Archive for August, 2008

PC crash…

The primary PC I use for all my photo work has been down for about a week.  As a result, I haven’t been able to post any photos (either of local volleyball or composition/processing examples).  It’s been a bit of a struggle to get it stable again, but I hope to have everything up and running again in the next couple days.

August 26 2008 | Uncategorized | No Comments »

Daily Photo – ATT Crit Motion Blur

Here’s another shot from the ATT Crit early this summer (the previous one can be found here). This one’s from the men’s race and was a little later in the day, creating some exposure challenges.


  • Shutter: 1/320
  • Aperture: f/2.8
  • ISO: 3200
  • Camera: Canon EOS 1ds mIII
  • Lens: Canon EF 16-35 f/2.8L II USM (at 16mm)


Composition and Processing

  • I wanted something that exaggerated the long line of riders as they swept by, making it look almost as if they trailed off into the horizon. I chose a slightly off center shot to make sure foreground riders didn’t obscure the riders in the rear, but stayed close enough to close the gaps in the tail. I really wanted to be as wide angle as possible, which meant making a choice between the 1d (1.3x crop) to get the high frame rate (10 fps) and 1ds (no crop, so wider angle, but only 5 fps). I settled on the 1ds: composition trumps shot opportunity, in this case. Shoot smarter.
  • The shutter speed is actually a little high for a typical motion blur shot, but I wanted to insure most of the riders were relatively sharp. The only motion blur I needed was on the lead rider to show speed; I think the eye naturally applies that to the whole chain because the riders are sort of connected visually anyway. Considering the angle of the camera and how close I was to the lead rider (you can see my own foot in the scene), the higher shutter was the right choice.
  • This might have worked in color, but I didn’t like the way the noise looked, even after cleaned up, at ISO 3200. And the riders didn’t quite separate from the background enough. As I’ve done on occasion in other shots, I used Nik Color Efx infrared filter to convert the image to black and white. I certainly could have gotten this look with other black and white plug-ins or just using channels, but this was faster and occurred in the context of a lot of other filters (black and white or otherwise). Being able to creatively explore a lot of options quickly is one of the biggest advantages to Nik’s product.

August 19 2008 | Photography | No Comments »

Daily Photo – Jenny Johnson Jordan

I took this shot of Jenny Johnson Jordan at the AVP Las Vegas God and Goddess of the Beach Tournament last September. It’s a bit of an experiment really; it’s unusual in a sports shot to have the subject in the shade while the background is lit up, so it was worth being less conventional in the processing.


  • Shutter: 1/2500
  • Aperture: f/2.8
  • ISO: 400
  • Camera: Canon EOS 1d mIII
  • Lens: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM (at 200mm)


Composition and Processing

  • I kind of knew what I was after when I first took this shot. I saw the difference between the lit background and the shaded foreground and thought there might be something to that (particularly with the pattern of the benches in the background). That’s as far as I considered it at the time though.
  • The framing of the original wasn’t too good. Aside from losing the feet (which I could have possibly recreated from another shot if I were less lazy in Photoshop), Johnson-Jordan was too close to the right edge of the frame. For most shots, and for action in particular, I prefer the subject be moving into the center, not be there already. And since the motion suggested the movement would be lateral and far (for the jump serve), I wanted a horizontal composition to better communicate this to the viewer.
  • This might have been fine in color, but black and white created a far more interesting texture on her skin and exaggerated both the back light and the light reflecting off sweat and sand.
  • The horizontal composition meant I had to extend the now faded pattern of the bleachers through the right side of the frame. That was a much easier task once they were so light and almost unidentifiable. It meant I could be less precise and no one would notice alignment errors.

More of my AVP shots can be seen here.

August 15 2008 | Photography and Volleyball | 1 Comment »