Sunday, September 10, 2017

Algonquin vs Worcester North - 2017.09.09

The Algonquin THawk football team kicked off the season with an away game against Worcester North at the iconic Foley Stadium. Saturday was a beautiful day for playing, watching and photographing a high school football game. It was sunny and 70 degrees with some scattered clouds which are great for diffusing the sun and eliminating harsh shadows. This also marked my first regular season game with my new gear which should, hopefully, help me generate higher quality pictures. So far I think that my pictures are better than last year in the two test runs that I did at the team's scrimmages (you can view the pictures from the Clinton and Franklin scrimmages on The pictures from the Clinton scrimmage were decent because it was a day game with similar conditions to today's game. The Franklin scrimmage, on the other hand, was a night game at the very dark Algonquin stadium. I am working on a future blog post about this but I think that the pictures with the Canon 1Dx Mark II and 5D Mark IV were much better than the pictures I took last year at night games with the 5D Mark III and 7D Mark II.

Slideshow: I am working on getting the SmugMug embedded slideshow to work but it seems like Blogger has an issue with the HTML5 code that SmugMug generates. Stay tuned.

I shot this game with two basic setups but I added a twist in the second half to mix things up a bit. My main camera for the day was the Canon 1D X Mark II with the Canon 300mm f/2.8 IS II USM lens and my second camera was the 5D Mark IV with the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens for when things got close. In the second half of the day I added the Canon EF 1.4x Mark III teleconverter to the 1D X rig for an effective focal length of 420mm and a maximum aperture of f/4.0. The reduction in aperture was not a big deal because it was so sunny and I was still able to shoot with a shutter speed well over 1/1000th second. I wanted to see how the pictures would turn out with the extra reach because it forced me to shoot from much further away from the line of scrimmage (usually from the back of the end zone) and really changes the perspective of the pictures. I almost exclusively shoot in manual mode with auto ISO for football but I decided to shoot in aperture priority mode (AV) today with the aperture set to f/2.8-f/3.2, or f/4.0 with the teleconverter, and ISO 100-320, depending on the cloud cover. The shutter speed stayed above 1/1000th second for all shots and reached as high as 1/5000th second with direct sunlight. All photos where in RAW format - I have gotten into the practice of shooting RAW instead of JPEG because of the flexibility it gives me in post for the night games to fix white balance, exposure and noise issues. I liked using the teleconverter and that setup worked particularly well for this game because the Worcester North team ran 90 percent of the time and I could zero in on the runner and the line men. I did all of my editing in Lightroom CC and pretty much just tweaked the white balance and exposure and bumped shadows and blacks.

The next game will be on September 15th vs Marlborough at Algonquin so it will be another dark night of shooting. This whole week will be busy with the JV football game, the varsity Cross Country meets and Applefest next weekend. You can see my full schedule here.

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