Daily Photo – Chrissie Zartman Serving (The AVP in Black and White)

The Daily Photo series focuses on the two or three key creative choices, in terms of composition and processing, that go into creating an image.  Specific technical details about the shot have been left out — you won’t hear me talking about tone curve adjustments and whatnot unless it was a key component of the end result.

Over the next eight weeks, along with my normal purview of photo subjects, I’ll be posting a series of shots of professional beach volleyball.  I’m sorting them into four sets:  “The AVP in Black and White”, “The AVP at Night” and “The AVP in Color” (two sets for that last one).  Those can be found on my flickr account, although I may find a way to arrange them here on the blog at some point.

The shots themselves are from the 2007 and 2008 Dallas AVP tour stops, along with the 2007 Las Vegas AVP God and Goddess of the Beach tournament. I’m planning to attend and hopefully shoot at the 2009 Houston AVP tournament in mid-May.

This shot:  Chrissie Zartman serves the ball during the 2008 AVP Dallas qualifier.


  • Shutter:  1/2500
  • Aperture:  f/2.8
  • ISO:  200
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM (at 55mm)

Composition and Processing

  • I took quite a few shots from the back line while players served the ball.  My goal was to catch the player and ball in motion relative to the static (and ready) positions of the others on the court.  Even small and out of focus, you can see the tension of the opposing team’s stance.  Nevertheless, the reason I selected this photo was the lighting:  the morning sun has just poked through the heavy clouds, illuminating the court and highlighting the Zartman against the dark background.  That’s further enhanced by being blonde and wearing white.
  • I unintentionally clipped the feet in this shot.  It’s always disappointing to do that when the rest of the composition is solid.  One way I’ve tried compensating for cropping flaws is to clip something on the opposite edge that’s part of the same subject.  The hope is to provide some sort of balance in the way the subject is framed and hopefully reduce (albeit not eliminate) the original distraction.  The ball in the original is actually just inside the frame, so all I did was tighten the crop slightly — just enough to match the feet.


March 18 2009 05:50 pm | Photography and Volleyball

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