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05-14-2010, 10:48 AM   #1
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Shooting football (American)

We are thinking about visiting the New England Patriots training camp this July. We've been in the past but not since I started this whole photography thing, that's for sure. Anyway, what are some of the key things I should keep in mind while snapping action photos of the players (shutter speed, tripod, aperture, etc.)?

During training camp they usually hold practice in the morning and then they have an afternoon session later in the day, so depending on the weather, those are the lighting situations I'll be dealing with. The one good thing is that you are relatively close to the action at training camp versus being in the stadium. Therefore, you don't 'need' a big honkin' lens (like the photo pros use on the sidelines) to get a great shot. I mean the players are literally just feet away in some instances. I only have my 70-300mm Tamron and my kit 18-55, so that's going to have to do!

So again, just wondering if anyone has some tips I should keep in mind while capturing my beloved Patriots on film. Any examples you could share?

Thanks guys.

05-14-2010, 11:06 AM   #2
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For action, you should do some experimenting with shutter speed at first, within a range like 1/90 to 1/350. The slow end will give the impression of motion, the fast end will freeze everything. Both effects are useful, and will keep all your shots from being the same. Panning also increases the impression of motion. Since shutter speed is a dominant factor here, Tv mode is a good starting point.
05-15-2010, 05:03 AM   #3
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Football is actually pretty easy to photograph if the stadium is open and the sun is shining. I managed to get two shots in the Pntax Photo Gallery, both shot with a consumer lens, and from afar (FA 100-300 f4,7-5,8). Instead of working with shutter speed, I suggest you set your camera to the highest ISO value you feel confortable with, and use the widest aperture that you you like on your lens. Then pre-focus as much as you can, and if you can keep both eyes open, one in the viewfinder to see what you will capture, and one looking at the field to anticipate better the action.

Practice makes perfect. Here's what you can expect:



05-16-2010, 05:29 PM   #4
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I only go down to 1/350 when I have no choice, I try for a minimum shutter speed of 1/750, with 1/500 being okay.

05-17-2010, 03:41 AM   #5
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In training camp, you don't get the spectacle of uniforms or regular play. It's more drills and working out, so be prepared for that.

I would concentrate more on the human side of it, like the guys interacting off the field and such, making fun of someone on the field, etc.

Plus, they're not helmeted on the sidelines, which give you facial expressions.
05-17-2010, 10:21 AM   #6
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The glass will likely be adequate.

Generally, monopods will help you greatly shooting football. The nice thing about it being a training camp session is that you may get the opportunity to sort of walk around amid all the activities there, and even see things from angles you wouldn't in game-play, like if they are doing drills. It depends what you're allowed to do, really. I've actually seen Pats training camp, but it wasn't as part of a tour or anything formal, and I had 'Being Like Twelve Years Old' privileges.
05-18-2010, 10:54 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
In training camp, you don't get the spectacle of uniforms or regular play. It's more drills and working out, so be prepared for that.

I would concentrate more on the human side of it, like the guys interacting off the field and such, making fun of someone on the field, etc.

Plus, they're not helmeted on the sidelines, which give you facial expressions.
05-18-2010, 10:57 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
The glass will likely be adequate.

Generally, monopods will help you greatly shooting football. The nice thing about it being a training camp session is that you may get the opportunity to sort of walk around amid all the activities there, and even see things from angles you wouldn't in game-play, like if they are doing drills. It depends what you're allowed to do, really. I've actually seen Pats training camp, but it wasn't as part of a tour or anything formal, and I had 'Being Like Twelve Years Old' privileges.


05-18-2010, 10:59 AM   #9
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I have to agree with bdery. First decide your ISO and the aperture that works or the one your want to use. Balance the first two to get a usable shutter speed.
Since it is practice, you should be able to take advantage of patterned drills to have a good idea which direction people will be moving...
05-18-2010, 11:02 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
Football is actually pretty easy to photograph if the stadium is open and the sun is shining. I managed to get two shots in the Pntax Photo Gallery, both shot with a consumer lens, and from afar (FA 100-300 f4,7-5,8). Instead of working with shutter speed, I suggest you set your camera to the highest ISO value you feel confortable with, and use the widest aperture that you you like on your lens. Then pre-focus as much as you can, and if you can keep both eyes open, one in the viewfinder to see what you will capture, and one looking at the field to anticipate better the action.

Practice makes perfect. Here's what you can expect:



05-18-2010, 11:29 AM   #11
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I always anticipate the play for sequence shots. For action, I try to use 1/500 or faster shutter speeds. I also try to check ahead as to what size lens I can get in with. At FSU games, they had no issue with the DA 55-300mm. I don't know about the DA* 300mm. They may balk at it. However, at Division II stadiums, I had no problem getting in with my Tamron 180mm f2.5 SP lens. Getting in with a monopod may be a no-go unless you are getting in with a press pass.

Night game sequence with the 180mm:





05-18-2010, 11:32 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Naturenut Quote
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Did you see the Pats train for the 2007 season? The one that my Giants destroyed for them?

05-18-2010, 11:32 AM   #13
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Day game with the DA 55-300mm



05-18-2010, 11:42 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
Did you see the Pats train for the 2007 season? The one that my Giants destroyed for them?

05-18-2010, 11:44 AM   #15
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Do any of you use a teleconvertor while shooting football? I don't have one but I'm thinking about getting one.
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