Football from the stands

October 31st, 2008
By

Last week’s Hawaii football game against Nevada was a wet and exciting one, to say the least–but exciting for me in more ways than one.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I shot the game with the new Canon EF 800 f5.6L IS lens which Canon Professional Services so graciously loaned me. 

I decided to shoot the first quarter from the stands on the fourth level–which is the same level as the football pressbox.  Basically, it’s the same view and perspective as watching the game on television.  But with the 800mm focal length, a totally different look and angle.

 

Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 800 f5.6L IS, ISO 6400, Exposure mode: Manual, 1/640 @ 5.6, Image Stabilization on, 4200K Whitebalance

Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 800 f5.6L IS, ISO 6400, Exposure mode: Manual, 1/640 @ 5.6, Image Stabilization on, 4200K Whitebalance

 

 

The angle of view was so tight, it was quite difficult to track the action at times.  It was much like getting accustomed to a new video game and its controls.  After a few plays, I was getting the hang of it.  One thing I noticed was that I gained almost a full stop of light from up in the stands because I was shooting down at the highlight versus the black abyss of the crowd and background when shooting at the field level.  Here’s my favorite shot from the stands:

 

Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 800 f5.6L IS, ISO 6400, Exposure mode: Manual, 1/640 @ f5.6, Image Stabilization on, 4200K Whitebalance

Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 800 f5.6L IS, ISO 6400, Exposure mode: Manual, 1/640 @ f5.6, Image Stabilization on, 4200K Whitebalance

I had specific orders to be back at field level after the first quarter, so with my lovely assistant Erica and the 600mm lens in tow, we made our way down towards the field.  The rain had begun to come down, and I noticed that the long focal length compressed the view but also made the rain more apparent in the shot.

 

I lost a stop when I went back to field level, so this was shot at 1/500 @5.6 on the 800mm.

I lost a stop when I went back to field level, so this was shot at 1/500 @5.6 on the 800mm.

Luckily the rain started to ease up just a little, and the frames didn’t have that hazy look to them like the one above.  Also, shooting at 1/500 on the 800mm required a very steady hand even on the monopod, as the supertelephoto focal length made just a little shake evident in the photo.

 

Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 800 f5.6L IS, ISO 6400, Exposure mode: Manual, 1/500 @ f5.6, Image Stabilization on, 4200K Whitebalance

Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 800 f5.6L IS, ISO 6400, Exposure mode: Manual, 1/500 @ f5.6, Image Stabilization on, 4200K Whitebalance

The neat thing about the 800mm on the field level was the ability to get up close and personal with what was going on on the sidelines.  Coach McMackin was giving his defense a little pep talk and that 800mm put me right next to them.

 

You can almost read Coach Mack's papers under his arm!

You can almost read Coach Mack's papers under his arm!

All in all, that 800mm was a pleasure to use.  Lightning fast autofocus and very lightweight to carry around.  I have to say though, that one would probably fare better using it during daylight hours, as the 5.6 aperture is just a tad dark for night time football.

Posted in sports | 5 Comments »

5 Responses to “Football from the stands”

  1. kent:

    that 800 is a beast. really neat perspective from the pressbox level. good thing you had that Mk3.

    the photo of lane, looks like hes getting cranked in the kidney. craziness. The bulletin should use one for the probowl. That would be pretty neat…pair that bad boy with a 1Dmk1. Crazy good autofocus and it’d be tack sharp!

    cheers // kent


  2. Andy:

    800mm Cannon lens. (drool) … never mind the wave of blog readers following you around like a zombie wanting just to touch it. We’re mostly harmless.

    You know how photographers always seem to have a photo of them holding their camera? Why not a shot of you handholding the 800mm cannon? :)

    Amazing technology. Even with my “little” 100-400mm “L” lens at a San Diego Padres game a year or so ago I was getting stares. I don’t know if it was the color of the lens or just the fact that you couldn’t fit the camera in your pocket. It was fun though – to that point I hadn’t ever taken photos at a MLB event. I’m much more of a football fan though so I am waiting to do that someday.


  3. Chris:

    Nice pictures and the lens makes all the difference.


  4. cory Lum:

    interesting perspective !

    cool . nice insight and behind the scenes information.


  5. AlexSorent:

    Well, these are interesting thoughts. I think they are true. However, everything is
    relative and ambiguous to my mind.


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