Register | Login
Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Discussion: Taking orienteering photos

in: Orienteering; General

Aug 23, 2012 7:10 AM # 
At the Orienteering Canada conference last week (during the Canadian Champs) I gave a 10 minutes presentation hoping to inspire more exciting orienteering photos. Here is a link to the presentation

My talk was inspired by a more detailed presentation from Martin Flynn on taking great orienteering photos

Of course it is all subjective and I don't claim to know what I'm talking about. But still I hope it helps people take more exciting orienteering photos that can better convey the nature of the sport - to attract more participation, sponsorship, media attention...
Aug 23, 2012 12:39 PM # 
Thanks a bunch! I especially enjoyed your presentation since it gave me a lot of new ideas. Also great to realise why I take or like to watch certain kind of photos. Now that it was written down.
Aug 25, 2012 5:25 AM # 
Well done, excellent and much needed resource! Thank you!
Aug 28, 2012 3:50 AM # 
Cool tips - love that photo of the kids. Now I've got to get my 3 kids to stand still long enough or at least look in the right direction!
Aug 28, 2012 4:19 AM # 
Yes, very nice! (And those were excellent examples, did you take all of those, AZ?)

How much benefit is there to upgrading from point-and-shoot to an entry level SLR? I'm seriously tempted.
Aug 28, 2012 4:37 AM # 
I'm dropping BIG hints for my 40th birthday coming up at the end of the year. SLR's are great fun to play with and almost always give a better result than point and shoot. The zoom alone is worth it.
Aug 28, 2012 5:28 AM # 
My recently acquired $120 point and shoot has 18x optical zoom, and continues to astound me.
Aug 28, 2012 8:03 AM # 
I'm with JJ on this. When I first gave my slideshow a few years ago, I had just moved from a Fujifilm p&s (x10 zoom) to a Canon SLR. The Fuji had woeful shutter lag, making it difficult to capture a photo but it had amazing light gathering capabilities. It took me a long time before I was able to train myself to get such good photos from my SLR.

I am currently trying to justify to myself spending a couple of thousand dollars on a 'fast' f2.8 lens so that I can get sharper shots in the poor light conditions typical of orienteering around here. The lens on any decent p&s will be at least this fast (smaller number is better) due to the tiny sensor. The large zoom also gives great possibilities for good close-cropped photos where the runner fills the frame.

A lot of the drawbacks of p&s (slow speed & limited features) have been sorted out at this stage making them a great option.

Anyone considering taking O photos should try starting off with a relatively inexpensive p&s (with a 10x zoom at least). If that doesn't meet your needs, then by all means, splash out on an SLR.

Ask yourself, would you be more likely to actually bring and use a $120 compact (relatively) camera or a large $1000 SLR.

Aug 28, 2012 8:47 AM # 
Yeah, the biggest drawback of an SLR is it's size. Point & shoot you can fit even to your orienteering trousers' pocket and take nice shots at e.g. training camps. But that's about it of the plus sides of p&s.

On the minus side there is the already mentioned slow shutter and even more crucial thing, you can't see things "live" through" an LCD. When you look at fast runner through SLR-viewfinder, you see him/her via mirrors. On LCD there's always a lag (eventhough nowadays very minimal) and that nice fraction-of-a-second moment might be gone. Not to mention that after you take one shot, there might be long time before you can take another aimed one with p&s.

Yeah, fast lens is the way to go in sports photographing. But you can get cheap ones (costs only the same as mediocre p&s ;) ) if you don't care about the zoom that much. I loved this lens in the earlier days of my SLR-career. Though it feels very "plastic", it can take quite nice shots even (and especially) of night-o.
Aug 28, 2012 9:16 AM # 
JJ's point and shoot image makes me jealous. Actually, I think my old Canon point-and-shoots were a pretty good deal. Decent optics for a tiny thing, and image stabilization was effective. But after destroying two of those, I got so annoyed with stripped plastic gears that I decided to get a Kodak. That was a mistake. The image quality, consistency, and general user interface is inferior.

I take the point-and-shoot out on orienteering courses pretty often nowdays. But that "slip it in the pocket" aspect often means I forget to use it around the event center ;-) Sometimes, I think an SLR around the neck would help remind me to take pictures there. (Plus, I'm a microscopist, so like fiddling with settings. And that's awkward with a p&s)
Aug 28, 2012 9:21 AM # 
Thought I could share couple of additions to Martin's and AZ's fine job. These are just my humble opinions which I've absorbed over the years. Some of 'em are not exclusively orienteering related but can be used in everyday photographing as well.

1) The subject should not be in the middle always (where it tends to be in 99% of the shots). For this you may need to change your AF-point's place.

And addition to that, whether it's a car or a runner, it's better to leave more space in the picture to that side where the subject is heading (so that it's not running to "a wall").

2) Excessive use of flash makes pictures look "non-real". Sometimes it's better to just put long shutter time.

But sometimes flash is compulsory. Especially when shooting towards the sky. But even then it should not "show" that it's taken with flash.

3) If you own a wide angle, get really close, shutter speed < 1/100, focus to face.
Aug 28, 2012 10:50 AM # 
I used one of your photo which was in IOF's photo gallery to present orienteering in our national running magazine. It is great that you share good photos!
Aug 28, 2012 11:03 AM # 
I was also very excited about this professional photographer which apparently works also for Swedish orienteering federation. Amazing photos!
Aug 28, 2012 4:56 PM # 
I did take all of the photos in the slide show - even the "Avoid This" ones ;-) Well, except for the one that I'm in of course, and the "Model" one, both of which were taken byAndrea B.

The thing I like most about my SLR is the lack of shutter lag - when I push the button the photo is taken immediately. With my point and shoot there is a delay that seems to be "forever" (possibly 0.1 second?) and I lose so many photos - it is just too difficult to compose the photo correctly when the athlete is moving and you have shutter lag. And then there is the flexibility of having total control of the apperture / shutter speed to get cool effects such as blur and panning. And the DSLR's flash is more versatile too. But really these are just "excuses" I used to justify getting a DSLR ;-)

Great to see so many great photos - very inspiring. These are the kind of image that conveys the excitement and challenge and nature of our sport

Great photos by Hirppa. I would like to emphasize Hirppa's point about showing in the photo where the runner is going. I heard once from a very good source (Blake Jorgenson) that one of the most important aspects of a great action photo is to show where the athlete has come from and where he/she is going to - the viewer will look for that and may left a little flat if it is not there. The second and fourth photos of Hirppa's above are excellent examples - the fourth especially very nicely demonstrates the idea and shows just how subtle it can be, but notice how when you look at the photo you will look to see where he came from and where he's going. Like all "rules" in photography it ain't hard and fast - but if you watch out for it I believe you will find that many of the action photos you like have this. For Blake, who makes his living taking action shots, it is his number one rule of composition.
Aug 29, 2012 12:02 PM # 
I’d like to chip in a few non-phototechnical comments, hopefully without detracting from the excellent points being made by Adrian, Martin and others.

Maybe course planners should deliberately select a couple of sites and/or route choices using suitability for action photography as the main criteria, then let the photographers know that these are the good places to be to get the money shot. We already have the concept of sacrificing route choice to favour a good spectator control site, so why not do the same and sacrifice some route choice in favour of the money shot. Good photography sells a sport, we need more of it.

We need to find some way of discouraging photographers from dumping hundreds of orienteering photos onto photo sharing sites and then inviting people to wade through them until they have lost the will to live. Photographers should think about their audience and cull their photos to just present the good ones. There’s no point in hiding the few really good ones inside a pile of forgettable ones.

Photos should be geotagged. This is easy if you have a fancy camera, or it can be done with photo editing software, or it can be done on the photosharing website. It gives the casual viewer an idea of where the event took place and puts the scenery in context.

On photosharing websites it would be nice if everyone used the same tag for an event’s photos; this means they will all be found with one search and can be viewed as a group. Event organisers could declare the exact text of the photo tag to be used for all of the event’s photos.

This discussion thread is closed.