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Adventures in Carrying Heavy Things

I tend to joke a lot regarding my abilities as a photographer. Call it insecure, or maybe it's lingering imposter syndrome, but I mostly think it’s just that self-deprecating jokes make for the best humor. So with that sort of pathetic introduction (see what I just did there?) I often joke that I’m not actually talented, my gear just does the work for me. No really, I’m laughing out loud right now.

These last two weeks have been crazy! Thats why I skipped last weeks post, and you know, my fans just hate being left in the dark. I had a Seawolves training last week, for me this one was particularly exciting for a couple reasons. Two games on the road, both losses, so it was important for me to be able to relay a lot of emotion and determination coming back home. The other thing that was interesting is that they did drills that I’d never seen them do before, and while I feel like I shoot their trainings often enough they had me in a place where I was just sort of nonplussed, saying in my head ‘okay, what are they doing now?’ Unlike a lot of professional teams do for their photographers they grant me full field access during their trainings, pretty much it’s up to me not to get in their way; which to be fair if I did; I’d probably end up dead, because they are very large and I am very small. So really I see it as a win-win. I will say the biggest benefit to this is not being forced to shoot against the sun if it dare pop out.

Heres a few of my faves from the training:

I also had a really fun encounter on Saturday morning with the Seattle Majestics, The women’s football team that plays here. One of the things I love moonlighting as is a photographer’s assistant for things that I don’t know. Even if I do know, It’s always really fun to go in, give a helping hand, and then shut up and listen. Even more importantly, experiential learning for me is key and going back to ask questions later helps tie everything in together and give me more or less a plan moving forward. Working with lighting is seriously all Greek to me. It’s one of those things that every photographer has a different style or usage, and every photographer offers greatly differing advice on what something should look like. The information I glean as an assist, is pretty much priceless to me. Trial and error can only get you so far, but when someone else is there to open doors for you things get a little bit simpler. Theres a fear there of course; that im going to ask a question that is almost too stupid, but like; if I don’t know it; It will eventually cause errors so might as well just get it out now. So I have a lot of info to account for and then bring back in a professional capacity. Anyway, part of the fun Saturday with the Majestics was some behind the scenes with the photoshoot. Props to Matt Ferris for the opportunity and VMG Studios for the most fancy studio I’ve ever been in. Some Photos from that Shoot:

Saturday’s game with the Seawolves ended up being a loss versus Toronto. That’s indeed how the cookie ended up crumbling; but I really think I had a couple of personal wins regarding photos, which brings me to my main topic of this week’s post. So, Gear! Ah! I’m so proud to shoot Nikon, I am absolutely in love with their sports cameras and currently own one of their higher megapixel cameras which I use for everything else. So what’s in my million pound bag of tricks? I’m going to say this now, my photo bag has absolutely destroyed my posture. It’s okay though; I’ll deal with it when I’m sixty.

My Nikon d5 is my primary camera I use while shooting games. The Nikon d5 is actually my second sports camera, I started out with my Nikon d500. Now, I positively LOVE my Nikon d500. I feel like for such an affordable price point, there is a ton that I have gotten out of that camera. It's a crop sensor, which essentially means I get a little more zoom out of it. I haven’t gotten rid of it yet; I’m waiting to see if I can use it in addition to the d5 during daylight games. Need a sports camera? GO GET THAT CAMERA. It's amazing. I moved onto the d5 for the full frame sensor, because once you start shooting full-frame it's really, really tough to go back. With the d5 vs the 500 I have greatly increased frame rate, increased sensor sharpness, increased sensor sharpness, oh, and increased sensor sharpness. This thing has saved my LIFE for nighttime games at starfire. Before the d5 more often than not I had to pull out my other camera and shoot 2000+ photos at 45mp RAW, which really takes its toll on computer memory, and more importantly, my patience. Also it's worth noting that I obtained the d5 just in time for Nikon to announce the Nikon d6 which will be majorly showcased at the Tokyo Olympics this year. Slow clap for Nikon, pity party for me. Both of these photos taken at Starfire roughly a year apart:

Nightime with the Nikon d500

Nightime with the d5.

My secondary camera is the Nikon D850, the d810’s much more robust younger sister. This camera is a beast, with the power of a thousand suns. I started using this camera for sports while shooting indoor soccer, but otherwise it is the bee’s knees of portrait photography. I don’t often shoot portraits, but when I do, the d850 is a solid piece of gear. The d850 has a massively high ISO range, and unlike my d500 it doesnt start to become a noise machine at ISO 5000 and having such a high megapixel I can crop crop crop crop at my leisure. The idea of course is to not have to do that in the first place but it’s nice when I need it. I usually take this guy out in ultra dark settings, but anything that I don’t need a high frame rate for I’ll also use the 850. I love it.

Nikon d850. Such rich, much photo. wow.

Ah the ever evolving door of camera lenses. Sometimes I feel like I have too much stuff; but then I look at some other pros and I’m like “I need one of those, and one of those, and one of those….” the list seems to be never ending. My current line up is the Nikon Golden Trio - which spans from 14mm to 200mm, plus this year I upgraded to the Sigma 120-300. JUST IN TIME for Nikon to announce that they’re releasing their own. Thanks Nikon; your timing is impeccable. So two points to my sports lenses: The 70-200 is a lens I have used for every darn thing. From portraits, to weddings, to sports, it takes you anywhere. I did my first two seasons with the Seawolves with that thing to great effect. The Sigma, the Sigma lens for me was a necessary purchase. Upgrading to a full frame sports camera I needed more reach. While it is a good lens, It doesn’t focus nearly as fast as my Nikons, and I do find myself missing that lightning speed. Working with a bigger lens in and of itself has its challenges. There’s a lot that I had to relearn using a 300mm; and I’m slowly getting into the swing of things. It’s a real shame that my next size up for a camera lens is the price of a car, or possibly a down payment on a house; because if it wasn’t, I would already own it.

Nikon 70-200mm vs Sigma 120-300mm; Banana for scale.

And yeah, this stuff is good, no doubt about that. I follow a lot of very excellent photographers who use gear that’s ten plus years old, and I still really am In awe of some of the things they can do with their cameras. The stuff we use gives us a one up; sure, but really it’s the artist who sees the opportunity.

So if you see me on the sidelines resembling a pack mule more than a person, swing by and say hello; I always have time to look up and smile! Remember to follow me on Instagram @width_photo =D

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