Horse Polo is normally played on a field that is nine times the size of an American Football field, making it a very challenging sport to photograph. A smaller version of the game, Arena Polo, is played on a field that is slightly smaller than a Football field. For purposes of this article, I will mostly discuss the large field version of Polo.
As a dedicated sports photographer, I look forward every year to fall. The American school year starts, plus horse polo season is just around the corner. So you can imagine my reaction when my wife announced that we would be taking a month long vacation in September; my heart damn near stopped. I looked sadly at my new D810, with the attached 70-200mm f/2.8G forlornly staring back at me. Football, Golf, Swimming and Volleyball seasons were just starting, and I would not be there. Instead I would be at the beach for the next month, with nary a chance to photograph any sports. So I packed up the D810, the D800E (with an attached 24-120 f/4), threw a 50 f/1.8 in the bag for good measure, grabbed a tripod, some memory cards, etc., and off to the beach we went. A felt like a fish out of water (or, since we would be at the beach, a bear chained to a stake). Just what would I take pictures of?
As part of my field work for my upcoming hands-on review of the 1 Nikon CX 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 telephoto zoom lens I went to the Niagara Butterfly Conservatory to take a few images. I spent a few very enjoyable hours at the conservatory taking photos of the various butterfly species and ended up with many usable images.
So this time of year in the United Kingdom, many people will be enjoying fireworks displays and bonfires to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night. For those who aren’t familiar with the night, Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the Houses Of Parliament (Westminster Palace) on the 5th November 1605, but he was caught and executed. Thus every year on that date he is burned in effigy (less so nowadays due to health and safety concerns) and a fireworks display usually accompanies.
WARNING – this contains adult humor of the PG-13 variety, sassy double entendres, and a bunch of my trademark puerile humor too – read at your own risk.
A couple weeks ago Nasim climbed Mount Zeiss with his D810 and returned with Photography’s 16 Commandments (Nasim’s an overachiever, duh). Before Nasim laid down the law, I thought I was doing okay at this photography thing. Now I realize that I’m a really bad photographer, but a golly-danged good sinner. In the hope that confessing my sins in public will lead to absolution, I present the following evidence and beg for forgiveness.
What makes a good black-and-white photograph, how do I take one, and why should I try when I have this nifty hypersaturation preset that makes even my lamest photos look awesome? I’ll answer the last question first – your oversharpened oversaturated photos stink. Their gaudy colors may suck the eye in, but then the eye gets stuck, realizes there’s nothing more to look for in the picture and hastily moves on. Effective black-and-white photography relies on form, texture, lines, contrast, tonality and composition to engage the viewer. Without flashy colors to draw viewers in, the black-and-white photographer either masters the principles of composition or perishes. Shooting in black-and-white is a great way to improve your photography skills.
One of the most common mistakes I see when reviewing images submitted by our readers, or when reviewing portfolio images during our workshops, is a rather simple case of crooked horizons or badly aligned lines. Although most photographers are very well aware of this one, for some reason many simply fail to see such problems in their images. Now it is one thing when an image is tilted intentionally to create an interesting composition, and totally different when the photographer is not paying attention to or is unaware of the surroundings and background elements that are part of their photographs. In this article, I will demonstrate examples of crooked horizons and badly aligned lines, how they can be easily fixed in post-processing software like Lightroom, and talk about the importance of lines in composition.
Lacrosse, like American Football, is played on a large field, however the differences between the two sports are numerous. The ball used in Lacrosse is quite small, so you need a sharp eye to follow it. The helmets worn by the players cover most of their faces with a grid pattern, yet they are still open enough to get good face shots. Action moves up and down the field, with frequent changes in direction, so be prepared to move around, which is easily done with the large sidelines.
It seems that many photographers go through a certain cycle of mistakes and errors during their photography journeys and careers. Some of these mistakes and photography “sins” have become so predictable, that it is usually easy to identify one’s level simply by looking at their recent work. During my past workshops and one-on-one sessions, I have seen many images that could have been great, if it was not for one or more of the typical mistakes outlined below. I have personally made many of these mistakes in the past and some of them I am still guilty and ashamed of even today, although I continuously work hard on getting rid of them. The article below is not meant to offend or criticize anyone. Although it might sound a bit arrogant or snobby, that is certainly not the intent – in fact, most of the images presented below are mine.
There are most likely as many ways to achieve a beautiful B&W look as there are photographers. Maybe I am exaggerating it a little, but then I am in love with B&W. It is not as if I don’t like colour, oh no. It’s just that I like the “classic” look that much. So today, instead of doing some general article on B&W conversion and trying to cover several different looks, I am going to pick out a photograph and just work on it until it is exactly how I pre-visualized it a second before pressing that shutter. First of all, though, we need a photograph. I think I have just the right one.