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Tips for Shooting Volleyball
TD Paulius, Photographer
Orland Park | IL | USA | Posted: 8:17 AM on 08.23.03
->> It's the beginning of HS Girls Volleyball in Illinois. Does anyone have any tips, lenses, angles? No. 8 on my member page is representative of my usual shots, taken with an 80-200/2.8 along the sideline at the 10-ft line. I also use a 300 from the first row in the end stands which seems to be good for the action at the top of the net, but the Nikon AF gets goofy with sensing thenet, rather than the player, so I sometimes zone focus.
Most HS gyms here are also poorly lilt, forcing me to use 1600/200-250 wide open. Any advice on remote systems?

Thanks in advance!
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DJ Werner, Photographer
Beaufort | NC | USA | Posted: 12:37 PM on 08.23.03
->> one of the first sports I photographed way back when-- in the 70's was volleyball- poorly lit then too-

I shot on a FTBn, avail light with a 50 mm lens 1.8---tri x- pushed to 800....up close on the floor near the net-

fast fwd 20+ years...
I still shoot with a 50 1.8 --digital now though-

if you ask nicley before the game - the refs will usually give you permission to sit on the floor close to the ladder they stand on-
not all will ,but most will-
it is a safety thing- so the gilrs don't trip and fall over you-
the key is to:
get there early and be humble and respectful to the refs. - it has worked for me over the years-
ask permission- yeah I know we shouldn't have too blah blah blah...but usually if I ask-- they agree- or they ask how long do you need to be on the floor ? is one game enough? or one set or whatever...

the few times I didn't ask- you can bet I was asked to move!!

I have tried as others suggested - with a long lens-
it just never felt right to me-
to be so far away-
I don't know if this has anything to do with it-
but I played several years of varsity ball in high school and college..
so I feel very at home up close to the action-

I have tried other prime lens..28, 85,
try what works for you-

as for the AF getting goofy- turn it off- go manual and focus on the girls- I never tried the zone focus for VB- guess it comes from years of maually tracking my subjects

if it is a well trained team- their will be a rhythem to the action; bump- set- spike ! the other team will dig it out...or not...

you can tell from the spiker- where to look for the ball to her body and motion- kind of like watching the hips of a football player...

good luck
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Robert Caplin, Photographer, Student/Intern
Athens | OH | USA | Posted: 1:27 PM on 08.23.03
->> i like to shoot long glass and get an angle higher then the net. sometimes i shoot from the opposite side of the court to get faces of the team i'm shooting like this: (#13)

or sometimes i move towards the middle of the court high and above to shoot both sides...mainly i just try to crop tight and use lights if possible. I hate distracting backgrounds..especially in volleyball pix. I hope that helps a little! :)

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Stan Liu, Photographer
San Diego | CA | USA | Posted: 3:31 PM on 08.23.03
->> Try this thread....
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Michael Strong, Photographer
Lubbock | TX | USA | Posted: 3:56 PM on 08.23.03
->> I'd have to agree with the long glass in the bleachers.

Sit up about 15 - 20 rows and get a slight down angle on the players. It will make it easier to shoot blockers and spikers.
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Colin Corneau, Photographer
Brandon | MB | Canada | Posted: 5:59 PM on 08.23.03
->> All good tips...I shot games a few times by shooting long and right down the centre, so the net was just a line in the middle of the frame (I was perpendicular to it) with players spiking and blocking on either side.
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Micheal Hall, Photographer
Sacramento | CA | USA | Posted: 6:03 PM on 08.23.03
->> I shoot hundreds of thousands of frames of this each year (it's become my main income).

On the 1D, the 85mm 1.8 is my favorite lens for backcourt action. Mainly because of it's wide aperture and DOF characteristics. The 70-200 is a wonderful lens for general purpose work, but the DOF isn't quite the same as the 1.8.

Due to the pathetic lighting conditions in most HS gyms, the fastest glass possible is needed. Hence, I will be shooting mainly with the 85mm 1.8 and the 200mm 1.8 this season. The 70-200, while wonderful, is lacking in speed and this often forces me to ISO 3200.

Because I'm shooting Jrs girls volleyball (prep stuff) I have exceptional access to the courts (right beside and below the referee or pretty much where ever else I want to be). I usually shoot from right next to the refs stand to get back court and service action. Once I feel that I have covered this sufficiently well, I will move to the end line opposite the team that I'm photographing and go for the hitting and blocking.

I don't usually shoot high up (partially because there IS no high up in the places I shoot), so rather kneeling or sitting on the floor near the corner of the court as this accentuates the heights that the players are reaching. Somtimes, the tape of the net covering their faces can be a problem, but the majority of the time, it isn't.

It can also be fun to go very wide and shoot netside. This gets some great hitting action that gives some wonderful perspective. I use the 16-35 for this.

Depending on the circumstances, I might just spend an entire game lying on my stomach opposite the team I'm photographing concentrating on back row digs and such. Or, opposite that, concentrating only on blocks and hits.

I don't get to do that often, as my assignment is not one player or a couple of great shots, it is many saleable pictures of ALL players, but I was lucky enough to photograph a tournament where this was feasible - and it was fun. :)

I just went and read that other thread that was references - Darrell gave some great advice there.

Have fun - this is one of my favorite sports to shoot! :)

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Alan Look, Photographer
Bloomington | IL | United States | Posted: 9:03 AM on 08.24.03
->> I really like to shoot low angles from the ends and corners. It really makes for some good shots of slams. Hard part with this is getting an open shot. If you get one, it's a print.

After I get annoyed at trying to get the low angle, I usually move up into the stands about net high - or a little above it. From the endline, you can get the net activity. From center court, you get everything else.
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Brian Westerholt, Photographer
Kannapolis | NC | USA | Posted: 11:36 AM on 08.24.03
->> Last season I shot the Wake Forest women's volleyball team when they visited North Carolina mainly because they play in the old Carmichael gym and I had the opportunity to hang 4 White Lightnings to light the court. I shot some action from the floor by the net, from the floor at the baseline, as well as some overhead from the old press row. One of the best shots I got that night was from up top - you can view the photo here
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TD Paulius, Photographer
Orland Park | IL | USA | Posted: 1:40 PM on 08.24.03
->> Thanks for the assistance. I will see what I can do. I may be renting a two-unit strobe system to illuminate a court, with an eye toward having the owner of a VBall emporium spilt it with me or pop for it it in its entirety. Placing a four-unit system is intuitively easy, but do any of you have any thoughts on where two units woud be best placed? I am thinking to aim one at the net from somehwere behind and above the official, with another one behind and bove the endline the up ref is on. This would give me the entire right rear half of the court, and because the teams change sides after every game, it would illuminate both teams (even as strong outside left hitter).
As for offcials, I always chat with them in the beginning and know most of the ones certified by the IHSA. TRhe sport is poorly covered and they are glad to see somwone shooting. Over time, most spectators and officials don't even notice me.

Thanks again for all your help.
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Tim Williams, Photographer
Concordia | MO | USA | Posted: 2:55 PM on 08.24.03
->> Where on the court are you guys hanging the lights from and what angles are you aiming them. I have two lights already mounted in a local High School Gym for Basketball, and I don't think I would have any problem with moving them but need to know what would be the most effective area to put them up. Thanks for your help!
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Wally Nell, Photographer
SAN DIEGO (La Mesa) | CA | USA | Posted: 3:00 AM on 08.25.03
->> Tim
Point them to the opposite corners of the court.
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Wally Nell, Photographer
SAN DIEGO (La Mesa) | CA | USA | Posted: 3:06 AM on 08.25.03
->> Sorry let me clarify; point the right one to the left corner on the opposite side, and the left one to the right corner on the opposite side. And oviously the other two in a similar way.
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Thread Title: Tips for Shooting Volleyball
Thread Started By: TD Paulius
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