Tag Archives: blur

Crossfit and Indoor Gym Photography

What is it?

The usual problems with Crossfit and indoor gym photography, is the small amount of light in these places. Because of this, your camera if left in automatic mode, will slow the shutter speed down which will cause your pictures to blur.

The problem with this is that you don’t want your pictures to blur! So how do you get around this?

Below is a list of tips that you can do with any camera that has a P mode, most point and shoot cameras will allow you to set one aspect of the camera, and modify some of the settings to allow you to get better shots.

The first thing to do is consult your manual, and look up these three terms, if you don’t have your manual and are not sure what  they are I have linked the terms to previous blog posts, so you can have a read.

ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed.

If you are taking pictures of people moving, you need a fast shutter speed to freeze the action. In these sorts of sports, you really need to be taking pictures at 1/250th of a second, as a minimum, anything slower than that and you will get motion blur.

Please note the following pictures were taken at Crossfit Coorparoo by me, using their Canon PowerShot ELPH 330 HS (pictured below), not my Canon 5D Mark II.

Crossfit and Indoor Gym Photography

I set the camera in P mode, I adjusted the ISO manually to different ISO, here is the critical part, this camera when zoomed will have a larger number aperture, so it is at its best and will let in more light, when it is NOT zoomed, (don’t worry Trent, i set the camera back to how you had it when I gave it back)

Examples

So all the images below were taken with the camera not zoomed in, I used Foot Zoom, its where you walk closer or further away to get everything into the picture.  With this in mind, have a look at some of the pictures below, I will explain what I have done to get these pictures and what is happening in the photos.

Crossfit and Indoor Gym PhotographyIn this photo taken at F3 ISO 1600 and 1/40th of a second, Mike’s legs are blurry as they are moving through his toes to bar exercise.  This camera is being pushed to its limits though as ISO 1600 is very high and at F3 its at the smallest number it can be.  So the light is terrible, and I can’t really do much about it.

So how do I make sure that I don’t get blurry shots?

TIMING!  With Crossfit most of the movements have a point that they are locked out, or in a Rep. That’s when you take their picture. Please note the time between pushing the button and the camera taking the picture will depend with each camera, with a little practice you will get to know what it is.

Crossfit and Indoor Gym PhotographyThese two images were both taken at F3 ISO 400 and 1/20th of a second, the one on the left has better timing than the one on the right, as I have managed to get the ball when it has stopped, whereas on the right the ball is still moving up or down. The two bodies are relatively stationary as they are in the top of their rep. An open door helped with the light at this end of the gym. Please note: I have very steady hands, taking a picture at 1/20th of a second may not give you the same results, its best to try and get the camera to use a faster shutter speed.

Crossfit and Indoor Gym PhotographyThese two images were both taken at F3 ISO 1600 and 1/60th of a second, the one on the left has better timing than the one on the right, as I have managed to get the kettle bell when it has stopped, whereas on the right the ball is still moving up or down. The two bodies are relatively stationary as they are in the top of their rep. The open door in the background has really affected this photo, best to avoid bright spots like this with these point and shoot cameras that cannot be set manually.

Crossfit and Indoor Gym PhotographyIn this photo shot at F3 ISO 400 and 1/60th of a second, I used the on camera flash to light up the subject, again the timing was key as Trent is at the top of his movement, note the flash on these point and shoot cameras is so small it will only usually have a range of about a meter. You can see how the light on his shoes is already not affected by the flash, usually best not to use flash.

Crossfit and Indoor Gym PhotographyIn this photo shot at F3 ISO 320 and 1/60th of a second, again I have used the flash, you can see signs around Mike’s shoes where they have moved after the flash has fired, and there is blur.

So here are the tips summed up.

If your point and shoot camera has a zoom lens, don’t zoom, if you have an entry level DSLR and it has the kit lens on it, best not to zoom as well.

If you have a P mode in the menu (instead of “sports” “landscape” or “portrait”) use it, it will allow you to change some of the settings. Specifically the ISO.

Turn the flash off, usually it kills the battery quicker, slows down the reaction time of the camera, and it wont get too far.

If possible set the shutter speed as fast as you can.

Timing, timing, timing, test how long the response is between you pressing the button and the camera taking a picture, and hit the button at the right time.

If your camera has a burst mode which takes a series of photos very quickly, use it and start the burst as the movement is about to finish, one of the photos may be timed perfectly.

This was written specifically for point and shoot cameras, if you have a DSLR, then you should use shutter priority and lift the ISO as high as you need to, so that you can set the shutter speed to 1/250th. There are very cheap 50mm lenses (under $200) for most DSLR cameras with an Aperture of 1.8. they would be really well suited to this type of photography.

If you are a Crossfit Affiliate and would like me to show you how to take better photos with your own cameras in your gym, please contact me. If you would like to see some of my work, have a look through this gallery, taken at the Again Faster Semper Paratus 2014 Team Challenge. Most of these pictures were taken at F2.8 ISO 1600 and 1/90th of a second.

Macro Lens and Extension Tubes

What is it?

Macro photography gets you closer to things, it makes small things larger on your sensor or film, by doing this it opens up the world of photography to things that you would walk past or miss on a daily basis. Insects flowers and many more things look amazing when you get closer to them than the naked eye. Here is what a macro lens and extension tubes can do for your photography.

A dedicated Macro lens will allow you to take pictures of objects, closer to the front of the lens than your kit lens. This allows you to get closer to your subject making it up to 5x its actual size on the sensor. A lens like the Canon 65mm MP-E Macro is dedicated to taking macro images and will focus on very short distances from the lens.  But, that lens will only do that one thing, it does do it quite well though, but it is not as versatile as the Canon 100mm F2.8 Macro LIS this lens can be used to do portrait work as well as other things.

What if you wanted to learn about Macro photography but didn’t want to buy a macro lens just in case you tried it and really didn’t like it?

Extension tubes are your answer, they will convert almost any lens to do macro photography. A set set will cost you about $225 compared to the price of a dedicated macro lens that is great Value.

I have a set of Kenko extension tubes, they attach between your camera and lens, and move the lens forward. They come in a set of three, 12mm, 24mm, and 36mm and you can use one of them at a time or all three of them at the same time, they will allow you to focus closer to your subject using your existing lenses.

How do I use it on my camera?

I will be talking about how the ones I have work with my Canon camera and lenses. There may be some slight differences with other brands of cameras and extension tubes.

The set I have use a pass through system, there are contacts that allow the lens and camera to communicate with each other, so the camera will autofocus and set the aperture. You can buy units that do not pass through, they will require manual focusing and you cannot control the aperture, so you can only use the smallest number aperture that lens has, which will limit the depth of field in your photo, when shooting this close, you may need more depth, my advice is to buy the pass through models.

The focusing distance that a lens refers to is measured from the subject to the film or sensor it is being recorded on. A 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 kit lens that has a minimum focusing distance of 25cm, that means that your subject can be as close as 25cm from about the back of the camera.

As the tubes shorten the focusing distance on any lens they are fitted to, you do have to be careful of what you fit them to, as the focusing distance may be shorter than the lens, which would mean that the subject would never be able to be focused on. Wide angle lenses that focus close usually fall into this category, I have a Canon 16-35mm  F2.8mm lens that has a minimum focus distance of 24cm, if I put a 12mm extension tube on that lens it cannot focus.

What does it do to my pictures?

Here are some examples taken back to back on a 50mm F1.4 lens with the 12mm 24mm and 36mm tubes and a 100mm Dedicated 1 to 1 Macro Lens, I have also added the tubes to the Macro lens to show what it would do to that lens. All the images were taken on a 5D mark II with ambient light at my desk, hand held and I was focusing on the 1:2.8 marking on the lens, the aperture was set to F2 and I was shooting at 1/250th when using the 50mm and F2.8 at 1/125th when using the 100mm Macro.

Examples

Macro Lens and Extension Tubes50mm with 12 mm tube: The photo on the left is the 50mm at standard focusing distance. The photo on the right is using the tube. Note the depth of field or out of focus in the background is starting to disappear very quickly.

Macro Lens and Extension Tubes50mm with 24mm tube: Note the out of focus is much more effective, and that the EF-S marking on the top of the lens is almost not readable.

Macro Lens and Extension Tubes50mm with 36mm tube: I now am so close that the EF-S marking is not in my picture. Note though that now the 60mm is starting to be out of focus. You can see the details in the gold ring and the rubber on the lens though quite nicely.

Macro Lens and Extension Tubes50mm with all three tubes: Note that with all three on the camera, I had to increase the exposure. Note the .8 of the 2.8 is now almost out of focus. The depth of field at this distance would be less than a millimetre.

Macro Lens and Extension Tubes 100mm Macro: The photo on the left is the 100mm at standard focusing distance. The photo on the right is what the Macro lens can do without the use of an extension tube. This lens also has image stabilisation which can be handy when you are getting close and the smallest of movements will blur your photo.

Macro Lens and Extension Tubes I have added the 12mm tube to the 100mm dedicated macro lens to show that if you were to buy the tubes you can then still use them on your dedicated macro as well, and get even closer!

Try This

Here are some images that I have taken with a mixture of lenses with and without tubes. One of these images was taken with a dedicated macro lens. The first person to email me with the correct image and the image settings both aperture and shutter speed will win a set of extension tubes that suit their camera and a 2 hour photo walk around Roma Street Parklands showing how to use them.

Macro Lens and Extension Tubes Picture 1

Macro Lens and Extension TubesPicture 2

Macro Lens and Extension TubesPicture 3

Macro Lens and Extension TubesPicture 4

Macro Lens and Extension TubesPicture 5

Email me with your choice and the camera settings for your chance to win the tubes. I will announce the winner once it has been won.

Panning: how and when to use it in photography Part II

What is panning?

Panning is a photography skill that involves moving the camera left to right or up and down to follow your subject while they are moving. You can also slow the shutter speed down in order to blur the background as you take the picture.

The previous blog post will showed you three of the ways it  can be used. Below are two more ways and some practice tips.

Panning to show movement in the action

By using a long exposure I have shown how you can show movement in a scene like a waterfall, if you are panning however you are trying to show the movement of an object by showing the blurry background. You can use this to make a slow moving subject look like it was moving faster.

08 PanningCanon 5D II, ISO100 1/40th 16mm F11: By panning I have been able to make this little boy look like he was going faster than he was.

11 PanningCanon 5D II, ISO100 1/125th 40mm F6.7: By panning I have made this look like the motorbike was going faster than it actually was, but keeping the subject, the passenger on the back as sharp as possible.

Panning to get a shot as its too dark to freeze the motion.

This is almost not relevant any more as ISO is no longer as grainy at “high” ISO as it used to be early-model digital cameras. However, if you are still restricted to using an ISO 1600 or lower, there may be times in dawn or dusk. or under street or artificial light where you may need to pan in order to get a sharp shot.

04 Panning 04Canon 5D II, ISO400 1/60th 65mm F5.6: In the rain there is usually less light. Panning has still allowed me to capture the action without blurring the subject.

07 PanningCanon 5D II, ISO1600 1/125th 21mm F3.2: By panning I have been able to almost freeze the car in mid-air, but still been able to show that it is moving, all in a very poorly lit environment.

09 PanningCanon 20D, ISO800 1/40th 40mm F3.5: The upper limit on the 20D was really ISO400. This ISO800 image is very grainy, but by panning I was able to take this image just before dawn at a 24 Hour race. The darkness allows the viewer to see the glowing brakes better.

Try This

To learn how to pan properly, you need to make some decisions about your settings before or while you are taking pictures. To get a better understanding of what you need to set and what to change, you need to be able to register how fast your subject is moving, and change the shutter speed to suit.

  • I would start with a shutter speed of 1/subject speed in km/h. So, for example, a car moving at 60km/h past you would be shot at 1/60th of a second. Then slow the shutter down further to increase the blurred effect.
  • You need to be using a continuous focus system on your camera: AI-Servo (Canon) or AF-C (Nikon). Most entry level cameras only have a centre focus point that is better at tracking focus. Revert to your manual for more information.
  • Stand comfortably and make you are facing where you intend to take the picture through the motion of the panning. Don’t twist as you pan and then take your picture when your feet are facing forwards and your twisted to the left or the right.

The best way to practice is to find somewhere that has moving targets that pass you at the same speed. So you can get accustomed to that speed. When you feel that you have practised enough, move to a place where they go faster. And so on, note that the more you practice the better you will get.

Panning: how and when to use it in photography

What is panning?

Panning is a photography skill that involves moving the camera left to right or up and down to follow your subject while they are moving. You can also slow the shutter speed down in order to blur the background as you take the picture.

This blog post will show you two of the ways it can be used. There will be a follow up post showing another two uses and some exercises on how to improve your panning skills.

Usually this skill is used in sports photography with very fast moving subjects but it has many more uses.

I feel that panning is a great skill to learn, as not everything you will photograph will stay still. Sometimes you are moving and the subject is stationary, so you need to pan with it. An example would be taking a picture from a fast moving train.

How do I use it on my camera?

There is not one setting that makes panning what it is. It is a mixture of movements and shutter speed that will get the result you want. Image stabilisation can be helpful but was not used in any of the examples below. This post walks through a few different examples of panning, showing the settings and how to get similar results.

What does it do to my pictures?
Blurring the background, while keeping the subject sharp

This is typically the look that people want from panning. Blurring the background and keeping the subject sharp draws attention to the subject and takes the focus away from the background. This could be useful where the background is distracting or muddled with colours.

01 Panning 1Canon 40D, ISO100 1/80th 135mm F7.1: By panning with the car I have been able to keep the car sharp while it was driving past me at about 120km/h. By using a large number F there is enough depth for the driver to be sharp as well.

02 Panning 2Canon 7D, ISO1600 1/60th 105mm F4: By panning at such a slow shutter speed I have removed the distracting crowd in the background of this shot, and the focus remains on the driver and his bike.

10 PanningCanon 5D II, ISO50 1/60th 70mm F14: The timing tower and the white building at Lakeside are quite an eyesore. By panning and blurring the background, the car (the subject of this photo) is more prominent.

Keeping the subject sharp while you are moving

An example of this is taking a picture from a moving train. Say you wanted to get a picture of a landscape while you were passing it from a moving train. You want a reasonable depth of field, using a large number aperture, this will of course slow the shutter speed down. By panning with your subject you will be able to get a sharper shot than trying to keep the camera still.

03 Panning  3Canon 5D II, ISO400 1/180th 50mm F6.7: This shot was taken from a moving train in Intelaken, Switzerland. I wanted a slow shutter speed so the waterfall wouldn’t look frozen, by panning I have allowed the shot not to blur.

Blurring the foreground to remove it from the picture

This is not usually seen in the everyday world of a photographer, but motorsport photographers have to deal with photographing through fences, crowds of people or many other objects to get the shot. Sometimes you can use a small number aperture to get the fence out of focus, but you can also do it by panning. By slowing the shutter speed down you can actually blur out the fence.

05 PanningCanon 7D, ISO100 1/80th 16mm F9: The blurry brown in the foreground is tall grass. As the sun was behind me, this was “the best angle” from which to capture this car. However the grass in the foreground was in the way. I couldn’t move the grass, so I had to use a slow shutter speed to blur it out of the photo.

06 PanningTop Left, Canon 5D II, ISO400 1/125th 70mm F8, Bottom Right, Canon 5D II, ISO100 1/125th 150mm F3.5: The fence in the top left picture is starting to disappear with some panning at 1/125th. By getting closer to the fence, using a longer length lens and a smaller aperture, the fence in the bottom right almost looks to have disappeared.

To Be Continued

Counting the true cost of a photo

The cost of a photo is not just the memory card it was taken on, nor is it just the cost of the model of camera and lens you are using. The true cost of a photo is more about the story behind the photo, the setup, the taking of it and the inevitable processing.

01 Cost Of Photo experienceBoat on Brienzsee, Ringgenberg; using a wide angle lens gives the mountain’s behind the boat some perspective.

If you were on a holiday, the cost of a picture could include the cost of the trip, added to the cost of the camera and so on. But what about your experience? By experience I am not meaning your holiday experience I am meaning the experience you have behind the camera – your abilities as a photographer.

02 Cost Of Photo experienceFlying Scotsman, Paris; the RAW processing of this image was made to look like it was taken in the same period that the car would have been new.

My experience is in motor sport photography, and my experience in that genre has made me aware of where incidents may happen or places that would make a great new angle. This allowed me to capture images that were different to the normal and would tell a different story, or show a facet of the sport that people had not seen before.

03 Cost Of Photo experiencePimlico Tube Station, London; by taking this photo at 1/8th of a second, the train moving out of the station has been accentuated. By using the right balance of ISO and shutter speed I was able to hand hold the camera for this shot.

Over the years I have tried other genres of photography and I have come to the conclusion that a photographer that is good at their genre usually is an expert in that genre too. A surf photographer will be able to pick waves that a board rider will take, and know which surfer to follow as they have the best wave.

A landscape photographer will know what time of the year the best cloud formations appear over their subject and the placing of the sun to maximise the lighting, as you can’t move the mountains but the sun does shift over summer / winter.

Likewise a macro photographer will know that a dragonfly will come back to a perch it has sat on if it flies away, as long as you’re patient enough.

04 Cost Of Photo experienceBoats for hire, Lake Como; by using a tripod and a long shutter speed I have made the headlights of the cars drag.

So this knowledge is part of what makes up the cost of a photo. The other part of the cost, is knowing which lens to choose, which aperture to use, what the shutter speed will do to the mood of the image and so on, as you have seen from the examples above there is more to the picture than just pushing the shutter button.

05 Cost Of Photo experienceFlower bokeh, Rothenburg; by using a very small number aperture I have made the different flowers behind this poppy blend into the photo.

06 Cost Of Photo experienceSpiral staircase, Arc de Triomphe; by using a fisheye lens, the spiral of the staircase has been exaggerated.

07 Cost Of Photo experienceDole Reflections, Dole, France; by using a HDR technique I have been able to capture all the detail in this scene.

This is what we are here to teach you! Our next Learning to crawl beginners class is on the 30th of August book now.

 

Shutter Speed

What is it?

Your camera has a door that opens to let in light; by controlling how long the door is open it can control how much light comes into your camera, and therefore how light or dark or your photo is.

Shutter Speed is how long the door is open.
How do I use it on my camera?

Shutter Speed Pics 1

Depending on the make and model of camera you have, by using the S or Tv mode on your camera dial or menu, you can select the Shutter Speed that you want the photo to be taken at. The camera will then set the Aperture to maintain the correct exposure. You can use the main scroll or menu to change the Shutter Speed. Your camera is likely to have a range of 30” to 4000 or (1/4000th), this is 30 seconds to 1/4000th of a second. It may also have “Bulb” or faster than 1/4000th. I will leave “Bulb” and Long Exposures to another Blog post.

What does it do to my pictures?

The longer the shutter is open, the more that the objects that are moving  in your pictures will blur. So to freeze your subject in time you will need to use a quick shutter speed. To blur your subject you will need to use a longer shutter speed. Tip: if you are trying to capture your kids on a swing, you will need to use a faster shutter speed than 1/250th.

Shutter Speed Pics 2Fast Shutter: has frozen the seagull in flight.

Shutter Speed Pics 3Slow Shutter: the waves in this picture have a ghostly appearance.

Examples

Shutter Speed Pics 4Fast Shutter: has frozen the subjects mid jump.

Shutter Speed Pics 5Fast Shutter: the movement of the water is frozen.

Shutter Speed Pics 6Slow Shutter: the water on the waterfall has blurred.

Shutter Speed Pics 7Slow Shutter: the cars are so blurred they are not visible. All you can see is their headlights / tail lights.

Try This

Set your camera to Shutter Priority mode. Using a garden hose or sprinkler, take a picture at 1/1000th and see what happens to the water.

Next, take a series of pictures of the same object, changing the shutter speed after each photo. Note how your pictures are changing. What else is changing when taking these pictures? Feel free to leave your comments on this post.

Have a read about ISO and Aperture.