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11/11/2009 10:55:02 PM · #1
I don't post here much anymore, mainly because I've been busier this year than I have ever been. My day job, like most in the automotive sector has sucked for quite some time, worse the past year with averaging getting to work about 30 hours a week most weeks for over a year now. Luckily several years back I found a place called DPC, found a few mentors who mostly without knowing inspired me to "grow up" and be a real photographer. Well it really has been a wonderful blessing for me this past year that some DPC members took the time and energy to help a kid who was self taught and had some bad habits and awful techniques and equipment. In 2006 I started working part time and rather infrequently for a local weekly paper shooting sports, occasionally news, and mostly just being a PITA trying to get work from them. Fast forward to 2009, I'm working many times a week in the sports department for them, hired by parents groups, high schools, and families to take photographs for them.

My point about this post is, you never know who on DPC you are going to inspire, you never know who's life you are going to touch in a positive way. With all the weird things that go on here, get said here, there are some good things that happen here, even if it has nothing to do with the actual challenges. Newbies look past the harsh words that get tossed, look past the low scores, look past the comments that either hurt or don't come. Look at the images and the people who make them. Sometimes that combination will turn you into a decent photographer, or maybe I'm just lucky either way, I love what I am doing. Here are just a few samples from the past couple of months. Thanks to those people who helped me get where I am today, I still learn every week from these people by following their blogs, websites, and even talking with them. Sometimes with all that goes on around here the photography and the learning gets lost, but if you look hard enough you will find it. :D

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MattO
11/11/2009 10:58:51 PM · #2
great post!
11/11/2009 11:37:58 PM · #3
Likes this!
11/11/2009 11:58:53 PM · #4
Great sentiment, Matt. DPC really has been influential in many of our lives.
11/12/2009 12:14:06 AM · #5
Thanks Brian, Eric, and Jason. Looking back in my archives at the stuff I shot and submitted to the paper back in the early days, I wonder why they kept me working for them as long as they have. I admit I would be ashamed to post most of it here today. And truly I owe nearly all of it to
A. DPC members
B. Hard work
C. Spending money on gear when I continued to be limited by my gear, they may say gear doesn't matter. But if you look at many of the photos posted you can see where it does. Many of those shots are pushing gear to the limits to get them. 3200ISO, 6400ISO, almost always wide open with the lens. So yes the gear does matter, but it only matters if you know how to use it. And the best part is I still have so much to learn, I can only hope looking back three years from now, I'll be embarrassed to see that I posted these shots.

Matt
11/12/2009 01:11:37 AM · #6
So if I'm a bit limited in lens speed (f/4), but can push the ISO pretty high, what should I look for on a shutter speed at the Oregon game this weekend? It's another night game. I was doing 1/200th last week and that worked for many, but not all shots.
11/12/2009 01:50:00 AM · #7
Good post Matt. I could echo your thoughts exactly--I'm not shooting sports but getting lots of other photography opportunities. I give much of the credit to DPC/its members.
11/12/2009 04:23:14 AM · #8
Great post. Dare I say, inspiring! Im a long way behind you on the trail of being a fab photographer & a working one but its nice to know that if you put your mind to it things can happen!
Your sports shots are really great imho
11/12/2009 05:18:18 AM · #9
keep it up, matt! there's no telling how far you're going to go!!

------------------------------------------------------------------

Originally posted by DrAchoo:

So if I'm a bit limited in lens speed (f/4), but can push the ISO pretty high, what should I look for on a shutter speed at the Oregon game this weekend? It's another night game. I was doing 1/200th last week and that worked for many, but not all shots.

it depends on what you're shooting (action on the field, crowd shots, feature stuff) and which lens you're using (wide vs long). as a rule of thumb, you're going to want your shutter to be no less than 1 / length of lens (if you have IS, you pick up a few stops...however, if you're below 1 / Length of Lens, you're still going to need to hold it tight). for action, the faster the better. you *can* get some good shots at 1/200 and 1/320, but you'll have more keepers at 1/400+. start in TV mode and underexpose 1/3 or 2/3 a stop, then set your iso at whatever point you get at least f/4 without it blinking. also check your metering mode; try both (*) and ( ) and see which one is looking best. there are a lot of flavors of action shots. on one extreme you have environmental shots where the action is just part of an overall picture; on the other, you want to be in as tight as possible, being able to see into the helmets. on the wider shots, you can shoot a lot slower (1/60); on the tighter shots, you'll want to try to get to at least 1/500, preferable 1/800 (the best way to gauge is to see what speed you need to freeze the ball coming off the QB's fingertips). good luck, have fun!

Message edited by author 2009-11-12 05:39:16.
11/12/2009 05:31:26 AM · #10
Congrats on how your photography is working out for you. This place is really something special if you see it as the stellar resource that it is.
11/12/2009 08:47:16 AM · #11
Good for you, Matt! Keep up the great work. I see what you mean about those high ISO numbers!
11/12/2009 09:17:06 AM · #12
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

So if I'm a bit limited in lens speed (f/4), but can push the ISO pretty high, what should I look for on a shutter speed at the Oregon game this weekend? It's another night game. I was doing 1/200th last week and that worked for many, but not all shots.


Doc one thing I have learned(mostly from people like Skip!) is, I'd rather deal with a noisy grainy image, which can partially be dealt with in software, then one with motion blur, which no matter what you do can not be fixed. In sports, unlike landscape its about capturing the action, not the lack of noise or all the pretty colors(yeah those are helpful too) but in reality what matters most is the action. Push your ISO as far as you need to, getting shutter speed as your priority. As you can tell from my photos many are pushing the ISO as far as I currently can, 6400ISO, and just barely meeting what I can for shutter speed. I can get good shots in football at 1/320th, but that is with really good timing and a willingness to throw away many that have too much blur. I prefer for HS field sports to be at 1/400th or faster.

Once you move up to the college ranks where you will be shooting, the game and players are much faster. I'd not go below 1/640 or 1/800 if I could avoid it. Not saying with much lower you can't get good shots, but the rate of keepers drops considerably below 1/500 at that level.

Skip, I'm glad you chimed in, you have been one of the biggest inspirations with me doing this. Someday my dream is to follow in your footsteps and be able to rock the camera in the sports world the way you do. Thanks man. :D

Matt
11/12/2009 09:43:05 AM · #13
Thanks guys. I'll do what I can. I'm really there to shoot environmental/stadium shots, but I thought it was fun to pull out the 300mm and try some action stuff. I'm not sure my f/4 will get up to 1/640th at night, but I could probably get it above the 1/200th I was at. I'll push to ISO3200 or 6400 and see where that leads me.
11/12/2009 09:47:51 AM · #14
Matt, what a great thread! And what FABULOUS photos! You are GOOD! Congratulations, and thanks for taking the time to be so positive and encouraging in the community that helped to give you the tools to be as good as you are now!

I feel the same way about the dpc community, and to the newbies who get discouraged and wanna quit, I also say hang in there because my theory is that its actually because of those reasons that people become better. More focused on the details. More determined to set a higher bar and not settle for less. And more diligent about learning from others.

Go Matt Go!
11/12/2009 09:49:48 AM · #15
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Thanks guys. I'll do what I can. I'm really there to shoot environmental/stadium shots, but I thought it was fun to pull out the 300mm and try some action stuff. I'm not sure my f/4 will get up to 1/640th at night, but I could probably get it above the 1/200th I was at. I'll push to ISO3200 or 6400 and see where that leads me.


Just remember one thing, your 5DII rocks for noise control. Many of the shots I posted above are 6400ISO from a 1DMKIII, some even underexposed and brought back to keep shutter speed. The hardest thing to do when shooting sports for many people is to realize, that noise to a point is accepted in the sports world, as in the Landscape, portrait, or whatever circles isn't. Put a quick NR program on them and they will be fine. I've got many happy clients with 20x30 posters from 3200 or 6400ISO images.

Matt
11/12/2009 10:25:35 AM · #16
Originally posted by SandyP:

Matt, what a great thread! And what FABULOUS photos! You are GOOD! Congratulations, and thanks for taking the time to be so positive and encouraging in the community that helped to give you the tools to be as good as you are now!

I feel the same way about the dpc community, and to the newbies who get discouraged and wanna quit, I also say hang in there because my theory is that its actually because of those reasons that people become better. More focused on the details. More determined to set a higher bar and not settle for less. And more diligent about learning from others.

Go Matt Go!


Thank you for the kind words Sandy, but in the sports world I'm in the category of "getting there" I'm not in the "good" category yet. I've still got a ways to go, but I wouldn't even be on my way without the help and encouragement of guys like Skip, AlanFreed, and John Setzler. Between them on here and some others on other sites I've got to the point I am now, but still have a ways to go.

Matt
11/12/2009 10:29:38 AM · #17
a nice breath of fresh air, thank you for this beautiful and positive post!
11/12/2009 11:05:56 AM · #18
And how you have grown!! Now you are an inspiration for others ;) Great work!
11/12/2009 11:35:42 AM · #19
Your post put a smile on my face and warmth in my heart. I've been interested in photography for as long as I can remember and finally, this year for my birthday, I began my collection of decent equipment. It is a truly captivating hobby and reading stories like yours make the possibility of something serious coming from the fun we're having more than possible. I appreciate the time you took to share your photos.

Best of luck,
April
11/12/2009 12:41:05 PM · #20
@ Giorgio, Maggye, and April. Thanks for the kind words. Once in a while with all that goes on here, it's nice to see that good things come from this place. I hope that someday I'm able to login and see that I've inspired some young photog to chase his/her dreams and make their mark in the photography world.

Matt
11/12/2009 11:04:13 PM · #21
One tiny bump then let it fall into the depths of the pages. Thanks again DPC. :D

Matt
11/13/2009 05:36:29 AM · #22
you're welcome, matt! dpc was my launchpad, as well; it's got all the resources you could ask for. with the support and inspirations provided here, how far you go is just a matter of your dreams, imagination, desire, and commitment. just keep on clicking! good luck, matt!
11/13/2009 07:25:24 AM · #23
Matt, to my eye your pretty dam good. On your climb you might look back from time to time to see that you also serve as inspiration..
11/13/2009 11:26:52 AM · #24
It is SO good to read another success story coming from a DPCer.

And yes, I remember a story something like ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' MattO's from ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/31.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/31.gif', '/') + 1) . ' Skip a few years ago.

So, keep shooting and keep those stories coming. They are an inspiration to just about everyone on the site.
11/13/2009 11:32:08 AM · #25
What a great way to start the weekend, Matt! Thanks for inspiring all of us!
Someday I may even do something with my photography...
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