Canon EOS Pro-Talk : Sports Photography

Canon EOS Pro-Talk : Sports Photography

This talk on Sports Photography during the weekend was organized by CANON PRO CENTRE. The speaker for the day was Zainal Abdul Halim who makes a living working as a photojournalist for Reuters.

Zainal shared his knowledge and experience by showing us his best collection of pictures taken through the years and providing more details about the shots like how was it taken, what made him decide to compose the shots in a particular way and even camera settings for those shots.

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The front-row crowd, watching attentively as Zainal presents.

It was enlightening to know how a photojournalist does his job, from gaining understanding of the task at hand, to preparation, to what they carry around all day long, to capturing the moment, to processing the pictures and finally sending the chosen shots over to the management – it’s not an easy task.

So what does he carry around? We’re talking about multiple EOS 1D bodies, with lenses like EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM, EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM, and those that are beyond 400mm! – Certainly not something any of us hobbyists would be having unless we have nothing else better to spend on.

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A mini-gallery, displaying photos printed by Canon’s Pixma Pro 9000 and Pro 9500 printers. Zainal’s pictures are on the wall, left side of this photo.

Zainal was friendly and approachable person, he had an informal chit-chat with the crowd (a rather passive crowd….) after the talk ended.

I’d like to quote what Zainal mentioned on his site which I think pretty much sums the detail of the talk.

Sports and Action photography is all about timing. It’s about reacting. Its about being in the right place at the right time and its about execute. These are all qualities of the athlete and those of the photographer as well. Each sport has predictable and unpredictable moments. Understanding the timing of these predictable actions allows you to capture the peak moment, when the action is most dramatic. – Zainal.

Are you interested in attending such talks? The EOS Pro-Talk is held on a monthly basis so do drop by Canon‘s website from time to time or subscribe to their RSS feed just so you don’t miss out any updates. ๐Ÿ™‚

Being a Sports Photographer

Not owning expensive telephoto or zoom lenses doesn’t mean you’re not able to do sports photography. A simple 70-300mm lens could actually work quite well for hobbyists on budget. Even the kit lens could get you quite some nice shots if you know how to use it.

I’m actually a sports photographer too! It’s just that I’m doing PAINTBALL photography most of the time, and I’m doing it with my team (Team Heatwave) for organized events.

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That’s me on a paintball photography assignment.

Skill-less am I, only good enough to give newbies some pain(t)full lessons for a few rounds but they’ll probably kick my sorry ass after a few more sessions. Don’t blame me, I spend time holding a camera in the paintball field more than markers. I shoot people but they never get hurt. :mrgreen:

Paintball photography is challenging. You can’t glue your eye to the viewfinder since you’re wearing a protective mask so your eye is literally more than 10cm away from the viewfinder, and to make it more challenging – you actually do get hit once in a while and it hurts! And your camera could get hit too, or even smeared by paint ๐Ÿ˜ฏ (it’s only called paint but it’s actually made of vegetable oil).

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Taken using Canon EOS 350D with Tamron AF70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD Macro 1:2

And how about the idea of shooting motor-sports? Here’s a shot taken by my friend Orlson during the Super GT 2008 held in Sepang just about a week ago.

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Taken using Canon EOS 30D with Canon EF 70-200mm F/4L USM

Alright, so maybe paying for the ticket, travelling all the way to Sepang, getting caught into the crowd and basking under the hot sun or whatever weather isn’t what you have in mind. How about trying shooting more simple stuff, like say a bunch of friends having a basketball game?

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Taken using Canon EOS 350D with Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 (a.k.a kit lens)

As you can see, though the kit lens is limited, it is not incapable of producing pictures that captures the heat of the action. ๐Ÿ™‚ As what I mentioned earlier – the kit lens could get you quite some nice shots if you know how to use it.

All in all – while the professionals are doing their job in bringing us great pictorial coverage of many great sporting events, you could have a piece of sports photography of sports just by know where are the local events held and make your way there – even if it’s just a bunch of kids playing in a field just behind where you stay. ๐Ÿ™‚

Try It Out!

So have you given sports photography a try? Do you plan to do so?

Do share your experience.

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28 Comments

  1. Abang Zainal was one of the best photojournalist photographer.. I like to see his photojournalism photo compare to sports.. I havent try any sports photography but will try it as soon as i get a chance.. :p

  2. EOS pro-talk huh? Is the talk only available for invitation?

  3. I also dont know about canon talk as im using nikon.. But u may check there is a talk by abg Zainal last time for RM60 if im not mistaken..

  4. owh, perhaps they should come out with NIkon Pro-Talk, Sony Pro-Talk, etc etc xD

  5. Haha, usually when there is a new product, the new owner of the product will get a free tals, etc from the canon,nikon ,sony.. others i dont really know..

  6. where does it usually take place at?

  7. duh.. of course i was referring to the talk

  8. i got some pics like ur bball event..except mine was a judo tournament..haha flashy effects of people everywhere..but yea..knowing when to press the buttons and capturing the best throws is really not that easy..especially in crowded area and ur physically short …lots of obstacles :p

  9. Depend on the organizer.. sometimes they include models in the talks..

  10. @spammer
    you check out canon/sony/nikon sites..they usually have updates on where the talks or seminar will be. Or..if u buy camera magazines, theres usually an advert

  11. @spammer haha. got a little confusing. didnt read the whole comments list.

    but dont sports photogs get in the line of fire? i mean ive seen them on the side lines of football games and sometimes they get hit by the balls or players run into them. >_< ouch.

  12. So, that being said, any tips for people using kit lens to take good sport photos? ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. @Benjamin,
    are you trying to inflect that you’re short? lol… show us the photo of the tournament ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Author

    @akachester – depends on what sports la. ๐Ÿ™‚ And how is the event organized, some they may let you get close enough to shoot. Others may not even let you near.

    You can snap the crowd or an overall view if you want, but lenses with longer zoom capability would be best.

  15. @goldfries so you stay out of harms way? >_<

    saddest sport photos are the ones of injuries.. eg. eduardo’s ankle.. |:

    there are probably worse pictures.. |:

  16. Usually Big events wont let u enter the close to the field/track unless u get the tag..
    Maybe u can get if u know some of the press photographer.. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Other than that get a telephoto lens/zoom lens to shoot from far..

  17. Author

    @KyLL – yes of course! i try my best but someone it still has chances of hitting me. It hurts.

    @sub_noob : yes, without the pass you can’t even go near. And if you do get a pass, you have to understand that you MUST NOT interfere with the on-going game and so on so forth.

    Powerful lens isn’t that helpful in paintball, seeing that the arena is actually surrounded by mesh. On one of the event I went, we get to climb a scaffold like 2 – 3 stories high to have higher-up view of the event.

    Then it’s almost like RTS view of an on-going game already. DoTA? ๐Ÿ˜›

  18. tumbang lalu….. RYEJOE here…u see me ar?? see then u click on my nick la…=.=”….
    give some respond plss…

  19. Sports photography is nice but i think to have a zoom lens to capture the best moments with good background. Understand the sports and find a good location to do a good composition as well as do some estimation what will happen to next step to enable us to capture the good photos.. But my personally haven’t try once.. last time got chance to shoot paintball game.. but my colleagues force me to go down play with them to make the team balance.. so i miss a golden chance on it.. ๐Ÿ™

  20. @goldie wow. way cool. any pictures from the top view? ๐Ÿ˜€

  21. @kyLL
    eduardoรขโ‚ฌโ„ขs ankle broke is really sad, and i saw the picture i felt want to vomit and feel so pity to him…… picture is record something or some moment.. sad or happy..

  22. yikes.. miss out that event… sigh… still waiting for some of your simple tutorials… always find it useful ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. I was wondering do you need a polarizer to take good photo? Cuz my father likes photographing and he had a few of them.

  24. Do we need such thing to take good photo.. naah, i dont think so.. but i t will help us in certain part of photography.. ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Author

    polarizer adds to the effect, capturing moment has nothing to do with it. in fact using polarizers (eg CPL) actually reduce the amount of incoming light, so use it wrongly and it could spoil your shot.

    @kyLL – top view of? ๐Ÿ™‚ I do wish I have elevation on some photography.

    I did some photography on swimming competition just a few days back
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/goldfries/sets/72157606238830452/


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