For the second year in a row I’ve taken pictures for my daughters’ volleyball team. The individual shots were pretty much a piece of cake and they turned out great. The set up for those involved spreading a neutral-colored paint tarp on the floor to eliminate the red glow on the girls’ skin, standing the girls on a stool, setting up one speedlight (triggered with Elinchrom Skyports) shooting through a white umbrella for the key light, a strobe flashing the gym behind the girls to add light to the background, posing them with a volleyball, and firing away. These went very quickly as there was no change in setup between each girl. The gym is horrible for pictures but was workable for these individual shots.
We also goofed with some dramatic shots with the girls looking serious and got the shot above. The main light is the same speedlight-thru-umbrella held nearly on axis with the camera (slightly toward high camera left). The back light is simply a speedlight plopped on the floor. These took longer to get the girls set and posed, and as you see above, we never got the posing or the spacing quite right. We didn’t have all day so I had to take what I could get as they say. There are lots of photographic flaws but the girls and parents are plenty happy with the pic, which is what really counts.
I did some basic processing in Lightroom then headed to Photoshop to grunge out and darken the background (mostly with curves), do some very minor edits and retouching, noise reduction, and add the text.
I took individual and team pictures of my daughter’s volleyball team and here’s one of the outtakes. It was an afterthought that I decided to try before calling it a day so we didn’t even bother including a ball like we did in the “normal” shots. Lighting was a Canon 580exii into a reflective umbrella in front at slightly camera left and a bare 430exii on the floor behind the team. The exposure was chosen to darken the ambient light quite a bit. The girls attempted to look serious for this dramatic shot (after having been smiling and goofing off in the previous pictures). If I could do it all over again with less time pressure there are some shadows I’d work on getting rid of (in-camera, not in post) and a few other changes I’d make but the girls are pretty happy with it.
For processing I did various tweaks to little spots here and there. The floor is a deep red so I used curves to decrease the red channel a bit (and the green channel a *tiny* bit). I added the text and colored it with a color I grabbed from the jerseys.
There has been a worldwide outpouring of support for Haiti after the devastating earthquake in January. Governments contributed on behalf of their countries. Individuals donated time, money, and materials. Our son spent time in Haiti helping deliver much-needed healthcare.
Last night I took in a soccer match at Austin’s House Park and what a perfect night for a game — temps in the 70’s, mild breeze.
What does that have to do with Haiti? The game was friendly match between the Austin Aztex (pro team in the USL) and the Haitian National team. The Haitian team has no home currently because their stadium is serving as housing for displaced Haitians. The Aztex did not charge for attendance and donations of cash, cleats, and other soccer gear to benefit Haitians were being taken at the door.
I brought the camera along just for fun. I took some shots here and there but mostly concentrated on watching the game. Although I have zero experience with sports photography, I managed to capture a few cool action sequences. However, the images that are my favorite were captured *after* the match. I had wandered behind the goal for the last few minutes of the game. The whistle blew and I prepared to make a beeline to the exit. What stopped me was the fact that as soon as the match ended, the players who had been adversaries for the past 90+ minutes suddenly became friends and began to hug each other. That isn’t unusual after a sporting event but I had a sudden sense of what the Haitian team members must be going through emotionally. I flipped the camera back up and captured a few images of this scene.
Oh — the match was a 0-0 draw.
[Update: The match drew 4132 in attendance and raised $11,500]