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Archive 2013 · Beach Volleyball - 17 Images
  
 
Russ Isabella
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Beach Volleyball - 17 Images


Worked my ass off today shooting beach volleyball for 8 hours in 99 degree heat. Just the kind of thing to make an old guy like me feel like he's not so old after all! At least until it was over.

New sport for me. I've shot some NCAA VB, but this is a lot different--probably 'easier' given daylight and much less potential for being fooled. Of course it didn't feel that way. I got this gig on Tuesday, just after I'd sent in my 1Dx for service. So I put the 1DIIN back into service for the first time in a looong time (paired with a 1DIV), and she didn't miss a beat! I'd almost forgotten how wonderful it is to shoot outdoors in daylight. Aside from the heat, which was killer at times, WB was never an issue, of course noise is irrelevant, and the POP potential is astronomically greater than indoors or outdoor under lights. At any rate, I probably didn't capture as much variety as I might have because I was doing my best to find a groove, and once I found it, I felt it was in my best interest to stick to it. Here are 17 shots for C&C. Thanks in advance for looking. (And who would have thought that beach volleyball would make a stand in Salt Lake City? Judging from the city's willingness to provide a pretty awesome infrastructure, I wouldn't be surprised if this became a regular stopping point. Tournament goes through Sunday.)

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

11.

12.

13.

14.

15.

16.

17.



Aug 17, 2013 at 02:18 AM
lhryshko
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Beach Volleyball - 17 Images


Normally I wait until the gymnastics season begins to fawn over your stuff, but these are great Russ. Super tough sport to shoot even in perfect light. 1,3,12,15 and 17 are faves. I'm just wondering if you think the higher fps of the 1Dx would have helped (because after bursting about 1000 spikes myself on my trusty IIn, I still find it super tough and rare to get an aesthetically pleasing shot). Great color too (albeit varied).

Best wishes,

Larry




Aug 17, 2013 at 02:48 AM
Russ Isabella
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Beach Volleyball - 17 Images


Thanks, Larry. You probably are right--the 1Dx would have improved my timing. But I found that in many cases, the wind-up made for a better shot than the ones where contact was being made because so often the hitting arm blocked the face (unless shooting from straight-on).


Aug 17, 2013 at 03:31 AM
lhryshko
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Beach Volleyball - 17 Images


Spikes might be like tumbling lines. Amazing to watch, terrible to shoot.

And I could see 8 hours of men's sand VB in 99 degrees being a tough slog.......women's.....not so hard.



Aug 17, 2013 at 03:39 AM
Russ Isabella
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Beach Volleyball - 17 Images


Hahaha! Exactly.


Aug 17, 2013 at 03:43 AM
volyrat
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Beach Volleyball - 17 Images


Russ,

I can't come close to matching your photography skills, so I'll come at this more as someone who was fairly involved with beach volleyball for a long time. Your pictures make me miss playing even more than I already do.

The shots of the players digging the ball or passing serves are your strongest. 2,4,7 and 13. I don't like 8 (neck angle maybe?) 11 (leg crop?) and 14 (players overlapping) as much.

#1 would be a home run for the AVP if the "A" were in the frame. Body position of the player same as the logo works well. Still a very good shot.

The hitters are very tough. I feel that the low angle makes it appear that they aren't very high out of the sand. It looks like their heads are 2 feet below the top of the net. The joust in #3, the hit in #5 and the shot in #10 use a higher angle to show that the players are jumping incredibly high - part of the athleticism of the sport. Some of those are hurt by the random arms and legs sticking into the frame without a body attached.

Thanks for sharing them.







Aug 17, 2013 at 03:56 AM
Russ Isabella
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Beach Volleyball - 17 Images


Bob: I was hoping some volleyballers would chime in, and I really appreciate your perspective. All of your comments make sense to me. I see what you mean about the low angle for the hitters. As you say, that's a tough one because shooting from above isn't always possible. And I'm easily impressed by the body positions involved in the hits, so the perspective and relation to the net aren't as much of a factor, but again, your perspective is a valuable one since for any sport I shoot, I'd want the athletes who play that sport to be wowed by the images. Here are a couple more from above, and thanks again for your feedback:

18.

19.



Aug 17, 2013 at 04:41 AM
Frank Lauri
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Beach Volleyball - 17 Images


Russ.....still playing in the sand box at your age?

Great job buddy. Nice job on the digs...and these are super crispy sharp.

Hey....what's the secret signal she's flashing you in #16

Nice work...



Aug 17, 2013 at 12:24 PM
volyrat
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Beach Volleyball - 17 Images


Russ - you and many others have helped me here, so glad I could actually contribute something.

I like 17 and 18. A couple of more things to potentially try:

As a player, I'd like to see:
- digs that require the player to "lay out" to reach
- a strong block
- showing ball contact and height above the net, either on a block or spike.

- knowing the blocking signals can help you find the action. We always used: 1 finger the blocker is taking away the line, 2 fingers, blocker taking angle, open hand blocker judging the ball, closed fist (almost never happens) the blocker will pull off of the net. The person not serving may indicate where the serve is going by moving the hand on the side of the player that they want to serve. Some times, they'll have a plan going in and won't ever signal where the serve should go.

- If you can set up 4-6 feet from the net but parallel to it, you should be able to get some good pictures of the setters. High angles for bad passes that require the setter to jump set or joust with the blocker, lower angles for more stock sets.

- Think of hitters as being similar to pitchers. There are points in the wind up and follow through that only work from the front, some that only work from the same side as their throwing hand, and some that work from the back. And if you can go a little wider and show the sand coming up with the feet as they jump, that can work.

Hopefully that helps. Better crowds on the weekend will get you better backgrounds. I look forward to seeing more.

Russ Isabella wrote:
Bob: I was hoping some volleyballers would chime in, and I really appreciate your perspective. All of your comments make sense to me. I see what you mean about the low angle for the hitters. As you say, that's a tough one because shooting from above isn't always possible. And I'm easily impressed by the body positions involved in the hits, so the perspective and relation to the net aren't as much of a factor, but again, your perspective is a valuable one since for any sport I shoot, I'd want the athletes who play that sport to be
Aug 17, 2013 at 02:52 PM
rolette
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Beach Volleyball - 17 Images


Man I'm going to miss shooting volleyball this year

Some really nice shots in here, Russ. #3, 4 and 13 are the standouts from the set, IMO. Several others are almost at that level, but have some small things that pull them down some (1, 2, 7, 10, 12, 15, 17).

Weakest shots that don't hold up to the rest of the set:

#5 - A few things that make this one 'meh' for me... clipped ball, timing, good chunk of head covered by the tape and just not feeling any emotion from her face.

#6 - Nothing really works for me in this shot. Nothing interesting happening with the ball, empty stands behind the players, etc.

#8 - Good timing, but it doesn't pop like the rest of the set. Nevermind that I'd kill to have a clean shot like this for indoor VB, but compared to your others, it is flat. Might be able to improve this one in post some? Whoever is walking across in the background doesn't help either.

#9 - Nothing special going on here. Maybe I just expect more on environmental shots from you because of how good you are with these types of shots in other sports.

#11 - Ok shot, but it is flat compared to the rest of the set (clouds passing through presumably). The background is killing you here as well.

#14 - Setter is covered too much by her partner. I get this in my shots frequently when shooting from the floor. Really nice timing and great shot except another player got in the way significantly.

Jay



Aug 17, 2013 at 03:48 PM
 

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Russ Isabella
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Beach Volleyball - 17 Images


Thanks, Frank! It's a young man's game. As for the signal in #16, something to do with kicking my ass, I think, but the heat, weight of my gear and so many stairs beat her to it.

Bob: Again, thank you for (more of) your thoughtful, constructive critique. Unfortunately, yesterday was the only day of the tournament I was shooting, filling in for the contract photographer. But that doesn't diminish the relevance of your comments.

-digs that require the player to lay out. Man, those are tough to get. I'll be posting the closest I came to it below. I suppose if I knew the sport better I might be able to anticipate such things, or I'd have to treat it like trying to capture a diving infielder in baseball (or goalkeeper in soccer) and just focus on the one player for an extended period of time and hope for the best. I was far from being fluid enough in my shooting yesterday to have much of a chance at these.

-strong blocks. I feel like I got photos of these, but none that really stood out. I'm posting an interesting take on this below.

-I definitely didn't understand the signals. There were times when I could decipher enough to figure I knew who the serve was going to, and that helped me get some of the digs. Good to know there's much more to it than that!

-Good advice about where to set up, and your comparison of the hitter to a pitcher. I don't know when I'll have another crack at this, but between spending a full day at it and the feedback you (and Jay) have provided, I'll be better prepared. Thank you!

Jay: Awesome feedback. Thank you for taking the time to explain your take on so many of the images. It all makes sense, and it is so very useful to 'see' my images through someone else's eyes, particularly eyes that are keenly attuned to the particular sport. Your comments and what Bob has provided are exactly what I was hoping for when I posted this thread. I appreciate it.

Okay, here are the last three I will post in a thread that already has too many photos. This is in reaction to the feedback provided, though I expect these only approximate what has been suggested.

20. Laying out (sort of) for the dig

21. Above the net for the hit

22. Not what he had in mind going up for the block



Aug 17, 2013 at 05:58 PM
lhryshko
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Beach Volleyball - 17 Images


21 is exactly what a hitter would like to see. Perfect timing. 22 is a great shot as well.


Aug 17, 2013 at 07:24 PM
Russ Isabella
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Beach Volleyball - 17 Images


Thanks, Larry.


Aug 18, 2013 at 03:16 PM
rolette
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Beach Volleyball - 17 Images


Russ,

How much PP do you do on these? Are you shooting in JPEG and these are straight out of the camera or minor tweaks or

Just curious...

BTW, I really love the light on #3. I keep going back to that shot. Colors pop on the players and some sort of haze in the background. Fantastic capture

Jay



Aug 18, 2013 at 08:16 PM
Russ Isabella
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Beach Volleyball - 17 Images


Jay,

These are edited from RAW files. Unlike most of my images shot indoors or under stadium lights, these VB shots were mostly good-to-go out of the camera, requiring only cropping and sharpening, then resizing and conversion to sRGB color profile for web posting.

Re-worked #3 to add a bit more pop:

3A.


And now I'm making myself a liar because here's one more dig shot, with full AVP logo:

23.



Aug 18, 2013 at 09:29 PM
volyrat
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Beach Volleyball - 17 Images


Russ - the last 3 (and the edit on the old #3) are absolutely on the right track.

I completely agree with Larry on #21 and if I were the hitter in #22 I'd love it if only for the rash of crap I could give to the blocker. A good friend of mine hit a ball off of my head so hard it ended up in the upper levels of the stadium stands. He still brings it up 15 years later.

I like the re-work on #3 too.

I can't help you with much other than beach volleyball, but if you ever have to shoot a Crossfit competition, I might be able to help there too

-bob



Aug 19, 2013 at 12:38 AM
BobnJake
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Beach Volleyball - 17 Images


Russ Isabella shooting Outdoor Volleyball!!!!, Russ you never cease to amaze me Some nice stuff here, nice that some volleyball people are giving you their C&C, nice to be able to see their comments, on how to make a good shot, GREAT.
Timing, I guess is just about everything You did get a couple of nice, "Ball on Bat" shots, i.e., 4,8,14. Thanks for posting



Aug 19, 2013 at 07:04 PM
Russ Isabella
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Beach Volleyball - 17 Images


volyrat wrote:
Russ - the last 3 (and the edit on the old #3) are absolutely on the right track.

I completely agree with Larry on #21 and if I were the hitter in #22 I'd love it if only for the rash of crap I could give to the blocker. A good friend of mine hit a ball off of my head so hard it ended up in the upper levels of the stadium stands. He still brings it up 15 years later.

I like the re-work on #3 too.

I can't help you with much other than beach volleyball, but if
...Show more

Thanks again, Bob. Not sure Crossfit is on my horizon, but who knows?



Aug 20, 2013 at 04:23 PM
Russ Isabella
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Beach Volleyball - 17 Images


BobnJake wrote:
Russ Isabella shooting Outdoor Volleyball!!!!, Russ you never cease to amaze me Some nice stuff here, nice that some volleyball people are giving you their C&C, nice to be able to see their comments, on how to make a good shot, GREAT.
Timing, I guess is just about everything You did get a couple of nice, "Ball on Bat" shots, i.e., 4,8,14. Thanks for posting


Bob: You never know where I might turn up! Thanks as always for your comments.



Aug 20, 2013 at 04:24 PM
vbnut
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Beach Volleyball - 17 Images


Russ Isabella wrote:
Bob: I was hoping some volleyballers would chime in, and I really appreciate your perspective. All of your comments make sense to me. I see what you mean about the low angle for the hitters. As you say, that's a tough one because shooting from above isn't always possible. And I'm easily impressed by the body positions involved in the hits, so the perspective and relation to the net aren't as much of a factor, but again, your perspective is a valuable one since for any sport I shoot, I'd want the athletes who play that sport to be
...Show more

Russ, you are 10x the photographer that I am, so I'm very reluctant to give you advise, but volleyball is my passion, both playing, watching, and photographing, so I'll chime in with a different approach to showing the athleticism of the players that I find can work from a low angle. Rather than trying to show how high above the net the players heads and hands are, show how high above the sand their feet are. Of course this goes against the "shoot tight, crop tighter" mantra since you have to pull back to show the sand under the net, so it doesn't work for every image, but I like the effect in some cases. I haven't shot much beach volleyball for a few years, but here are a couple examples from 2006:












and here are a couple more from 2010:











Of course some might like this (taken from the top of the stadium bleachers) better:






Beach volleyball is a fantastic sport. I hope you get to shoot it again, because I would enjoy seeing more of your images.



Aug 27, 2013 at 05:38 AM
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