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I'm Amanda! So happy you are here. Grab a glass of wine, read along, and let's be friends.

Photographing the basketball star

Wednesday, April 27, 2011
So the other day I bought a beginner's photography book off amazon.com.  One of the book's suggestions was to take your camera everywhere with you.  If you want to learn how to take good pictures you have to practice.  And to practice you have to have your camera with you.  Duh.  So why haven't I been bringing my camera with me?  Part of the problem is that I don't like carrying a bulky camera around with me.  Finally, I think I've solved that problem with this purse that doubles as a camera bag that I bought last month (click here to check it out).  Now it's just a matter of getting in the habit of making sure the camera actually makes it into my purse. 

Tonight was Kevin's last game of basketball and I hadn't seen him play yet, so I decided to come along.  I actually remembered to bring my camera with me this time, and took a grand total of 96 pictures.  I didn't get a single amazing picture out of the whole bunch.  Sigh.  Low light, fast basketball players, and an inexperienced photographer... not a good combination.

Here are some of the best pictures I took, and they're still not very good.  At least Kevin played great, and his team beat the only undefeated team in the league.  I always tease Kevin by calling him "basketball star"  :)

After looking at some of the data on the pictures I think I understand part of what I did wrong, and can hopefully use this information to improve.  The first problem was that the camera's shutter speed was way to slow to freeze the action of the fast moving players.  I had the F stop cranked down as low as possible, which increased the shutter speed, but I completely forgot to check the ISO.  I only had it set at 200 rather than the 1,600 I should have had it set out.  Maybe an ISO of 1,600 would have increased the shutter speed fast enough to freeze the action?  If none of this paragraph makes any sense to you, and you're interested in learning more about photography, I'd totally recommend that amazon book I bought.  Click here to check it out.

On another note, I just discovered the usefulness of Picasa web albums.  Rather than simply choosing to "upload" these basketball pictures to my blog, I created a Picasa album and then uploaded the pictures to that album (it's faster than uploading them directly to the blog).  Then I chose the pictures in the album that I wanted to post to the blog.  But, the best part is that other people can download the pictures from your album or easily print off the pictures using their favorite photo printing site.  Here's a link to the Picasa web album I created for these pictures.  Check it out here

I like the idea of putting my pictures in a "cloud" so that if something ever happens to my computer or hard drive, at least my pictures are backed up.  For my blogging friends (Steph and Stacie!) here is how Picasa syncs with blogger:

So any photography advice for me?  Books I should read?  Thoughts on Picasa?  Thoughts on Kevin's basketball skillz?  :)


Andrew said...

The camera purse thing is a good idea, but what is the solution for men?

The sports photographers have $12,000 lenses that can zoom way in, yet still shoot at F1.8. For us amateurs, you're right, the best solution is to crank up that ISO. I think 1/600 is the target shutter speed for action photography.

The last shot is good, where you managed to capture him with the rest of the shot blurred.

Stacie said...

Is Kevin getting more used to being the subject of some of your blogs??? :)

Amanda said...

Andrew - you should get a satchel! Check out Kelly Moore's version for men here: http://kellymoorebag.com/mens/kelly-boy-bag-grey.html What do you think? Thanks for the photo advice, and keep the photo advice coming on your blog! Take care

Amanda said...

Stacie - I think this was the first time he actually didn't mind me taking his picture. I don't know if that means he's liked it, or if he has just given up. :)

Kevin said...

I've pretty much just given up. :)

Dad said...


Yes, I'd say basketball action photos are among the toughest to get right. From the low light, fast action, and strange color cast, it's all a challenge. You definitely need a fast lens (like 1.8 or 2.0), and setting a custom white balance is a must. My 70-200 f2.8 works pretty well, but your best bet is probably your 50mm f1.8 or your 100 mm f2.0. Still, there's quite a bit of luck involved, and lots of out-takes.

You're definitely on the right track taking your camera with you and experimenting a lot. I probably do 100,000 exposures per year or more, and eventually the camera just becomes an extension of your eyes. You start seeing the world differently, and get annoyed when you mentally compose a great shot, but don't have your camera handy.

Keep up the great photography!

Love, dad

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