Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Football: Crab Bowl Practice

This evening I was assigned to photograph some Maryland football recruits practicing for the upcoming Crab Bowl on Saturday at Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson MD. I photographed the squad on Tuesday evening during a dinner and in the process got to know several of them. After chasing them down several times I got to learn some of their names, numbers, and what they actually looked like. That helped a lot tonight.

I also took some time today and typed up a list of the players I was interested in hitting this evening at practice. The official Crab Bowl roster contains probably 60 players and I'm interested in approximately 10 of them. Narrowing that list down to something that is the size of an index card is tremendously valuable while you're racing around the sideline and on the field looking for your subjects.

I shot with both bodies tonight because I wanted to use a combination of glass. I wanted the 300mm lens so that I could capture 2 items of interest: close-ups between plays and in the huddle, and receptions down the field. A 300mm gives great reach for both situations. I also wanted the versatile 70-200mm workhorse lens that I seemingly always use. It's a perfect focal range for getting pretty close-in on your subjects but it can also go out wide enough to capture full-body shots from a pretty close distance.

Once again I was back up in the high ranges of ISOs: 3200 and above. The lights on the practice field are obviously considerably darker than the lights in Byrd Stadium or in Comcast, so I had to resort to high ISOs and slow shutter speeds for proper exposure. No flirting around with f/3.5 or f/4 tonight - I was wide open at f/2.8 and I slowed down to a dangerous 1/125th from time to time to properly expose at ISO 3200. I realize I could've got up considerably higher in the ISOs (I've sold photos shot at night at 6400) but I like to keep the ISO as low as I can for the shot I want.

I considered activating VR on both the lenses but opted against it in the end. I'm not sure how much VR helps once you work above 1/125th a second shutter. My hand was steady enough on most of my 1/250th shots but there was some jitter on some of my 1/125th shots.

Post-processing went pretty quickly and I was able to push up the photos to the site. So far we've heard very good things about our coverage of the Crab Bowl - both parents and coaches are keeping an eye out for us and asking us about buying photos.


Post a Comment