Friday, March 20, 2009

The Lens

Since several (several, SEVERAL) of you have asked, I thought I would share with you what kind of lens I bought to help with these basketball photos. I do feel compelled, however, to point out to you it wasn't just the lens. It was ME. My skill, my talent, my artistic ability, my ......... my ............ ok, yeah, it was the lens.

I'm really annoyed, though. You know why? I was going to point you back to my previous journal entries here and here to show you my first few attempts and how lousy they were.

But do you know what I realized? That when I uploaded the photos, the ones that sort of in a way maybe hopefully perhaps weren't totally suck-ish, from the final game of the season, I labled them with the exact same names as the crappy photos I used in the first journal entry. (Wow, I'm really good at this technology stuff, aren't I?) And although I would have suspected my photo host server would have given me some sort of, oh, I don't know, HEADS UP that they were about to over-write all my old pictures, they did not. So now none of my old pictures will show up.

And because I am oh-so-competent and organized, when I got my new hard-drive, I went in and deleted all the photos that (I THOUGHT) I would no longer use, so now I have no way to recall them. You know, I really need a recycle bin for my recycle bin's recycle bin.


All that to say, if you didn't see the first two sets of basketball pictures, you are simply going to have to take my word for it --- they were awful.

Indoor sports, for me, was a tricky balancing act. A quick enough shutter speed to keep things in focus, but then not enough light came in. The lighting in indoor gyms is terrible. A slow enough shutter speed to let in the light I needed, and the action was blurry. I tweaked, I fiddled, I maniupulated every setting on my camera --- I might have even cursed a bit.

After scouring the internet for suggestions, and accosting friend and strangers alike for information, I wound up purchasing an 85 mm fixed lens, 1.8 f/stop. I'm still not sure what the mechanics of that *specifically* even means, but I know the 1.8 f/stop let in enough light that I could get the pictures in focus. The difficult part for me was adjusting to a lens that did not have any kind of zoom. I had to waaaaaaaiiiiiiiiittttttttt for the action to come to my end of the court. And I couldn't really stand at the end of the court like I had previously because that made the action too close to me. So I stood either at an angle from the court, or I stood up in the stands, which I'm sure the people behind me appreciated. A LOT. And I still tweaked and fiddled, trying to decide which setting on my camera worked best, at which size aperature, and which ISO, and which shutter speed, etc ...... and the end of the day came home and STILL messed with them in Photoshop to get them even close to what I wanted.

The cost of the lens at my local camera store was $499. I bought it online from Adorama for $299 --- quite a savings. It's also much better for auditorium pictures, ie, kids giving choir concerts, plays, etc. I'm still on a learning curve there as well, as I try to figure out the best place in the audience to sit (again,the no-zoom thing is hard for me to get used to.)

I think my next purchase will be a Canon L-series lens ... which as I understand it, has the lower f/stop but also has a zoom feature. For now thought, it's out of my price range, and will have to wait. At least until this fall, when Kellen is playing football (like he says he wants to) on a huge football field and I can't get any photos of my precious baby getting his scrawny ass kicked enjoying the game and I TOTALLY will find a way to justify that lens.

At which point I will probably turn to the internet and beg someone to buy this one off me so I can afford to feed my family.


Pam D said...

Email me FIRST... by the time you get the new lens, I will have finally made it through this book sized manual, 3 software discs (which are really messing with my computer, I might add, and have totally upended the way I am used to uploading and cataloging my pictures!) and time spent shooting a bajillion pictures...I'll be ready to try that old one! I'm serious.....

threehandprints said...

Yeah! I suggested Adorama to you back when you were talking about getting a new lens. Glad you are happy with it.

Lorie M said...


Thanks for the info re: the lens. I too, was dying to know what it was. Your pics are awesome - I've never been able to get good indoor gym shots.

Lex plays soccer and Justin plays baseball, so 18 months ago I splurged on a Canon L series lens - 70-200mm, IS, and I LOVE it. I couldn't afford the 1.4, but got the 2.5 (I think) and it rocks. I have an extender I bought also, so it makes the zoom even more powerful. When you are ready to get yours, let me know if you have any questions. And if you get back to GA anytime, you are welcome to test mine out and see if you like it!

I am saying prayers for Blaine and for all of you. You are amazing!


Cathy said...

Sorry I am not commenting about the lens, although it does sound cool, I don't have any photography skills.

But, have you seen or tried Diet Dr Pepper Cherry? I had some in Cleveland this past week while I was there for work. I haven't seen any in Michigan but I will be on the lookout. I loved the Cherry Diet Dr Pepper!


My mind's just spinning now after reading all that.

Lens, schmens! I just like looking at your pics. :)

Patti in NJ said...

Kristie - look at your 1/25 and 1/26/09 posts. I think the pictures are still there. (Some had red Xs, but I think that may just be my computer.

Katie said...

OK now I want one just seeing how great the new pics came out!!! I don't really have any need for a lens to photograph indoor sporting events, but I still want one.


Anonymous said...

I clicked on the old links and the pictures were still there!