Archive for October 18, 2011

Shooting Volleyball

Lady Cougars Volleyball 60mm, f/4, 1/350s, ISO 4000

Over the past month or so I’ve gotten the opportunity to take pictures of my daughters’ volleyball team in action.  My daughters are both setters and while they’ve been learning the skills associated with the position, I’ve been learning more things about photography (as I always do when I take any pictures).  I have many factors to consider — low light in the gym (no strobes allowed), the red/blue floor which throws all color off, and fast action.  Long story made short, I’ve settled on shooting my 5D Mk ii at ~4000 ISO, manual mode, shutter speed 1/250-1/500, and aperture f/3.5 – f/5.6.  Within that range of settings (and with some software noise reduction) I’ve been getting decent results.  I’d prefer the higher frames per second of my 50D for the fast action but the ISO performance is nowhere near as good.

I’ve been fortunate to have free range on the floor and to be able to shoot from many angles. It’s been a lot of fun and I’m glad to be able to help out with the pictures.

Lady Cougars Volleyball 45mm, f/4, 1/350s, ISO 4000

Lady Cougars Volleyball 50mm, f/4, 1/350s, ISO 4000

Our family recently went to a week-long family camp in northeast Texas where three of my children competed in a sand volleyball tournament.  They hooked up with a few others to form a team and took second place in the competitive division.  I didn’t spend a lot of time photographing (I’d rather not watch the whole match from behind a camera).  The court was in mottled shade…horrible light.  In hindsight I’d bump the ISO way up to get a faster shutter speed even though there was a lot of light.  I used apertures of f/8 – f/11 because I wanted to keep the crowd a bit more in focus.  Since I didn’t spend a ton of time shooting I never really settled into settings that I was happy with but I generally allowed some blown-out highlights to properly expose the overall scene.  One issue with that is that the ball itself would blow out when it was in the sun — I really didn’t want the ball blown out.  I made do and here’s part of a sequence where my daughter sets my son up for a kill.



Kill 24mm, f/11, 1/250s, ISO 400