Steve Wiens Photo

Motocross National Championships at Walton Raceways

Before Walton I knew almost nothing about Motocross.

I mean its just a bunch of guys riding around on dirt bikes, right?

Wow, was I wrong…

The races at Walton were some of the most intense and gripping action I’ve ever witnessed.

These racers have more guts than most people I have ever met. One mistake on a landing or accidental brush with an opponent can result in broken bones and concussions. In fact this is so commonplace that a rider who makes it through many years without injury is assumed to be a crappy racer by his/her peers.

The high risk of injury means that riders rarely race past age 25. In fact at Walton all but one age group was between 6 and 25. It was the +40’s. They tended to avoid getting air on jumps…

The action was intense, the sun was burning my skin but I had a blast and got some exciting shots.

Even the kids were impressive:


Hockey, the TRUE Beautiful Game

It would be easy with all the attention paid to the World Cup right now to write a post about soccer…. However I’m not going to do that. Hockey is and always has been my favourite sport since I watched my childhood idol Wendal Clark and the Maple Leafs. Come to think of it they were almost as bad as the Leafs were this past season…. but that’s beside the point.

Hockey is just as photogenic as football. The major difference to photographers is that its mainly an indoor sport and many arenas have TERRIBLE lighting.

Even the best arenas can put your sensor to the test. Secondly you often are forced to shoot through glass that is chipped or scratched.

Many photographers attempt to shoot from the benches or from above with a longer telephoto lens if they have one. Some arenas have ports in the corners of the rink where you can shoot glass free.

(Hey goalie, I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to keep your eyes on the puck!)

Hockey is the fastest sport on the planet so anticipation is key.

There’s just so much going on that its hard not to come away with at least a few good shots.

Hockey is just as entertaining for me to shoot as it is to watch and play… and I love watching and playing hockey!

Shooting Football
June 10, 2010, 11:02 pm
Filed under: Football | Tags: , ,

When I started this blog I promised an overview of some of my work. Well, I got a little sidetracked. I focused on school and the shoots I needed for assignments so thankfully now I have graduated!

Now that I’m done I have some time to focus on posts for individual sports. The major ones like football, hockey, basketball and possibly even rugby will get their own posts while some of the others that I have shot less may get lumped together… We shall see.

First up – Football. Canadian Football more specifically. This brand of football is one of the most photogenic sports out there and therefore relatively easy and exciting to shoot. In most cases its played at an outdoor stadium meaning that the only time you need to worry about getting enough light is during a night game. Thankfully those are a rarity.

(I just felt I needed to throw this shot into the Football section. It’s probably the best shot of two players reaching for a catch that I’ve got!)

Of course that means you are also at the mercy of the weather – the temperature, rain, snow/hail, and wind can all wreak havoc on you and your equipment. These conditions can also result in some great shots!

The fact that football is outdoors generally makes it easier on the photographer exposure wise. Unless its partly cloudy and the lighting conditions are changing you can set for any exposure you’d like. Generally this would be any shutter speed faster than 1/500th of a second and around f4 to get enough selective focus. Sunlight or overcast skies should allow the use of ISO 100 – 400 easily for these exposures. A telephoto lens at least 200mm long is necessary to reach the shots you’ll be looking for.

Exposure is something you can figure out on your own though. In order to actually get a good shot where should you shoot from? This is the easy answer – ideally from the sidelines.

For most offensive plays you’ll want to stay about 15 to 20 yards ahead of the line of scrimmage to get the standard action shots (catches, runs, most tackles,) and stay low. Lower is better. Of course these rules should be broken when needed. Some shots like the QB sack can’t be had unless you shoot from behind the line. How do you know when that sort of thing is going to happen? Know the sport. Its an important part of sports photography. If you don’t understand what’s going to happen you will miss the best shots. Like this:

I know I’ve shown this shot before but had I not realized that Laurier was backed up against their own goal line I wouldn’t have moved behind them in the endzone for this shot.

Sometimes you manage to catch awkward moments like the one above. In order to get those shots you have to understand Peak Action. Of course, it is what it sounds like – the peak of the action on any given play.

Understanding when these events happen and timing your shot to capture them can be tough to learn but has a much higher success rate than “spraying and prayin,” (putting your camera on drive and firing constantly through the action.) Just because you have 30 shots of one sequence doesn’t mean you have one good one.

Those are the basics: be aware of the weather, understand the game, shoot low from the sidelines 15-20 yards ahead of the play (sometimes,) and like any sport – get the peak action!

Basketball Portraits – With Actual Basketball Players This Time!
February 22, 2010, 9:28 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

Today I finally got some time before their practice to do some portraits with Fanshawe basketball players. Here are some of the results:

The funny thing is – out of the 4 images I posted above, only 1 uses the floor of the gym as I intended. I didn’t have a whole lot of time with the players so I still have a few more poses and angles I’d like to try, but overall I’m happy with how these turned out. Next time I’d like to make better use of the floor to create a more interesting background.

Huge thanks to Pawel Wnek who held the front light up on a boom arm. That thing is heavy – luckily I was shooting so I didn’t have to lift it!

This Should Be Interesting

Welcome to Steve Wiens Photo. It’s certainly been a while since I’ve blogged in any fashion so should this go south, bear with me. However, it’s become apparent that a place like this is a great way to publicize my work as well as keep people up to date on new stuff as it comes out. It also will provide a place for discussion of technique or concepts.

So… Let it be known:

I Like Sports Photography.

There. Now you know. Most of the images I post here will be of that nature, but I also love product shots, so hopefully I’ll get some of those up here too. Why do I need to tell you this, you ask? Shouldn’t it be obvious from the header at the top of this page? Probably… but lately I find it necessary to defend the genre in which I hope to make my living. A large sect of photographers seem to view sports as second rate, as they think it doesn’t allow the photographer to be artistic or creative because you aren’t generally in control of most of what shows in the final image. First I say – what does that matter? Whether an image is staged or spur of the moment, if it is good it will still have impact and beauty. Isn’t that what every photographer is going for? Second, it’s true – in live action shots the amount of control a photographer has can be quite limited. The most important aspect a sports photographer has over his/her shot is the ability to capture and translate the fluidity or impact of a sport in motion. Somewhat overlooked by most is the ability to capture emotional impact as well. The thrill of victory or the agony of defeat – these things are primal and quite powerful.

I hope to show you these things here.

Welcome to my blog.

Up next: an overview of my previous work.