Sporting Chance

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McNamee goes back to his roots and tries to remember what it was it was like sitting by a pitch on a cold foggy November day!

Sports photography is the macho end of the profession, all about action, timing, thrills and spills. It is also intensely competitive as the number of slots for photographers is often severely limited by space or commercial restrictions. The technology has also changed as rapidly (or more rapidly) than many other branches of photography. The two major changes are the ability to run longer w i t h o u t changing “ f i l m ” and the transmission of images by radio, directly to the picture desk. With the t e c h n o l o g y comes expense, and certainly a lot more kit to lug along to a venue, with mobile phones, laptops and radio systems. An indirect effect of not having to transport film across the film gate is that it is easier to speed up a camera and framing rates have risen with relatively inexpensive cameras such as the Nikon D200 pushing 5fps whilst its D2X cousin can chug along at 8fps.

Some things, however, do not change. Fast hands and good eyes are still as important as ever, as is knowledge of the sport you are photographing. ISO speeds have stayed relatively constant with 100 ISO still preferred – the only difference is that you can change the rating on digital “mid-film”. A desire to stay at 100 ISO demands f2.8 lenses, as we will demonstrate later in this feature, but one supreme advantage for the sports photographer is that the smaller digital chip gives additional focal length at little or no extra cost – what is the bane of the architectural photographer is a boon to his sports colleague!

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Last Modified: Friday, 16 August 2013