As I continue on my quest to learn all that I can about taking photographs in different types of lighting, natural and artificial, indoors and outdoors, day and night, I am certain of several things:
1) No two situations are the same and you have to make adjustments to your settings based on the current situation, whether in the same lighting situation or not.
2) Shooting sporting events at night under artificial lights is not an ideal situation for less experienced photographers. Although I am nearly convinced that this isn't ideal for any photographer, but those with a broader knowledge base and very expensive equipment might be able to master it a bit better.
3) As mentioned in previous posts... photography is a lifelong learning experience. Each day I will learn something new, and will continue to learn new things, as long as my mind remains open to new ideas, new adventures and new situations.
So, let's go over some of the photos that I took at a local USA Jags football game a few days ago. Looking through the viewfinder I had a clear, crisp image with people and objects in focus. Looking at the small screen on the back of the camera confirmed what I saw, and I thought... wow, these photos are going to be great! Now, let's think about this for a minute....Sure, things look great on a 3.5 inch screen, but in reality when you put them on a 22 inch monitor and dive into your photo editing software it's a whole different ball game. Things that were crammed into view on that tiny little screen have now become a harsh reality that things just aren't that great. Actually, not even good. Grainy, poorly focused, harshly lit pictures are what the reality on the editing screen reveals. Faces and white objects were too brightly lit. Adjusting the contrast and clarity did nothing to make me feel better about the images. Highlights, shadows, exposure... same feelings. This is where changing the photos to black and white and starting from a new angle on things comes in. Now, I won't even pretend to think that the black and white images that I posted below are great. Stating they are good would even be a stretch. But, when faced with some of the poor lighting situations that can be encountered when shooting in different sources of light, sometimes you choose the lesser of the evils and are content with the better shot. Black and white photography, in my opinion, is very forgiving and can make a bold statement in your photos, even turning those that are less than great into something you can be happier with.
I will continue my journey, absorbing every bit of information that I can, learning something new each day, learning from my mistakes and working toward being the professional photographer that I aspire to be. In the meantime, the photos below are posted for supporting evidence that all lights are not created equal, and that black and white photography sometimes can salvage something from images that appeared to be discards.