During the February Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) Code of Honor wheelchair rugby tournament in Richmond, Virginia, I approached the coach of the ‘Punishers’, from MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital, which would be sponsoring the March United States Quad Rugby Association (USQRA) Atlantic Sectionals tournament, in Fort Washington, Maryland, offering to photograph that tournament as well, as I had done for the same tournament the previous year. My offer was accepted, and I looked forward to watching and photographing the intense competition that would lead, for the top teams, to a trip to the April USQRA National Championship tournament in Phoenix, Arizona.
The teams participating in the 2018 Atlantic Sectionals were:
- NEP Wildcats, from Northeast Passage in Durham, New Hampshire
- Maryland Mayhem, from the University of Maryland Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute in Baltimore, Maryland
- Magee Eagles, from Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Punishers, from MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) in Washington, DC
- Shepherd Smash, from Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia
- Brooks Bandits, from Brooks Adaptive Sports and Recreation Program in Jacksonville, Florida
- Tampa Generals, from Tampa, Florida
- NoVA Mutiny, from Fairfax, Virginia
- Warriors, from West Hempstead, New York
- Carolina Crash, from Carolinas Rehabilitation in Charlotte, North Carolina
I took more than 1600 photos during this 3-day tournament, and I ended up with the 386 edited photos shown below. If you click on a thumbnail, it will download the higher resolution image.
Photographing indoor sports is always challenging, due to the need to maintain a high shutter speed in relatively low light conditions. But this venue offered something unique. At one corner of the gym, up at the second and third story levels, there are windows that allow natural sunlight to fall on one of the courts, at least in the early morning.
Unlike the diffuse lighting available in most gyms, natural sunlight creates high contrast on the subjects, which greatly helps cameras to focus more accurately, resulting in sharper images. Also, the additional brightness allows the camera to use a lower sensor gain, which increases the available dynamic range (number of discrete brightness levels) of the image, again, allowing more detail to be shown. In addition, when that sunlight was reflecting off either the gym floor or the ball in the possession of a player, the reflection would illuminate the player’s face, which would otherwise be in their own shadow from the overhead lights. Needless to say, each morning I planted myself near those windows above Court 1. Unfortunately, some of my favorite teams played most of their games on Court 2. So, they didn’t get to play in the better conditions for photography. As a result, I got very few photos of their players. I will be much more aware of this in the future.
Some of my favorite photos from this event are shown below:
1. I need to reinforce the case of my Nikon WR10 transmitter (DRAFT)
2. Camera settings are stored on the memory cards, not in internal RAM (DRAFT)
3. The CamRanger wireless router interferes with the electronics in the Nikon D850 DSLR (DRAFT)
4. Keep an eye out for Tenba roller bags (DRAFT)
The unfortunate thing about having a good selection of camera equipment is that if you want to use that equipment to shoot an event, then you need to carry it with you to the event. And the unfortunate thing about getting old, is that your own equipment doesn’t like carrying equipment.
Luckily, most of the places to where you would need to carry your equipment are fairly accessible without need of a 4-wheel drive vehicle. So, some genius recognized this fact, and figured that some of us photographers might prefer to roll our equipment along paved terra firma instead of carrying it on our backs. Thus, an industry was born, now offering a vast array of potential solutions to the problem of conveniently storing and transporting photographic equipment (to the dismay of many orthopedic surgeons and chiropractors, I might add).
Luckily-squared, professional photographers have already plowed this ground. One such photographer is Sharon Natoli (Natoli Photography) of Greenbelt, Maryland. Once again this year, Natoli Photography was hired by the MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital to cover the Atlantic Sectionals Wheelchair Rugby Tournament, of which they were the sponsor. And so once again, I reaped the benefit of crossing paths with Sharon Natoli.
Just this week, a second-opinion consultation with an orthopedic surgeon suggested that I may actually not need to replace the hip I was born with with a mechanical equivalent, but instead I need to take care of a bulging disk in my spine (Thus my expected hip replacement surgery could have been a very bad day.). This means that I should probably start looking to unload my top-of-the-line Manfrotto photography equipment backpack, which although a sight to behold is by no means self-propelled, and look instead for something something equivalent, but on wheels.
And this is where Sharon comes in. Having worked with other professional photographers, Sharon’s keen eye recognized that some of the most popular rolling photography bags on the market actually have something of a design flaw (or at least a design deficiency). Their zippered front cover is hinged on the shorter bottom edge, instead of a longer side edge. This means that when you lay them down and fully open them, you take up substantial linear space, which, although functional, for the discriminating photographer, reflects poor form (You also end up with a longer zipper to have problems with.). Sharon recognized this and instead bought, and recommended to me, a competing product from Tenba that opens on the long edge. Their largest bag is also deep enough to hold a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens without having to lay its axis parallel to the plane of the bag’s front cover. This means that you will have direct access to equipment that would otherwise be buried beneath your telephoto lens.
Thanks for the tip, Sharon! One of these days I’ll be (that is my photography equipment will be) rolling along too!
5. Umbrella softbox (DRAFT)
6. Speedlights (DRAFT)
7. Keep an eye out for features in the environment that can serve as a reflector (DRAFT)
Light colored floor or wall.
8. Color Space is yet another setting that is easy to screw up (DRAFT)
For a few of the photos from this tournament, I wanted to make some fine adjustments using the Portrait Pro 17 portrait-editing software. I had already set up Portrait Pro to act as a plugin for Lightroom Classic CC, so transferring a photo from Lightroom to PortraitPro, and then returning the edited files to Lightroom, was pretty seamless. But, when you export from Lightroom to use an external editor, Lightroom applies preferences that you’ve set in the Lightroom Edit / Preferences, ‘External Editing’ tab. One of these preference settings tells the receiving software how to interpret the Red, Green, and Blue 8-bit numerical values that are stored for each pixel. With this system, those three 8-bit values can represent a total of 16.8 million distinct colors. The question is, “Where are those 16.8 million distinct colors distributed over the full spectrum of colors that the human eye can see (and possibly, some that it can’t). You do this by selecting one of several standard ‘color spaces’ on the Lightroom ‘External Editing’ tab. And it is the color space that defines the full range of absolute colors that those numerical values should represent.
One obvious question is, “Why wouldn’t you want those 16.8 million possible colors to be distributed over the entire spectrum of colors that the human eye can see?”. And the answer to that question is, “Because you can only see colors that are reproduced by the medium or device that you’re viewing, and for many of today’s, and older, monitors and printers, that range is rather limited, and if you defined many of those absolute colors to be outside the range of colors that common devices can produce, then that reduces the number of absolute colors that you will request that the device produce.”.
On this tab, there is a note that says, “16-bit ProPhoto RGB is the recommended choice for best preserving color details from Lightroom.”. I generally follow such recommendations, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can really mess things up for yourself, especially if you don’t keep track of exactly what changes you’ve made.
(based on the 3 additive primary colors, red, green, and blue)
Color space refers to a defined portion of the human visible color spectrum that a sensor uses to record a visual scene, and that an output device, such as a printer, uses to output that scene (see figure). In order to ensure that digital images are rendered reasonably accurately on various devices, standards were developed long ago. The original standard was sRGB (standard Red Green Blue), developed by TBD. In 1998, Adobe published their own standard, AdobeRGB, which renders a greater range of visible greens, and some blue-greens and blues.
But, almost everything on a computer is built around the sRGB color space. In fact, most traditional computer monitors can only display about 97% of the sRGB color space, and that fraction of the sRGB color space only represents about 76% of the AdobeRGB color space. Web browsers have also standardized on sRGB, so if you create an image using AdobeRGB color space, your web browser may not render it well using its native sRGB color space, especially the greens and some blue-greens and blues.
So, why would you want to take photos using anything other than the sRGB color space? The answer, is because professional printers are starting to support the AdobeRGB color space, and therefore, if you collect a wider range of colors by setting your camera to use the AdobeRGB color space, then you may not be able to render the wider range of colors on your monitor (colors beyond the monitor’s color space will be rendered at the extreme of its native color space), but you will be able to render the full range of colors in a hardcopy that is printer using a compatible printer.
I shot all these photos with my Nikon D850 DSLR set to the sRGB color space as follows:
- PHOTO SHOOTING MENU
- Color Space = ‘sRGB’
The only alternative setting offered on the D850 is ‘AdobeRGB’, which provides a deeper range of saturated hues for blues, and especially greens. This is the setting recommended by David Busch in his book, Nikon D850 Guide to Digital SLR Photography for all applications of the D850 (pages 39 and 40).
At some point during the editing, exporting, and posting of photos for this event, I noticed that the reds that I had carefully adjusted during the editing process were being displayed as a burnt orange when the photos were posted my WordPress website. Here is an example:
From now on, I’m shooting using the AdobeRGB color space on my Nikon D850. This will map my 14-bit color depth to the larger range of colors represented by the AdobeRGB color space.
It should be noted that, once you’ve got your Color Space decisions all set, then you should concern yourself with calibrating your output devices, such as monitors and printers.
9. You can take dark background portraits with indoor gym ambient lighting (DRAFT)