In London, we've just had the Taste of London festival where the world's top chefs gather and give cooking demos etc. But what makes Taste special for me is that these celebrity chefs don't hide behind barriers and security guards but mingle with the public giving immediate and up close access and a unique opportunity for celebrity portraiture.
To the left is Michel Roux Jnr of Le Gavroche fame but better known to many as a judge on BBC's Masterchef the Professionals. Most punters turn up with an iPhone wanting a selfie with him (for which he happily obliges) but with a 70-200mm f2.8 on the camera, you can get a great frame filling portrait that feels very red carpet. Sadly (from a photography point of view), the only thing about the access here is that everyone has it and Michel is constantly mobbed by fans meaning that getting a 'clean' background is near on impossible. Shooting wide open can help by adding some blur but your background is mostly a matter of luck!
We'll come on to cricket shortly...
Wandering out of the Taste Festival which is held in Regent's Park, London, I stumbled across something that could only mean summer: cricket. With the action taking place around 200 feet (60m) away from you, the long end of my lens 200mm was not nearly enough to get in close so all of the pics here are very heavily cropped (leaving lots of green grass on the cutting room floor). But it was both fun, and free.
Rather like Taste, there's little you can do to control the background as it's a public park and anyone can walk by, and they do. In some shots, like when a wicket is taken and the bails are flying, you feel rightly happy to have captured the moment and you have to live with these aspects of park shooting.
While this was my very first time shooting cricket, my tips from the day include:
- shutter speed, as with all sports, quick. I used 1/800th of a second to freeze action.
- Depth of field, one to think about, below I wanted the batsman and bowler in focus so stopped down my aperture to f/13 putting the camera on an ISO of 640 which is fine.
- Continuous burst mode: you will almost certainly be unable to time the exact moment the ball hits the bat (or stumps if you are lucky) and hi-speed burst mode increases your chances of getting a truly great action shot. Make sure you pack a big memory card too.
- Spot the ball: for the most part, you need the ball in the frame to give context to the action.
- lack of contrast giving a flat image, just drag the slider
- slanting horizons, easy fix post production
- pictures that were a product of an immediate click and shoot resulting in random people in the frame; wait just a minute and that tourist with the pushchair right in front of an iconic landmark will have moved on giving a much cleaner and more pleasing image.