Before and After — Ty Loomis At Houston AVP

The Before and After 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.

Ty Loomis passes the ball at the 2009 Houston AVP Tournament.


  • Shutter:  1/2500
  • Aperture:  f/2.0
  • ISO: 200
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 135mm f/2.0L USM

Composition and Processing

  • I like shots that show the interplay between two players on the court, and this may be one of the easiest compositions there is when it comes to sand volleyball.    All you have to do is stand at the edge of the court and wait for a serve to come to the player closest to you (it helps if you already know who they’re likely to serve so you know what side of the court to be on).  You don’t want the ball coming in, but rather on the way out, because all the muscles in the receiving player’s body will be tensed from both the impact and stopping themselves on the court.  It also gives just enough time for their partner to get far enough ahead of them to be in clear view as they move in to set the ball.   And the ball coming out will travel at a higher angle than when it came in, making it more likely it isn’t obstructing the other player.
  • Prime lenses are underrated for sports photography, at least those shorter than the big telephotos.  This shot was taken with a 135mm lens normally used for portraits.  That extra little boost in image quality can take an image over the top, or at least give you more flexibility in processing (akin to having more megapixels with which to crop a shot in post if necessary).


February 12 2012 08:20 pm | Photography

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