6. And finally, be prepared for the unexpected.
While it’s great to be able to follow all five of the prior Commandments, they’re not a straitjacket they are photography tips. Be alert for the possibility of something that makes a good picture, even though it’s elsewhere on the field and you couldn’t possibly anticipate it. In the words of the Boy Scouts, “Be prepared.”
(We should point out that these Six Commandments are valid for just about any action team sport — be it football, soccer, hockey, basketball, volleyball, or cricket.)
What the pros use.
We can’t leave this topic without discussing what the pro uses at a baseball game. We noted earlier, that the typical professional sports photographer probably uses a lens like an ƒ/2.8 300mm. Why? He or she wants to be able to stop the action wherever it happens, whether in the shade or bright sun. Your ƒ/4.5 200mm may stop the action in bright sun, but it may not be fast enough to stop the action in shady areas. That’s why we advise you to use fast film or a higher ISO setting on your digital camera. The faster the film, or the higher the ISO setting, the less light you need to stop the action with your ∞/4.5.
As an alternative, you can run out and buy an ƒ/2.8 300mm or some other long and fast lens like the pros. Very impressive artillery. But should you rush out and buy one? Not unless money means nothing to you. Longer lenses are available at higher prices!
But that’s not the only equipment the pro uses at a baseball game.
Naturally, pros carry more than one camera body. Plus an assortment of long lenses. Plus a monopod or tripod to steady those heavy telephoto lenses.
Professional digital SLR bodies offer high speed capture and a buffering system that allows rapid firing. This was accomplished with film SLRs using a motor drive. Pros also bring spare batteries, a charger and possibly a laptop to review and edit their pictures. The pro’s gear usually includes back-up camera bodies, a light meter and a flash for close-up work before and after the game.
Today, digital cameras are the standard for photojournalist sports photography. However, you can also take photos at a baseball game using the more affordable digital point-and-shoot cameras provided you understand the limitations that many of them have.
The moral of all these baseball photography tips is that you don’t need the pro’s heavy artillery to take outstanding baseball photos. Just combine your existing camera with some “smarts” — apply some of the knowhow we’ve presented in this article — and the next time you go to the ballpark, you’ll come home with some really great baseball pictures.
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