NIkon

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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
Chasedown

Toronto Wolfpack vs Hemel Stags
The Offload

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This weekend I went to Algonquin Provincial Park with a couple of friends/family from our little photography group. Our plan had been to see the spectacular fall colours that, on average, reach their peak on the last weekend of September. Well, unfortunately, Nature has been so good to us over the summer that she’s now taking back when it comes to the Fall, so the peak change is going to be later than average this year. But, we had our hotel reservations which are impossible to change at this time of year, so it was then or never for us. Determined to make the best of it, we set off early on Saturday morning. When we reached the park about 3 hours later we saw that there was a decent amount of colour change, not anywhere near the peak that we’d hoped for, but enough to give us some excitement.

The two girls in the group had never been to the Park before, so this was all new for them. I’ve been a number of times so I’d actually wanted to do something a little different this time, and I’d planned a weekend of long exposures, ICM, multiple exposures and all-round ‘arty-farty’ (as my wife calls them) pictures. I had also just read up on a new technique being pioneered by a couple of photographers, Pep Ventosa and Stephen D’Agostino, called Photography In The Round which consists of circling a stationary object, say a tree, taking shots from all points of the circle and then combining them in PS to produce a very impressionistic single image. I was excited to try this and the other techniques, so the lack of colour didn’t matter that much to me.

Then there was the light. Everyone knows that landscape photographers only go out at dawn and dusk and never shoot anything in between because the light is so bad. Correct? No. At a seminar given by one of my inspirations, the Canadian landscape photographer Darwin Wiggett, he said – and I paraphrase – that there is no such thing as bad light, there’s only what you choose to do with it. So when we found ourselves on top of The Lookout in blazing sunshine in the middle of the afternoon with not a cloud in the sky, well then, we started to practice backlit portraits and fill flash, intentional camera movements and abstract photography. No, we couldn’t get the scenery we wanted, but we certainly could take photographs. We drove a long way to spend the weekend making pictures, and that’s what we did.

Editing is key too. I shot around 300 pictures. Most of them are technically sound; around 10% are what I consider keepers. They are the ones that show me something I haven’t seen before or that I haven’t achieved before. The rest, well they’re part of the journey. They’d make nice snapshots, but they wouldn’t generate a lot of interest. I’d rather have 25 good-to-great (in my not-so-humble opinion) pictures than 200 shots that were simply OK. But heck, it was fun and we made the most of the trip, the landscape, the environment and the opportunity to shoot for ourselves without boring the pants off our poor families.

Same time next year?

Algonquin road trip

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