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.

Exposure

  • 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.

Original:

April 18 2009 | Photography | No Comments »

Daily Photo – Anthony Medel Jump Serve (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.

Here’s another shot in 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:  Anthony Medel jump serves in front of the AVP logo at the 2008 Dall AVP Tournament.

Exposure

  • 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 (at 140mm)

Composition and Processing

  • It took about 50 attempts to get this shot.  Why?  Because I wanted to line up the server so that the AVP logo (also a jump serve) could be seen juxtaposed in the background.  I would have preferred a different angle for the sun, but was happy just to get the shot.
  • I processed this to black and white, mostly because I couldn’t find a happy medium between the yellow ball logo and the color of Medel’s skin.  They always seemed to be in conflict with each other.  That’s not an argument for black and white (which is a crutch one shouldn’t rely on for dealing with problematic lighting), but it is a case for limiting how much time you spend on an image.  At a certain point you just have to ask: “is this photo strong enough to justify additional time, or should I move on to the 5000 other images awaiting my attention?”  At which point you pull out the toolbox of tricks you already know and do something simple.

Original:

March 24 2009 | Photography and Volleyball | No Comments »