Monday, October 17, 2011

Sports Shooting: From Soccer to Bull Running

The past two weekends I did some sports shooting in the Phoenix area.  On 8 October, I had the pleasure of shooting the Paradise Valley Community College women’s and men’s matches with South Mountain Community College.  I have a vested interested because I’m a professor at PVCC and know many of the players.  Then on 16 October, I went north a few miles to Cave Creek and photographed their version of the Running of the Bulls.

What equipment did I take and why?  Some of it was a guess.  I sure didn’t want to haul around a lot of useless equipment. 

For the soccer games, I decided on the 70-200mm Tamron lens with my Canon 7D put on a Manfrotto monopod.  Could I hand shoot with that lens?  Yes, it is possible, but it is a heavier lens that comes with a tripod/monopod collar.  I’m glad I took the monopod.  Not only does it give me a steadier platform, it also saved my arms from lifting that weight.  I also took the Hoodman loupe.  It’s a simple gizmo that costs about $80 but it is essential to view your photos in harsh Arizona sunlight. 

I’m glad I took that Tamron lens because the vast size of a soccer field.  You can’t physically cover the whole of a soccer field, so I appreciated the reach on the Tamron 70-200mm.  I might have also taken my wide angle lens to get a few “establishing shots” of the field and the players.  I could have also used my medium range lens, the Canon 28-135mm, for some action closer to me.  But I do hate to change lenses outside given the sometimes dusty conditions in Arizona.

On 16 October, I went to Cave Creek, just a few miles north of the PVCC campus.  It was the last day of the Running of the Bulls event.  For this shoot, I took my all purpose Tamron 18-270mm lens.  I smartly predicted an area with bulls, horses, and running people would be very very dusty and it was.  It would have been a cleaning nightmare to take a few lenses with me on that sunny, warm day as the air was filled with dust.  Because I needed to move fast, I did not take a monopod.  I also took the Hoodman loupe to review photos, and that was a smart move on that very sunny day.  What would I have done differently?  Security wouldn’t let me, but I would have liked to have stood in front of the runners and bulls as they charge toward me.  I wished I could get up higher, but again security had a few places for photographers and up high and on the running track were not options.

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