BrickHouse Photo School

Tips, Tricks and Reviews for Photo Hobbyists

Posts Tagged ‘sports photography

Canon Launches New Educational Program for Current and Prospective EOS Users

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I will often publish media releases related to photography on this blog in order to help keep you informed. These media releases are created by the respective companies. I edit the releases for space as needed.

Canon recently announced the launch of Canon Live Learning, a new on-site education program targeted towards photographers who currently use or are interested in Canon’s popular line of EOS photographic products. Canon Live Learning (CLL) will offer high-quality classes and workshops conducted by a number of the industry’s leading professional photographers, Canon’s Explorers of Light. CLL attendees will learn how to get the most out of their gear while also having the opportunity to try out Canon’s latest line of EOS products.

“Through the Canon Live Learning program we are hoping to empower and inspire our customers to further enhance their skills and passion for the art of imaging,” said Yuichi Ishizuka, senior vice president and general manager, Consumer Imaging Group, Canon U.S.A. “Canon Live Learning adds value to the experience of owning and using Canon photographic products.”

CLL will consist of two distinct educational opportunities: EOS Essentials and EOS Extras. EOS Essentials is a two-day weekend program which will start on Saturday with a mini-conference for participants to learn about a variety of topics, followed by optional hands-on workshops. On Sunday, participants will be organized in smaller groups and take part in workshops conducted by a Canon Explorer of Light professional photographer. The EOS Extras program is a series of exciting, two-day hands-on workshops with a Canon Explorer of Light. Participants will go on location in order to learn about photographic techniques and try Canon’s latest EOS equipment. Potential participants can go online to learn more about each program and register at this Web page.

EOS Essentials
The Canon Live Learning EOS Essentials program is ideal for photographers who are interested in learning how to get the most out of their EOS and other photography equipment. During the first day of the program, four topics will be covered, at approximately 90 minutes per topic. Canon Explorers of Light, local professional photographers and Canon instructors will present each topic through an inspirational blend of on-screen content and live demonstrations. After each presentation, questions and answers will be encouraged to further discussion and elicit new ideas. Topics in 2009 will include: “Creative Lighting with Speedlites,” “HD Video with EOS DSLRs,” “Landscape/Nature Photography,” and “Maximizing Your EOS.”

The optional second day of the EOS Essentials program will offer a choice between two different hands-on workshops, each with an attending Explorer of Light photographer and other professional instructors. These workshops will be interactive and limited to 16 participants each. Participants will also be able to try out Canon’s latest line of EOS products during these workshops. Workshop topics will vary according to the location, and are posted on the Canon Live Learning Web site.

In 2009, the Canon EOS Essentials program will be held in the following cities:

New York, N.Y. May 30th – May 31st
Chicago, Ill. June 13th – June 14th
Los Angeles, Calif. June 20th – June 21st
San Francisco, Calif. July 18th – July 19th
Boston, Mass. TBD
Seattle, Wash TBD
Atlanta, Ga. TBD
Dallas, TX TBD

Confirmed Canon Explorers of Light who are scheduled to deliver at least one program are: Vincent Laforet, Bruce Dorn, Bob Davis, George Lepp, Darrell Gulin, Adam Jones and Jennifer Wu. Various local professional photographers, such as Carol Dragon, Richard Koci Hernandez and Paul Kennedy, are also scheduled to participate. Canon U.S.A. instructors will include Brian Matsumoto, Carl Peer and James Rose.

All EOS Essentials presentations will be shown using Canon REALiS multimedia projectors for superb image quality, and each location will feature an equipment demonstration area where participants will be able to handle and try a wide range of Canon imaging products, including EOS cameras, EF lenses and Canon imagePROGRAF and PIXMA Pro photo printers.

EOS Extras
In addition to the EOS Essentials program, Canon Live Learning is offering EOS Extras where participants will have the opportunity to take part in a weekend of instruction on location at an interesting site with a Canon Explorer of Light. In this program, participants will get even more extensive hands-on experience and come away with an increased knowledge and understanding of their Canon EOS equipment. Participants will have the opportunity to use additional EOS equipment as well. The first EOS Extras weekend program is scheduled for June 6th through June 7th in Aspen, Colorado with Explorer of Light Tyler Stableford. Additional destinations will be announced in the coming weeks.

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Written by jeremyparce

May 12, 2009 at 10:40 pm

Sports Photography Isn’t Always About the Action

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Sports photography seems to be one of the more frequent topics I am asked about and for good reason. Many parents have children who participate in athletics and being active parents, they want to capture their child’s activities in photographs.

While lacking much action, this photo would be acceptable to hang on any wall or e-mail to relatives. Without the proper gear, sports photography - especially capturing action - is tough. So, work within the limits of your gear. (Photo Credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

While lacking much action, this photo would be acceptable to hang on any wall or e-mail to relatives. Without the proper gear, sports photography - especially capturing action - is tough. So, work within the limits of your gear. (Photo Credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

Unfortunately, these parents lack the photographic equipment (a basic sports photography setup for pros would set you back more than $10,000 not to mention the experience and training it takes to make good sports images) so these parent/photographers become discouraged because the images they have are not the Sports Illustrated-quality images they envisioned.

Sometimes the quiet moments of sports helps express emotion without the action. This photo was taken at a track & field event in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

Sometimes the quiet moments of sports helps express emotion without the action. This photo was taken at a track & field event in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

There are some options. First, I guess you could buy the equipment, enroll in some classes and start working hard to become good at sports photography. The second option is to hire a photographer to photograph your child’s sporting events – it’s not cheap, but you should get some high-quality results or, finally, you can do yourself but within the limits of your current gear.

If you lack a telephoto lens and a camera that will capture images at a high frames-per-second rate (above 5 fps would be best) there are still things you can do to help capture images worthy of hanging on the walls or e-mailing relatives.

Predicting Action
First, you can attempt to predict the action. If you know where the subject is going to be you can prefocus on that area and make an image when the player/subject enters the frame. It takes a lot of trial-and-error but it is possible. If you’re using a DSLR or an extremely high-end point-and-shoot camera, this may be a good technique to try.

Waiting for Breaks in the Action
You can make good images during breaks in the action. For instance, when the coach is talking to players, during a water break or when there’s a timeout. Let me advise this, however. If a player is injured, it’s common courtesy among photographers to put down the camera.

Good luck and keep shooting!

Tips and Tricks: Look for Facial Expressions in Sports Photos

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I don’t pretend to be a know-it-all sports photographer. It’s an area of photography in which practice makes perfect but through my career – especially while working in photojournalism – I have had many opportunities to photography sporting events.

The eyes have it. Look for emotion in sports images. (Photo Credit: Jeremy Schneider)

The eyes have it. Look for emotion in sports images. (Photo Credit: Jeremy Schneider)

One of the more frequent complaints I hear from both students and photo hobbyists who photography sports is their images lack a certain “punch.” So here’s a little tip that my help: Look for emotion.

I’ve said it before on this Website … emotion is the one element a photograph needs to communicate and it holds true in sports photography as much as it does for portrait work.

Sports, fortunately, are ripe with expressive moments. It just a matter of catching the right look, the right facial expression at the right moment. It takes time, patience, practice and the right gear to do so.

Keep your eyes open and stay focused on the game. Once you get the “rhythm” of the game down, then you’ll be able to predict when the action – and emotion – will occur.

Good luck and keep shooting!

Written by jeremyparce

April 13, 2009 at 5:36 am

Sigma’s Super Zoom

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This Website is intended for photo-newbies, photo hobbyists and students and I try to include information that is relevant to that audience. But Sigma’s APO 200-500mm f/2.8 / 400-1000mm f/5.6 lens is way too cool to not mention.

With a price tag of $34,000 MSRP – yes, thirty-four THOUSAND dollars- it’s a lens out of reach for most hobbyists. Heck, it’s out of reach for most professionals too. So, why would someone want this lens?
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Because sports and wildlife photographers often need a long-range zoom lens and with a f/2.8 maximum aperture at 500mm, this lens is hard to beat.

According to the Sigma Website, this ultra telephoto zoom lens can be used to create amazing image expression with various types of photography such as astrophotography, portraits, wildlife, sports. Special Low Dispersion glass and three Extraordinary Low Dispersion glass elements provide excellent correction for all type of aberrations. The super multi-layer coating reduces flare and ghosting and provides high image quality from the extremely large aperture. The lens hood, designed exclusively for this lens, blocks out extraneous light. A 72mm filter can be inserted at the rear of the lens, and a circular polarizing filter can be used in situ thanks to the ingenious internal rotation mechanism. The dedicated Li-ion battery BP-21 is used to power the zooming and AF operation. This battery is built in the lens barrel. For the convenience of the photographer, focusing distances and focal lengths can be viewed on the lens’ built-in LCD panel.

I guess we can all start saving our pennies now for this high-quality, well-made lens. Good luck and keep shooting!

Reasonable Expectations Will Save You Grief

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My friend’s little brother plays varsity soccer and I was asked to take some pictures of a game. Although I’m not a sports photographer, I do have some equipment geared for sports photography and some experience shooting sports so I loaded up my gear and headed out to the field. What I saw amazed me. No, I wasn’t amazed by the action on the field but at the action on the sidelines.

A few moms and dads were lined up and armed with point-and-shoot cameras. They would take a shot, look at the LCD, scratch their heads then try again and repeat the same look of confusion and frustration.
A little into the game one mom/photographer came up and asked point-blank: What’s wrong with my camera?

“Nothing’s wrong with your camera,” I told her. Then before she thought I meant something was wrong with her I explained – the digital compact camera she was using wasn’t the right tool for the job.
If camera manufacturers do one thing that really irks me it’s this: They set the general public up for disappointment.

Too often, camera companies set expectations too high among consumers as to what digital cameras can do. These ads are fairly similar regardless of the manufacturer. Most of the time, it’s mom or dad standing on the playing field sidelines with point-and-shoot camera at the ready to catch a photo of little Jane or Johnny making the winning touchdown or goal.

So soccer moms and dads go to the nearest big-box electronics retailer, buy a moderately-priced compact camera and head off to take photos of the kids with visions of Sports Illustrated-quality photos dancing in their heads.

Then the disappointment comes. Most of the photos are motion blurred or out of focus. Heads are chopped off. Instead of a picture of the game-winning goal, there’s a picture of someone’s blurry foot and a disembodied hand sticking out of the corner of the frame.

Sound familiar?

That’s because camera manufacturers typically use images in advertising campaigns taken by professional photographers with pro-level equipment. If you look real hard at some ads, there will even be a disclaimer that says the “sample” images included on the product pages are “representative” or “enhanced.” This is what you should be thinking: These images were taken by a professional with professional gear and don’t expect the same outcomes.

Don’t get me wrong. For the average consumer, a $175 compact will cover most photographic needs. But be realistic. It won’t do what professional gear, lighting and experience will do.
Camera companies owe it to consumers to display images that are truly representative of what the camera can do. Consumers won’t feel disappointed or jilted if camera companies set realistic expectations.
Unfortunately, consumers who become discouraged by their camera’s performance stop trying. The camera collects dust and becomes an expensive paperweight. Don’t fall into that trap. Keep shooting and keep making images. Just realize the limits of the equipment.

Good luck and keep shooting!

Written by jeremyparce

March 11, 2009 at 11:00 am

Sports Photography: Catching the Action

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Sports photography is tough. In fact, I think it’s one of the more difficult forms of photography because it is a balancing act. A good sports image should balance emotion with action and it’s a tough wire to walk.

If you have an interest in sports photography or are thinking of a career as a photojournalist, then you should spend some time looking at great sports images and studying the photographers who make them.

Try to anticipate the action so you're not always shooting "behind the game." (Photo Credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

Try to anticipate the action so you're not always shooting "behind the game." (Photo Credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

Here’s a few samples you should check out:

  • Bob Martin: Bob Martin is a top sports photographer located in the UK. Martin has photographed the last ten Summer and Winter Olympics and has been published in numerous publications including Sports Illustrated, Time, Newsweek, Life Magazine and Stern.
  • Brad Mangin:  California-based photographer Brad Mangin is a regular contributor to Sports Illustrated and Major League Baseball Photos. Mangin is also a founding owner of SportsShooter.com.
  • Dave Black:  Dave Black’s images have appeared in Sports Illustrated, Time, Newsweek, and ESPN. He also conducts workshops in sports photography.

Some Simple Tips
For the most part, readers of this Website are amateur photographers and students. With that said, if you’re reading this and are interested in sports photography, it’s probably because you have a kid in sports or are a student wanting to hone you sports shooting techniques. While I’m not an expert in sports photography, I want to share a few basic tips that should help you make better images.

  • Get tight: Don’t be afraid to zoom in tight on the action. Zoom in and catch the up-close action.
  • Use Different Shutter Speeds: Try different shutter speeds to capture images with a different look. The slower the shutter speed, the more motion blur. Sometimes you can make an interesting image with just the right amount of motion blur to give the subject a sense of movement.
  • Look at the Faces: Sports photography isn’t just about the action on the field, it’s about the emotion of the athletes. Try shooting tight on the athlete’s faces and look for images that express emotion.
  • Predict Movement: Try to predict the games actions. Look for key players and watch as they move about the field. Try to guess where the action is going to be so you’re not  “behind the game.”
  • Keep Both Eyes Open: Good action photographers have the ability to keep both eyes open: one eye in the viewfinder and one eye tracking action.
  • Move Around: If possible, move around the field or court for different views. Also, try sitting and kneeling in addition to standing. You can get some interesting photos just by changing your body position.

Don’t Be ‘That Guy’
If you’re on a crowded sideline or court, remember to respect the other photographers who are also there. I want to mention this because of an experience that happened to me a few years back.

I was assigned to photograph an Ohio State football game and the sideline was packed with photographers. I got there early, found a spot that I wanted and set up shop. On my left was a photographer from the local Columbus, Ohio, newspaper and to my right was a photographer on assignment for a national sports magazine.

Everything was working quite well as me and my neighbors shot for the first quarter. During the second quarter, another photographer from a regional newspaper decided he wanted where we were and started pushing, squirming and squeezing his way in between me and the guy on the right. A field marshal noticed what was going on and this photographer was promptly removed from the area.

Don’t be “that guy.” If you happen to find yourself on a crowded sideline, remember to use a little courtesy.

Extra Tip
If you’re a student and happen to get a field pass to photograph your school’s team, let me add a few more tips. First, don’t cheer. You’re there to do a job and not to be a cheerleader. If you want to cheer for your team, stay in the stands or tryout for the cheerleading team. Second, don’t wear school colors. Again, you’re there to do a job. Dress as neutral as possible. Finally, don’t “chimp.” “Chimping” is the act of reviewing every shot you take on the LCD screen the moment you get a chance. Some people will tell you not to chimp because it looks unprofessional. I will give you a practical reason: It will drain your batteries faster than you can imagine. A sporting event is going to be pretty taxing on your batteries, so help conserve batteries and don’t drain the batteries faster by reviewing every single image. A periodic check is OK but don’t become a chimp.

Good luck and keep shooting!

Written by jeremyparce

March 8, 2009 at 8:06 pm

Canon U.S.A. Renews Sponsorship Agreement with the New York Yankees

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I will often publish media releases related to photography on this blog in order to help keep you informed. These media releases are created by the respective companies. I edit the releases for space as needed.

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y. – Canon U.S.A., Inc., on Tuesday announced that it has extended its sponsorship with the New York Yankees, one of the most storied franchises in professional sports, through 2011.

As part of the agreement, Canon will be the “Official Digital Camera, Copier, SLR Camera and Printer of the New York Yankees.” The sponsorship will include signage on Yankee Stadium’s left field wall as well as a home plate rotating advertisement. Additionally, as part of a special Canon promotional day, scheduled for May 20, the first 18,000 fans in attendance will receive a cap featuring both the Canon logo and Yankees logo.

“Canon and the New York Yankees are two iconic brands that have complemented each other well throughout our partnership over the last decade,” said Jack Suzuki, senior director and general manager, Corporate Communications Division, Canon U.S.A. “Being partners with the Yankees as they usher in a new era with the opening of their new Stadium is going to be a gratifying and a proud moment for both brands. We hope to see many Yankees home runs hit over our sign throughout the season.”

“We are excited to be continuing our long term alliance with Canon. It is a fully-integrated relationship from premium signage and a giveaway day, to the installation of Canon copiers in the Stadium’s offices,” said Michael J. Tusiani, Yankees Senior Vice President of Corporate Sales & Sponsorships.

Written by jeremyparce

February 24, 2009 at 11:30 pm