We Simplify The Technical!

Whatever your specialty is in photography, force yourself to get out of your comfort zone and shoot something different. I have so much training in portrait, event and wedding photography. I’ve been studying nature and travel photography for the past few years. I’m just not that interested in sports. But I love my family. My 17 year old nephew plays Lacrosse. So off I went to a Lacrosse game this week at Naples High School.

When making decisions on your camera settings, there are two things to consider: the effect you want, and your limitations.

We know in Lacrosse there will be a lot of running and action. So the first decision is the effect I want. I’ll need to freeze the action so that there will be no motion blur. With my camera in manual mode, I put my shutter speed on 1/300 of a second. Why did I decide on 1/300? My lens was a 70-300mm. Rule of thumb to reduce the chance of motion blur is to have your shutter speed at least as fast as the millimeter number on your lens. So if I am zoomed all the way to 300mm, my shutter speed should be 1/300.

Second decision – ISO. Even though there are bright lights, it was still not much light coming in to the camera. I put my ISO on 3200. Why did I make that decision? ISO3200 is the highest I can go on my Canon 60D without getting a lot of “noise” in the picture. So that’s a limitation I had to consider.

Third decision – Aperture. I opened my aperture as wide as it would go when zoomed to 300mm, which was F5.6.

Then I metered on one of the players. My meter was in the negative. Hmmm. Now what?

You can see there is some motion blur on the sticks with my shutter at 1/200.

I have the limitation of not being able to bump up my ISO past 3200 on this camera. I can’t open my aperture any wider than F5.6 when the lens is zoomed out to 300mm. So my only choice to get more light into my camera is to slow my shutter speed down. I put the shutter on 1/200th of a second. The meter still read a little more than ½ stop underexposed. I decided I could live with that and “fix” it in processing.

Sports Photography – Boys Lacrosse at Naples High School-2

Shooting at 1/200th of a second with a 300mm lens means I have a good chance of motion blur from camera shake. So I held my camera with the left hand underneath like a shelf and my elbows in tight to keep the camera as steady as possible.

The next two decisions: I changed my focus mode to AI Servo (AF-C on a Nikon). This focus mode continually focuses on moving objects. I changed my drive mode to Continuous (Burst on some cameras) so that I could just hold the shutter button and take numerous shots.

I highly recommend getting out of your comfort zone and practice different types of photography. You’ll become a better photographer for it!

Peggy Farren

Peggy Farren

Photographer, instructor and speaker.

Peggy Farren is an award winning, professional photographer, author, instructor and speaker. She’s been interviewed and featured on TV and in many national and local publications.

Peggy is the host of The Understand Photography Show, where we teach about travel, nature and fine art photography.  Subscribe to our Podcast or Youtube channel for new videos every Tuesday and Saturday!

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  1. Evawolf

    Thank you so much for sharing this amazing article. Good ideas if you have to improvise.
    The very informative post you share.

    • Peggy Farren

      Thanks!! I send people to this post when they are learning to shoot in manual. It just goes through the whole thought process.


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