Shooting Football At Yale

This was my second time photographing football and like my first time it was very frustrating.

I will admit from time-to-time I take advantage of my position. For instance today I ‘borrowed’ a photographer’s field pass from the Sports Department and headed to the Yale Bowl for the Yale-Cornell football game.

This was my second time photographing football and like my first time it was very frustrating. A 300mm lens (which on my camera shoots like a 480mm lens) provides an extremely narrow view. There are probably people who pan to the action and click. It didn’t come easy to me.

On top of that there were a boatload of marginally soft shots or shots where the autofocus point wasn’t where I wanted it! This may be a camera adjustment I’ve missed. It’s back to the manual to make sure.

Finally, my lenses are slow. That limits my finished photos in a variety of ways with the most problematic today being depth-of-field. Often the background was in focus, making it very difficult to separate it from the action. Fast lenses have produce a shallow depth-of-field and blurry backgrounds.

Did I have a good time? Absolutely. I enjoyed the game which was played under ideal conditions. There were also a bunch of photographers I know and it’s good to see and learn from them.

I’ll be back to try again.

4 thoughts on “Shooting Football At Yale”

  1. I think you did a great job considering limitations of your gear. To me the more interesting shots are the more creative ones: the wide angle one of the field and the close-up of the helmet. There is also a lot of photo ops of the bench, the cheerleaders and band. The way I learned football photography was to suck it up and get a professsional rig. 300mm 2.8. 400mm 2.8 Two fast bodies.

    And I went to every Notre Dame HS game for two years. This was on Friday nights in stadiums that were unevenly lit and sometimes wet and freezing.

    The action is slower in HS and you can really practice. And you get a sense after a while where the play is happening. I learned a lot from the local photogs from the Register.

    A couple of years ago I had a photo pass for a University of Colorado game in Boulder. That was much easier because the light was uniform in the entire field for the TV cameras. I have lost my passion for football photography. But if you want to borrow my gear give me a shout.

  2. Geoff,

    I have tried shooting soccer games in town and have had marginal success…I guess we need gear like that guy in the last frame!

    I’m just glad the right team won yesterday! Go Big Red!


  3. Good shots, especially the air-born ones.

    The thing I’ve learned about sports photography is to just shoot as many pics as possible, and keep it loose – never go into it with any specific shots in mind. I love going home afterward and finding those 2 or 3 pleasantly surprising shots.

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