Sports Photography, with free pictures of Croatia

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Sports photography is generally reckoned to be the most difficult area of photography to succeed at, mainly because of the movement and unpredictability of the subject. Advice to young photographers used to consist of: “Get the best equipment you can afford and learn how to use it. Then turn up at the venue early and have sharp elbows so you can force your way to the best position.” Not terribly helpful; and learning your trade used to be very expensive in wasted film, but, of course, the digital revolution has saved the trainee photographer a lot of expense.

Top Tips
Preparation is a key to success: first know your sport and the venue, so that you can plan what kinds of picture you want and where to set up to get the right angles: a variety of shot and position is key to getting effective and original photos, so move around to change the angle of view, and change the focal length of your lens setting to get a mix of close-ups and long shots. In football, most of the exciting action is likely to be around the goal; at a ski event, try to choose a position near a difficult part of the course; or in horse racing take up a position beyond the finish line, where you can shoot the action head-on.

Look ahead
Anticipation is the key to getting the picture you want: if you are watching the action through the viewfinder, you will probably miss the shot. With modern digital cameras you can use the ‘continuous shooting’ facility, and sort out the best images afterwards. But even to do this successfully, you need 1) to know your sport and 2) to know your equipment.

Use an appropriate lens
Some sports photographers use as a rough guide a simple formula for deciding the lens to use: for every 10m you are from the action, you need 100mm of lens. So in a sport like cricket where it might be impossible to get nearer than 50m from the wicket, where a lot of the action is, you would need a 500mm lens.

Freezing the action
A lot of photographers want to freeze the action in sports photos, especially in close-ups. For this you need a combination of a fast lens and a high ISO setting, and experimentation and practice is key. Alternatively use a short-duration flash setting, say 1/30,000 of a second.

There are two main options for getting rid of a distracting background from your intended subject: deliberately blur the background, or take up a position where you can shoot the action against a clear background.
To make your subject stand out from a blurred background use a slower shutter speed to give an impression of movement. For a clear background, choose a camera angle so your subject is against the sky, or surrounded by grass or snow.

With all these techniques, practise and persistence are key: being in the right place at the right time, however, is partly experience and partly a matter of luck. So Good Luck!

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