I’m a big fan of baseball, and I have been following the sport since I was seven. It actually was my childhood dream to become a professional baseball player, but because I was not as competitive as the other kids my age, I stopped playing when I was in high school. However, that does not stop me from enjoying baseball from a different perspective – as a spectator. I still get to enjoy the excitement of baseball from the sideline, and with my other passion – photography – I can capture the excitement and share them with others.
Shooting pictures at a baseball game is quite easy and fun. There are plenty of actions on and off the field you can photograph, an abundance of natural light if the game is played outdoor during the day, and plenty of room to position yourself at the best spot. If the game is played indoor or in the evening hours, there will still be enough lighting provided by the facility that allows you to photograph the game without additional lighting.
This past Sunday, I went to a game between Reno Aces and Iowa Cubs. The game was quite special because it was Mother’s Day, and players from both sides showed their appreciations to mothers by wearing pink wristbands and cleats. One of the player, Brett Jackson, even used a pink t baseball bat the entire game and went 3 for 4 for the day. The Aces, on the other hand, had a rough start and trailed most of the game, but they were able to come up from behind and snatched the win with a walk-off home run.
Because it was a day game, there were plenty of natural light that gave me a lot of freedom in adjusting the camera. I was able to move up the shutter speed to get very sharp images white retaining pretty good image quality at the same time. There were a lot of room for me to move around to get the shots I want, and the stadium’s design ensured that I would not miss any action on the field no matter where I was. The only problem I encountered wax that because the game started at noon, the blazing sun heated the camera up to a point that I had put it down from time to time so it does not burn my hands. Overall, it was a great experience and I got some shots I really like.
As I review my photos after the game, I jotted down a few things that I’ve learned while photographing the game:
- Freeze the Actions – Use shutter speed around 1/1000 seconds to get really sharp and clear images. Depending on how far or how close your subjects are, you should use low aperture for close up shots and high aperture for wide-angle shots. Once these two elements are set, try to adjust the ISO to get the right amount of exposure. Keep in mind that your ISO should not exceed 1600 or you’ll get too much noise on your images.
- Select Your Lens – In order to photograph the actions, which usually involves multiple players scattered all over the field, a wide-angle lens is needed to adequately include all of them in the frame. Also, since yourself will be certain distance away unless you purchase the premium seats, you should bring a good telephoto lens so you can zoom in to capture the finer details of the actions. Alternatively, you can use a single zoom lens that covers all the focal length you are going to shoot in.
- Actions On and Off the Field – Not all actions on the fields are worthy to be photographed, and not all actions worth photographing are on the fields. Try to photograph actions off the fields, such as interactions between players, spectators, or the umpires. You’ll be surprised how something people normally don’t pay attentions to can be quite interesting.
- Multiple, Consecutive Shots – Unless you are a professional sports photographer with high power lens and fast camera, you will likely find yourself taking photos from the same angle over and over to get the one shot you want, and that is perfectly normal. Even professional photographers can’t get the perfect shot with just one attempt, which is why they have faster cameras so they can do consecutive shots in a fraction of a second. Just keep on trying until you get your shot.
Have you try to photograph actions on a baseball field or venues of any sports? Do you have any tips you would like to share? Please share your thoughts by leaving comments below.