1. Camera Color Temperature Setting
For these shots, I had both my D850 and D500 DSLRs set to the Automatic Color Temperature setting. Based on the challenges I had in editing these photos to render reasonably accurate skin tones, I’ve got to believe that these cameras have some better setting that I could use, at least a more accurate setting for the lights in the gym at Lake Braddock High School.
In post-processing most of these, I ended up turning down the color temperature by at least two settings (lower color temperatures). Then, after adjusting exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, whites, and blacks, I went back and reduced the saturation for yellow, and sometimes orange, to remove (the best I could) the color casts coming from reflections off the wooden floor. Looking back over the final results from the full set, it is clear that some of these could use more adjustment.
So, I need to look into other Color Temperature settings that might be more appropriate. In the mean time, if anyone would like me to make further adjustments to any of the existing photos, just let me know.
2. When the Nikon D850 Stops Displaying the Focus Point, the Lens Focus Switch has Slipped to the Manual Position
The Nikon D850 DSLR has a menu setting that will turn off the Focus Point, so that it will not be displayed in the viewfinder. There is little chance that this setting could be changed inadvertently. So, when the Focus Point is not being displayed in the viewfinder, the more likely cause is that the switch on the attached lens has slipped from the Autofocus position to the Manual Focus position. Of course, if this condition happens right after switching lenses, it is a sure thing. The Focus switch has slipped to Manual.
3. Look for the Cleanest Background Available
It is clear from browsing these photos, that the best photos resulted from the cleanest backgrounds. Pay attention!
4. Should I Keep Doing This?
Another reason why I’m not completely satisfied with this set of photos is not due to some other shortfall in quality, but because I didn’t end up covering the entire subject matter that I think I should.
When I take photos of any sports team, my intention is to end up with at least a few nice photos of every single player, and if possible, the coaches as well. In the past, I’ve found that, due to player injuries or absences, to achieve this I need to shoot an absolute minimum of three games each season.
I’ve actually been able to meet this expectation during each of the past dozen or more sports seasons, including last Spring, when I was covering eight teams simultaneously, from three separate schools. Keeping up with all of this (or trying to) certainly helped to accelerate my climb up the sports photography learning curve, to the point that now I’m pretty satisfied with where I’m at (at least for photographing most high school sports). But to be honest, having this unpaid workload piled on top of my existing work commitments last Spring made things pretty tough (There are some photos that I still haven’t had a chance to edit and post.). And this level of workload is probably preventing me from having the time necessary to investigate the minor photography problems which, if I were to find solutions for, I would be able to continue to improve (There are also a few other things in life that are kind of important as well.).
But then there is the other reason why I’ve been doing this. In short, it is because I firmly believe that our country needs all of the confident and disciplined young men and women that it can get. And one of the most effective ways that young people can acquire that kind of confidence and discipline is by playing and progressing through organized sports, where they have an opportunity to discover the gifts they’ve been given, and how they can be applied to all of life’s challenges. It is through such learning that kids eventually start to identify themselves as athletes.
But I’ve also found that, in this age where kids are constantly barraged by images of super-athletes who seem to be able to do the impossible, their expectations for themselves become unrealistic. And when those self-expectations are dashed in the most minor of ways, then they start to question whether it is worth competing in sports, or for that matter, even in life.
To me, there is one thing that I can do to help kids to see themselves as athletes, in spite of these high expectations. I can help them see themselves as athletes. That is my theory. The question is, “Is it working?”.
If this is actually an effective use of my time, then I should be able to see some measurable evidence of that effect. In the past I’ve actually been told that elementary school kids who have seen my photos have asked the coaches at high school sports “recruitment” events whether they would get such photos if they made the team, and then later, these same teams have seen record numbers of kids try out. Although unusual, that is pretty good evidence of effectiveness.
But one of the more routine forms of evidence that I think I should be seeing, if what I’m doing is really having an impact, are explicit requests from students, coaches, and parents (In order to encourage initiative, I think these requests should really be coming from the students.).
This past Fall, I actually didn’t get any requests from high school teams at all until the last three games of the field hockey season (Oh, the photos that were missed.). Then when I showed up, people seemed curious about my earlier absence. Even the 167 photos that I shot, edited, and then posted in this one varsity volleyball game (above) didn’t result from a request from others at all. I had to initiate this myself, and I finally did so on the day of the last varsity volleyball game of the season (and hence the reason why I didn’t end up shooting a minimum of three games, and getting multiple nice photos of every one of the varsity volleyball players). This would seem to be evidence that maybe now is the time for a change.
I played organized team sports for 49 years. Since I stopped playing 3 years ago (not of my own accord), sports photography has been my substitute. But if I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it right, and I’m not going to leave anyone out. The question seems to be whether I should continue doing it all. Well, I guess that will depend … on the evidence.