Houston Pro Wakeboarding Competition - Photo Heavy

Discussion in 'Other Genres' started by Phocal, Oct 4, 2015.

  1. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    So yesterday a friend told me about a wakeboard competition that was happening in Conroe, Texas. I got out there just before they started at 10:00am armed with my EM1 and ZD 150mm ƒ2.0. plus my EC-14 and EC-20. I had debated about bringing the 150/2 or my 50-200 SWD and @faithblinded@faithblinded convinced me to just take the Little Tuna. As it turns out either lens would have worked but I am glad I took the Little Tuna even if it is a bit heavier.

    About 2 weeks ago I had done the micro focus adjust on the 150/2 so I was confident in it's focus accuracy. I ended up using the bare lens most, but I did take some photos with both teleconverters. What I was not sure about was the continuous focus. I had only really used C-AF one time since firmware 3.0 was released and that was the Dock Dog competition where I found it to perform very well. Needless to say, I came away from yesterday very impressed with the performance of my EM1 and Little Tuna combination. If it performed as well as it did with my 4/3 lens I can only imagine how well it performs now with the Pro lenses. When I could keep the focus point on target I was getting 80%-90% in focus images. The hard part was keeping the focus point on target, I go a lot better by the end of the 6 hours I was there. At the airshow last year and during Dock Dogs I found tracking to be pretty effective. I actually find tracking pretty good for birds in flight also. At this event the reflections coming off the water seemed to mess it up, so it was basically useless. After a bit of trial and error I ended up shooting the event in C-AF, single focus point (would move it around as needed), FPS low (6.5fps) so I did not get the block out you get from FPS high, Ris priority C on, Half Way Ris with IS on (I tried off but I like having the image stabilized viewfinder), Aperture Priority.

    During the event I took 3,466 photos and after several hours of going thru the photos I ended up with 501 keepers. Now that is not as bad as it sounds..........the reason for deleting photos and getting down to only 501
    1) Out of focus
    2) Don't see the face - they are doing tricks and turning all over the place and about half of your photos end up being from a side that does not show the face. Now I did keep some that had no face because something about the photo just spoke to me.
    3) Bad composition
    4) Part of the person cut off (normally was the feet), got better at this as the day wore on
    5) Photo was to similar to the one before or after (hazard of shooting burst)
    6) Already had to many of that wakeboarder in a similar pose/position.

    Below you will find 23 images I took at the competition. The break down for the images are:

    ƒ2.0 - 6
    ƒ2.2 - 1 (because I hit the dial while moving around)
    ƒ2.5 - 1 (because I hit the dial while moving around)
    ƒ2.8 - 15

    150mm - 17
    212mm - 6
    300mm - 0 ( I have some with the EC-20, just none in this batch I am posting)

    Shutter speeds were in the range of 1/1600 to 1/8000

    ISO 100 - 7 (So I could shoot wide-open to help with background blur)
    ISO 200 - 16

    -7/10 EV - 7
    0 EV - 16

    Well I guess that is about it................will post the photos a few to each post. Hope you enjoy and any questions, comments, C&C are more then welcomed.

    The below 5 shots were added after making this long post:

    View attachment 441159

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    Last edited: Oct 4, 2015
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  2. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
  3. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    I just keep looking at all the custom knee braces. Ouch.

    Nice shots.
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  4. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
  5. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    There were a lot of those
  6. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
  7. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
  8. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Thanks, I am really glad I went. Learned a lot and found out they have a motorcycle and quad tracks out there. Going back Monday to see what I have to do to get permission to photograph the events they have out there.
  9. bsdubois00

    bsdubois00 Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 10, 2011
    Houston, TX
    Awesome shots - wish I would have gone up now also - sigh
  10. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Thank you, it was very much worth going and gave me a chance to really test the EM1 and 150/2.
  11. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Thanks @Amin Sabet@Amin Sabet for featuring my thread on the front page.

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  12. Ramsey

    Ramsey Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 9, 2013
    Zagreb, Croatia
    great shots, as always.

    How far away were you from the action? And how much do you usually have to crop?
  13. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Nice shots. Glad the H/W did so well for you.
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  14. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Next time I shoot an event I need to take some wide-angle shots to show the layout. Unfortunately I only took the one lens and one camera, wishing now I had taken the EM5 and my 17/2.8 and 7.5mm.

    The lake for the boat pull events was really long and around 75 yards wide. They would do tricks all along the length, except the very ends which were used to turn around and get up to speed. At the extreme ends my 150 with the 2x (600mm of reach) was really not enough. Now in the middle area where I stood, just the bare lens was enough if they did them while in front of me. I used various combinations of the 150 and teleconverters mostly to test them out but do to the angle and distance mostly only liked shots with the EC-14. Here is an example of shots taken at this lake with the EC-14:

    21764405599_6a68d7b4b4_h. Houston Pro October 2015 -0001 by Bohicat, on Flickr

    The lake for the cable pull events had the cable set up in a circle with 4 spots that had kickers (the white things you see in my shots that they were doing tricks off of) and two spots designated for them to do tricks. Maybe with something like the ZD 90-250 and EC-14 you could get in a spot where you could shoot two of the trick locations. With just the 150 I could basically shoot one spot, so I moved around to cover other areas.

    They had two areas where they could do tricks that had no kickers. These spots were probably 75 yards long and 30-50 yards from the shore. I shot one of the locations with just the 150 and it was a bit tricky. If they did the tricks at the far end it was a bit to long and would have to crop to much and if they did it at the end of the area it was really close and ran the risk of cutting off the person. So, I concentrated on them in the middle section of the area and hoped for cool tricks (which most of them did there trick in the middle section). Here is an example of shots taken from there with bare lens:

    [​IMG]Houston Pro October 2015 -0005 by Bohicat, on Flickr

    Then you had the kicker that I had the best possible view of and I shot it with just the bare lens. I was able to get right down to the waters edge but found that I had to back up and sit about 20-30 yards up the bank for the best possible angle and distance. Took me awhile to find the perfect location that offered the best distance with the best background. That was another tricky part of shooting this, having a nice clean background and you will see in some of my shots I did not always have the perfect background. This was my best location and I wish I had been there for the female events, did not get much in the way of women on the cable lake because they went first and I was still trying to find the best spot (was my first time at the location). Here is a typical shot from this kicker location with the bare lens:

    [​IMG]Houston Pro October 2015 -0006 by Bohicat, on Flickr

    The last location I shot from was the big jumps. I could have gone to the far side of the lake and shot it strait on but would have needed the EC-20 (not sure that would have been enough either) and would have taken way to long to walk all the way over there. So I found a spot to the side and kinda behind and shot from that location, hoping for them to turn around in their trick for a good photo. Had a lot of shots of their backside but got some keepers shooting from that location. Here I had to use the EC-14 to get enough reach for the shots. Here is a typical shot from that location with the EC-14:

    21763568488_fc6623f594_h. Houston Pro October 2015 -0019 by Bohicat, on Flickr

    About cropping.......I tried to shoot a bit large so I could crop for composition and most of my shots have about a 30% crop. With more practice I could get less crop, was my first time shooting this type of stuff so was not great at following them (did get a lot better as the day wore on and next time will be a lot easier). I am also going back out there this week to talk to the owners about getting permission to shoot from my kayak (there was a guy using some floating device to keep shoulders and up out of the water and was shooting that way) for events there. Also going to talk to them about shooting events at the tracks they have (they have lots of them) for motorcycles and quads. I do know that for $6 I can walk out on to the track area (with a vest they provide, I assume a bright orange one) to take photographs any time I want. The girl I talked with did not know about events, so I am going out there to talk with owner about that as well as the cable park area.

    Long winded answer but hope it helps. I was talking with @faithblinded@faithblinded afterwards and he brought up a good point. If I had the 50-200 I would have been zooming and trying to track the target. Without a lot of practice at that I think I would have missed a lot of shots while trying to do both. Using a prime I pretty much only had to concentrate on following the target and shooting at the right times. Now I know a zoom could be really helpful and I need to practice using it more, but for a first time I think a prime was the way to go. I have an airshow in two weeks and was set on bringing the 50-200 like I did last year. I shot the entire show with the EC-20 attached but found that most of the shots I liked and processed where taken in the 100-175mm range. I am going to take the 150 and try to shoot the entire show with that, but will have the 50-200 with me just incase I need the extra reach and zoom (unlike the wakeboard competition where I could zoom with my feet I will not be able to at the airshow). I am going to go back and check focal lengths used for the airshow this week.

    Edit: Would like to add that the ZD 150mm ƒ2.0 is such a wonderful lens. It is a bit heavy but nothing I could not handhold all day long (I was there shooting for 6 hours and handholding the entire time). With the teleconverters I basically have a 300mm ƒ2.0, 420mm ƒ2.8, and 600mm ƒ4.0.....all that are easy to handhold. I could not have imagined being out there trying to shoot this with a Canon 300mm ƒ2.8, or 400mm ƒ2.8 or 600mm ƒ4.0. I hate shooting action from a tripod/monopod and really prefer the freedom of handholding. It's one of the reason I switched to µ4/3. Don't get me wrong, I shoot a lot of my wildlife from a tripod but it is nice being able to handhold long focal lengths when you need to. I can not wait for the 300mm ƒ4.0 Pro to come out and the freedom and IQ that is going to provide me.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2015
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  15. summerkl

    summerkl Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 26, 2010
    Kevin L
    Great shots! Thanks for sharing.
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  16. Excellent work!
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