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Danny Campbell BMX

Words and photos by Daniel Smith

We hooked up with Danny Campbell to shoot some BMX at Castle Cove trails in the northern beaches area of Sydney. The trails were suffering a bit of neglect but after a sweep and water down they were ready to go.

We have a few days left of our Spring Into Action Catalogue so if you have not seen it yet, then have a look at some of the excellent products. All action cam shots were taken using the Sony Action Cameras, a sponsor of Danny.

Check out Danny on Instagram and Facebook.

DCW Creative Space

Some snippets from our recent Creative Space at The Rocks in Sydney. For information on future workshops please go to

Challenges When Shooting Sports

by Daniel Smith

All images by Nick Hodgskin of Nickeh Films.

Sports can be a challenging photographic subject but with the right gear and an understanding of the principles, great results are close at hand. There are a range of challenges that need to be overcome when shooting sports and we will cover some here.

Moving subjects
Depending on the results that you are chasing you generally want to freeze the action. The speed of the runner, cyclist, skateboarder or pole vaulter will determine how fast of a shutter speed you need. When an object is moving across the frame the movement will be more apparent than if it is moving toward the camera. To freeze the action a shutter speed faster than 1/500th of a second should suffice. It is always good to experiment.

You may find that the blur of the motion in the frame can add to the dynamic nature of the shot. If using a slower shutter speed for this, use a tripod to steady the camera or brace yourself against a static object. When using slow shutter speeds to show this blur, a shot will usually look better if there is a part of the frame that is sharp as a reference point.

Distance between camera and the athlete
If you are shooting sport on a field or oval the players are often a bit of a distance away. You need a long lens to bring the action in close. Sports shots will suffer if you are either not close enough to the action or not able to bring it up close enough with a long lens. An effective sports image needs to make the viewer of the image feel like they are there. Surf photography is an example that requires a long lens due to the distance from the action. It is not unusual for top surf photographers to use a 600mm lens. Sports photographers will often shoot with anything from a 200mm lens right up to a 1200mm lens.

On the flipside, at times the physical distance from the sportsperson needs to and can be much closer. Action sports such as BMX, skating, scootering can benefit from a closer perspective. When shooting freestyle action sports often there is a relationship between the rider and the terrain, urban environment, ramp or jump and this is often best represented close up. The dynamic nature of the movement of the rider in conjunction with the relationship to the board, bike, or scooter looks good at a close perspective. A wide lens skews that perspective and can emphasise scale, adding to the impressive nature of the trick. A second purchase after the camera for an avid action sports shooter is often a fisheye or wide angle lens.

This can be a challenge in many facets of sports shooting with both low and high amounts of light causing problems. Games are often held at night in stadiums and sports fields and when you have to shoot at a high shutter speed to freeze the action it does not give you much leeway. To combat this you need a good (fast) aperture on your lens to let in the most light and good low light performance on your camera (high ISO) makes a big difference. Shooting in a stadium during the day also has its issues with the variance in light between sun and shade. Shooting in direct sunlight is always a challenge and if you’re not close enough to balance the light with some fill-flash if can be hard to contend with. A good availability of light does make for a faster shutter speed which is beneficial.

Focus can be hard to get right when shooting sports because of the fast moving overlapping subjects and changing light you will need a camera with advanced focusing options (7D mkII just announced). Some cameras utilise a high end focus tracking that can preempt the movement of the subject and is able to identify when someone else crosses into frame. Game sports have people moving around in front of the subject you are shooting and the cameras autofocus system needs to be advanced enough to understand where to hold focus on your main subject.

Experiment and try lots of different things. Try to create images that stand out from the standard images you see in the genres of sports photography, choose a different angle or perspective to display a unique viewpoint.

A look at outstanding images from a large event like the Olympic Games will yield an artistic set of images that represents the moment by highlighting the action, the event, the light, a reaction, interaction, all captured in a unique way.

Images © Nick Hodgskin 2014.

Just Announced - Canon 7D MKII & More!

Every two years, the photographic industry turns toward Photokina, the world's leading imaging convention. This event unites trade, professionals and consumers with a photographic passion and this year is set to be huge.

10PM AEST: Canon have just announced three new cameras and three lenses.

Among these is the highly anticipated EOS 7D Mark II DSLR. Here's a rundown list of key features that showcase the EOS 7D MKII's superb value for both photographers and videographers -
  • 20.2 MP APS-C CMOS Sensor
  • 65 Point Auto Focus System
  • 10 FPS Continuous Shooting in RAW & JPG
  • Dual Canon DIGIC 6 Image Processors
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF
  • Full HD Movie Recording with 60p Support
  • Selectable File Formats including MP4
  • Intelligent Viewfinder II with Approx. 100% Frame Coverage
  • Uncompressed HDMI Support
  • Microphone Input & Headphone Socket
  • Built-in GPS
  • Integrated Speedlite Transmitter
  • 150K Pixel RGB Metering Sensor
  • Dual CF & SD Card Slots
  • Interval Timer
Given the predicted high demand and brilliant specifications, this gem will be a hot seller upon release so we strongly advise potential buyers to act right away!

Pre-order the Canon EOS 7D Mark II -

Body Only
Super Kit
Platinum Kit

Also announced is the new PowerShot G7X which Canon claims to be their most powerful compact camera produced to-date. If a user friendly, lightweight and feature-packed point-and-shoot is to your taste, then this is the one for you (it even has a 180 degree flip screen for selfies)!

Here are the key features of this pocket sized offering -
  • 24mm Wide Angle F/1.8 Lens
  • 1.0"-type Back-Illuminated 20.2MP CMOS Sensor
  • Canon DIGIC 6 Imaging Processor
  • Canon HS System
  • Full HD 60p Movie Recording
  • Full Manual Control
  • 31 Point AF
  • Built-In HDR Mode
  • Star Trails & Star Time Lapse Movie Mode
  • 180 Degree Tilt-able LCD Touchscreen
  • RAW File Mode
Pre-order the pocket rocket PowerShot G7X

For those who prefer an ultra high powered zoom, the new PowerShot SX60 HS is Canon's most powerful SuperZoom camera to-date. Boasting a mammoth 65x optical zoom and 130x Zoomplus (equivalent to 21-1365mm!), framing your subjects from a distance has never been easier. This one is highly recommended for travellers.

Key Features of the SX60 HS -

  • Zoom Framing Assist Button
  • Built-in NFC & WiFi
  • Built-in HDR mode
  • 3.0" Vari-angle LCD Screen
  • Full Manual Control
  • Manual Movie Mode
  • 922K Dot EVF
  • Canon DIGIC 6 Image Processor
  • Canon HS System
  • 21-1365mm (35mm Equivalent) f/3.4 - 6.5 Super Telephoto Zoom Lens
Pre-order the PowerShot SX60 HS travel beast

Alongside the above cameras, Canon have also announced the following lenses to their already impressive portfolio. Click on the links to pre-order each respective lens.

EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM

EF-S 24MM f/2.8 STM


That's a wrap from Canon for now. Stay tuned as we continue to bring you the latest news and announcements from the leading manufacturers at Photokina 2014!