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Wednesday, 7 May 2008

On Location: Volleyball (plus 5 tips on location photography)

Hi all,

As promised here is a wrap up around my experience shooting the Richmond Volleyball Corporate Challenge 2008.

So first off, a few high level notes:
  1. Whenever possible, get a look at the venue before the event. I didn't get this chance and what I imagined was quite a bit different from the actual venue. I was expecting to be a little removed from the action, but in fact I was right beside the courts.

  2. Bring only the equipment you need (but not just what you expect to use). I went with my Canon 1-D Mark III, a monopod, a speedlight and two lenses (Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM & Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM). Here's what I found about the equipment I brought:
    1. Canon 1-D Mark III - Brilliant. I still need to work with it some more to figure out what speeds/f-stops/Isos work best to stop motion, capture the action and reduce noise, but overall this is the camera for this type of job.
    2. Speedlight - I didn't use this as I ended up right beside the courts taking pictures. As the players weren't professionals I felt that using a flash would affect how they played and I didn't want to ruffle any feathers.
    3. Monopod - Brilliant. now I know why these are used by the pros. One can swivel and move across the court and instantly snap a photo when you like without having to worry about camera shake. It is also great for keeping the camera on the scene after several hours, as holding equipment at the ready for long periods of time can be hard.
    4. Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM - Great. I wasn't expecting to use this lens much, but I found that the 70-200mm put me too close and made most shots impossible. I would have liked it to be a bit wider at some points as I wasn't using a flash, but overall it performed very well indeed.
    5. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM - The lens I expected to use most of the day, but put it away after 30mins. I know it's a great lens, but as I was right beside the players, I found the focal length too high to capture the shots I wanted to.

  3. I know that everyone keep saying this, but bring extra power and memory cards! My battery lasted the whole day (just) but I didn't realise how fast a Mark III can chew through a memory card when it is on its highest speed! I started shooting Raw+jpeg and quickly switched to just RAW as I saw that I had used 50% of my card in the first hour. I had back-up memory and ended up going through about 20GB of card.

  4. Move around. I was constantly moving around the courts trying to get the best locations for shots. If you have the freedom to do so, remember to move!

  5. My last tip is remember to have fun! Even though I needed to concentrate on taking the pictures, it was great to see the games and talk with the players in between matches.
So, overall a great experience and it allowed me to test out the new camera. I also got the feeling that the players were slightly intimidated with me at first. After all, this was a friendly corporate tournament and they weren't expecting "media" coverage! :-)

On to a few pictures:

Vball 1

Vball 2

Vball 3

Vball 4

Vball 5

Vball 6

Vball 7

Vball 8

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Friday, 18 April 2008

On Location Saturday

Hi all,

Just a quick note to say that tomorrow I am going to be shooting on location at a corporate volleyball tournament. It will be the first time that I'll be able to use my new Mark III in anger and I'm looking forward to it!

Quick list of gear I'm taking:
  1. Canon 1-D Mark III
  2. Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM
  3. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM
  4. Canon Speedlite 580EX II
  5. Gitzo GM2941 Basalt Monopod
Not sure how this set-up will work, but I will post back to let you all know what worked and what didn't; along with a few pictures.

Oh, and I am about 70% through processing my NY pics, so look back soon!

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