Focusing on Saturday Soccer

It’s time for another round of soccer mom photos. Nick’s Richmond Kickers Central Fulham team defeated Kickers North 1-0 yesterday at Bryan Park.

My sports photography efforts continued to be plagued with focus problems. I struggle with trying to watch the game and look through the view finder. In my horse training/horse photography days, I could set up a static distance from where the horse would pass and get fairly close to the ideal focus. Even having watched years worth of soccer, my mental calculations about where the ball and the action will go are often not quick or accurate enough, and focus suffers.

Nick stretched for this header and was able to make a difference with it. This was among the more crisply focused images I got of his good plays yesterday.

Here’s a nice slide tackle by Nick. This was cropped out of an across-the-field shot and from a soccer mom point of view, it’s a good image to show him getting “all ball” in a strong defensive play. As a photo, it’s not sharp enough.

And as for moments in the game, this one may at first glance seem to lack the energy of the shots I like to post. This was just sort of in-the-trenches defense — the player in white had a close range shot and Nick was able to block and tackle here. It may not look dramatic to non-soccer folks, but I imagine it tells a story for our soccer friends.

UPDATE: I added a new picture from Saturday here.

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2 Responses to Focusing on Saturday Soccer

  1. Michele says:

    Action shots are a big challenge for me, and I feel like I’m almost always having to shoot action because I prefer candid photography over posed and my kids can be very active! I have learned that 1/125 is the minimum shutter speed for freezing action, and that might not even be fast enough. Great shot of the header!

  2. Michelle, I’m shooting at much faster shutter speeds, usually 1/700. I could do little kid soccer slower, but there is too much motion blur at this level. Therefore, my issue is mostly not motion blur (and in fact, I’d like the ball to blur just a little more than it does at 1/700)– it’s getting my focus points on the wrong thing. I mix using manual focus and auto focus and seem not to do significantly better with either. Just too often I have the cars in the background or the player-not-in-the-play in the foreground in sharp focus, with the players with the ball just in front of or behind where the camera is focused. Sigh. It all happens so fast. Sometimes I get great photos of a ref on another field….

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