I was about to post a wedding, but I am in the mood for something different.
I get emails from a lot of photography students and sport photographers asking for settings and the cameras I am using for the sport related images I have on the website(they aren’t new as I haven’t done sport photography for a number of years now). Settings don’t mean much! They always depend on your camera,lenses,lighting,distance to the subjects and effect you want to achieve. There’s no magic setting that works for every condition and for every sport!
The best way to do it is to take that camera out of your bag and go out and shoot. Come home,evaluate your images and then go out again and re shoot, until you get what you want. These days cameras are pretty advanced and can give you a good number of keepers from the sport you are shooting(unless it’s chess, then you should at least get 90% 🙂 ) . Back when I was with 10D/20D, 30%-35% was the maximum number of images I could keep(I love sharp photos!). I wasn’t playing it safe though and always pushing myself to try something new every day. Your basic setting would be to shoot in Servo mode as you would be dealing with moving subjects. If your camera can do 5-10 frames per second then set it in that range. Learn smooth panning; Get a monopod or a tripod if you have/need to. If you are new to the sport you will be shooting, it’s always a good idea to learn as much as you can. Learn to anticipate before anything happens as at 100-260km/h things do happen pretty fast. 🙂
Here’s 100% crop of a Canon 20D 8mp file :: f4, 1/500, ISO200, taken while being about 12 feet away. 1/500 helped to put some motion into the wheels. Generally, for moving subject you should show motion otherwise the image looks un-natural.
Anything over 1/1000(as in the example bellow) would probably freeze any motion. While it “may” result in fewer number of blurry images, motorcycle(motard) in this case appears to be standing still and that just doesn’t look right. f2.8, 1/1000, 180mm,ISO100
And it can only help you if you have some interest in the sport you are shooting. Although I wasn’t that good at it, I loved!!!
Here’s also a snowboarding photograph that was captured at Whiteface Mountain in NY at one of the competitions. The shiny snow provided a good “light source” which lit the subject, at the same time properly exposing the sky in the background. A wide angle 17mm lens at f5.6 was used.