So tonight was our first exploit into sports photography. I know that Assistant AD for the district because I played basketball for him when I was in high school so I asked if he could get me a sideline pass. He very graciously did and so I had the opportunity to stand on the sidelines of the high school football homecoming game to take pictures. I had a really good time and got some great shots. I also was able to play around with the auto focus system of the D300. Football, as we all know, is very fast moving and blurry out of focus pictures aren’t any good. I shot most of the night at ISO 800 or 1600. This sufficed to stop the action as far as motion blur goes. I also shot at aperture priority with f/2.8. Through all this I was able to get the right shutter speed to handle the action. The only complaints I have was that the auto focus on the 80-200 AF-D was a little slow in some situations, but the 51 point 3-D tracking was priceless.
So along about the 4th quarter one of the professional sports photographers I had kinda been hanging around and shadowing a little (without him knowing) came up and offered for me to use his 300mm f/2.8 with VR that he wasn’t using. I very quickly agreed and we walked over and hooked it up to out D300. The difference was amazing! Not necessarily in image quality as much as easy of use. The auto focus was blazing fast and the VR was great. Every time I’d hit the shutter button half way to focus the VR would start up and the lens would have a little vibration. It was weird at first. The other great thing is that with my DX sensor I had effectively hooked up a 450mm f/2.8 lens. You can get real tight with that kind of length. I had a blast shooting with his 300mm and it was a real experience to use a real professional quality lens.
The photographer that I borrowed this lens from was shooting a Nikon D3 with from what I could tell a 600mm f/2.8. He could shoot from behind the end zone and then when the action went to the far end of the field he’d pull out his tele-converter. He could shoot the whole field from one end zone. The other thing that I noticed was how unbelievably fast he was clicking of pictures. He was definitely running at top speed and probably shooting ISO 6400, which the D3 is famous for.
I must give a big thanks to my fellow photographer that let me borrow his lens. I’ll leave everything anonymous just because some people don’t like to be named on the net. But thanks alot.