Following my trip out to the basketball, I though I'd try the Nikon D4s at international wheelchair rugby. Team GB asked me along to shoot the official portraits and team picture, so I thought I'd stay and shoot a bit of action.
The team pictures was done on my D800, lit with three Elinchrom Quadra A Heads, but the action was shot on the D4s with a 70-200 VR2. I knew the leisure centre they were playing at and decided not to take my 300 2.8 VR, which with hindsight was probably a mistake as a lot of the action felt a little 'lose' at 200mm, and I could have done with losing more of the background. Note to self, take everything next time.
Wheelchair rugby isn't an easy thing to photograph, to try and convey the sort of emotions and movements that are plentiful in football and rugby; I didn't see any eye gouging, everyone was very sporting! The lighting at the leisure centre in question is very different to that of the basketball. Gone is the ghastly orange glow of the sodium bulbs, instead replaced with a more 'eye friendly' fluorescent tube. Basking, as I was, in the white balance success of the basketball, I just let the camera do it's thing, and I have too say, I was slightly less impressed. I'll put two slide shows up, the first is just one picture, the second a selection. Back to the first slide show, the image was shot at 6400 ASA on manual, probably about two thirds of a stop over exposed to compensate for the reflections the floor was throwing up. I'll include a RAW conversion with no adjustments, a post processed (in Adobe RAW 8.4 Beta) version where I've worked the levels, white balance, sharpness and noise, I've also cropped it a little... then I've cropped in tighter so you can look more closely at the quality. The exposure was 1/500 at 4, 155mm on the zoom. Now, while I was shooting, I kept an eye on the screen, and thought the images looked quite clean. When I started to view the pictures on my Mac, I started to bite my lip a little, they didn't look nearly as clean as I'd have expected. I relaxed a little though after I'd processed the example picture though. To my eye, the picture is still a little yellow, but I'm not sure if my eye is being thrown off balance by the sea of blue breeze-blocks and net covers. The trouble is, your eye sees the dark(ish) blue of the net covers, then it sees the light blue of the wall, then it tries to make sense of the yellow tops and the skin tones. I think it's all a little confusing to the eye, and without actually viewing the image at the scene, it's hard to know if everything is true to life. Next time I'll take my penknife and bring home a large sample of net cover and wall paint to colour match to!
The second slide show is just a small selection of pictures where I haven't changed the white balance, but I have adjusted the levels.
It's worth noting that the slideshow reduces the resolution, but you can click through to the files. Under normal circumstances, I'd crop the pictures to concentrate on any action.. I've left these whole though, and they were shot as a test. As for the panning pictures... close but no cigar.
See what you think.....