Stop Action Sports Photography in Low Stadium Light, Part 3 (Video)

Here is my 3rd video on sports photography as I made my progression from portraiture.  Sports photography is easy when there is plenty of light and the sun sits high overhead. The problems arise when the sun starts to go down in the evenings.  Since most high school games are after 6pm here in the Tampa Bay area photographers have to deal with this constantly.  Knowing enough about the sport of flag football and how the sun “works” in this area helped me to make immediate changes to my photography to capture the images I wanted to capture.  View the video where I describe the conditions and the shot settings.  At the end of the video you will see the”converted” images samples that I posted online.

The key issue is deciding which “part” of photography I am willing to give up or “be limited in” when it comes to my final product. So here are a few tips that aren’t in the video.

  1. Decide your shooting style for sports photography.  My style is follow the action. I have to force myself to take images when the girls are just standing around.  Many people take images during this “down time.”  Since I am shooting for the action I have to decide if I want stop action OR will allow motion blur.  In the first video I did on this topic (see Modern Photography Group on Youtube) I allowed some motion blur but as I reviewed my images I didn’t like that result. This forced my hand to be shutter conscious and make that a constant.  My shutter stays at 1/500 of a second.
  2. Sharpness for me was important so I move between 6.3 & 8 on my aperture.  I did go open to 4.5 but didn’t like the result.
  3. I use the Canon 6D body with the 70-200 2.8 lens. The 6D does well in lower light.  At the aforementioned shutter and aperture I will crank that ISO to 20000.  Yes, there is grain but the stop action is worth it.  I printed out my images on 5×7 paper using a basic printer I picked up at Target on sale (Canon MG6620) and the images look good.  I am going to test print some 8x10s soon and I expect there to be some more visible losses.
  4. All my images are cropped in post production. I regualrly have to crop out 50% of the image due to only having 200mm to work with.  Even being 5 yards off the field pushes my camera setup to the limits.

Ok, check out the video and ask me any photo related questions you have on the YouTube video.  Here is part 3!