Daily Photo – The AVP in Color (Anthony Medel Dig)

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.

Anthony Medel digs the ball during the 2008 Dallas AVP Tournament, part of my series on professional beach volleyball. The rest of the series, so far, can be found on my flickr account.


  • Shutter:  1/2500
  • Aperture:  f/2.8
  • ISO:  200
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1D Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

Composition and Processing

  • One thing I’ve noticed about sand volleyball — and this may be true of other sports too — is that the most exciting action shots aren’t at the point of contact with the ball.  Instead, they’re the ones immediately before and to a lesser extent, just after.  Before shots, like this one, are all about anticipation.  We don’t know if he’s going to make the play, and neither does he.  There’s far more excitement and tension when the story hasn’t been written yet.
  • With many sports shots, I like to set up in a position where the player will be moving toward the camera (or at a minimum, moving left to right).  I’m far more likely to capture their face — and any expression — that way.  For volleyball, the best angle for dig shots is probably at the net facing into the court.  Professional players are pretty good at keeping the court in front of them, and it’s far easier to move forward than back.  So it’s unlikely they’ll chase down a ball going over their head, but very probable they’ll try to pick up that little drop or cut shot near the net.  Their typical defensive position before the hit also requires they move at an angle, meaning there’s a 50/50 chance they’ll be facing the camera when they go after the ball (as is the case here).  In sports with a high degree of repetition it’s important to choose your angles and set up for a specific type of shot; seeking out general purpose locations may allow you to capture a broader range but will reduce the opportunity for “great” shots.


April 18 2009 04:54 pm | Photography

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply