Shoot! Score!

If you want to cap­ture fast-mov­ing ac­tion sub­jects like soc­cer, both you and your cam­era need to be on the ball – just like Rod Law­ton

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

Great ac­tion shots need team­work. Not the sort you find on the soc­cer pitch, but be­tween you and the cam­era. The cam­era needs to be able to keep up with speedy sub­jects, but you also need to hone your shoot­ing skills, prac­tis­ing smooth cam­era move­ments to keep play­ers in the cen­tre of the frame as you shoot. A good knowl­edge of the sport is im­por­tant too, so that you can pre­dict where and when the ac­tion is about to hap­pen. Don’t just blame the

You need to hone your shoot­ing skills, prac­tis­ing smooth cam­era move­ments

cam­era for dud shots – it might be you who’s let­ting the side down!

We went to Bath City Foot­ball Club to shoot all the ac­tion. Low light is a chal­lenge for sports pho­tog­ra­phers in the win­ter. Kick-off was at 3pm, when the day­light was start­ing to dis­ap­pear, so we needed to keep the shut­ter speed high enough as the nat­u­ral light faded and the flood­lights came on.

There are three key set­tings for this kind of sports pho­tog­ra­phy: con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing, aut­o­fo­cus and shut­ter speed. It’s also worth think­ing about ISO, and how high you should push it to get faster shut­ter speeds.

High ISO set­tings bring in­creased noise, of course, and this leads many pho­tog­ra­phers to shun them and risk cam­era shake in­stead. This is a mis­take. Most of us can ac­cept a noisy but sharp sports shot – if any­thing, it adds to the drama and at­mos­phere. But a blurry shot is no good to any­one, how­ever noise-free the pic­ture! What’s more, the im­age qual­ity of Nikon D-SLRs at high ISOs is im­prov­ing all the time, and the kind of qual­ity you get from a new Nikon at ISO6400 is as good as you could get five years ago at ISO1600. It’s a real gamechanger for sports pho­tog­ra­phers.

So don’t be scared of us­ing high ISOs with your cam­era. Try it. You may be pleas­antly sur­prised at what it can do in dif­fi­cult con­di­tions.

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