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JohnG May 8, 2006 10:52 AM

some shots from Saturday. It was a good game - tied 8-8 in the 7th when one of the teams put up 10 runs in the top of the 9th - ouch

The Delivery

Caught stealing 3rd

Headed for home:

The Look-back

Safe at 3rd...

Nice save (as a former catcher, I HATED balls in the dirt more than anything)...

Safe at the plate

SuzF May 8, 2006 12:19 PM


Those are great pictures I shoot a lot of high school baseball also. What camera/lens are you using?


k1par May 8, 2006 1:24 PM

As usual John, great shots. I really like both catcher shots and had to chuckle at the ball in the dirt:lol:

JohnG May 8, 2006 1:38 PM

Thanks Suz and K1par!

Suz - I shoot with a Canon 20D and a Sigma 120-300 2.8 lens. This day I tried it with the 1.4x TC. The problem I had was I was restricted to the dugouts for the game "for safety reasons" - it's the umpire's call and different umps are picky about whether or not they let photogs on the field. The comical aspect is the dugout has no protecting fence and a fall ball came screaming near me - I would have been much safer shooting down the base line. Anyway, it meant I was a bit cramped on a lot of my shots and couldn't extend the lens to it's full reach and thus achieve better background blur. It was nice to have the TC for outfield shots and even 3rd base. The 120-300 is perfect for softball from the field but a bit short for baseball. In either case, the 120mm is still too tight for action at the base I'm located near (i.e. plays at first if I'm shooting from the 1st base line). But, I'm not about to buy a second camera body given the paltry money I make off my sports shooting.

k1par: I think I got more injuries playing catcher in baseball than I ever did playing football - my knees are still complaining 20 years later :G

Thanks for commenting!

Walter C May 8, 2006 5:26 PM


Excellent action shots. Really shows the capabilities of the Sigma 120-300. I love mine.


bkstyl May 9, 2006 2:09 PM

Nice shots

Tamsfam May 10, 2006 1:06 PM

John, I love your photos and hope you keep posting them! They are awesome. I am a rooking but love the sharpness in your shots. I still struggle with obtaining as clear of a shot as you. I know that I need a newer lense, but its all about the $$ right now......I must be patient.

Well keep the photos coming! Oh hey, you said something about being paid for photography, are you a professional? That might make me feel more secure...hee hee!

Have a great day! Tammie

JohnG May 10, 2006 1:40 PM


Thank you very much for the compliment.

As for equipment - it's a sad truth - especially with sports that equipment makes a big difference. The 3 biggest keys IMHO in a sports lens are:

1. Has enough reach for the sport. The tighter you can frame in-camera the more precisely the camera can focus - when you have to do heavy cropping, details just aren't sharp.

2. Fast autofocus - focusing duties are shared by the camera and the lens - if the camera can't track a moving object and determine what to focus on then the shot fails. If the camera does it's job, but the focusing motor on the lens is too slow, the shot fails.

3. Wide apertures. What adds to the perception of sharpness is having subject isolation - yes your subject is in focus, but it's the ONLY thing in perfect focus. If I take the same shot at f8, image sharpness will actually be better but because the background (fences, cars, bystanders, porta potties) is in focus the image loses it's appeal.

Having said all that, the biggest key is to kepp practicing so you can anticipate where the action will be. Since I use a monopod (the sigma 120-300 is a bit unwieldy to hand-hold for sports although I may start trying it) I can't react to other areas of the field quickly. So, gaining an understanding of the game is a big help - knowing a particular runner is a base stealer, or knowing there is a runner on 1st with 1 out and the play will likely go to 2nd allows me to anticipate the action. I can't tell you how many action shots I have to throw out because I still don't anticipate well enough. But, every game I get better at it.

As for being a pro, I do some freelance sports work for the local paper and sell images to parents/athletes on my website. But this is completely on the side and it's my first season of trying to sell work. So, the fact that I have limited time to shoot, a low key business model and am new to the market means business is very slow. But I do it because I love to shoot sports - not to support myself.

Thanks again for your positive comments and keep shooting. When you do finally have enough money for a lens upgrade, your shooting skills will be honed and you'll see an instant improvement. My best advice is to keep practicing and seek feedback. I've had a lot of humbling feedback regarding my sports shooting - it hurts the ego, but in the end it's helping to make me better.

Good luck and I'm looking forward to seeing your work!

Tamsfam May 12, 2006 12:01 PM

Well John thanks for the tips! :)

I am getting much better as I keep reading the feedback on this site and using what I can to learn. I would love to post some photos but the reality is I canceled my internet at home....Mostly due to kid stuff...It is soo scary for them. Anyway, I will post something as soon as I can.

Keep those photos coming! :)

Mark1616 May 12, 2006 4:53 PM

John/Walter.... you guys are so lucky with that lens.... can't get one for the Minolta fit :mad:

I have to make do with the 70-200 2.8, but it is ok for now.

Great shots as ever John :cool:

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