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Thread: kite surfing shoots need help !

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    kite surfing shoots need help !

    Hi just like most I'm been with my great Nikon D90 for about 6 months now and i love it. I'm trying to take pics of kite surfers and not having the greatest of luck.I know the sport inside out as i kite surf myself (for about 5 years). The lens i was using was a Tamron AF18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di 11 VC . Dark images ( even when iso was up ) and as you would gather they were quite small. So today i went out after a very hard decision and brought a sigma 150-500 f5-6.3 APO DG OS. Now i don't what any one to tell me i brought the wrong lens it was hard enough with the $$ i think its a great anyway.

    I would like to here some tips on sun, shadow, reflection or do the you think i what struggle as much with type of lens ?????? Any tips would help please as the wind is going off all weeked.Great time to kite and take pics.
    Last edited by hancor; 14-08-2009 at 9:16pm.

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    The main thing I can think of with this is to put yourself if at all possible between the sun and the subject, that way you'll get the natural light helping you. Shooting into the sun will make it nearly impossible. Until you get the hang of the lens and the shot, try to keep your shutter speeds up to help freeze the action, at least 1/500sec, and if that means using a higher ISO, so be it, probably start at ISO 400. Because your shooting over water a polariser would be VERY useful to reduce the glare, but if you frame the subject tightly in the air from a low angle, water won't be an issue. Try spot metering and Av so that you expose the shot to the subject and not the bright sky. Possibly also use center spot AF on High speed continuous to help get the shot, and initially try bursts of 3 shots. This will also help get a crisp shot as the second or third shot are normally clearer than the first.

    That's probably heaps to take on board initially, but see how you go, would love to see what you come back with, good luck.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Hi hancor, I can;t give you any real tips, other than what I shot a few months back, on an off chance having stumbled across some kite surfers.

    I have 3 or 4 images in the gallery under the Action section, I remember taking close to 200 shots, some in jpg format, most in NEF, as I wanted to see how the D300 worked in both modes, both for IQ and buffer clearing.

    NEF mode slowed the camera down after a massive burst of say 20-30 images or so, where the claimed 6fps became a moot point. the cameras buffer was filled and the frame rate dropped down to only 1fps. In jpg mode, there was no such slowdown, at all.

    So as you're shooting action, you may want to use the highest frame rate you can, and shoot half a zillion frames, which guarantees that you'll get a few shots worth keeping.

    The Sigma's focal length may be just about perfect, unless you want both surfer and kite in the shot at the same time.
    I used my 70-200mm lens, and the 200mm was massively inadequate, but for the shots where I wanted sky and surfer, with the kite in the shot, I was down to under 100mm.

    You'll probably want to shoot at an aperture of about f/8 on that lens.... maybe smaller to get decent DOF and ensure a half decently sharp image.

    Take your time when changing camera settings, so in that if you shoot in jpg mode, make sure to set WB manually.. don't rely on the cameras AWB setting as it'll almost invariably use some spaced out WB setting on that shot of a lifetime! if shooting in NEF mode, WB setting makes no difference as you can adjust it perfectly at home on the PC later.

    I found a lot of my shots were at about f/4 1/800s and ISO 100.. most of the time.

    So as a guess, set the camera to [M]anual mode set aperture to f/8, shutter to approx 1/400 - 1/500s to start with and use Auto ISO.. even up to ISO3200 in the Auto ISO settings. As you get more confident you could even try to lower shutter speed, but if it;s bright and sunny conditions, you won't need to worry about that as the light should be more than ample most of the day. Of course near sunrise or sunset the light is lower so you have to compensate.

    I found the best vantage point at the time when I shot the surfers was having the sun at 90° to where the action was, but invariably you'll find that they'll place themselves between you and the sun at times.
    There was no vantage point for me to place myself between the surfers and the sun tho, as I'd have been 1 or 2 klms too far away, or in the water.

    I dare say a polariser may not help all that much at the longer focal lengths, but can flatten the exposure of the water a little. at midday, you'll have enough light to warant using it, but if it's cloudy and the exposure values are low, and you want to maintain high shutter speed, and low ISO, numbers... don't use a CPL.

    At a guess, I reckon I may have been about 100-200 meters away, most of the time, from the guys I found surfing, but it took me a while to find that vantage point to keep them from getting between myself and the sun. try to avoid that, unless you specifically want that type of shot.. surfer silhouetted against a setting sun

    good luck with it(unless you've already left for the beach, and I missed ya )
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


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    i have a sample here, if it is any good. (shot with 18-55mm kit lens)
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    So how did you go hancor? Did any of the advice help? Got any images you can show us?

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    Well guys sorry it took so long to get back to you. I ended up with the sigma lens. I must say its great.

    This is my first upload so be gentle on me.
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    sorry, i don't like the composition... looks crisp, clear and well exposed, but the background really detracts from this shot. Mind you there is a lot of potential and would love to see some of the others you took.

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    Thanks for the comments. He are some other pics. Also do you know much about Yongnuo remotes ????
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    • File Type: jpg s.JPG (65.4 KB, 58 views)
    • File Type: jpg 4.JPG (72.4 KB, 57 views)

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    these are better specially the second. but keep practicing and watch the light... getting shots where the sun is behind you would make the shots easier with more pop. Regarding the remotes, i hear they are quite good, i don't have any but if I needed them would definitely consider them.

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    I haven't tried kiteboarding but have done wakeboarding.

    2 things:
    1 - try to get pics when the subject is on different angles (other then those expected - eg. half way through a flip or when that are about to crash).
    2 - if you can get a waterproof / splash proof case then you can take advantage of more angles close to water or underneath the subject.

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