New York Islanders vs Washington Captials Nov. 5th, 2013, a set on Flickr.
There are a couple of take aways about Photography. One is I’m always learning, by no means a master, much less a journeyman. I’m barely a lowly apprentice, still learning the trade. From which lens to use, to what my settings should be, from picking pictures to post processing.
I decided to go with the wife’s 1DX body instead of the 5DIII, mainly because I knew at some point I was going to want to use the machine gun option on the 1D that isn’t really available with the 5D.
I also brought along two lenses. The Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x Extender, as well as the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens. I couldn’t get my mono pod through security, even though I scoured the website to see if it wasn’t allowed. The 200-400 is a pretty beastly lens, and really needs to have that monopod support. However, my knee/leg did pretty well.
I started with the 200-400 during warmups, and quickly decided that it was just too much lens for where I was sitting. It was difficult to capture surrounding action. It can be seen in the first Ovechkin picture where I completely missed the head of his stick. That would have been a really good shot if I had captured it all. It’s also partially my noob-ness to it as well, if I had been better/quicker to the punch I’d have zoomed out.
After warmups I switched over to the 70-200, not only was it not as cumbersome, it was also the lens I was going to end up using throughout the game. Plus, if anyone was going to sit in front of me, that 200-400 was going to be like a very large club.
A couple of things. One, no one sat in front of me, so I could have kept using the 200-400…but I also had one of the door men/aisle men come up to me and tell me that “if someone came to me because I was using too professional of a lens that I’d have to put it away.” Which is really one of the dumbest fucking things I’ve heard in a while. Having a big lens means one of a couple things, either one, yes I’m a professional, or two, I have ( had ) too much money to spend…figure out which one…anyway, idiotic rules aside…there is, much like with the mono pod, no specific rule about lens sizes for cameras…there use to be, about five years ago…but not now. So there’s a miscommunication/lack of education amongst the contractors working at the venue.
My overall take of it. Being a “professional” sports photog sorta sucks. I didn’t get to enjoy the game as much as I normally do. I was too busy trying to get _the picture_. I think the final count was 967 photos taken. Of those, I was able to pare down to approximately 155 pictures, things I considered acceptable. Of those 155 pictures, I got it down to 50 pictures. They’re not all great, they’re mostly good, but there are some that I could have left on the “cutting room floor”. My hand was feeling it towards the end, holding the camera in a shooting position for three plus hours. Then there’s all the post processing. I probably spent, conservatively, eight to maybe ten hours just going through pictures and doing post process work on them. And by post process, I mean mostly nothing more convoluted than initial RAW color correction, cropping, saving, uploading. Maybe 20 to 30 percent of them I had to do some type of manipulation, such as content aware fill, rubber stamp, free form, but by and large, not any real heavy lifting.
I enjoyed it, it was great to be able to get the big lens out during an “off” night game…I don’t think the seats are nearly as cheap or readily available during a weekend game. Whether I’ll do it again or not is up in the air, for the most part I’m leaning towards no, but ya never know!
Oh, as an aside. A buddy of mine happened to be at the game too, he took an iPhone photo and placed it up on Facebook…I told him that I was in the picture! ( The wife and I were little red smudges, only b/c I knew where we were sitting could I point us out ), so I found a picture of him in it as well, I probably had about five or six pictures with him in it, that I didn’t know until I decided to look for him. And yes, he’s in one of the 50 pictures I’ve posted up.