Often asked for advice on shooting sports. Three-word answer: Long, fast glass. Translation: Long-range telephoto lenses with large apertures.
For example. For football, I generally use a 400mm f/2.8 Canon telephoto on a EOS 1D, Mark III digital SLR body. Because the Mark III has a form factor of 1.3 to one (due to the size of the chip), the effective focal length of the lens is a little over 500mm. The Mark III also has low noise at high ISOs so I can shoot at 6400 at f/2.8 at shutter speeds ranging from 1/320th to 1/500th of a second. The 400mm weights 16.5 pounds a monopod is required. I usually keep a 70-200 f/2.8 zoom on a second camera body to use when the action gets closer.
The photo above was shot from the end zone 60 yards away at a Floyd County High School football game in November. The photo below is from the same game at about 50 yards.
For basketball and volleyball, I use a 300mm f/2.8 Canon telephoto or a 70-200 f/2.8 zoom. For closer shots, the 24-70 f/2.8 Canon zoom is a good choice. At a recent game, tried out Canon’s superfast 135mm f/2.0. It gave great results (left) and probably will use it again. At a street price of $900, the 135mm is the bargain of the year, especially when you consider the prices of the longer-range high-speed telephotos ($3,500 for he 300mm and $6,500 for the 400).
Morning sun through frost-covered trees along Sandy Flats Road in Floyd County.
Amy’s hometown of Belleville, Illinois (part of the St. Louis metro area) has a religious retreat called Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows and, each year, the shrine puts on a display of Christmas lights and decorations that brings visitors in from hundreds of miles away.
We spent Christmas 2003 in Belleville wrapping up her mother’s estate and found time to visit the shrine and drive through the mammoth display. It is something to experience.
Such displays remind us of the spirit of Christmas. At a time when the religious significance of the season can be lost amid the commercialism that dominates not only Christmas but so many other holidays.
As we head into the final weekend before Christmas, please join us in remembering the real reasons we celebrate this holiest of holidays.
Like the Mac vs. PC debate, arguments between owners of Canon and Nikon cameras have long festered.
Nikon was once the standard for 35 mm cameras and most professionals used bodies and lenses from the company. I bought my first Nikon (an "F") in 1966 and shot almost exclusively with Nikons through 2004.
Nikon ushered in the digital age of photojournalism with its groundbreaking D1 single-lens-reflex (SLR). Canon entered the digital field late but gained an advantage when Nikon stumbled with the D2H, a digital SLR with too much noise at higher ISO speeds. Many Nikon owners (myself included) switched to Canon digital bodies and lenses because that company offered more megapixels and better picture quality, especially at high ISOs.
The Canon EOS-1D Mark III features 10 frames per second shooting, low noise at ISO speeds up to 3200 (and acceptable noise at 6400) and a new autofocusing system that was faster and more useful in low light. But some modes of the Mark III had problems with autofocus in certain situations (primarily hot weather and bright light). Canon recently started a program to install a new mirror assembly in affected models.
Nikon jumped back in the game this month with the D3, a 12 megapixel plus model that features low-noise images at up to 25,000 ISO. Advance reviews have, to say the least, been glowing. The new Nikon is a full-frame model that also offers a 1.5 factor with motor-drive speeds up to 11 frames per second.
Given Canon’s autofocus problems, the debate is raging once again and some Canon shooters are saying they might switch back to Nikon.
Not this shooter. I’m happy with my Mark III. It has turned out some good, sharp images as anyone who has read recent issues of The Floyd Press or visited this web site can see.
I’ll let the others debate. I’m too busy shooting pictures.
(Photo above shot with Canon EOS-1D Mark III and a 300mm f/2.8 lens at 6400 ISO. Exposure: 1/1250 sec at f/2.8)