other shooters do have the light for ISO3200 shooting, but prefer the 'flashed' look over noisy images.


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MJPhotos24
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Jan 06, 2009 14:28 |  #3

Two reasons - as Matt said some fields are just poorly lit. Others sometimes clients require it, one of mine does as they want minimal (at most) noise.


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SwiftFootTim
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Jan 06, 2009 14:53 |  #4

There are some great discussions on here about setting up flash for night football to reduce the fake look and shadows. Most of them revolve around whether to put the flash under the lens on a monopod or over it. I personally keep my flash with me and use it for fields that are extremely poorly lit. One field I was on this year was lit with what looked to be old car headlights.

Sometimes your shot will look "crappy" to you, but remember, your client or the parent that wants the photo can't even freeze action with their P & S. The value lies in who you're selling the photo too.


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Zivnuska
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Jan 06, 2009 16:01 as a reply to  @ SwiftFootTim's post |  #5

The football field for our high school home games has enough light to allow me to shoot at ISO 6400 (1D Mark III) and get good results--in some places. This field has two light poles on each side of the field. They are located at about the 11 yard line (extended). My experience in shooting behind the end zone is that once inside the 15 yard line (approx) there is little to no light hitting the front of the players (as seen from my vantage point). Therefore, inside the 15 to 20, flash is a must to avoid dark shadows that ruin the picture. This is true even at ISO 6400.

Between the 15s, flash sends light into the helmet which allows the face of the players to be seen more clearly. Parents love to see faces and the emotional intensity is also more readily seen. YMMV, depending on the venue.

ISO 6400 Midfield--Even without flash, this looks pretty good.
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ISO 6400 At the 5 yard line--Shadows make this unacceptable to me
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Throwing from the 15 with flash--face is well lit.
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ISO 6400 Back Corner of an end zone where the lights are located at about the 15 yard line. No light behind me at all! SS 1/320. Yeech
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AzzKicker
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Jan 06, 2009 16:36 |  #6

Zivnuska,

Your first image is NICE. What PP did you do?


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Jan 06, 2009 19:22 as a reply to  @ AzzKicker's post |  #7

Parents want to see their kids faces.
I've sold twice as many strobed shots as ambient of night football.

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Zivnuska
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Jan 07, 2009 07:25 |  #8

AzzKicker wrote in post #7018419 (external link)
Zivnuska,

Your first image is NICE. What PP did you do?

Thank you.

Increased Clarity (+50), Sharpening (+25), and Vibrance (+10) in Lightroom, slight crop, and a run through NoisewarePro. The image was pretty good straight from the camera. Here it is with no processing.

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The point is that if you have adequate light, fine, shoot ambient. If not, flash is a necessity and flash helps light up faces which are key.

Also, remember that the end zones often have abysmal levels of light (at least for the high schools where I shoot). Even with a camera that shoots at ISO 6400, the transition from setting sun, to twilight, to darkness will result in the need for flash in many situations. Shoot early and often.

There is a tremendous difference in light between the first and last game of the season (7pm game time), and between kickoff and final gun. Ask yourself: At what point do I give up on shooting ambient and start shooting flash with my camera and the venues where I typically shoot?

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Jan 07, 2009 07:46 |  #9

Zivnuska wrote in post #7018124 (external link)
ISO 6400 Midfield--Even without flash, this looks pretty good.
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Zivnuska wrote in post #7022785 (external link)
Increased Clarity (+50) and Vibrance (+10) in Lightroom, slight crop, and a run through NoisewarePro. The image was pretty good straight from the camera. Here it is with no processing.

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Thanks for posting your PP info and the "before" (SOOC) image... this type of info really helps me learn.


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Dan-o
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Jan 07, 2009 08:16 |  #10

It is a necessary evil in most cases. I would love to shoot ambient and not have spent $1000+ on lighting equip but ISO 3200 and 200s shutter just don't produce great results.

Here are a few threads from earlier in the year.

https://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=597096

https://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=604942


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bobbyz
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Jan 07, 2009 10:22 |  #11

Why using flash makes it fake?

I would take nice image taken with flash over under-exposed ambient light image.


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Flash for Firday Night Lights
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