Hello all! It’s been a while since I have written anything, but it is because I have been up to some fun stuff. I asked my friend, Dylan Heuer, a professional sports photographer if I could borrow his photography equipment so I could gain some insight into the hobby I intend to become involved with after graduation. He did me one better. He took me to an annual 5K run on campus called the Freezefest 5K run, a basketball/hockey game, and allowed me to use his own equipment for my own photo shoot. These experiences will be split into three different blog posts, so let us begin with the basketball/hockey game on February 1, 2013.
When I parked my bike and went up to the doors that led to the Clark Gymnasium at RIT, I was momentarily overwhelmed with strobe lights going off during the women’s basketball game versus the Skidmore thoroughbreds. I went through the memory banks and realized that I had never seen the permanently installed strobe lights inside the gym. I looked for and found Heuer, who was busy taking shots of the heated game between the two teams. He was excited about the 6 overhead strobes because prior to his knowledge of the lighting system inside the gym, his photos always had a noticeable amount of noise, and to any photographer, unless intended, that is frustrating. We then shot the entire game with a Canon 7D body paired with either a 70-200mm f/2.8L or 16-35mm f/2.8L lens. I do not have any photos shot by me that I can show, but I do have a few of Dylan’s, as can be seen below:
#22, Kara Wheeler
#5 Leslie Havens Driving to the net
#22 Kara Wheeler Attempting a Layup
The strobes can be seen going off in sync with the camera. There were two obvious challenges, though. The strobes, once they go off, need to be given time to recover the power lost by flashing. When this happens and there are multiple photographers covering the event, the strobes will not go off immediately after someone who has access, uses it. For instance, if a photographer takes her shot and then Heuer attempts to take one of his own right after, his photo will be dark while the girl will have a perfectly lit photo. This caused Dylan to miss some decent shots.
Another issue with strobes was that Dylan could not spam the shutter button because that would just cause the strobes to become an unnecessary distraction to the players. He had to be selective with what shots he took. This took the level of mastery of sports photography to a whole new level. This is when he gained even more respect from me because he took some decent shots.
I actually put whatever photographic skills I had to use at this game. The things I found difficult were controlling the zoom and auto-focusing when the field was either running away or towards me. I had to spam the button repeatedly to get a shot that was actually in focus. That game was when I also realized I did not have the manly forearms required to hold up the heavy 70-200 lens. I nearly drowned in shame as my manhood was weighed down.
When the game wrapped up, the men’s hockey game was starting. It was RIT vs. Connecticut. Already tired from the basketball game, I was not prepared for the extremely FAST pace of a division I game… I have been to more than a few hockey games myself, but I have never once been at eye level with the players with a camera in hand. It was actually difficult for me to keep track of the puck since a lot of things were happening at once: the rowdy crowd, my lack of skill with the camera, and the fast paced game.
It was an excellent weekend of sports photography. I think I’m going to stick with portraiture photography, ha ha.
Blink with meaning,