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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Sports Talk 
Thread started 12 Sep 2010 (Sunday) 19:53
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Advice: Shooting Football

 
Pipernails
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Sep 12, 2010 19:53 |  #1

Hi,

I am renting a Canon 400mm f/2.8L IS (and monopod) for the first time. I will be using it with my Mark III 1D to shoot my son's football games. Since I have never dealt with a lens of this magnitude, I'd appreciate some advice.

Positioning:

- Should I position myself in the endzone when shooting the offense?
- Where should I position myself when shooting the defense?
- How many yards can I stay ahead of the play on offense and behind the play on defense with the 400mm?

Any other tips, suggestions, and advice is greatly appreciated.

On a separate note, I noticed when shooting burst mode in RAW, it takes several seconds to clear the buffer once it is filled. The camera gives a "busy" signal and I'm afraid of missing shots when this happens. Is it better to wait for that one shot or try and get a series of shots (ie. running back coming towards me)?

Thanks!
Laura




  
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Big ­ K
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Sep 12, 2010 21:39 |  #2

Pipernails wrote in post #10896678 (external link)
Hi,

I am renting a Canon 400mm f/2.8L IS (and monopod) for the first time. I will be using it with my Mark III 1D to shoot my son's football games. Since I have never dealt with a lens of this magnitude, I'd appreciate some advice.

Positioning:

- Should I position myself in the endzone when shooting the offense?
- Where should I position myself when shooting the defense?
- How many yards can I stay ahead of the play on offense and behind the play on defense with the 400mm?

Any other tips, suggestions, and advice is greatly appreciated.

On a separate note, I noticed when shooting burst mode in RAW, it takes several seconds to clear the buffer once it is filled. The camera gives a "busy" signal and I'm afraid of missing shots when this happens. Is it better to wait for that one shot or try and get a series of shots (ie. running back coming towards me)?

Thanks!
Laura

It really depends on the type of shot you are trying to get as to where is best to position yourself. You can shoot anywhere from the line of scrimmage to 35-40 yards downfield. I generally position myself based on where the light is best more than anything, trying to avoid the half sun half shade situations as much as possible.

Other tips, get it a few days early if at all possible and practice shooting with it. That lens is a monster and on a monopod it takes some time to get used to. You have such a narrow view through the viewfinder it is really hard to quickly change your aim.

Shoot from farther away than you think you should if the action is going to be coming toward you. What looks good through the viewfinder before the snap quickly changes as the action comes at you.

If you can maintain a fast shutter speed, I like to shoot at f/4. I think the images are sharper, the background still is plenty blurred and the additional DOF can be a lifesaver.

Also, don't get discouraged with OOF images if you are shooting tight. The DOF is so thin it happens a lot.

Get ready to answer lots of questions from people. That lens is an attention getter for sure.

You can search for my football photo posts on here to get an idea of where I was shooting from. I don't think I have any football photos on here that were not shot with that lens on a Mark III and very rarely do I crop anything I post here.

Any other questions let me know.

Have fun. Prime lenses have some limitations but the image quality is incredible.

One last suggestion, since you are renting, you might also consider trying a 300 f/2.8 sometime as well. It is a bit easier to manage and also has incredible image quality.

Regarding the buffer issue. Try to refrain from really long bursts of shots and you will be fine. That is one thing with using the 400 that will be less of an issue. Very few plays will last long enough for you max out the buffer with that lens since it is so long they will either be past you or so large in the display you won't have anything left to shoot.

I would also suggest investing in a Sandisk 16GB Extreme 60 MB/s card. I think it gives you almost 30 frames of burst shooting in RAW and clears out as fast as the camera can dump it and will hold around 1100 images. Even if you max out the buffer, you will have 10+ images available by the time the next play starts. You should also be able to shoot even while it is busy dumping.

I have only had one play in the past two years that I maxed out my buffer and it was a sideline to sideline scramble followed by an interception and a sideline to sideline return.


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tstowe
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Sep 15, 2010 19:16 |  #3

One other thing to think about...Try and get your set shots, then cover the action. Get the shot of the quarterback over the center, the down linemen, the receivers set on the line, etc. Then follow the action and try and get THE shot.


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clarence
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Sep 15, 2010 22:24 |  #4

Also try to keep your left eye open. This really helps you follow action (like receivers down field) with your peripheral vision while your right-eye is following the ball through the soda straw.

I think you can pretty much camp out in 4 spots... at the 25 yard line outside of the painted box where the coaches and players stand. Then once the line of scrimmage moves towards the red zone, move to behind the end zone. Repeat for the other side once possession changes. Keep an eye on the clock so you don't walk 100 yards just to walk right back when the quarter ends. I've been shooting this season with a 600/4L - I enjoy not having to constantly move to stay one step ahead of the chain gang like you usually do when shooting with a 200 or 300.

Day game or night game?


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Pipernails
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Sep 16, 2010 11:01 as a reply to  @ clarence's post |  #5

Thanks to everyone who has replied. I am grateful for all the advice.

To answer your question, my son's games will be played Sunday mornings at either 9:00am or 10:30am.

I will try and post some pics next week.

Wish me luck!!!




  
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clarence
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Sep 16, 2010 12:06 |  #6

Morning games are the best. Midday games give you harsh shadows under the helmets. Evening games give you fading light.

One other common tip that really helps a lot... shoot low. Sit or kneel.


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Rocketdun
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Sep 17, 2010 07:51 |  #7

One important thing is try to position yourself with the sun at your back vs shooting into the sun. You can start by shooting the line of scrimmage so you can follow the transfer of the ball from the quarter back to the backs. Do not think you have to shoot at the fastest frame rate with that rig you still want the best shots you can get. Shoot as many shots as you card will hold if you don't shoot them you won't have them. Clarence said it well shoot from low level most of the pros that shoot NFl games (and where they shoot is controlled to the end zone, the corners of the end zone etc) shoot low. Choose your subject if you shoot offense you want to shoot from a point where you can see the players faces, of course when the ball changes hands from offense to defense you will have to move to cover the players faces. A pro once said it's all about the faces, nobody wants to see #5 as he ran for that touchdown and all you can see is his number. Shoot the pre game warm ups, the players will be more relaxed their uniforms are not usually dirtied up, and you can get some good uncluttered action shots. Good luck. That is a sweet rig. Good Luck. You should be able to get some great shots.


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Advice: Shooting Football
FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Sports Talk 
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