Spur of the Moment Soccer Photos

April 17, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

After scouting out a location for a photo shoot in Easton, Pa. on Sunday we were heading back to the studio and I drove by a soccer game. I had some time to spare since I lucked into the perfect location super quick (a boat that crashed into a wall and half sank into the waters) so I decided to stop and take some sports photos for fun. Although I had two camera bodies and several lenses ranging from 14mm to 600mm on me I didn’t have the proper equipment to shoot a sports game - but I got some really nice sports shots anyway.

 

If you’re interested in the obstacles I ran into then read on, if you’re not interested then just check out the photos below. They’re pretty Awesome!!! (If I do say so myself).

 

The camera body I used (the Sony A850) only shot 3 fps (frames per second) so it was a real challenge catching the peak moments of the soccer games. You really want to shoot sports photography at no less than 7 or 8 fps. That challenge was remarkably intensified by the fact that the Sony A850 I was using didn’t have a separate autofocus button on the back so I had to depend heavily on the autofocus using the shutter release button which turned out to be a tremendous struggle. Needless to say focusing got pretty messy at times causing me to miss quite a few shots at the peak moment. By the time the A850 decided it was focused and ready to shoot the play was over and the ball was half way downfield (mocking me). Ok I’m exaggerating but the ball really was too far from the player for a decent final shot far more times then I cared for.

 

Then there were the lenses. On one camera body (an Olympus Evolt) I had a 70-300mm lens with a 2x teleconverter giving me the equivalent of a 140-600mm lens. The problem with this was I lost way to much light with the 2x teleconverter on and the camera body was an older body that didn’t handle a high ISO very well so I couldn’t get a fast enough shutter speed to get sharp photos without being ridiculously grainy. If I had a 1.4x teleconverter with me that would have probably worked better as I would have only lost one stop of light with the 1.4x teleconverter and still got a 40 percent increase in magnification.

 

The first camera body I mentioned (the Sony A850) turned out to be the go to camera since it was a newer body (at least more recent than the Olympus Evolt) that could handle the higher ISO pretty well. By increasing my ISO to 1600 I was able to shoot between 1/2000 and 1/8000 sec freezing the motion quite nicely. The problem I had now was the lens I had on the A850 wasn’t wide enough for the depth of field I wanted. The lens was an f/4.5 - 5.6 which had to do since I didn’t have an f/2.8 on me. Ideally you really want to shoot sports at f/2.8 or faster to separate the subject from the background with a nice shallow depth of field, especially if that background happens to be other players just standing around. Of course f/2.8 or faster is a lot less important if you’re not shooting sports indoors or at night. Because I shot these soccer photos outdoors on a sunny day the direction of the sun was much more of a problem than the f-stop. So I locked in the widest aperture possible in Aperture Priority mode, fixed my ISO to 1600, and let the camera adjust for the shutter speed. Check out some of the photos I got, they came out pretty good but the next time I have this equipment on me I think I’ll try locking in my shutter speed and aperture in manual mode and let the camera adjust the ISO instead to compensate.

 

Palmer vs Slate Belt in Wilson, Pa.Palmer vs Slate Belt in Wilson, Pa.

This is my favorite shot of the day.

Palmer Soccer Club vs Slate Belt Soccer Club at the Avona Field in Wilson, Pa on Sunday April 06, 2014.

 

OLPH vs Northern Lehigh in Wilson, Pa.OLPH vs Northern Lehigh in Wilson, Pa.

This is my second favorite shot of the day.

OLPH (Our Lady of Perpetual Help) Soccer Club vs Northern Lehigh Soccer Club at the Avona Field in Wilson, Pa on Sunday April 06, 2014.

 

OLPH vs Northern Lehigh in Wilson, Pa.OLPH vs Northern Lehigh in Wilson, Pa.

This is my third favorite shot of the day.

OLPH Soccer Club vs Northern Lehigh Soccer Club at the Avona Field in Wilson, Pa on Sunday April 06, 2014.

 

OLPH vs Northern Lehigh in Wilson, Pa.OLPH vs Northern Lehigh in Wilson, Pa.

This is my fourth favorite shot of the day.

OLPH Soccer Club vs Northern Lehigh Soccer Club at the Avona Field in Wilson, Pa on Sunday April 06, 2014.

 

OLPH vs Northern Lehigh in Wilson, Pa.OLPH vs Northern Lehigh in Wilson, Pa.

And finally, this completes my top 5 favorite shots of the day.

OLPH Soccer Club vs Northern Lehigh Soccer Club at the Avona Field in Wilson, Pa on Sunday April 06, 2014.

 

The key to the great sports photos I ended up with came down to knowing and understanding the game. That knowledge is your best friend when shooting sports photography, no matter what equipment you’re using…


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