I was heading out to my daughters lacrosse game and noticed how great the light was and just hoped it held until game time. After years of covering sports for a living, sitting in the stands seems odd plus I still enjoy being on the field.
Some days all the stars align correctly and you get lucky. The late afternoon light was so good it almost made me think I was standing on the set of a Hollywood movie. I’ve found the best way to really show off great light is to combine it with a dark background. I got extra lucky at this game because there was a navy blue wall at one end of the field, which would help created a dramatic photo.
My good luck continued when the visiting team ran onto the field wearing these bright red jerseys. With all this going for me, “all I need to do” was make a nice photo. With lacrosse, there is action all over the field but I tried to keep my focus on the area with the dark background. I was not covering this game for a client so I could make up my own rules. For me, rule #1 was to walk away with a dramatic and colorful image.
Let’s break down this picture so you can see how I did it:
The metadata panel shows how the camera is set for the above photo. I was using the 300mm F4 lens and set the f-stop to it’s most wide open setting and the fastest shutter speed (1/640th). I normally set the camera to aperture value but in this case I was using manual exposure.
Here is what the “whole frame” looks like before I cropped it. Even with a 300mm lens you still can be too loose when shooting sports. One of the advantages of a large file size (my camera has a 16 meg sensor) is that you can do a major crop like this one and still have plenty of image left to work with.