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Tips for Shooting Sports

Sports shooter Bill Sallaz knows what he wants and where to stand in order to get it

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Outdoor Pursuit

Bill Hatcher photographs the impossible—well, let's say the extremely difficult.

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4.6 Rating
Bill Frakes

Photojournalist, documentary filmmaker and educator Bill Frakes is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about his…

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4.2 Rating
What is XQD and Why Should I Use it?

Benefits of the XQD media card format explained

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Deanne Fitzmaurice

Photojournalist and filmmaker Deanne Fitzmaurice is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about her…

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A Subtractive Approach to Composition

Bill Frakes discusses composition

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Making a Difference with Photography

Bill Frakes on making a difference with your photography

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Knowing a Sport Before Shooting

Dave Black on knowing a sport's timing before going to shoot it

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Sports Shooter Academy Workshop

Sports Shooter Academy gives you the opportunity to work with pros in a hands-on…

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3.8 Rating
Summit Series of Photography Workshops

Come to the Summit for the ultimate workshop experience in all areas of…

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Photographing Commercial Assignments with a Sports Angle

Find out how quick veteran photographer John Huet needed to be…

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How a Sports Illustrated Photographer Shoots his Kid's Games

What can a Sports Illustrated photographer teach you about…

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Dave Black

Sports and commercial photographer Dave Black is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about his photography.

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In the Moment

Commerical photographer John Huet love to make it up as he goes along.

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4.2 Rating
Photographing Sports Indoors and Out

Capturing the action of a sporting event is easy when you follow a few simple…

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Rich Clarkson: The Right Place at the Right Time to Get the Shots

Rich Clarkson, an acclaimed photojournalist, who…

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Joey Terrill

Commercial photographer Joey Terrill is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about his photography.

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3.2 Rating
Making Great COOLPIX Videos of Your Kid's Sports

Tips & Tricks from photographer Ann Cutting

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Better Sports Photography

Which settings should you use depending upon which sport you're photographing

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Photographing it All

With experience as a newspaper photographer and close to 20 years with Sports Illustrated, George…

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Mentor Trekking in Costa Rica with Bill Durrence

A Mentor Series instructor leads a group of photo trekkers through the…

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4.8 Rating
One Shot: No Exit

Bill Durrence on ow a simple change can alter a photo’s feeling

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Partner Up for Better Pictures

Learn how you can benefit from taking photos with a friend

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4.7 Rating
Using Auto FP High-Speed Sync to Illuminate Fast Sports Action

Dave Black on using high-speed flash sync for sports…

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High Speed Sync: A Flash Technique To Add a Pro Touch to Your Photographs

Kevin Kubota on auto FP high speed sync flash…

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4.2 Rating
Competitive Edge

Andrew Hancock on sports photography

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2.8 Rating
What to do When you Need Stills while Shooting HD Video

Shoot simultaneously or save a frame options with the D4 or D4s…

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4.3 Rating
Andrew Hancock

Sports photographer Andrew Hancock is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about his photography.

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Photography Lighting Tutorial Part 1 - Control of Color

Go on location with Joe McNally for a video tutorial on lighting…

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Repeating Flash Lighting Technique

Joe McNally uses the technique of repeating flash to capture the grace of balletic…

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Photography Lighting Tutorial Part 2 - Control of Color

Go on location with Joe McNally for a video tutorial on lighting…

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3D Focus Tracking

3D focus tracking automatically shifts the focus point to follow the movement of the subject. With the…

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Marketplace: A #1

Shooting with the COOLPIX A

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4.3 Rating
Zoom Lens Maximum Aperture: Fixed and Variable Apertures

Zoom lenses can have either a fixed maximum aperture or a…

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4.7 Rating
Joe McNally

Commercial photojournalist Joe McNally is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about his photography.

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10 Tips on How To Leverage Social Media in Your Photography Business

Dixie Dixon on leveraging social media for your…

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4.4 Rating
James Balog

Conservation photographer James Balog is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about his photography.

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4.6 Rating
Lighting Techniques: Light Painting

Using the technique of light painting allows you to add depth and dimension to your…

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4.7 Rating
Destination Europe: Do a Little Research, Then Go Light on the Gear

Blaine Harrington on travel photography in Europe

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Six Steps to Lighting Magic with Joe McNally

Follow lighting expert Joe McNally's instructions for easy flash photography…

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4.4 Rating
Understanding Focal Length

Focal length, usually represented in millimeters (mm), is the basic description of a…

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4.2 Rating
How to Choose Your Next Nikon 1 Lens

Go beyond your Nikon 1 camera's kit lens

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4.6 Rating
Marketplace: D7100 HD-SLR

The Nikon D7100 is a top-of-the-line performer

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4.3 Rating
Using Fast Shutter Speeds for Action Photos

Lucas Gilman on action photography settings

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3.3 Rating
Getting the "Cool" Look

My daughter, Kiara, wanted some pictures of herself with her new guitar. She was looking for some…

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Wherever the Adventure…

Underwater photos & movies with the COOLPIX AW110

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3.4 Rating
Taking Better Photos of Your Kids at Play

Taking photos of your kids while at play make great images; next time you’re…

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Action Photography: Shooting in Extreme Locations

Photographer Beth Wald doesn't just shoot from the sidelines; she's in…

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4.7 Rating
Robin Layton

Fine art/portrait photographer Robin Layton is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about her photography.

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Joel Sartore

Conservation photographer Joel Sartore is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about his photography.

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Brian Skerry

Photojournalist Brian Skerry is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about his photography.

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Corey Rich

Adventure photographer Corey Rich is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about his photography and multimedia work.

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4.3 Rating
Prime Lenses

What is a prime lens? Well, it's a lens that isn't a zoom. A prime lens has a fixed focal length which means…

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How to Choose Your Next DSLR Lens

What to look for when choosing your next lens for your DSLR

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3.1 Rating
Photographing People Using Wireless Lighting Techniques

Tom Bol's images inspire new ways of taking a portrait photo.

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Pete Turner: Master of Color Photography

Pete Turner is a master of color, but he's also a master of content and mystery.

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3.3 Rating
Santa Fe Photographic Workshops

Discover the spirit of place. Capture the soul of a portrait. Refine your personal style.…

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4.6 Rating
Ski Photography 101

Tips and tricks for getting great photos of skiers and snowboarders

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4.9 Rating
A New Sharp Shooter

Mike Corrado on shooting with the Nikon D810

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3.2 Rating
Shooting Wirelessly with Nikon Digital Cameras and Wi-Fi Adapters

Enjoy wireless transfer of images with Wi-Fi compatible…

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Tips for Shooting Sports

Sports shooter Bill Sallaz knows what he wants and where to stand in order to get it

Bill Sallaz is a Nikon Legend Behind the Lens.

One of the first things he mentioned to us years ago when we first interviewed him was geometry. William R. Sallaz told us he saw the geometry of a scene—its lines and shapes—before he saw the color, texture or even the emotional content. He said it had to do with his education—he studied engineering in school—and his early career as a draftsman. Next he looked at the light: "I'm drawn to dramatic light. I like to shoot back-lit or side-lit. I'd be happy making pretty pictures of nothing as long as they had strong geometry and dramatic lighting." For 30 years Bill's advertising, commercial and editorial photographs have featured shape and light as signature elements of the images he's made for major international companies and ad agencies as well as magazines like Sports Illustrated, Time, Newsweek and People.

He doesn't classify himself as anything other than a generalist. "I lived in Montana for a decade," he says, "and when you live in a state where cows outnumber people six to one, you learn to shoot a little bit of everything. I ran a studio up there and also did commercial photography, shot portraits [and events], shot for local colleges and covered news and sports for AP as a stringer." There's no denying, though, that sports have been his specialty, from auto racing to baseball, tennis to fencing, football (he's covered four Super Bowls) to the mixed bag that six Olympics offered up.

He doesn't claim equal familiarity with all sports—and that can be a plus. When you photograph a sport you're not that familiar with, he told us, you'll probably look at it with a fresh eye. "A photographer who shoots that sport week in and week out has kind of locked himself into doing the same pictures over and over, so coming to the sport fresh is a good thing." Familiar or not, you have to come to the event armed: "I'm not really a fan of auto racing, but I've paid enough attention to...know who the top ten people in [the] sport are. If you haven't got any understanding of the sport and haven't done any research, you're not going to be able to take advantage of, say, the veteran driver talking to the rookie. Chances are you won't even recognize them."

What he learned in one field, he often applies in another. "I've always told people that being a portrait photographer made me a better sports photographer, and vice versa. With a hinky portrait subject you might get one opportunity to tweak a real smile, and if you're not ready to jump all over that moment, you'll miss the shot. Sports photography made me better at portraits because I was quick and observant. On the other side, by controlling the light and the setup for a portrait, I could walk into a sports stadium, look around and decide where I wanted to be in relation to the angle of the light and what backgrounds I wanted to shoot into." No matter the subject or the assignment, Bill always has a clear idea of what he wants. "I previsualize things very well, and I have a pretty good sense of how everything's going to look in the photograph. I'm seldom surprised."

I've always told people that being a portrait photographer made me a better sports photographer, and vice versa.

Recently, it's been some of his newer clients who've been surprised. A few years ago Bill began thinking about cutting down on his traveling. "I was looking for a way to turn my skills toward something closer to home," he says. When an invitation came to photograph a semi-pro football league in his home state of Colorado, he took the job. "When the photos went to a website there was a substantial response," Bill says. "I figured, why not try it on a high-school level?" Soon a business—ActionPic9, devoted to the photography of youth sports and local sports events—was born. "It turned out to be a way to do what I loved doing—sports—and stay local," Bill says. "The work involves the same skills and the same discipline. Regardless of the client or the market, it's about capturing the key moments and the overall ballet of the sport itself. That doesn't change.

"It's working out very well, and now, on a Saturday morning, I'm not in an airport somewhere; I'm out on my bike, riding with friends and family."

The surprise comes when the clients for the new business see the results. "I got comments on how great my hockey photographs were. Someone said, 'Wow, you can see the puck in every picture.' And then he asked, 'What kind of camera are you using?'"

Well, the camera probably helped, but in Bill's hockey photographs the puck stops here because the man behind the camera has 30 years of photography experience. And he knows geometry.


From the Vault

If you're into sports photography, we want to pass along some of Bill's thoughts about improving images.

In general, don't chase the picture all over the field. "Put yourself in the best position you can and wait until the action comes to you." In fact, wait until the action comes uncomfortably close—in the telephoto lens, that is. "The action should be so close that you're cutting off arms and legs in the frame," Bill says. "Shoot tight and you'll find there's greater visual impact. Try not to get a lot of sky and grass—that's not what the sport is.

"Here's how to practice: If you're used to shooting baseball with an 80-200mm zoom, commit to shooting it with a 300mm telephoto for the game, or use a tele-extender on your 80-200. Max out the lens to its tele end, even if you miss pictures because you cut off body parts. As an exercise it's like swinging a weighted bat."

Bill also suggests practice shooting. "If you've got a game at three o'clock that's important to you, go out and shoot the one o'clock game for practice. Shooting pictures is like playing a musical instrument; you can't play once a week and expect to make great music. When I was learning this craft, I used to shoot high-school football games without film in the camera on Friday nights and then really shoot the college game on Saturday and the pro game on Sunday. The high-school game was to get into the rhythm and to get used to what I'd be seeing."

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