Dealing with Fences

Discussion in 'Sports' started by zackojones, Aug 15, 2007.

  1. Yesterday I gave shooting a softball game a try and got mixed results. At first
    I started out shooting from the stands and had heard that when using a zoom you
    could "see through" the fence by getting close to it. How close do you have to
    get? I was about 5 feet or so from it and in some photos you can clearly see
    the fence. In others, especially those where I used manual focus, the fence
    doesn't seem to show up.

    I later moved down past the first base dugout and shot from behind first base
    and those look good since I didn't have to worry about shooting through the
    fence as I could shoot over it. Next time I think I'm going to bring a small
    foot stool though so I'll be a little higher over the fence when shooting from
    that location.

    Also recommendations on lenses would be welcomed. I only used the 200mm lens
    yesterday and will need to use something shorter when shooting behind the
    plate. Would a 50mm lens work there?

    Thanks in advance for any tips you can pass along.
     
  2. You have to get right up to the fence (Or as close as you can get). If your lens has a focus limiter switch, set it to the position with the longer minimum focus distance, so AF won't be confused by the fence.
     
  3. By getting close to the fence and focusing on the distance, you're putting the wire so far
    outside the zone of focus that it blurs into a gray translucent fog. It's not so much that
    you're seeing through it; rather, you're sort of seeing "around" the wires. The fence is still
    there in the shots, though -- If you compare two images, you'll notice that the ones shot
    through the fence are a little greyer and flatter.

    The reason this works is specifically because you are using a long lens which has a very
    narrow depth of field. If you go down to something like a 50, you'll have a much harder
    time getting the fence to disappear, if you can do it at all; the depth of field is much
    larger. If you need to get close, you're better off sticking the lens through a hole than
    trying to blur the fence to invisibility. I would recommend taking a 35 or 28 (or their
    equivalents for your sensor, if you have a DSLR) and putting it though a hole in the fence
    to get shots at the plate. 50mm might work great if you want slightly closer cropping.
     
  4. Use long focal length, place front of lens as close as possible behind the fence (presumably chain link,) and set aperture wide open. Essentially, when doing so, the fence is much, much closer than the lens' minimum focusing distance (AF won't register) while long focal length & large aperture provides shallow depth-of-field that effectively blur away any seemingly visible, nearby fence. With shorter focal lengths, as above said, you'll most likely have to stick the lens through the fence to avoid it being captured, but that will expose a potential damage to your equipment by a foul ball.
    00MF1r-37961084.jpg
     
  5. Thanks for all of the advice, I do appreciate it. I will try these techniques at the next softball game I shoot. Tomorrow night is another football scrimmage game.
     
  6. See this thread, linesmans plier wasn't it Dan?

    http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00M0if
     
  7. ha ha Mark, I read that thread, lineman pliers -- I think not :)
     
  8. So Mark I decided to try those lineman pliers afterall - worked great! Check out the attached shot I got with no fence in the way......just kidding. I shot this through the fence :)
    00MKhi-38123084.JPG
     
  9. Nice, for really thick chain link fence I'd recommend a blow tourch.

    Nice shot.
     

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