Chris McPhee

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So now that the rugby league season in Toronto has been brought to a successful conclusion, I’m left with the question as to what I should be looking to photograph over the winter. The Toronto Wolfpack won’t be back in town until at least early May which leaves a bit of a void in the plans of this newly-minted international sports photographer!

Here in Canada the thoughts of the athletic now turn to our two national games, hockey (ice variety) and lacrosse. The latter is our official national game, but the former is the one that every child is brought up to play. My plan is to get to the open pre-season sessions of our Toronto Rock NLL team and see how different it will be shooting inside an arena as opposed to a sunlit, outdoor field. White balance will be completely different as will the overall lighting conditions, but a custom WB should resolve the first of those, while I know that the D610 can produce fine, noise-free pictures at ISO ratings at least up to 1600 if not 3200.

And then there’s my film photography. During the summer I had a trip to B&H in New York and picked up a stack of film, which is now sitting happily in my film freezer in the basement.


I also have plenty of film that I picked up over the last 18 months. All my film goes directly into the freezer so there’s no concern over expiry dates.

Winter should produce some ideal conditions to try out the new Film Ferrania P30 as well as some of the other colour films I have. I recently shot a roll of Lomography 400 which turned out beautifully, so I hope to get some more of that one done.

New York & Pennsylvania
The Zippo Museum, Bradford, PA. Lomography 400, Nikon F90x

We’re hearing that Ektachrome will be back in early 2018, so that’s something to look forward to. Fall also looks to be the ideal time to shoot 120 Ektar, which delivered some excellent, richly coloured, results the last time I shot it.

Barn, Ontario
Barn, Ontario, Kodak Ektar 100, Rolleicord Vb

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For the past couple of matches of the Toronto Wolfpack rugby league team I’ve taken my D7100 and Sigma 70-200 f2.8 lens and got some shots that I’ve been very pleased with. Obviously the range of the 70-200 is limited so this week I took the 2x Extender and used that on the D610 in DX crop mode. So this is what I learned about shooting sports with an extender. One, it gives you more reach (well, duh). Two, at a decent shutter speed (I was set to 1/1250) there’s no noticeable shake or movement in the picture.

However, and this is the downside, because the extender takes away 2 stops I was shooting a minimum aperture of f5.6 and often at 2/3 stop more at f7.1. Unfortunately that is just not open enough to provide the separation between the on-field action and the crowd behind so I was left with a lot of decent pictures but not many that I felt were good pictures. Next time it will be back to f2.8 without the extender and I might just have to rely on the ‘zoom by feet’ strategy instead.

Toronto Wolfpack vs Hemel Stags
Toronto Wolfpack captain Craig Hall

Toronto Wolfpack vs Hemel Stags
Greg Worthington

Toronto Wolfpack vs Hemel Stags
American Ryan Burroughs

Toronto Wolfpack vs Hemel Stags
A Hemel Stags player passes the ball

Toronto Wolfpack vs Hemel Stags

Toronto Wolfpack vs Hemel Stags
The Offload

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