Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ahhh, so THAT'S why I carry all this gear! (This one is for all the gadget nerds, like me)

Saturday afternoon was fun, Abilene High played it's homecoming football game... have I mentioned how much I LOVE daytime football? Especially high school games. Why? Because unlike NFL and college games, which are so damn restrictive, high school games usually let you shoot from just about anywhere... except on the field. The daylight is a plus. The great thing about Saturday was I able to use all three cameras I brought with me.
I'm often given a hard time for all the gear I carry with me. My typical setup for shooting football is three camera bodies (D3, D2x, and a D2Hs), a 400m f2.8 on the D3, 70-200mm f2.8 VR on the D2x, and the D2Hs has a 35mm f2.0 (during night games) or a 17-35mm f2.8 (day games). In my camera bag I keep an SB-800 flash, 14mm f2.8, 1.4x and 2.0x (day games only) teleconverters, extra batteries, flash cards, gaffers tape etc.
My reasoning for carrying all this is, I treat every game exactly the same. Great photos can be made at peewee games just as easily as while shooting the pros. The talent is better in the pros, but the access sucks and there are usually 10 other guys getting the same shot as you. In the peewees and high school the access is a helluva lot better, the talent obviously isn't there, but great photos can be made, you just need to find them... and be ready when they happen.
My feeling on luck is it is a combination of good karma and being prepared. Yeah everyone can be lucky and even the blind squirrel find a nut every once in a while, but with a little preparation and knowledge of what you're shooting your chance of getting lucky goes up. That's where 20 or 30 something pounds of gear comes in. It is physically impossible to switch lenses in the amount of time that a pass is in the air before it hits the receiver's hands (at least for me is). So, having a camera around my neck with a wide angle lens zone focused to a few feet in front of me and set to f8 (daylight football gives you this nice latitude, it's f2 at night) allows me to shoot blindly. Composing the frame is second to getting the shot, on plays like this the first thing you do is raise the camera and bang off the shutter as I'm bringing the camera to my eye. More often than not is doesn't work, or not that well... but damn when it does it just makes the day!

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