For almost a quarter of a century, Montreal photographer André Pichette has thrilled Canadians with images of the leading personalities in a wide range of Olympic and professional sports.
André Pichette’s unique perspective and perseverence in difficult photographic situations has produced images that have appeared in many of the leading publications of the world – including, among others, Paris Match, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, USA Today, Gala, and, of course, a long list of photo enthusiast magazines! We asked André to share some of his experience with PHOTO News readers – his suggestions will help you enhance your skills for a range of sports and action photography this summer!
How does a sports photographer pick the best vantage point for each sport?
Above all, you have to understand the sport, because you must not forget that you are a photojournalist – your photo tells the story of the event that you are covering. Of course, this does not infringe upon your artistic perspective, and the creation of a beautiful image. Adapting a different point of view for your photos can often produce a very different image, that covers the sport from a new and imaginative perspective.
What technique do you use to track focus?
I use the AF Servo mode on my Canon system, which works beautifully – but you must always anticipate the movement to capture the best results.
What are your basic tips for setting ISO, shutter speed, and aperture for the various images?
It all depends on the sport – whether it is indoor or outdoor, and what quality of ambient light is available. With a fast /2.8 lens you can use the highest possible shutter speeds combined with a low ISO setting. Today, with the Canon EOS 1D Mark IV, almost every shot is possible with good results up to ISO 12,000, but I always try to keep the ISO as low as possible for the best image quality.
Do you shoot RAW, then post process each image, or shoot JPEG?
I always shoot RAW because the quality of the image is so far superior that it makes a big difference in the final photograph. With the large image file you retain the highest quality, and you have the greatest amout of latitude for colour correction and post-processing the image.
Can the average photographer achieve similar results with consumer level DSLR cameras and lenses?
The images and the quality of the photographs can be obtained with a wide range of equipment, but each camera system will produce slightly different results. Personally, I can see a difference in the colours rendered by the various cameras and lenses. There are other differences as well – for example, if you use a lens with a slower maximum aperture (f/5.6 rather than f/2.8) you may have to use a higher ISO, or a slower shutter speed, and this may produce a less impressive result, even on a pro-level camera. On the other hand, some cameras may not have autofocus capailities as effective as the pro-calibre models, and this may produce fewer successful images, even with the best lenses.
To savour the visual impact of Andre’s favourite images, please visit his website at www.andrepichette.com
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