Sports Photography: A Beginners Story

Sports Photography: A Beginners Story

Sports photography always seemed interesting to me. I’ve watched quite a few sporting events, and each one has a familiar scene. Whether on a court or on a field, on the sidelines there are always people with multiple cameras, monopods and huge telephoto lenses. Ahh the thought of huge telephoto lenses…. Sorry I started daydreaming.

Well I’ve always wanted to try sports photography. In the past I’ve taken some shots at my son’s baseball games, a nephew’s soccer game. But, the lack of a telephoto lenses left me somewhat underwhelmed with my images. Fast forward to June 2018, when I bought my first telephoto lens, the Canon 70-200m 2.8L lens. I regret that I didn’t record the unboxing. It was an exciting day. I immediately attached it to my camera and went to the backyard to fire off some test shots.

But, I still didn’t have any sporting events to shoot. After a couple months, I also realized that even though I loved the lens – I needed more zoom (a constant battle). Two things I learned early on: 1. the best zoom is your feet 2. you will always want/need more zoom. So true! So instead of kicking out another $1700 for a 100-400mm lens, I bought the Canon 2x Extender. It costs me less, and gave me the same maximum focal length as the 100-400mm.

Okay so now I have more focal length, and two of my nephews, Amir & Amari were playing football. Go Broncos! Go knights!  I have games to shoot, and I can also be the supportive uncle – a WIN/WIN. My first game was Amari’s JV Football game. He plays wide receiver for North County High School. I couldn’t get on the sidelines, but there I was in the stands with my monopod and my telephoto lens. I have to admit that shooting the game didn’t make me the best spectator of the team or the game. But, I was Super Uncle. All of my focus was on him.

Amari diving

After a successful shoot at that game, it was on to shoot Amir and the Brooklyn Park Broncos. I bought a new camera, the Canon M50 mirrorless camera, and I wanted to try it out. So I attached my extender and telephoto to the M50 (did I mention the m50 is small). The lens was about 10x bigger than the camera!! I didn’t feel successful in getting the shots I wanted with that camera. In fact, I missed his interception trying to shot using the LCD, instead of the viewfinder. I came away from that game not feeling successful – I had a couple shots I liked, but not as many as I would have liked. You win some, you lose some.

Amir Football Brooklyn Park
I redeemed myself from that shoot by attending another of Amir’s games with my normal camera/lens combination. I also attended a few more North County JV games. There I was, like so many photographers I had seen – with my monopod and telephoto lens…. still not as big as some of theirs, though.

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