Help: Soccer with 70-200 VRII

Started Oct 22, 2012 | Discussions thread
Snodayz
Regular MemberPosts: 111Gear list
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Re: Help: Soccer with 70-200 VRII
In reply to DaleHerman, Oct 23, 2012

I used a monopod and tried to keep the shutter speed above 1600. I used AF-C (D21) on a D800. VR on. Here are the best of the bunch. Most seemed out of focus (or motion blur ?) What can I do differently ?

Some of your photos are quite good and more practice will yield a higher hit rate.  The 70-200 f2.8 is a fantastic lens for soccer, with the obvious limitation of reach - don't try to shoot the other side or end of the field with this lens.  I like to move around the sidelines and end zones rather than just locate at the one spot as one poster here suggests - you will get photos of all the players in your team this way, not just the forwards and mids, as well as getting a variety of perspectives.  I like to aim for at least "two faces and the ball" in my shots, but can get some interesting shots that don't always conform to that aim.

Some other thoughts - ditch the monopod- it didn't improve quality for me and it can be cumbersome when the action is fast and close. (If I use my 400mm f2.8 I use the monopod as it is difficult to hand-hold for long - not so the 70-200mm).  I shoot RAW (better post processing results), use shutter speeds above 1600 (unless I'm looking for some motion blur), 3D tracking, AF-C, manual ISO control (I like to decide on my ISO settings), mostly f2.8 for subject isolation and VR on (I've experimented here quite a few times and can't find any evidence of quality degradation by keeping it on). I also shoot mainly in landscape mode and as I crop most photos, will crop a few into portrait format if the photo looks better this way. (Professionals often shoot portrait mode as the newspapers like it this way - you don't need to do this however, and landscape looks better on screens which is where you'll mainly view them). Be careful with your cropping - leave space in front of the player(s) so there is visual room for the player to "run into" in your final photo.

Kneeling or sitting generally produces better shots than standing.  If using my D4 I "hose down" the action and end up with some great individual shots and sequences of action.  The D800 is less capable in this area so deciding when to hit the shutter release is more critical, but you do have the advantage of greater cropping ability.  Before the game, walk onto the field and get photos of the teams lining up and being inspected by the referee and team managers.  Get close-up shots of individuals at the half-time talk if you can access them. Take crowd shots, even if they are just shots of parents and family. Get shots of the coach. Get shots of throw-ins, fallen or falling players and players on the bench.  Gets shots of injuries - some of my best (and most popular photos among the players), have involved lots of blood - don't be shy. If someone is injured, turn to the nearby parent and get a shot of the anguish on their face!  Shooting games in the rain can yield some great images too.  Walk onto the field at full time and get close-ups of facial expressions reflecting a win or a loss.  Get photos of the handshakes with the opposing team at full time.

Lastly, share your photos with the team using something like Flickr - the players and their relatives will love you for it!

 Snodayz's gear list:Snodayz's gear list
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 400mm f/2.8G ED VR II Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G +2 more
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