Monday, November 14, 2016

Regional Cheer Championships - 2016.11.13

Photos to Download

This weekend brought a new challenge that I have been hoping to attempt - photographing a cheer leading competition. I have read a bunch on photography blogs about the unique challenges of photographing fast moving action in poorly lit gymnasiums and wanted to try my hand at it. I do not know one thing about cheer so I brought both 5D Mark III fitted with the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens and the 7D Mark II fitted with the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II lens. I found that the 70-200mm lens was far too long for the setting and I used the 24-70mm lens on the 7D for all of the shots. I was a little amazed at how fast things move and how many photos I took in a short period of time. I typically take 800-1000 photos during a 2 hour football game but took about 550 photos during a 150 second cheer performance. It's the first time I have had the camera slow down due to buffering (they were RAW after all). In the end, I would give myself a solid B, but I am a bit disappointed in the photos and it all comes down to user error. The first mistake that I made was not getting to the event early enough. I only saw one routine before the Algonquin team performed and I found myself shooting from behind the team. I guess I should have noticed the judges table at the other end of the gym but, hey, it was my first time at a cheer event. My second mistake was not getting the correct white balance set up ahead of time but I was able to fix this fairly easily because I shot in RAW. My biggest mistake was how I set up the exposure - I opted to shoot in manual mode wide open (f/2.8), the shutter speed set to 1/800th of a second and auto ISO. I forgot to limit the upper ISO so most of the shots were at ISO 10,000 and have a lot of noise. I should have dropped the shutter speed to around 1/250th of a second, timed my shots for the pauses and probably used my EF 85mm f/1.8 USM lens on the 5D. This lens might have been a bit too long but the wider aperture, which is about a full stop faster than the f/2.8, would have allowed a much lower ISO setting and the photos would have cleaned up much better. So, there is my little secret - the reason that there are no close ups is that the photos are too noisy and they would have looked like crap. I tried to clean up the photos in Lightroom by pushing the luminance and detail settings pretty hard but but had to back off in the end because you get a lot of visual artifacts in the dark regions when you go too far.

 If I get the chance to shoot a cheer event again I will do a much better job based on what I learned today. It would be interesting to hear feedback on what the most preferred shots are. I like action shots where you can see facial expression but I think that it is important to see all of the competitors in most of the shots. I think that it really takes two photographers to shoot a cheer event.

No comments:

Post a Comment