Matt: WNFR #5: The Secret Weapon

With severely limited shooting positions and 10 days of shooting, it helps to have a secret weapon. While I have been steadily pushing my luck with where I have been shooting from, I’m not getting any lower (well-trained security at Thomas & Mack), so to get some pictures that look different, I decided to get as close as I could (shout going out to the spectator whose legroom I bogarted) and shoot with my 85mm f/1.4. Most people don’t think of this as a sports lens, and this is why sports pictures made with it will look different.

It’s not without drawbacks: shooting at 1.4 (the only way to go) offers a vanishingly thin zone of focus. Depending on how close you are to the action, we’re talking inches, not feet. And because this lens isn’t built for sports, it (either version) won’t focus very fast. So shooting fast wild action like broncs and bulls means that you have to be quick with the AF-ON button, and also totally prepared to throw away a bunch of out-of-focus pictures.

But when it works, it really works (this is also true with lenses like 105f2, 135f2, and 200f2 depending on how close you are able to get).

Matt

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6 thoughts on “Matt: WNFR #5: The Secret Weapon

  1. This last photo is amazing! Full of action…and pain…Poor guys…

    Matt,
    You mentioned OoF photos discarded. In some old podcasts you guys mentioned success rates, keepers and boring photos…Considering you are having a hard time to get to the right spots, how do you think is your “success rate” (keepers v discarded) these days?

  2. Phranco, I don’t remember talking about success rates, but here’s what I think: if you’re getting great pictures, it doesn’t matter how many bad ones you make…as long as you get rid of them while editing.

    Shooting at 1.4 is going to produce a bunch of misses, but the ones that work will look different than anyone else’s and then who cares about the ones you delete?

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