Daily Photo – The AVP in Black and White (Sean Rosenthal Serving)

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.

A black and white shot from my series on 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:  Sean Rosenthal gets ready to serve at the 2008 Dallas AVP Tournament.


  • Shutter:  1/4000
  • Aperture:  f/2
  • ISO:  100
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

Composition and Processing

  • The hard light from the mid-day sun isn’t doing this shot any favors.  In situations like these, where I can’t affect the light or turn the subject, my only option is to move my feet.  I tend to prioritize the face, and look for an angle where the light will fall evenly (harsh shadows on the face can be useful too, but it’s pretty hard to get rid of dark eye sockets or out of place nose shadows).  In this case I shot from an angle where Rosie’s face is entirely in shadow, with some fill from light reflected off the sand.  I could have also shot this from the other side, where his face is completely lit by the sun.  Either probably would have worked, and perhaps the other vantage point would have had a better background.
  • The arms, ball and gaze make for some good lines that extend nicely to the corners.  But the reason I processed this shot, despite the noisy background, is the reflection in the sunglasses:  The extension of the arms and ball appear perfectly mirrored in the right lens.  Any time there’s a reflective surface in the scene, I adjust the composition to take advantage of it.


April 03 2009 07:50 pm | Photography and Volleyball

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