I was asked to shoot a charity basketball game between the seniors and the staff to benefit scleroderma victims. I like this kind of event. The kids have fun and so does the staff. Plus, it goes to a good cause. Here are a few images from the evening and a short analysis of the problems and possible solutions follows that.
You can see all of the images at The Nature Light Photography Gallery.
What Did I Learn?
This was a new challenge. I have never shot sports inside before. Water polo and swimming? Yes. Softball? Yes. Rodeo? Yes. But never indoor basketball.
I have read where the lighting situation inside most high school gyms is difficult. JEEZ!! Is that true!!!! My plan was to take my SB600 and shoot with a fairly fast piece of glass, the 70-200 f2/8. It worked. Kind of.
While the flash did freeze the action fairly well, focus was a bit of a problem. The lens wouldn’t lock on to subjects well and fast enough. I think this is due to the very low light conditions and the difficulty of following the subject.
I basically planted myself under one basket and shot from a seated position. The length of the lens made it difficult to keep the subject in the viewfinder as they came closer to my end of the court and the proximity of the players made good composition difficult. You can see my results here.
I brought my 50mm f1.4 also, but it limited my ability to isolate the players or what I wanted to shoot. I also had the D70 kit lens, a 18-70mm f3.5-4.5, but I didn’t think that it was fast enough. But I wasn’t getting the shots I wanted or needed, so I tried it.
I was surprised. It focused quickly, the flash froze the subjects well, and the images were usable!! The subjects weren’t too close for a good composition and I could compose fairly well.
The only problem was that the on camera flash left some weird shadows behind the subjects. It’s not the lens, but me not utilizing the flash well.
I think I really need a better flash, something like a SB900 and some sort of remote to fire it off from a distance. I have seen sports shooters utilize two flashes mounted on stands placed at the corners of the floor and triggered by remotes such as Radio Poppers or Pocket Wizards. I would like to try that set-up next time.
The bottom line is that next time I WILL get the flash off of the camera and try to get two flashes that I can work together to improve the lighting situation.
All-in-all, I think it was a good shoot. OH, and the staff won!!!