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Archive 2013 · First time High School Baseball (asking for feedback)
  
 
jspytek
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · First time High School Baseball (asking for feedback)


Good day,

As an assignment for a local newspaper I was asked to shoot some baseball. I shot these are around 4 PM, during a mostly sunny day. I'm trying to get an idea of opinions as to what to look for. This specific series is of a pitcher. I realize they are very similar. I am wanting to know are any of them a stronger or weaker shot in terms of catching the peak action. Also, I'm looking for feedback on crop / framing.

#1 - The Original is my actual shot. The Final is what I submitted to the editor. The tight crop was inspired by a different tread. I liked how it caught more of the pitcher's emotion and I was able to get a nice rule of thirds with the ball on one line and the pitcher's face in the sweet spot of the top right 1/3s box. Since I rarely crop a body, does this crop work? Does it add anything or is the full body shot better?

#2 - The tight crop - my main frustration is the ball is blurry. I shot at 1/3200 and was thinking I should be able to read the label on the ball (freeze it).

#3 is a 1/6400 and no ball freeze. Is this: A) Me not focused properly? B) My equipment (D7000 and an older Sigma 120-300 2.8) just not able to deliver that level of clarity? (damn I hope that's not the answer) C) I didn't have the camera setting right to capture it properly?

#4 A landscape shot. Normally I shoot portrait, but I liked how this one stretched out.

#5 Uggh! I was about to submit the photo on the left for review then I saw the background lines. I see that comment a bit on here (Watch your horizon lines etc.) So noticing that the pole on the left didn't follow the edge of the picture down, and that there was a yellow line right going right into my pitcher's face, I went back and darken the exposure in the background. Does that make it a better shot? Also, shooting for a local paper (2/3s of the photos are in B&W) I converted it over to B&W and I thought the second photo helped when viewed that way.



© jspytek 2013


Original - Final (Sent to editor) - Tight Crop (working on the photo to make it better)





© jspytek 2013


1/3200 not fast enough?

  NIKON D7000    122.0-300.0 mm f/2.8 lens    270mm    f/2.8    1/3200s    400 ISO    0.0 EV  





© jspytek 2013


1/6400 still no freeze

  NIKON D7000    122.0-300.0 mm f/2.8 lens    170mm    f/3.5    1/6400s    640 ISO    0.0 EV  





© jspytek 2013


Does landscape work? Or should I follow tight tight tighter?

  NIKON D7000    122.0-300.0 mm f/2.8 lens    170mm    f/3.5    1/6400s    640 ISO    0.0 EV  





© jspytek 2013


Straightened and background darkened




Apr 23, 2013 at 01:53 PM
Tom D
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · First time High School Baseball (asking for feedback)


John, understand that the following comments are coming from a non-pro, so I may get contradicted by guys here who have a better understanding of the requirements necessary for a solid newspaper image.

If I were the editor, I'd probably not worry about the slight blur and go with #2. It doesn't have the bg distractions and is good action (although not the most flattering facial expression, lol). You have to remember the pitcher's arm movement in relation to your position is across the frame and at peak speed in his delivery (maybe in the 80-90mph range). A quick look at the distortion in his arm is a good indication of just how fast the movement is. A shutter speed of 1/3200 from a sideways angle just isn't short enough to freeze that movement.

IMO, a better shot for publishing would be taken from behind the backstop, and at the moment in the delivery that you show in the last shot, with the ball up behind his head. It's a straight-on view and doesn't have the open-mouth look. Additionally, since there is little movement in the pitcher's arm and ball in relation to your frame, it's much easier to freeze it with a lesser shutter speed. Plus, it has more of a portrait feel, which would seem to work better for a feature story on him.

Last comments would be to rotate the image until that outfield line is perfectly level, and that the last frame (with the darkened bg) looks way too unnatural to me. Maybe if it were done a little more carefully and with more subtlety, it could work. Just my .02...



Apr 23, 2013 at 02:28 PM
Ed Peters
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · First time High School Baseball (asking for feedback)


Unless the paper specifically asked for shots of one player (local star on his way up), then I would opt for shots that are more about the team than an individual. Something to draw more readers interest in the team/town..


Apr 23, 2013 at 04:07 PM
thursdaylsr
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · First time High School Baseball (asking for feedback)


You're wayyyy over thinking it. Newspaper images are pretty much just straighten and crop tight enough to make the photo nice, but loose enough in case the layout editor has to crop more to fit into the page correctly. Don't mess with colors unless WB is off, don't worry about sharpening, exposure should be right in camera but if not only bring up the image, not down.

I've broken down covering local baseball games like this:
1st Inning: Stock images of the pitcher; you should have a vertical and horizontal of each SP as straight on as possible
2nd-3rd Inning: Third baseline, get lefties, plays in the field, side pitcher view
4th-5th Inning: First baseline, get righties, plays in the field, side pitcher view

Ed's right when it comes to what papers want, more about the team or peak action that's not singled on one player. Pitchers I just do for online galleries or if the kid had a crazy game and it ends up being all about him.



Apr 23, 2013 at 04:51 PM
jspytek
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · First time High School Baseball (asking for feedback)


Tom D - Thanks. I tried shooting through the fence, but I was getting WAY to much blur in the image. The next time I have an option of shooting directly at the pitcher I will.

Ed - Are you saying more of all the players or team shots like when they were in the huddle talking with coach in between innings / the players watching a teammate bat / etc.?

Justin - that's a good breakdown - thanks for the tip.

(I had about 14 pictures total that I liked from this event - 5-6 of the pitcher and the rest of the team / other players. I posted a couple of those on a different thread, but I do appreciate ya'll reminding me there more to action than just the pitcher)



Apr 23, 2013 at 05:57 PM
 

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dmwierz
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · First time High School Baseball (asking for feedback)


John, you've received some solid advice and critiques…let me address one of your technical questions - whether 1/3200s was fast enough to stop the ball coming out of the pitcher's hand.

Look at the two shots below - one full frame; one a closeup. These were taken at 1/4000s, which when you adjust for the difference in pitch speed between MLB and High School probably results in similar movement of the fingers during the time the shutter is open. The ball coming out of the hand of Twins Pitcher Scott Diamond looks about as "blurry". What do you think would cause this?

Exif info:

Lens (mm): 400
ISO: 400
Aperture: 3.5
Shutter: 1/4000

Let's say the HS pitcher is throwing at 80 mph. That equates to 117 ft/s or 1,408 in/s . This means in the 1/3200s that the shutter is open, the pitcher's fingers move 1408/3200 of an inch, or just under 1/2 in. Do you think 1/2" of movement would be noticeable? How about 1/4" (raising shutter speed to 1/6400s)?





Full frame







Tighter crop




Apr 24, 2013 at 12:37 AM
jspytek
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · First time High School Baseball (asking for feedback)


Good point. I was just thinking in terms of wow nothing can move that fast. A 1/3200 of a second just seems so fast. But when you break it down as you did into inches per second etc., yeah any object with movement at that speed would still move. Then when looking at something as detailed as the seems on a ball or a text on a ball / bat - there would be enough movement to cause blur.

Thank you.



Apr 24, 2013 at 02:57 PM
Deborah Kolt
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · First time High School Baseball (asking for feedback)


Your editor should be able to give you some direction in terms of what they want. Mine always wants some isolated pitcher shots; if he doesn't use them that week, they'll still go in the files and be pulled out later if the player has a notable game or may even be used in an end of season review or next year's pre season. Same goes for base running, etc.

Don't worry about the blur in the hand and ball. That's not a problem. Catching the ball just coming off the fingers is the more desirable shot.

Darkening the background is an ethical no-no for newspapers. See the kerfluffle over Tracy Woodward at the Washington Post burning in a photo for a recent contest. The photo was not burned when it ran in the paper, btw.

For shooting through the fence, the 400 2.8 with the distance limiter set to ignore the fence is great. The Mark II does an incredible job; it's as if the fence doesn't exist. The 300 2.8 is not quite as effective, but also will give you some solid images through the fence.



Apr 26, 2013 at 07:47 PM
jspytek
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · First time High School Baseball (asking for feedback)


Thanks, Deborah. After your post I read a few articles on the Woodward photo. Those discussions were interesting from the perspective of newspaper photo processing vs artistic / photos for parents. I will keep those different ideas in mind depending on my specific client.


Apr 27, 2013 at 07:17 PM





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