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Yes it's cropped but not severely, thanks to the 400 2.8 . Lights at the field are hit and miss, player was in one of the good coverage sections for this one. As far as noise reduction, just using lightroom 4.1. Make no mistake there was noise in the shot, but LR did a decent job cleaning it up.
Thanks for dropping in!
Now did your really have to rub it in that you're shooting a 400 f/2.8 Let's see $7k camera and a what, $11k lens? I live in a town where you can buy a funky house for $30k, so I'm not currently in the market. (Not that I wouldn't like to be.) I could see that you stepped on the pix a bit, but to my mind it is quite "acceptable." I think one of the dirty little secrets is that most folks shooting HS do have to deal with noise. I can remember being somewhere in west Texas awhile back, maybe Midland or some such place, and they had a stadium and lighting that would rival some Div 1 fields. But then I was told by Texas friends that God moved Sunday from Friday night to Sunday cause otherwise there wouldn't have been anyone in church.
I agree with you that worse than just bad light is wildly inconsistent light. I shoot at a "home" field that was built in the 70's back when the town had an economy and about 3x the population. Don't think much of anything has been fixed since then. I counted 16 dead bulbs in the light array last night and for whatever reason, when the field was built they didn't bother to put standards over the end zones. Getting that great TD catch is a real challenge. Players move from pools of light into shade and back. Guess one can only do the best they can with what they've got. Glad you got the good stuff.
A question, did you consider removing the orange light(?) in the upper right corner? Would only take a minute and seem as if it would improve your pix.