Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It's another Tuesday evening and the Terrapins Mens Soccer team played another night game at Ludwig Field.

So far I've covered 8 or 9 soccer games, all of which were at night except for an exhibition game and the game last Sunday. The night games at Ludwig are pretty difficult to shoot. The lighting is horrible!

My writeup about the game can be read over on the DC Sports Box.

This past weekend I traveled to NC and took pictures of the field hockey players. I shot "into the sun" for part of the game and I did some experimentation with the EV correction. I thought that my setting the EV to a negative value it would make my foreground images brighter while making the backgrounds darker. It didn't work well at all. If you check out my images from that shoot you'll find the last few that I posted are extremely dark.

Playing around with EV got me thinking about light at Ludwig. Yuchen only brings his 70-200mm lens while covering soccer games, and I've been primarily using my 400mm lens. I've used the 70-200 on the D2H a little bit, but for the most part I've relied on the 400mm lens with the D200.

I think I might be going about covering night games at Ludwig the wrong way. With the 400mm my subjects have to be VERY far away in order to get a shot that is properly focused. If they're too close I don't get them and the ball in the frame. They have to be around midfield for me to get a good shot. Any closer and it's getting tight.

The trouble with that is that if they're at midfield I'm shooting them with shadows on their faces because they're at a 90 degree angle to the light. Or, if they're in the offensive zone in the box I'm way too close to them. If they back up to the far side they are illuminated by the lights on the other side of the field and their faces are in shadow.

So basically if they're in the offensive zone at night my 400mm is too much zoom for the lighting conditions. With 400mm they have to be on the far side of the field, and if they're over there the lights behind me aren't lighting up their faces. I think that's why Yuchen only brings his 70-200mm lens.

If the player is at midfield they're equally lit by the stadium lights but even this is inadequate for proper exposure. It's good for your magnification factor, but it's bad from a lighting standpoint.

Even if the player is along the sidelines but at midfield you have a bad lighting situation. If the player is at midfield and looking up the field towards you one half of their face will be well lit (the side facing the lights near you) and the other side of their face will be in the shadows because the lights on the far end of the field don't reach them.

I think that a 70-200mm lens on a dark soccer field might perform better than a 400mm or 300mm prime. There's another soccer game on Friday evening and if I attend I'm going to try to use the 70-200mm on my D200.

It was great weather for the shoot... It's still unseasonably warm and it was around 72 degrees with pretty strong southwesterly winds. Since the winds came from the SW they brought warm air and it felt really nice. I wore my knee pads and they were extremely comfortable. The knee pads have been difficult during hot games because I sweat in them. But last night they were great.

The stands were pretty empty. Only about 1000 people attended. A few Georgetown people were present, and one of the sports information directors approached me during half time. He asked if I was covering the entire game. I nodded and he asked if he could use some of my photos for the Georgetown website. I said "Sure!" and we exchanged business cards.

I think that's the 2nd time that someone from the opponent's team has approached me and asked for photos. That reinforces my belief that a way for us to market the DC Sports Box is to talk with the opponents of teams that play local teams and offer our photos to them. If they're from really out of town they might enjoy the photos since it might be prohibitively expensive for them to send a photographer.

Still no news to report on our credential request to Maryland. Our requests have now been ignored 3 times. I think we're going to make the request to someone else to see if they actually respond to us.

The field hockey and soccer teams are wrapping up their seasons. This Friday's field hockey game is the last home game of the season. Hopefully the Terps will make it to the NCAA championships. If so we'll try and cover them. You have to make the credential request to the NCAA, but Al says that the NCAA has been friendly towards us in the past. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

The men's soccer team is also wrapping things up over the next few weeks. The women have 3 more home games, but I'll be out of town for the last one. Volleyball still has 6 games left and I'm happy to hear that. Next to Field Hockey I'm really enjoying Volleyball. Maybe it's because the games are short.. Or maybe it's because the court is small relative to soccer and that makes it a little easier to cover!

On Friday night there are 3 Maryland games. Field Hockey starts at 7pm. I'll be there for the entire game, and then I have to decide about whether I should go to the men's soccer game or to Volleyball. I've been looking at our server logfiles on DC Sports Box and Volleyball gets a lot of interest from people. And I enjoy covering Volleyball more than I enjoy covering Soccer.

But, there are only 2 more home games for men's soccer and I'll be away for one of them. If I bail on soccer on Friday night that's it for our coverage of men's soccer this season. I'm proud of my coverage of men's soccer so far... But I think that when I get into just covering Volleyball in a few weeks I'll be wishing there was some men's soccer to report on. Tough call to make...

Sorry about the quality of the photos. They were mostly taken with the 400mm on the D200 and they are way dark. I shot them at 1/500th to stop the motion but that was a bit too little light to properly expose...


Post a Comment