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  1. #1
    What does this button do? Ooops. JDub's Avatar
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    Some Urban Mountain Biking Shots from today....

    Wanted to try out my new flash, but never really needed it. Anyway, I took some shots from some urban riding on the CU Boulder campus today. I used mainly a 70-200 lens at f2.8 to help knock out the distracting backgrounds. However, after reviewing the pics I wish I would have done some experimenting with a wide angle lens closer to the subjects.

    Any thoughts, comments or suggestions welcome.






  2. #2
    Moderator of Critiques/Hearder of Cats mtbbrian's Avatar
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    Re: Some Urban Mountain Biking Shots from today....

    I have been meaning to comment on these.

    Of the three, I think the first one is the best. The background is a bit disctracting with the partial wheel on the left, which you could crop out. The other rider in the background is a bit distracting too, but is OK.
    The other two, just don't work for me, especially in the second one where you cut off part of his head. Make sure you watch for stuff like that in your viewfinder.
    Keep At It!!
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  3. #3
    What does this button do? Ooops. JDub's Avatar
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    Re: Some Urban Mountain Biking Shots from today....

    Quote Originally Posted by mtbbrian
    I have been meaning to comment on these.

    Of the three, I think the first one is the best. The background is a bit disctracting with the partial wheel on the left, which you could crop out. The other rider in the background is a bit distracting too, but is OK.
    The other two, just don't work for me, especially in the second one where you cut off part of his head. Make sure you watch for stuff like that in your viewfinder.
    Keep At It!!
    Brian
    PS, I am writing to you today and today only from Colorado Springs.
    Any thoughts on how you would shoot the 2nd two shots to make them better? Obviously don't chop the head off, but I'm talking more about angles, panning, etc. I understand they don't really work, but I'd like to here some thoughts on how to improve them.

    CS Springs? Some seriously good riding down that direction....

  4. #4
    Moderator of Critiques/Hearder of Cats mtbbrian's Avatar
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    Like I said...

    Watch the background. As I mentioned, the rider leaning against the wall on the right is OK, but if he were gone the image would be better.
    Showing some of the foreground/landing would be good too.
    Panning is a good, but use it sparingly.
    Lighting is important too, as in all photography, the jumping ones would be better too if the lighting were more dramatic. What I mean is shoot when the light is good, that warm sun set light. I know it isn't always possible, but good light will make good photographs better!
    Keep it up! And Keep Riding!

    Brian

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  5. #5
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Cool!

    JDub-
    It was fun seeing these. I was in Boulder just before Christmas and will probably be back next month. I'd love to go shoot some hucking on the CU campus.

    I agree with most of what Brian said. The only thing I'd I'd quibble with is using panning sparingly. I love panning. I pan all time. And with the low light you had, I'd consider using super slow shutter speeds with flash, and lots of blur. Get sloppy!

    I like your idea for using the long lens and dropping out the backgrounds. Your compositions are sort of conservative. They're too "in-between". They're not long and they're not short. I'd like to see them a lot tighter, or showing lot more of the scene. Ad I'd lke to see the landing on that wall drop, too. It looks sweet. I want to hit that drop!

    The backgrounds are a bit unrefined and cluttered. It looks to me like you aren't really seeing what's in the background and envisioning how it's going to work with the final composition. I'd look for the cleanest background I could find and use the absolute largest aperture possible. I especially don't like the background that's half brick wall and half sky. That one feels very awkward to me. All bricks might be cool, although I think a more dynamic angle would help, too. I would want my images to get too geometric.

    Cool stuff. I hope my criticism helps. You've got some good terrain and some willing riders. Go out there and shoot some more! Next time take the wide angle and a flash, too!
    Photo-John

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  6. #6
    What does this button do? Ooops. JDub's Avatar
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    Re: Cool!

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo-John
    JDub-
    It was fun seeing these. I was in Boulder just before Christmas and will probably be back next month. I'd love to go shoot some hucking on the CU campus.

    I agree with most of what Brian said. The only thing I'd I'd quibble with is using panning sparingly. I love panning. I pan all time. And with the low light you had, I'd consider using super slow shutter speeds with flash, and lots of blur. Get sloppy!

    I like your idea for using the long lens and dropping out the backgrounds. Your compositions are sort of conservative. They're too "in-between". They're not long and they're not short. I'd like to see them a lot tighter, or showing lot more of the scene. Ad I'd lke to see the landing on that wall drop, too. It looks sweet. I want to hit that drop!

    The backgrounds are a bit unrefined and cluttered. It looks to me like you aren't really seeing what's in the background and envisioning how it's going to work with the final composition. I'd look for the cleanest background I could find and use the absolute largest aperture possible. I especially don't like the background that's half brick wall and half sky. That one feels very awkward to me. All bricks might be cool, although I think a more dynamic angle would help, too. I would want my images to get too geometric.

    Cool stuff. I hope my criticism helps. You've got some good terrain and some willing riders. Go out there and shoot some more! Next time take the wide angle and a flash, too!
    Points taken. I took it for granted that the 70-200 at 2.8 would knock out the background regardless and didn't put much thought into the backgrounds.

    I don't have a good wide angle yet, debating between just a 24-70 and a fisheye at the moment. Probably be better served with the 24-70 for now.

    What were you doing here in Boulder? The brick wall drop is pretty cool and easy to find, since its at the only buildings in all of Boulder over 4 stories tall....

  7. #7
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Camera?

    What camera are you using? I checked your profile page and it didn't say. Wide angle is a matter of taste. I like things really wide. If you're using a digital with a crop factor, you should consider something wider than 24-70. That's really very conservative. I use the fisheye on my 10D all the time. I love the distortion.

    Why was I in Boulder? A girl
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  8. #8
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    Re: Camera?

    I agree with what John and Brian have said. howver, I think the rider in the BG could work if you included more of him/her. it would help capture the scene. I'd still want to see them substaintially blurred, but clear enough to see them attentively watching the action.

    A super wide angle shot taken from under and just to the side of the guys going off the ledge might be cool to see.

    As John mentioned, depending on the body you have you might want something wider than the 24-70. I have a 17-40mm on my 10D and I find myself wanting something wider. the 1.6 scaling factor makes the lense about a 28-70mm. so it's a near standard lense. which is a great all around choice, but I like the feel of something in a true 15-17mm range.

  9. #9
    What does this button do? Ooops. JDub's Avatar
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    Re: Camera?

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo-John
    What camera are you using? I checked your profile page and it didn't say. Wide angle is a matter of taste. I like things really wide. If you're using a digital with a crop factor, you should consider something wider than 24-70. That's really very conservative. I use the fisheye on my 10D all the time. I love the distortion.

    Why was I in Boulder? A girl
    I am currently using a 300D, but I'm in the process of uprgrading to either a 10D or a 20D. Having trouble deciding if I should just make the big leap to the 20 or if the 10 is sufficient. I bought the 300 as a starter, and it has done admirably, but I really miss not having AI Servo when I want it.

    But any of those 3 still have the 1.6x crop factor, so you're right the 24 won't exactly be wide. However, I probably have more practical uses for the 24-70 range than the fish, but I do love the fishes....

    A girl? I understand that all too well. That is basically the reason I moved out here too, although I can certainly think of worse locations to end up.

  10. #10
    What does this button do? Ooops. JDub's Avatar
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    Re: Camera?

    Quote Originally Posted by brianc
    I agree with what John and Brian have said. howver, I think the rider in the BG could work if you included more of him/her. it would help capture the scene. I'd still want to see them substaintially blurred, but clear enough to see them attentively watching the action.

    A super wide angle shot taken from under and just to the side of the guys going off the ledge might be cool to see.

    As John mentioned, depending on the body you have you might want something wider than the 24-70. I have a 17-40mm on my 10D and I find myself wanting something wider. the 1.6 scaling factor makes the lense about a 28-70mm. so it's a near standard lense. which is a great all around choice, but I like the feel of something in a true 15-17mm range.

    Good points, thanks for the feedback. I did take one "wider" angle shot from just behind the ledge, but I wasn't just thrilled with it, but I'll post it up anyway. I was only pleased with the first shot I posted, the other two I didn't consider very good, but thought the drop was cool. I was also interested to hear ideas about how I could capture that drop and make it a better snap.

    Maybe I'll just have to break down and do a 24-70 and a fishy....


  11. #11
    Moderator of Critiques/Hearder of Cats mtbbrian's Avatar
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    Re: Camera?

    Quote Originally Posted by brianc
    I agree with what John and Brian have said. howver, I think the rider in the BG could work if you included more of him/her. it would help capture the scene. I'd still want to see them substaintially blurred, but clear enough to see them attentively watching the action.

    I would concur with you on that Brian with out a doubt, but as it is, it should be cropped.
    Keep it up JDub!
    Brian
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  12. #12
    Member brianc's Avatar
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    Re: Camera?

    I'm slowly embracing the crop. escecially for action shots. But I prefer to challenge myself to compose better so that Cropping is not needed.

    That said. when I need to get a certian action shot, I'm starting to shot a little wider so I know I get what I want, then "fix" it later.

  13. #13
    Moderator of Critiques/Hearder of Cats mtbbrian's Avatar
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    I hear you Bri...

    That is very much my style too Bri..
    I prefer not to crop either.
    I like to utilize every square millimeter of the frame as I can.
    This has been a good thread!
    Brian
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  14. #14
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    Re: I hear you Bri...

    yep. hopefully we can stir up some more action on this board.

  15. #15
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Cropping

    I used to be a snob about composing in-camera. I printed to show the film edges so that the viewer would know they were seeing the whole thing. There's a long, snobby tradition of that in photography. And I still aspire to it.

    But sports photography has changed me. I think it's mostly because of auto focusing technique. Since the middle AF point is the fastest and most accurate, it's pretty much the only one I use. That means it's very hard to follow the rule-of-thirds and get high-speed action photo in focus. So now I just shoot a little wider and then crop later. Getting a sharp image, at the right moment is more important than getting a perfect composition. It won't matter if your subject is soft.

    And I agree. This has been a good thread. Thanks for getting it started, JDub
    Photo-John

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  16. #16
    Moderator of Critiques/Hearder of Cats mtbbrian's Avatar
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    Interesting.....

    I didn't know that about the middle sensor, but I can see that being the case.
    I for one utilize all five of my AF sensors, so I can use the "rule of thirds". I will usually stop down a bit, say to f/4 to 5.6. But yes, with action stuff it will tend to be a little soft no matter what.
    Brian
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  17. #17
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Middle Sensor

    Brian-
    Try limiting your camera's AF to the middle sensor. I promise it will make a difference in the sharpness of your action photos. Ask around. I think you'll find almost all action sports photographers use only the middle sensor. It does depend a bit on your camera and lens. For instance, my 1D has 45 sensors and the ones just outside the center are also very fast. And I've played with non-center sensors on the 10D and they've been better than I expected. You should definitely limit the camera to only one sensor. Allowing it to choose the sensor, as some cameras can do, will absolutely slow it down and lower your success rate.
    Photo-John

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  18. #18
    What does this button do? Ooops. JDub's Avatar
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    Re: Middle Sensor

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo-John
    Brian-
    Try limiting your camera's AF to the middle sensor. I promise it will make a difference in the sharpness of your action photos. Ask around. I think you'll find almost all action sports photographers use only the middle sensor. It does depend a bit on your camera and lens. For instance, my 1D has 45 sensors and the ones just outside the center are also very fast. And I've played with non-center sensors on the 10D and they've been better than I expected. You should definitely limit the camera to only one sensor. Allowing it to choose the sensor, as some cameras can do, will absolutely slow it down and lower your success rate.
    I always shoot with the middle sensor for sports, and I did notice a difference when I started using center all the time. From my experience it seems, the further from the center point you go, the worse results I have.

    I don't mind cropping some, especially with 6.3 megapixels, but nailing the composition and not needing to crop is always a good feeling.

    We're going to have 60s all week here, so I'm hoping to get out and shoot some more. If so, I'll throw up some pics for some more discussions.

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    Re: Camera?

    Quote Originally Posted by JDub
    I am currently using a 300D, but I'm in the process of uprgrading to either a 10D or a 20D. Having trouble deciding if I should just make the big leap to the 20 or if the 10 is sufficient. I bought the 300 as a starter, and it has done admirably, but I really miss not having AI Servo when I want it.

    But any of those 3 still have the 1.6x crop factor, so you're right the 24 won't exactly be wide. However, I probably have more practical uses for the 24-70 range than the fish, but I do love the fishes....

    A girl? I understand that all too well. That is basically the reason I moved out here too, although I can certainly think of worse locations to end up.

    You can have Ai-Servo in all modes with the russian firmeware installed.

  20. #20
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Warranty

    Quote Originally Posted by Trudo
    You can have Ai-Servo in all modes with the russian firmeware installed.
    That's cool. But it will void your warranty.
    Photo-John

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  21. #21
    What does this button do? Ooops. JDub's Avatar
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    Re: Camera?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trudo
    You can have Ai-Servo in all modes with the russian firmeware installed.
    Last I heard the Ai-Servo on the hack firmware didn't work. Is there a new firmware out?

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