Volleyball: Cambridge vs Oxford

The Oxford University Volleyball team came to Cambridge yesterday for a game against our own Volleyball team. The new sports centre is very close to where I live, which makes it convenient to just grab the camera and walk over. I packed two lenses, 50 mm and 85 mm. When things move fast the 50 mm lens increases the odds that you will capture the action in the shot. However, the 85 mm lens gives better photos, and when you manage to frame things right with that one they look really good. The problem of course is that things move around and the 85 mm lens is slow to focus. I alternated a bit between the two, and walked around the court picking a spot for a while then finding a new spot to mix up my angles. I shot the photos with a short shutter time, somewhere around 1/200 and 1/320 seconds, aperture around f/4 and ISO in the range of 1000-2000.

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A quick group photo before the game started. Natali Karaskova, Emese Thamó, Christiana Smyrilli, Alicia Krozer, Aleksandra Bazhenova, Agata Kurczyńska, Jennifer Bellamy, Lucia Linares, Lucia Cilloni, Charlotte Kirchoff and Victoria Fernandes.
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This is shot with the 85 mm from the back of the court. I have a tendency to tilt my lens when I photograph, a habit I am trying to break. Normally I can correct it in Photoshop, but here I did not want to cut off the layers on the side, so I kept the tilt.
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Halfway through the game some athletic people on the other side of the divider started doing trampoline jumps. At first there was just a head popping up now and then, but after a while they started to really fly. Here was a nice photo opportunity, so I let myself be distracted from the game for a while. A lucky shot of Alice and Jennifer with one of the jumpy people doing a head flip (probably not the correct technical term for what he did).
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I was focusing mostly on the Cambridge team, but once in a while I snapped a shot of the Oxford team, like here. I like how all eyes are on her as she is about to serve. Perhaps a little bit more space around her would have been great, but I did not really have time to move. This is shot with the 50 mm lens.
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I like to capture the reactions of the people on the court to what happens in the game. I took a few shots of this sequence, there is an earlier picture with them nicely lined up in a line without obscuring each other, but here their facial expressions were better.
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Another thing I am looking for is things that stick out. Here one of the reserves was not participating in the time-out discussion. Looking at it now I should have stepped slightly to the right to allow a bit more separation between the girl on the bench and the group, but I was sitting so comfortably on the floor that I was not even considering moving. Bad lazy photographer!
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End of the game, the teams shake hands. Here I captured the moment right before the handshake, leaving the picture not complete.

So how did the match go? Oxford won 3-0.

I forgot to mention that I tried the video function for the first time on my camera. I switched over to video mode, turned on live view, and everything was pitch black. Not so good. Turns out that the default setting in manual mode has the shutter time at 1/8000 second. I did not feel like messing around with the settings so I simply switched to aperture priority and shot my first few videos. I will see if I can figure out some good way to share them. Click here for more volleyball related posts.

— Johannes

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