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Do you have any tips for shooting high school football night games and basketball games? I have tried the Sports shooting mode and I'm still getting blurred action?
The Sports shooting mode does a good job of shooting sports in the daytime when there is plenty of light, but shooting night games and indoor sports require different settings. Professional sports venues have very high light levels to support television broadcasts. Photographers who photograph indoor sports such as basketball may also have powerful flash systems set up in the rafters of an arena to stop action. Light levels at high school sports venues aren't nearly as high as venues for pro sports, so your camera must be setup to stop action using high shutter speeds.
The first step is to select a high ISO - 800 or higher. You can preset the ISO in the camera's P (Program) mode. If the camera is in AUTO mode, it may select any ISO it chooses. If your camera has A (Aperture Priority) mode on the Mode Dial, activate this mode and select the brightest aperture. The lower number represents a brighter aperture, for example: f3.5 will allow more light through the lens then F8. Locking the camera at the brightest aperture will force the camera to use the fastest shutter speed allowed by the shooting conditions.
Tracking or panning with the players as you shoot will add a bit more sharpness to the players and blur the background, giving the effect of movement. If the camera has image stabilization, by all means use it to compensate for camera shake. If the camera has an option in the menu for Continuous AF or AF Tracking, set that to ON. The camera will continuously autofocus as it follows the subject.
In the camera's menu there are settings for the DRIVE modes. Normally the camera is set up for single shots. By selecting one of the Sequential Drive modes, the camera will shoot frames in sequence while you hold the shutter button down. This works around the shutter lag which occurs with single shots and presents more opportunities to get that magnificent shot. Depending on the drive mode selected the camera may automatically reduce the picture resolution to accommodate the higher shot-to-shot frame rates.
Before the game do some test shots using the different White Balance settings. You might find you get more pleasing color using one of the preset options than relying on the AUTO settings because some light sources don't provide the full color spectrum, such as sodium vapor and mercury vapor lights.
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