Sports or Action Mode | Transcription

Sports mode most likely when you flip to it, it’s going to do basically a few different things. Number one, you’re telling the camera that you’re going to be shooting fast action subjects. The camera is going to try and keep the shutter speed up high enough to freeze the action. So, it’s going to use a combination of basically, your aperture and your ISO to get to the proper exposure while keeping the shutter speed a bit higher. In addition, you’re telling the camera that the subject is going to be moving, so it’s going to use different focus techniques to get the subject to be, actually, well, in focus.

First of all, let’s talk about the light and the setup here. Now, what we have is, we’re shooting in this direction, where we’d be going against the sun or our scene is going to be back lit. In this direction right here, we’re going to be shooting with the sun. I’m going to show you what it looks like and what the differences are and why we’re going to shoot against the sun. Let me go ahead and just take a portrait really quick.

Now, notice how we have the sun coming directly in right now. We get a beautiful directional light to this scene, but it’s still going to end up looking rather flat. In addition, it’s a little bit spotty. If they’re running though this area, these tree leaves would be casting spotty light all over them, the back ground is not going to be full of light. You’re going to have dark areas and some light areas, and frankly with it being flat lit like this (flat lit is when the light’s coming directly in the direction you’re shooting) we’re going to lack a lot of real contrast. That dynamic lighting that’s really going to make the scene pop and give it some extra dimension.

Let’s go ahead and flip them around now. I’m going to have you guys stand on this side. I’m going to not to shoot directly into the sun, so I’m going to get low so I can use one of them to block the sun so we have this for illustration. What we’ll do is just turn to the side a little bit, that’s a little bit better. What you can see here is that once their backs are to the light, we have this beautiful hair light on the back of them. We have this nice dimension in the scene. You can see all the other objects in the scene are all being back lit: the leaves, the trees. Everything has a great look to it. Even the asphalt itself has extra texture and dimension when we’re shooting against the light like this.


Quick Tip: Shooting with or against the light isn’t right or wrong either way. It’s simply going to give you a different look. In general, when you’re shooting with the direction of the sun, you’re going to have a scene that has higher contrast and a flatter overall look. It just isn’t going to have as much dynamic range. Shooting against the direction of the light, that means your scene will be back lit. It will be creating edge lighting on your objects and the sky will be brighter and blown out. Unless, of course, you’re adding additional light into the shadows. The contrast will be lower if you have light hitting your lens or flaring into your lens.

Again, neither of these options, shooting with the light or against it, are incorrect. They’re just different and it will yield a different look. All you have to do is understand the difference. If you do, you’ll be able to choose the best angle and direction of light that fits the look you’re aiming for your particular image. For this scene, Pye’s choice is against the light to add texture, dimension, and interest which I honestly agree with that it’s better for this scene. The only problem is dealing with the deep shadows that you’ll see in just a moment.


That’s what we’re going to be doing. Let’s go ahead and we’re going to have you guys set up. Right now I’m on my 50mm lens, I’ll probably switch that in just one moment. What I want you guys to do is go right to the middle of the road and just start running towards me together in just one second.

What we’re going to do is, I’m just going to take this shot as they’re running. I’m not really going to consider my composition or anything. Girls, just start running towards me. One of the things sports action mode is doing is it’s actually shooting in burst mode so I can get several shots at once.

What I can see here is that my compositions aren’t really great. I basically shot bulls-eyes the entire time. Also, the camera’s having a little bit of a hard time I see. What’s happened is the sun has come over the mountain and is casting a very bright light onto the road. Let’s step off the road so we don’t get hit. The problem with this is that it becomes extremely bright. With this brightness, it’s going to be difficult for the camera to get the right exposure because the camera is trying to balance the entire scene and we have these very strong high-lights on the ground. What we’re probably going to do for the final scene, what we’re definitely going to do, is shoot in manual mode to get the exact exposure that we need to make sure our subjects are correctly exposed.

First of all, we need to get a better composition. Let’s do that first. Let’s actually think about what we’re going for. What I want here, what you can see, is we have this beautiful road that’s kind of just going straight and then bending to the right. We have these great columns here and all these columns that just dot right along the sides of the road. It creates a beautiful line. We can use this kind of stuff in our compositions. If I were to use it, what I would want to do is have maybe the road bending from the outside of the frame and then coming in. We have this wood piece kind of in towards the right of the frame.

What I’m doing is tilting the camera a slight bit, just to get this last little wood column here in my frame, in the corner of my frame. It just ends the composition a little bit. Also the tilt is going to be really nice. This is called Dutch Angle by the way. Dutch Angle works really well in certain cases but you want to be careful not to over-use it. When you twist the camera too much, it ends up looking like the world is falling over. Generally, when we twist, we want to twist to emphasize a line or to emphasize a particular moment. If you have strong horizon lines in the scene, it really doesn’t work that well. We don’t in this scene. We want to use it to exaggerate the line of the road and that’s what we’re going to be doing.

Beautiful, that’s perfect. We have a much stronger image now. We still let the camera handle everything, we just decided what we were going to do for our lighting, for our composition. Obviously, if they’re running it would be really difficult to do anything for lighting unless I were to have an assistant run along side of them with a reflector or something like that.  Which we don’t have. We’re not going to set up flash and stuff because this is Photography 101.

What I want to do now is that I can use the dynamic range of this camera, this is the D5200, we have a huge dynamic range that this sensor can capture. What we’re going to do is we’re shooting in raw of course, raw plus jpeg, what I’m going to do is shoot in manual. We’re going to get the exact exposure so we can get as much of the highlights and the shadow detail as possible.

Perfect. We’re going to have them in position, I’m going to use them to get my overall metering settings. What I’m going to do right now is, the poopy thing about Nikon cameras, or at least, this D5200, is that we don’t have a live view that allows us to preview the exposure of the image. We have to use the in-camera metering system. That’s okay because we can still read the histogram, we can see our highlights after the fact. I’m just going to use the in-camera histogram, and this is what I’m going to do. Let’s go for focus mode, I’m going to place it on Single Servo, that’s going to be that single shot focus mode. Then for the AF area mode, we’re going to go single point, we’re not going to use an area or anything like that I just want it on one single point over them. For metering, let’s use center-weighted. That’s not really going to matter because we’re going to gauge it anyway in this scene. I think everything else is good.

Let’s go ahead and look through here. Actually, I do want to go ahead and set my ISO. My ISO right now is at 400, I’m going to leave it at 100 and see if I can get to the right exposure. If I can get to the right exposure at ISO 100 we have we have a broader dynamic range and that’s what we need, that’s what we’re going for here. We’re getting this beautiful light that’s coming directly onto me now. I can maybe use part of that as a little bit of the composition, getting a nice little flare coming through the trees. I think it will look really great.

Also, I’m going to switch onto probably my 85mm in just one second. Am I on the 50mm right now still? One thing I wanted to mention to you guys is that the 85mm is beautiful lens for scenes like this. It really allows us to compress the background. Right now the 50mm, I might use it for more of a tall shot, but then I can use the 85mm to really get this nice row of columns very much exaggerated. It pulls the background up closer without additional focal length and so forth. Let’s go ahead and get a meter on the scene. Right now it shows that I’m way overexposed because I’m at 1/50th of a second. I’m going to go ahead and drop this all the way down to around 1/800th of a second.


Quick Tip: Let’s discuss for a second the changes in Pye’s setting from auto to manual and how it’s going to affect the image. The first biggest change is in the DOF, or depth of field. Pye opened his aperture to F2, and what that’s going to do is create more separation from the subject and the background and as the background falls into blur quicker. The only trick here is that since the subject’s arm moving, that shallow aperture means that you need to shoot extra. There’s going to be out of focus shots as they’re moving towards the camera. Pye mentioned that he was dropping the ISO to 100. He did this to preserve dynamic range and color. With the camera at ISO 100 we’re able to pull up we’re better able to pull out more shadows and reveal better color in post-production.

Lastly, the shutter was adjusted to 1/800th of a second to adjust for over all exposure, making sure that the shadows weren’t clipped and that the high-lights weren’t too bright. Again, we see that looking at the histogram from the shot as the shadows are pushed all the way against the left and high-lights are pushed against the right with a maximum amount of detail preserved. Already that manual shot looks quite a big stronger. Take a look at the manual shot before and after post-processing and look at how much we were able to push and reveal inside of that photo. Again, this is where we can truly bring out the best in our images by shooting in manual mode. This is what we mean when we tell you to shoot with your final vision of the image in mind.


We got some really great shots and hopefully, you all got a good understanding of how the sports action mode works. Essentially, the sports action mode is keeping the shutter speed up so we can freeze our motion, freeze our action. It’s keeping the aperture and ISO at a setting to get the proper exposure. It seems like again, you’re always better off going to manual because we can perfectly set in the shutter speed that we need, aperture that we need, the ISO that we need to maximize not only our freezing the subjects, but also to maximize the scene detail and to make sure that we have all of our high lights. We haven’t blown out any of our highlights, we haven’t clipped too many of our shadows.

That’s it for this tutorial. What I want you guys to do is to go out and use the sports action mode to shoot anything sports or action. Make sure you get out there. Shoot a skateboarder, shoot a surfer, shoot running girls as long as you have their permission. Just go out and start shooting. When you do, start looking at what this mode is actually doing. Look at where it kind of falls short. In certain scenes where you want to get certain effects, or you’re not getting the right exposure because you’re using a unique composition that the camera can’t figure out. Once you’ve played around a little bit, switch over to manual and get the same shot and notice how you have a little more control over your exposure, the exact shutter speed and everything. Notice how everything is going to be more consistent.







Chapter 7: BONUS

Total Course Run Time: 6H 30M 21S