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Old 10th of April 2012 (Tue)   #1
dachness
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Default Football Photography advice

I would like to shoot Gridiron football as a hobby. My brother in law plays for one of the teams and I would like to primarily get shots of him and his team.

Its my understanding that 1-2 photographers cover the games. I sent an email to the league asking what is necissary to gain sideline access.

The locations of the games are typically HS fields with two of the games being at our Aloha Stadium. The games are late afternoon to evening. From what I have read it seems like a 300-400mm FL is typically used for football.

My proposed equipment:

60D
EF 70-200 2.8 IS II
Keno 1.4x PRO DGX
Monopod(+QR attachment?)
Rain protection gear
Battery grip

The 70-200 2.8 will be purchased refurbished from canon. Is the 1.4x TC needed? Also would a monopod be reccomended? I am 5' 8", any thoughts on a QR system or do I screw directly onto the lens mount? What's a cheap rain protection solution? Also I assume a grip would be beneficial for the portrait orentiation.

For the last three items I assume they are mostly optional but highly reccomended. Budget for all three would be ~$200, the less I can spend the better.
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Last edited by dachness : 28th of April 2012 (Sat) at 05:44.
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Old 10th of April 2012 (Tue)   #2
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Default Re: Football gear advice

U.S. gridiron football with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, a non-stabilized Sigma unit, and a Canon 60D.



Focal Length: 118.0mm
Aperture: f/3.2
Exposure Time: 0.0010 s (1/1000)
ISO equiv: 3200
Exposure Bias: none
Metering Mode: Matrix
Exposure: shutter priority (semi-auto)
White Balance: Manual
Flash Fired: No (enforced)
Orientation: Normal
Color Space: sRGB






Focal Length: 144.0mm
Aperture: f/2.8
Exposure Time: 0.0025 s (1/400)
ISO equiv: 4000
Exposure Bias: none
Metering Mode: Matrix
Exposure: shutter priority (semi-auto)
White Balance: Auto
Flash Fired: No (enforced)
Orientation: Normal
Color Space: sRGB





Focal Length: 154.0mm
Aperture: f/3.5
Exposure Time: 0.0025 s (1/400)
ISO equiv: 2000
Exposure Bias: none
Metering Mode: Matrix
Exposure: Manual
Exposure Mode: Manual
White Balance: Auto
Flash Fired: No (enforced)
Orientation: Normal
Color Space: sRGB
GPS Coordinate: undefined, undefined



A 70-200mm f/2.8 lens is a good basic coverage lens for all sports. As shown in the example images, the lens' light-gathering ability, along with use of a high ISO, is useful for night games.

A 70-200mm f/2.8 is on the short side for U.S. gridiron football, where lenses in the 300mm-500mm range are in common use. Using the 70-200mm will require you to stay in constant motion on the sidelines to maintain a distance that leads to properly framed images, while a longer lens offers the luxury of staying in one spot. A teleconverter may help, as long as it doesn't slow the system's autofocus response, which is vital for a fast-moving game.

While larger primes require monopods for support, it's not likely that a 70-200mm f/2.8 is going to need one. That kind of lens is usually considered small and light enough to be operated by hand with no additional support.
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Old 11th of April 2012 (Wed)   #3
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Default Re: Football gear advice

Thank you for sharing. I think I will start out hand held and only get a monopod if I truly need one. What was the process for sideline access? Are there any rules/limitations for photographers?

What are your pictures used for?
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Old 19th of April 2012 (Thu)   #4
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Default Re: Football gear advice

I purchased the EF 70-200 2.8 IS II. I hope to be shooting my first game this Sunday. I have yet to speak with the league about side line access. Any one have any advice?

I plan to shoot AV and adjust ISO to keep shutter speed 1/640 or higher, AI Servo w/ BBF. I will be shooting hand held with out an extender.

What do people suggest regarding IS modes? Any one have suggestions on shooting landscape vs portrait orientation for football?
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Old 20th of April 2012 (Fri)   #5
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Default Re: Football gear advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by dachness View Post
I plan to shoot AV and adjust ISO to keep shutter speed 1/640 or higher
Av mode is a good place to start, but if you have fairly stable light, use Av to get a starting point for exposures and then switch to M with those settings.

Av metering can be thrown off by the different jersey colors. One team is usually wearing a dark jersey and the other team is usually assigned a white or light-color jersey. Auto exposure will tend to underexpose for the light jersey and over-expose for the dark jersey... you'll want to expose consistently for the faces regardless of the uniform. M mode will help you do that.

But M mode also requires a little more monitoring on your part. If the ambient light is fading (dusk/sunset), or you have clouds rolling in and out during the game, or if part of the field is in the shade or shadows, then Av mode can be useful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dachness View Post
What do people suggest regarding IS modes?
My rule of thumb is that IS is most useful with SS < 1/focal length. So if you're shooting 200mm, even if you factor in the sensor crop factor of 1.6x, as long as your SS is faster than 1/320 (which it should be since for sports you'll want to be faster than 1/640, ideally closer to 1/1000"), then you don't need IS.

But aside from battery life, there's no real harm in keeping IS on. The older lenses with IS (like 100-400) take a while to spin up, but the newer IS like 70-200 II do much better. IS can also be useful with super-teles (400L, 600L) to keep the viewfinder stable, making it easier to keep the focus point on the subject.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dachness View Post
Any one have suggestions on shooting landscape vs portrait orientation for football?
I prefer portrait mode 90% of the time. Fill the frame with the subject. Football players are standing/running. But if you aren't close enough to fill the frame with a single player, then horizontal/landscape orientation can allow you to include defensive/opposing interaction.

Avoid amputating limbs. If you can't get the toes and fingers, then go much tighter. If you can't include both feet in the frame, then compose/crop above the knees.
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Old 20th of April 2012 (Fri)   #6
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Default Re: Football gear advice

Thank you for the advice. My lens didn't ship yet so it looks like I will have to wait til next week for shooting my first game.
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Old 20th of April 2012 (Fri)   #7
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Default Re: Football gear advice

Get a seat, a fishing or camping stool. More important than a monopod, since you ought to be shooting at a high ss.
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Old 20th of April 2012 (Fri)   #8
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Default Re: Football gear advice

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Originally Posted by Hannya View Post
Get a seat, a fishing or camping stool. More important than a monopod, since you ought to be shooting at a high ss.
I've never seen a seat on the sidelines of a football game. I doubt it would be allowed. Even if it was, I don't think it would be safe. Plus, since the OP only has a 200mm max, he should remain mobile to stay with the action as it moves up and down the field.

Get low, yes. But kneel. Stay mobile and stay safe.
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Old 20th of April 2012 (Fri)   #9
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Default Re: Football gear advice

I had not thought about perspective change of standing vs kneeling.

Sounds like knee pads would be highly reccomended? I have seen these mentioned before: Alta Tactical. Do you have any suggestions.

Also with portrait orientation being the goal it seems like a grip might be useful.
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Old 20th of April 2012 (Fri)   #10
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Default Re: Football gear advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by dachness View Post
Also with portrait orientation being the goal it seems like a grip might be useful.
Yes, it is VERY useful. And also for the fact that you can pop 2 batteries in there. When I had my gripped 7D I never ran low on any job.
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Old 28th of April 2012 (Sat)   #11
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Default Re: Football gear advice

Just wanted to give everyone an update. I spoke with the league http://gridironhawaii.com/ and they will give me sideline access with a catch. They would like one shot from each game I shoot(for use on their website for weekly recaps etc). If they use my image they will give me credit for the shot. Any suggestions, on what resolution file I should provide?

I didn't want to do it initially, but they were pretty set on it. I am primarily there to get shots of my brother in-law playing so its a small price to pay for being able to get better shots from the sideline.

My current setup will be a gripped 60D and 70-200 f/2.8L IS II. Don't have knee pads, so not sure how kneelling will work out. I may try to find some at the hardware store. I am still debating on picking up 1.4X. There is a 1.4X II available for $225 locally but the seller hasn't responded.

I will be shooting my first game this Sunday at 4PM.
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Old 29th of April 2012 (Sun)   #12
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Default Re: Football gear advice

Let's see how you got on.
I came across this
http://thediscerningphotographer.com...football-game/
Might be helpful.
One pic from a game is doable, and if you're not earning money from it, why not?
Envying you in Hawaii from the rain-soaked UK ...
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Old 29th of April 2012 (Sun)   #13
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Default Re: Football gear advice

Hannya thank you for the link. Kick off is about 7 hours away.
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Old 30th of April 2012 (Mon)   #14
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Default Re: Football gear advice

The game went will. I shot a little over 900 photos. I shot RAW using manual mode and checked the histogram often. Kept shutter speeds of 1/1000 or higher. I found that center FP worked best for me as using the higher FP resulted in too much field in the frame. I am extremely happy with my results for my first time. I improved alot from the beginning of the game. I had a some OOF shots, one which would have been the MONEY shot (a catch).

Things I need to work on include: anticipating the action(ie: a catch), using FL wisely and preserving my memory buffer for when its truly needed.

This is the shot that I sent to the league. I will try to post more shots when I have a chance.

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Old 3rd of May 2012 (Thu)   #15
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Default Re: Football gear advice

nice.
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