Today was Canada Day and a public holiday, however for me this was a return to my early roots of shooting sports for National Newspapers. I am now photographing major sports events in Toronto for USA Today Sports Images, starting with the Toronto Blue Jays hosting the Milwaukee Brewers at the Rogers Centre. It was a very hot sticky afternoon so I was happy to photographing a sport where one spent the majority of the time sat in one position. It’s always a challenge going to a new venue and photographing a sport I don’t know that well so the first order of the day was to ensure my internet connection was up and running, no worries there, wired connections from just inside the players tunnel and great speeds. After checking out the positions I decided to photograph the first few minutes from the ‘nose bleed’ seats as I had found out that a giant maple leaf flag would be unfurled just before the start of the game.
Immediately after the opening pitch I made my way back down to field level for the start of the game as I needed to get my first few photos sent to USA Today by the end of the third innings. This meant concentrating on at least getting good photos of both teams starting pitchers.
Nikon D3s, Nikon 200-400mm f4 lens, at 300mm, 1/5000th @ f4 ISO 640, Gitzo monopod
Baseball is a sport of rapid movements and to freeze the action it is necessary to keep a close eye on the shutter speed. Don’t let it get much below 1500th if you want to freeze the action n either the pitcher or the batter. As today’s cameras are so good at high ISO settings I am more than happy to push up to well over ISO 400 to ensure action stopping speeds, even with the bright sunshine conditions.
Once the first images were safely away I could relax a little and start to look for other types of shot. Although I say relax that’s not entirely true, relax too much and you miss the best moments so a high degree of concentration must be maintained. In fact there are long periods of time when the only action is pitchers throwing and batters swinging and it’s easy to get lulled and then miss the best and more unusual action shots.
Nikon D3s, Nikon 200-400mm f4 lens, at 250mm, 1/1500th @ f4 ISO 800, Gitzo monopod
The light for today’s game was very hard as it was a 1.07pm start so the sun was almost directly overhead with a lot of heat haze rising off the field, especially early in the game. This made it challenging to get much light on the faces.
Nikon D3s, Nikon 500mm f4 lens,, 1/2000th @ f4 ISO 640, Gitzo monopod
I will be covering many of the MLB Games in Toronto so watch for more games and photo advice coming soon.