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DPChallenge Forums >> Individual Photograph Discussion >> Strike!!!! How I did it
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05/04/2011 12:13:33 AM · #1
I have had some PM's, e-mails and comments about how I did my Bokeh entry. So I thought I'd post a little about it so others can see how it was done.

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/1000-1999/1379/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_947245.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/1000-1999/1379/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_947245.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' this is my entry and in the sporting world that is known as a "Detrick" which is the first photographer that did this shot. Much better I might add than mine. Better light, better positioning and such.

First off this is not a set up shot, this was done while I was on assignment for the paper. I got behind the backstop fence and positioned myself to frame the catcher and pitcher about where I wanted them in the frame. Note: I had to move left and right between pitches depending on where the catcher set up each time. First thing I did was set focus on the pitcher and noted the position of the focus distance, then I focused on the catcher and noted it. I then went into manual focus and went about halfway between the two. I metered for the ball as closely as I could on the fly, I shot wide open at F2.8 with my 300MM lens. Realizing after a couple of thrown pitches that I needed a bit more DOF so I stopped the lens down to F3.2 and shot a couple more pitches. 30 photos total and I had my shot and went back to covering the game. This works best to blur everything with a long lens 300MM at least and at least F4.0 but it's much better at less than this. Editing was very simple, crop, auto tone, bump contrast, sharpen, resize and border.

I hope this helps, I also hope those that voted this image poorly might let me know why they did. I truly expected this image to score much better than it did for several reasons, I'm going to assume many thought it was all photoshop or a set up and knocked off points for that.

I knew it would be questioned so I uploaded the original same day I submitted, sure enough less than 24 hours in they were checking for validation.

Matt

Message edited by author 2011-05-04 00:31:27.
05/04/2011 12:25:10 AM · #2
nice job. quite a feat to be sure. on the one hand you need a shallow dof to get the nice bokeh and on the other you needed a deep dof to catch that ball in focus. nice snag.
05/04/2011 12:28:43 AM · #3
Nice piece of work! I'm gonna have to try this with my 100-400 at a Cape League game this summer :-)
05/04/2011 12:46:09 AM · #4
Thank you so much for posting this, I was just amazed by your photo! And I don't understand why this didn't place REALLY high! I may have to go to a ball game just to try this!
05/04/2011 12:59:09 AM · #5
Originally posted by MattO:

I also hope those that voted this image poorly might let me know why they did. I truly expected this image to score much better than it did for several reasons, I'm going to assume many thought it was all photoshop or a set up and knocked off points for that.


Probably true, especially for those who consider level of difficulty in their voting critera. I didn't vote but probably would have given it a good score. The thing I don't like about it though is it's a bit too busy especially given it's abstract qualities. I think if the crop wasn't as tight and there was some separation between the catcher and pitcher it might have done better.

Message edited by author 2011-05-04 00:59:47.
05/04/2011 08:22:13 AM · #6
Originally posted by yanko:

Originally posted by MattO:

I also hope those that voted this image poorly might let me know why they did. I truly expected this image to score much better than it did for several reasons, I'm going to assume many thought it was all photoshop or a set up and knocked off points for that.


Probably true, especially for those who consider level of difficulty in their voting critera. I didn't vote but probably would have given it a good score. The thing I don't like about it though is it's a bit too busy especially given it's abstract qualities. I think if the crop wasn't as tight and there was some separation between the catcher and pitcher it might have done better.


Thank you Yanko for the feedback. Based on the description to have the bokeh to help tell the story, I think the pitcher and catcher and the placement of the ball do just that. But I'm glad you offered feedback and another view of it.
05/04/2011 08:29:18 AM · #7
When I first voted on this image, I voted low because I didn't notice that the baseball was sharp. I thought the whole picture was oof. I had more time later and went back over the images and realized I was wrong, and so bumped it up. Just thinking maybe some was fast voting.
05/04/2011 08:47:37 AM · #8

Thanks for the posting the description of how you did it, very interesting. I wish more people would do it, maybe those who receive a ribbon could do it as a way of saying thank you for all the votes :-). I actually thought it was a lucky fluke. I gave it a 6, mainly because I didn't like the artefacts around the guy in the foreground (the dark lines), it's not nice and soft like the guy in the background. Do you know what might have caused this? Also, it just didn't really do anything for me, i'm not from the USA so have no knowledge or emotional attachment with baseball. I also think a better composition would be just the guy in the background in shot, with the ball being much larger. But that's just my personal slant on it. Hope that helps.

Bill.
05/04/2011 09:04:50 AM · #9
Thanks for sharing this, very informative and easy to understand.
05/04/2011 10:23:17 AM · #10
Originally posted by Bill666:

Thanks for the posting the description of how you did it, very interesting. I wish more people would do it, maybe those who receive a ribbon could do it as a way of saying thank you for all the votes :-). I actually thought it was a lucky fluke. I gave it a 6, mainly because I didn't like the artefacts around the guy in the foreground (the dark lines), it's not nice and soft like the guy in the background. Do you know what might have caused this? Also, it just didn't really do anything for me, i'm not from the USA so have no knowledge or emotional attachment with baseball. I also think a better composition would be just the guy in the background in shot, with the ball being much larger. But that's just my personal slant on it. Hope that helps.

Bill.


The black lines are form shooting through the chain link fence. The sun was in the wrong area for this. if you stand back a ways you can see the diamond shape pattern of the fence in it.
05/04/2011 10:27:53 AM · #11
I don't think people got how difficult a shot like this is to take. I'm glad you submitted it. It's a different take on a sports shot - almost, I dare say, out of the box. I look forward to seeing how many shots it takes me to get something like this haha.
05/04/2011 12:11:02 PM · #12
Originally posted by colorcarnival:

I don't think people got how difficult a shot like this is to take. I'm glad you submitted it. It's a different take on a sports shot - almost, I dare say, out of the box. I look forward to seeing how many shots it takes me to get something like this haha.


You're right. I think two things played into how the voting came out:
1.) A lot of voters probably *assumed* it was a set-up shot.
2.) Those that didn't may not have considered the difficulty.

FWIW, my experience has always been that technical difficulty counts for little here unless it's flat-out obvious that the shot was a high-difficulty shot and could not be set up to avoid the difficulty, and that the artistic merit is also present. Technical merit alone is almost never enough.
05/04/2011 02:32:22 PM · #13
Originally posted by kirbic:

Originally posted by colorcarnival:

I don't think people got how difficult a shot like this is to take. I'm glad you submitted it. It's a different take on a sports shot - almost, I dare say, out of the box. I look forward to seeing how many shots it takes me to get something like this haha.


You're right. I think two things played into how the voting came out:
1.) A lot of voters probably *assumed* it was a set-up shot.
2.) Those that didn't may not have considered the difficulty.

FWIW, my experience has always been that technical difficulty counts for little here unless it's flat-out obvious that the shot was a high-difficulty shot and could not be set up to avoid the difficulty, and that the artistic merit is also present. Technical merit alone is almost never enough.


I suspect you might be right. Either way I'm very happy with the image. I'm going to print it as a poster size for some advertising. I truly did expect this to score in the top three and get me my second ribbon. Alas, it is what it is. Thanks for the insight folks, if anyone else wishes to leave more I would appreciate it.
05/04/2011 02:34:45 PM · #14
No insights, but I'll join the list of those who plan to try something like this in the future. :-)
05/04/2011 03:11:41 PM · #15
I also did not vote on this. However, had I done so, I would have voted this well, but not great. On the tech side, it is a fantastic shot. On the challenge criteria, I personally feel that, while the photo shows a great bit of out-of-focus area, it does not show any bokeh.
05/04/2011 03:12:57 PM · #16
I'm going to try it with my Softball team... LMAO...

Anyway, killer shot, too bad I didn't vote in that challenge because I would have given it a 10...
05/04/2011 03:19:04 PM · #17
Originally posted by apercep:

I also did not vote on this. However, had I done so, I would have voted this well, but not great. On the tech side, it is a fantastic shot. On the challenge criteria, I personally feel that, while the photo shows a great bit of out-of-focus area, it does not show any bokeh.


Are you one that thinks that bokeh has to have circles to be bokeh? Edit to clarify, if you do, then I can understand your statement however bokeh is not that simplistic.

Matt

Message edited by author 2011-05-04 15:30:30.
05/04/2011 03:47:05 PM · #18
Matt, I do like your sport photos and this is another great one. It's wonderful how you got that ball in focus.

But the subject was Bokeh and the background (and foreground) are far to interesting for me to make it a great Bokeh one.

I voted in this challenge and some of my top picks scored a lot lower than you did
05/04/2011 03:49:26 PM · #19
Originally posted by hajeka:

Matt, I do like your sport photos and this is another great one. It's wonderful how you got that ball in focus.

But the subject was Bokeh and the background (and foreground) are far to interesting for me to make it a great Bokeh one.

I voted in this challenge and some of my top picks scored a lot lower than you did


The people in the photo tell the story of that ball to me. Without them yes it's just a frozen ball. But with the pitcher and catcher in the frame it tells the story of what is going on, at least to me. A frozen ball by itself with a creamy background tells nothing other than a frozen ball. With the people it tells me what is happening.
05/04/2011 04:03:47 PM · #20
Originally posted by MattO:

Originally posted by apercep:

I also did not vote on this. However, had I done so, I would have voted this well, but not great. On the tech side, it is a fantastic shot. On the challenge criteria, I personally feel that, while the photo shows a great bit of out-of-focus area, it does not show any bokeh.


Are you one that thinks that bokeh has to have circles to be bokeh? Edit to clarify, if you do, then I can understand your statement however bokeh is not that simplistic.

Matt


In 'My' definition of bokeh, I feel that it is the out of focus areas of point source highlights..

I have looked at many different definitions of bokeh. I concluded that I had to make my own concrete way of defining it..

Your photo does have very nice OOF areas, and it is a great photo I would love to have in my portfolio..
05/04/2011 04:25:56 PM · #21
Originally posted by MattO:

Originally posted by hajeka:

Matt, I do like your sport photos and this is another great one. It's wonderful how you got that ball in focus.

But the subject was Bokeh and the background (and foreground) are far to interesting for me to make it a great Bokeh one.

I voted in this challenge and some of my top picks scored a lot lower than you did


The people in the photo tell the story of that ball to me. Without them yes it's just a frozen ball. But with the pitcher and catcher in the frame it tells the story of what is going on, at least to me. A frozen ball by itself with a creamy background tells nothing other than a frozen ball. With the people it tells me what is happening.


What it says to YOU, the photographer, is the least important part of the story a photograph tells.

ETA: I should say that it's the least important part of the story in a situation like this, where we offer up our photos for critique.

Message edited by author 2011-05-04 16:46:46.
05/04/2011 04:45:07 PM · #22
I spent a bit of time looking at the photo as I could really appreciate the effort to capture something like this and I thought you did it very well while having the OOF elements to show a story. It was by no means a DNMC in regards of the challenge in my opinion but it wasn’t the type of bokeh that I find beautiful which was what I was looking for while voting. In a stop motion or shallow DoF I would have scored this higher. That said, I still gave this a 7 as I really enjoyed the image as a whole package.
05/04/2011 06:02:12 PM · #23
Technically I thought it was a great capture and gave you a good score. It wasn't the score I'd of given you had your main subject matter, (which accounts for probably less than 1% of the image), not had to compete with the distractions of the border and the overwhelming blue of the uniforms. Nice work, just my 2c.
05/04/2011 07:57:13 PM · #24
Great shot Matt!
I was sure that it wasn't setup because you can see the cross-hatching. Those of us that shoot a lot of sports know that unless you shade the chain-link fence where you are shooting through, you can see the pattern in the out of focus areas. But even if it were setup I don't think it should influence the score it receives. Maybe it's just me, but I don't curb my scores on that basis. I try to score images based solely on how successful I feel the image is.
Again, well done!
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