Astro Turf Woes…

Some people know that when I was at Purdue I shot all of the sports as part of my time passing through the University.  Sometimes it was for the school yearbook, sometimes it was for the University, but either way my time shooting sports at Purdue pretty much ruined sporting events for me.  Those of you IU fans out there will say it’s because it was Purdue Sports.  Alas that was not the case though.  Purdue Sports ruined sporting events for me because I had the best seat in the house either on the field, court, or other.  Once you’ve covered so many games like that it’s hard to sit and watch from the nosebleed section.  I’ve always wanted to get back into it at least a little bit in some way, but there’s not always opportunity to just rush onto the sidelines of a basketball or Football game.  There’s calls that have to be made, there’s people that have to be talked to and really more often than not you need a good reason to be there; at least a better reason than just wanting to be there.    If you get really lucky, then what happened to me will happen to you:  You’ll get invited.

(Nikon D4, 2500ISO, Nikon AF-S 300mm F2.8 with a TC14eII taking me to 420mm.  1/1000th@F5)

My friend James Willis over at Roberts here in Indy has a son named Kevin (the lineman above) who was recently offered a Scholarship at IU to play football.  As a Sophomore at Lawrence Central.  James knew that I had been trying to get back into shooting some sports so he invited me to shoot one of their home games to get my feet wet.  Lawrence Central vs Perry Meridian here in Indianapolis was actually the game.  Lawrence Central won by a long shot, and the second half of the game was pretty boring.  The first half of the game through provided ample opportunity for me to try to get “back into the game” if you will; and I greatly appreciated that.

(Nikon D4, 6400ISO, Nikon AFS 300mm F2.8D with a Nikon TC14eII to take me to 420mm.  1/1000th@F4)

Shooting football is pretty straight forward to me.  It’s been almost 7 years since I’ve shot a football game from the sidelines, so I was a little rusty.  Shooting football starts out like any other sport and that’s with a specific formula of actions.  1/1000th shutter speed, at usually a wide open aperture unless you’re using a teleconverter.  If you’re shooting close with a 600mm then you can stop it down a bit because your depth of field will be limited by focal length, but I didn’t have that problem/advantage that particular night.  Second biggest thing to the equation is getting low.  More often than not when I was on the field for a game I shot either sitting or kneeling.  Getting low clears up the background and  makes your athletes look larger than life, which for the men or women doing what most of us only wish we could; is exactly the way they are meant to be viewed.  When I was shooting on my own (as opposed to with a few co-shooters) I would usually kneel since I could get up to run down the field to catch action.  If you’re going to go that approach don’t forget knee pads though (like I did that night) because your knees will regret it.  Especially if you’re covering a team that plays on Astro Turf. (which this team was).

(Nikon D4, 6400ISO, Nikon AFS 300mmF2.8D, Nikon TC14eII to take me to 420mm.  1/1000th@F4.5)

It was fun.  Like I said, I don’t shoot a lot of sports anymore, but that’s ok.  There were some really great catches during the game that I only caught a few of.  One happened about 10 feet from me, but with a 300mm lens the shot was a little tight…  Just being a little rusty.  Any opportunity I can to get back on the field is a good opportunity in my mind because I enjoy it.  I’ve already decided I’m going to make an attempt to go back and really shoot the game with a proper 400mm running the field as I should.  Mostly I stayed at one end the night I shot these waiting for the action.  It didn’t do it for me, and I know that I can shoot football better than this.  Someone will let me try again at some point.  There is a lot of season left. It was definitely a departure from the normal for me.  No lights, or portraits just straight long lens action where I can see peoples faces; you either get the shot or you don’t.  Like I said; I missed it.

(Nikon D4, 1600ISO, Nikon AFS 300mm F2.8D, Nikon TC14eII taking me to 420mm.  1/1000th@F5)

Speaking of the normal though.  The next blog (which is mostly written already and was really supposed to be this entry but couldn’t be) is going to be about some new video gear called the Atomos Ninja 2.  If you’re a gear nerd, or know a video person watch out for the next post on here.  Not to give away the punchline, but this is a MUST HAVE for anybody that shoots HDSLR video with a camera capable of RAW HDMI video out.  In fact, I’ll even say that I’m going to buy one before the end of the year, and the guy who helped me evaluate the one I had already bought one because it ROCKS so much.  Keep your eyes open for that, because its gunna be big.  Until then though, it’s time to shoot some pictures.  More Soon.