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Featured Fun at the Old Ballpark with the D850

Discussion in 'Sports Photography' started by gnagel, May 7, 2018.

  1. One of the reasons I purchased the D850 is for its versatility. So far, I have mostly used it for architecture and landscapes. But, I also like to shoot other things--like sports. The D850 exceeded my expectations yesterday when I attended the Ohio State at Illinois college baseball game.

    Here are a a dozen of my favorites:

    1- I used the pregame warmups to practice my photography. I haven't photographed baseball in a couple of years. The players don't wear their official uniforms until the game, though.
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    2- One thing is evident about college baseball (at least at the Illini games)--the players are having the time of their lives! It's obvious that everyone is having a great time. And that carries over into the stands. Cheap concessions and free admission add to the fun!
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    3- One of my first tasks was to get the obligatory "bat on ball" shot out of the way.
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    4- When I attached the 500mm lens to the D850, it made me feel like I was right in the middle of the action.
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    5- Can you see what happened here? Answer at the very bottom of this post.
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    6- This player put on his "rally glasses" in the top of the second inning. I guess it worked. Ohio State scored 5 runs that inning.
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    7- To shoot through the netting behind the plate, I removed the lens hood and placed the lens directly up against the net. Set the aperture to wide open and shoot away. Finally, just hope that a foul ball doesn't slam into the lens!
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    8- The home plate umpire called a nice game. I'm not sure that he's ever seen a 500mm lens pointed at him before, though!
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    9- The centerfield fence is 400 feet from home plate...plenty of distance to create nice, soft backgrounds.
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    12- The Ohio State pitcher put a little extra into this pitch.
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    So, here's what happened in #5. The batter foul tipped the pitch. It slammed into the catcher's face mask (knocking the mask away from his face). The ball then bounced back toward the hitter.

    Granted, I haven't shot with a D5, yet. And, I'm not claiming that the D850 is as good for sports. But, the autofocus was snappy...I had very few photographs that weren't sharp. The high resolution files produce some stunning detail. The camera produced nice image quality even from the higher ISO settings that I sometimes had to use. It was an overcast day and rained a few times during the game. Overall, I was impressed with the performance of the D850. Now, I want to shoot more baseball!

    Thanks for looking...
    • Like Like x 12
  2. You have put your 850 to good use with these shots. Well done Glenn.
  3. You sir make the D850 sing no matter what the subject. Could I ask, what lens did you pair with the 850?
  4. Russ_


    Feb 20, 2011
    New Zealand
    Very nice - plus that great croppability too!
  5. Thanks Gordon...I really enjoy shooting sports. I find it much easier than architecture or landscapes. With sports, it's the subjects that are doing most of the work!
    Thanks Bohdan...for most of these I used the 500 f4. For a few I went with the 300 2.8 VR1.
    Thank you, Russ. There's no question that the croppability is a big plus. But, with these particular images, I barely cropped at all. Nearly 8,000 beautiful pixels across on some of these!

  6. kilofoxtrott

    kilofoxtrott European Ambassador Moderator

    Dec 29, 2011
    Tettnang, Germany
    Glenn, I notice, you had fun!
    Fantastic shots of action - something completely different to your architecture shots.

    Thank you for sharing
  7. Glenn, a very nice and enjoyable series. I'm glad you're enjoying the D850. To my eye, a few of these could use a bit more contrast. I often find I need to add a bit more contrast when shooting through a fence or netting. Like you, I take the hood off and get right up against the fence/netting, but even with that technique I find a slight loss of contrast.

  8. Thanks Klaus...I hope to shoot more sports in the near future.
    Thanks Mitch...while I was processing these, I thought some of them might be a little flat. In many of the pictures, when I boosted the contrast it came at the expense of losing some of the softness and smoothness of the backgrounds. A boost in contrast also led to blowing out the reds quite easily. So, I applied more contrast selectively in some of the frames. That being said, I think you are correct in that some of the pictures would benefit from some added contrast.

  9. It's certainly a balancing act. You fight the softness of the light and the long lens while adding the contrast loss by shooting through the netting. Overall a great series of photos with some really nice action. I do appreciate your processing dilemma.
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  10. I’m telling the voice inside my head to cease and desist all thoughts of picking up a D850....it’s not the D850, it’s Glenn’s talent that I see.

    College baseball is the best ticket in town, imo. 30 something home games this year at NC State for a $120 season ticket. The only downside is sitting in the ballpark in mid February “brisk” weather.
  11. Thanks Don...

    Fighting Illini baseball offers free admission...very tough to beat!

    I am a season ticket holder for Illini football and basketball--so I take the trek from Orland Park to Champaign many times a year. But, I only attend one or two baseball games a year. Thankfully, they don't hassle me about carrying in a D850, 500mm lens and tripod.

  12. There is a special kind of intimacy (for lack of a better word) in the shots that include multiple people that I'm not used to seeing in sports shots.

    I reviewed the set yesterday but decided not to mention my thinking about a need for just slightly more contrast in just some of the images until taking a second look this morning to determine if I still felt the same way. I still feel that way, so it's great to see the discussion between you and Mitchell about that. All details of that discussion make perfect sense to me.
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  13. Thanks Mike...I'm glad Mitch pointed it out. The lack of enough contrast in the photographs captured through the netting is something that was bothering me a little bit while processing. After revisiting the images this morning, I agree that they can certainly use a bit more contrast--however, I would apply that adjustment selectively. I like smooth, creamy backgrounds too much!

  14. Wow, you made the D850 sing for you with these shots, very well done.
  15. Great shots. Like you I enjoy shooting sports action. I find in some of the shots you can pick up expressions and facial features you otherwise do not have a chance to notice while just watching the game.
  16. Thank you, Louis...I am enjoying the D850 very much.
    Thank you, Jack...I coach youth baseball, and I'm amazed at how many things one can pick up in their mechanics by viewing still photographs of the action.

  17. Nothing rusty in your shooting! You make it all looks so easy. Great action.
  18. Commodorefirst

    Commodorefirst Admin/Moderator Administrator

    May 1, 2005
    Hi Glenn, Klaus nominated this thread for a feature spot, so my question is which image would you like me to choose? ha!

    Most excellent series my friend. I am tending toward 9 myself. Good excellent points from the commenters too. Thanks for sharing.
  19. Stellar shots Glenn, that 500 is a sweet lens in your hands.
  20. Thanks Nick...much appreciated
    Thank you, Wade...and I think #9 is a good choice for the featured image.
    Thanks Chris...I try to use the 500mm whenever I get the opportunity!

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