Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Practicing sports action shots with my Nikon D3200

Photography is an industry that has gone through a few revolutions since its initial wet glass plate invention. There where the inventions of film plates, rolls of film, color, and digital. The first camera I bought in the 1970s when I got my first (and last, I worked at Bell Labs for over 40 years) career job was a Nikon FE SLR. If I remember correctly, you could buy rolls of 12, 24, or 32 exposures. You had a choice of B&W vs. color and slides vs. prints. When I retired in May, 2014, JC Penny had a Mother's Day sale for a camera kit that included a Nikon D3200 body, 18-55 and 55-200 zoom lenses, and a case. Guess what my wife got for Mother's Day that year. (My old Nikon lenses don't seem to be very compatible with the new Nikon body.)

I quickly learned that it chose some pretty silly ISO values if I used it in auto mode. So I normally fix the ISO at either 400 or 6400 (the max) and set the mode to Programmable. That allows it to chose the shutter speed and aperture. Practically all of my photos that you have seen in this blog are taken in P-mode with the 18-55mm lens. When I tried taking photos of a daughter jumping her horse over rails, I could not catch her at the top of the jump. I punted and switched to video that day.

So I practiced some camera skills during an Ohio University volleyball practice. First I started with the continuous shutter option on a server machine and two regular serves.

The ball is almost out of the frame in less than 200 msec.
First serve:

Second serve:

Then I practiced my shutter snapping of a serve and the hitting. Digital is so cheap per photo that it  allows one to take more pictures than anyone would want to look at. In fact, I took even more photos than this; but, with the instant review of the LCD screen, I deleted the ones where I was so slow that the ball had left the frame. I also deleted most photos when the ball was tipped. I was trying to get photos of a full-arm swing hit (down ball). The team is good enough that when you get a photo of a hit, you also get a photo of the defense going up for the block.

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