A full frame 36 megapixel Nikon D800 shouldn’t be the first camera one would grab to capture fast moving action such as baseball. Mainly due to the slow frame rate that tops out at 4 frames per second. Practicing the skill of anticipating the action can definitely help negate the slow frame rate. Some of the advantages of the D800 for sports is the fast autofocusing system also found on Nikon’s flagship D4. The one reason why I will continue to use a D800 for shooting sports are the files that the D800 produces. The image files are simply awesome. One added benefit of the 36 megapixel sensor for sports is the amount one can crop the image without any degradation. The D800 has definitely found a place in my toolbox.
It’s that time of year again… 11u Solano Nationals had their first practice today which gave me the opportunity to test some newly acquired gear… more on that in future posts.
I’ve always tried to be in the right place at the right time. Being able to capture emotion is one of the most difficult things to do in sports photography but, when I capture it… I am reminded why I do what I do. Click on the image above to view my new Game Winners, Walk Offs, and Championships portfolio on the main website.
© 2014 John Encinas || With the bases loaded, Darryl Dilworth Jr. of the 10u Solano Nationals hits a base clearing double for a walk off victory to secure the 10u Open Championship by defeating NorCal Baseball 9-0 on July 27, 2014 at Mitz Alverson Field in Santa Clara, CA. || Darryl Dilworth Jr. was eventually awarded with Tournament MVP honors.
An homage to my roots in photography, monochrome or black and white photography is where it all started for me. Back when I shot film it was the only media I used. I fell in love with monochromatic images because they conveyed emotion that color couldn’t replicate. I’ve always felt that the graininess and imperfections of monochromatic images gave it character.
The following images were shot digitally then converted using 3rd party software that replicates different film emulsions. I then added some touches that I would have done had I printed these on an enlarger.
The 9u Solano Nationals leave the 9 and under bracket with a bang by participating in the All World Sports World Series in Carson City, Nevada. Three days of tournament baseball with the average game time temperature of over 100 degrees.
I’ve been wanting to play with remote cameras for some time now and just never really tried it for one reason or another. The last couple of baseball tournaments I decided to give it a try and here’s a series of my favorite images.
The main reason I wanted to use a remote camera was in order to be in more than one place at one time. I could stay behind the plate all game but, that would take me away from all the other action. The last couple tournaments I’ve setup the remote camera behind the plate, on the third base side, and on the first base side where plenty of the action happens. There are plenty of tutorials online to show anyone interested in setting up a remote camera so I will only go over a few things that I’ve done.
Here’s where my remote camera was mounted behind home plate to take a similar image as above. As you can imagine, it’s quite possible that a foul tip can fly directly towards the lens damaging it. To minimize this, all my lenses have front filters to protect the lens and the lens hood can also help prevent damage. So what do you need to setup a remote camera yourself?
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 – DSLR Camera that can shoot multiple frames and a lens of your choice (depending on the situation).
2 – Support for the camera: A tripod is a good choice but, I have been using a Manfrotto Magic Arm with a Super Clamp that allows me to virtually place the camera in many positions and in many angles.
3 – Camera Trigger: You’ll need a device that will trigger the camera to shoot. There are many devices that can accomplish this via Infrared Red or Wireless Radio. I use Pocket Wizards to trigger my remote cameras. I can manually trigger the camera with another Pocket Wizard or attach another Pocket Wizard to the hot shoe of another camera to trigger the remote camera. I’ll have an example of that below.
4 – Pre-Release Cable: This device connects between the camera and the Pocket Wizard. It’s main purpose is to keep the camera “awake”.
The setup above is on the first base side of the field pointed towards first base. I got a couple nice images from this spot since there are many plays at first where a runner will dive back to prevent getting picked off by the pitcher.
Part of the setup is to pre-focus on your intended subject. I was lucky to have a willing model to help me this time around. It helps to know the game of baseball so you can anticipate where the action will be.
I usually manually trigger the remote camera and sometimes I’ll get lucky like the shot above where the camera was triggered as the ball hit that bat.
The above 2 images were taken roughly at the same time. I was on the third base side of the field with a long telephoto lens and the remote camera was on the first base side. Attaching another Pocket Wizard to the camera I was shooting with allows me to trigger the remote camera when I trigger the camera in my hands.