Monthly Archives October 2010

Nancy Massé (better known as @NAPP_news or simply “The International Ambassador of Love” representing the Languedoc Roussillon of France), created a Facebook Fan Page for me, and basically handed me the keys (in other words—she set it up for me, but she’s not doing any of the posting for me).

This has worked out pretty well so far for two reasons:

(1) Since it’s a “Fan Page” you don’t have to send me a friend request, or wait for an approval, or anything like that. If you want to see what I’m up to, you can just click the “Like” button, and you’re automatically “in.”

(2) My original Facebook page was supposed to be just for personal friends and family, but I never really posted to it, so I basically use it just to keep up with what my friends and family are doing, since they actually do post. However, thousands of people sent me friend requests there, and since I didn’t really use that page, people got mad when I didn’t approve their friend requests (which I didn’t know were there in the first place), and now it’s so full Facebook thankfully won’t let anybody else request to be friends, so slightly less people are mad. But this new Fan page is for everybody. Chacun est bienvenu!

MINI DISCLAIMER: I do try to respond to some of your comments on this new Fan Page, but sadly I don’t have enough extra time to answer Photoshop or Lightroom tech support questions there, so I hope you understand if I skip over those, or I won’t have time to do….well….anything else.

So, now I: (a) Actually post daily to my Facebook Fan page, and (2) Anybody can see it, add comments, hang out, etc., as long as you’re not mean, of course (WPMPAR).

Here’s the link, and I hope you’ll at least stop by and say hi. Last week I posted iPhone photos of Matt, RC, Corey and Dave Cross’s office (and the view of them from my office) and yesterday I posted a photo of Brad’s office captured in a remarkably pristine state (just seeing that rare phenomenon alone is worth a visit—just kidding Braddo) ;-)

Hi. My name is Scott, and I’m a JPEG shooter.

I wanted to step up and make this shocking admission after I read this comment (from reader Tom Bruno) on my blog post from Friday (link):

Great shots, Scott! I’m green with envy, not just at how good your shots are, also that you get passes to shoot from the sidelines. But I am shocked — Shocked! — that you shot in JPEG.

I know. Imagine how much better they would have looked had I shot in Raw. ;-)

True Confessions
OK, truth be known, I only shoot in JPEG on one single occassion: when I’m shooting sports. However, I’m not alone. Most of the professional sports photographers I’ve talked with shoot in JPEG as well, because when it comes to sports, JPEG offers a number of advantages to the sports shooter:

(1) More Continuous Shots Per Burst
The most important advantage probably being that you can shoot more continuous shots in JPEG mode than in Raw mode without filling your camera’s internal buffer. A lot of fast action sports are shot in high-speed continuous mode by holding down the shutter button as it rapidly fires up to 9 frames per second. That will fill your buffer mighty quick, and all of sudden, you’ve missed “the shot” because your camera’s buffer start to stutter.

I did some checking, and on DP Review (a respected source for this type of data), they broke it down this way:

  • Shooting in RAW: You fill the buffer with about 17 Raw photos.
  • Shooting in JPEG: You fill the buffer with about 65 or so shots.

If you’re using a fast memory card (I use 600X high-speed Lexar cards), that means shooting in JPEG, my buffer really never gets full because of how fast the cards write to the card which clears up the buffer.

(2) JPEGS take less time to process
If you’re covering a game for a news outlet, JPEGs are going to save you processing time, because they’re already processed. By that, I mean they’ve already had contrast, color enhancements and sharpening applied within the camera itself, so JPEG images look more “finished” and are ready for uploading without a lot of tweaking.

When you set your camera to Raw mode, it turns all that in-camera processing (contrast, sharpening, color enhancements) off, because you’ve chosen to do all that yourself later in Camera Raw or Lightroom. That processing of the Raw image takes time, and so does re-saving the files as JPEG for uploading when you’re done. Of course, you could shoot Raw+JPEG, but that has its disadvantages, including eating up memory cards much faster, and taking longer on import.

Also, if you’re covering a game for a wire service or news outlet, the editing you’re allowed to do is very limited in the first place, so JPEG files are pretty much ready to lock and upload. The smaller file sizes make it faster to download off your memory card, and faster to upload to your client as well.

(3) JPEGs Don’t Eat up Much Space
You can fit an awful lot of JPEG files on a single memory card, which means not only will you have to be swapping out memory cards much less during the game—you might not have to swap out at all. Remember my post from a few weeks back about fitting more than 4,000 JPEGs on my single memory card? (here’s the link).

So What am I Really Admitting To Here?
What I’m saying here is that there are times when it makes perfect sense to shoot in JPEG, depending on what you’re shooting. Remember, better shots than you and I will ever take in our lifetimes were taken in JPEG format long before their was a Raw format. It’s just a file format. Not a religion.

What if you totally disagree?
Then shoot your sports photos in Raw. :-)

Although I already posted my favorite shot from Monday Night’s big Bears win against the Packers, here’s a few more from the game, including a poster-print I made as a gift for my buddy Mike McCaskey of Devin Hester’s game-changing punt return for a touchdown.

I shot Hester’s punt return with more of a wide composition (and my camera turned wide) and Mike went in nice and tight at 400mm with a tall orientation (I included one of Mike’s shots further below), and I think it’s really cool to see how two shooters set-up literally side-by-side, captured such different images of the same moment.

Anyway, here’s a few more from the game:

Above: This shot uses the Cinematic Wide screen cropping I talked about last week (link).

Above: I know it looks like I “juiced” the colors or added more Vibrance in Lightroom, but I didn’t (I’m not above that on any level—if I thought they needed vibrance, I’d add some, but I just didn’t need to—the shots already looked so vibrant. These are all shot in JPEG format).

Above: another colorful image. I checked to make sure I didn’t have the Vibrant Picture Style turned on but it was set to Normal.

Above: I would have really liked this one, but the receiver is just a little soft. Had he been as sharp as Burnett, the Strong Safety in the foreground, I’d have been happy. Sadly, he’s not.

Above: The Bears defense got it done. The addition of Julius Peppers rocked!

Above: Here’s the print I made for Mike of Hester’s game-changing punt return. Once again I used my Cinematic Widescreen Cropping on this one (enter 2:39 to 1 in Lightroom’s Custom Crop dialog to get this aspect ratio for cropping). I added the border and text in Photoshop CS5.

Above: Here’s Mike’s shot, taken just 1-foot away from me, but he went it a lot tighter, and composed the image with a vertical orientation to capture the exact moment Hester leaped over the punter to clear the way to the goal line. Mike caught the entire series, from tight-in shots of Green Bay’s punter through Devin’s entire return and leap into the stands. I actually missed a few steps toward the end because I fired so many continuous shots that my buffered filled.

Above: Although I don’t always show them here, I always capture shots of the crowd, and especially really enthusiastic fans. I caught this one as I was heading in the tunnel to call it a night. This guy had such a great smile, and seemed so genuinely happy to have his Bears on top, that I stopped and caught this frame. I’m glad I did. It was that kind of night! :-)

I don’t have any football shoots coming up next week, but I hope to be posting some landscape shots from my hands-on workshop in Moab, Utah with Landscape Legend Bill Fortney.

Hail! Magazine, is a new online magazine for Washington Redskins fans, and even if you’re not a Redskins fan (like my assistant Kathy Siler, who redefines what it means to be a Redskins fanatic), you still need to check out this magazine for two reasons:

(1) It’s so incredibly well done, that it looks like an online edition of a full printed magazine. Really great layouts, with a clean, tight design.
(2) The photography is just fantastic. Very “SI” like, with big feature photo spreads that really draw you in to the articles.

If you’ve got two minutes, check out the current edition of Hail! right here.

Congrats to Hail! editor Brian Murphy and the whole team at Hail! magazine. Now, can you do an edition for the Bears and the Bucs? ;-)