Take Me Out to the Ballgame. And What I’ve Learned Photographing Sports & Action and Me … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Take Me Out to the Ballgame. And What I've Learned Photographing Sports & Action and Me ...

What’s Up?

Right now I am spending every morning photographing a pair of small Sandhill Cranes colts and a recently hatched pair of tiny chicks. Though they are silly-tame, making a great or even very good image is a challenge. I have been using both my SONY and my Nikon gear.

Please take a minute and let us know which of the images below is your favorite and why you liked it. This blog post took about five hours to assemble.

IPT Updates

I was glad to learn that recently that Dan Tishman will be joining six others on the DeSoto IPT — that leaves one slot open. And #3 just signed up for the UK trip; that leaves only two openings on what will be an amazing trip, and will likely be my last trip and likely the last Dunbar gannet boats trips — Gordon is getting old. 🙂

Despite lots of recent interest I still need three folks for the Galapagos trip. Please shoot me an e-mail to learn about the huge late registration discount on the Galapagos trip.

  • The 2019 Fort DeSoto Spring IPT/THURS 18 APRIL through the morning session on SUNDAY APRIL 21, 2019: 3 1/2 DAYS: $1549. Limit 8/Openings: 1. Meet and greet at 7PM on the evening of WED 17 APRIL. Free morning session on WED 17 APRIL.
  • The New, Expanded 2019 UK Puffins, Gannets, & Red Kites IPT. Thursday June 27 (from EDI) through Tuesday, July 9, 2019 (on the ground; fly home on Wednesday July 10.): $9,999. Limit 10 photographers/Openings: 8. This trip is a go.
  • The New, Expanded 2019 UK Puffins, Gannets, & Red Kites IPT. Thursday June 27 (from EDI) through Tuesday, July 9, 2019 (on the ground; fly home on Wednesday July 10.): $9,999. Limit 6 photographers/Openings: 5. This trip needs four to run. Co-leader: Peter Kes.
  • The GALAPAGOS Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT/The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience. July 23 to August 6, 2019 on the boat. 13 FULL and two half-days of photography: $14,499. Limit: 13 photographers/Openings: 3. Please e-mail to learn about the huge late registration discount for this trip.



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Money Saving Reminder

If you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H, would enjoy free overnight shipping, and would like a $50 discount on your first purchase, click here to order and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If you are looking to strike a deal on Canon or Nikon gear (including the big telephotos) or on a multiple item order, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell at (479) 381-2592 (Eastern time) and be sure to mention your BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order. Steve currently has several D850s in stock along with a Nikon 600mm f/4 VR. He is taking pre-orders for the new Nikon 500 P and the Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera body.


Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of photographers whom I see in the field and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. Those questions might deal with systems, camera bodies, accessories, and/or lens choices and decisions.

Tebow-basehit-_A9A6404-First-Data-Field,-Port-St.-Lucie,-FL-

This image was created at First Data Field, Port St. Lucie, FL on March 10, 2019. I used the hand held Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 1.4x teleconverter (at 280mm), and the beyond remarkable Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless Digital Camera. Auto ISO: 2500. Highlight metering at zero: 1/2000 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode.

Image #1: Tim Tebow rocks a base hit

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

As mentioned here recently I went with my two daughters, my son-in-law Erik, and half of my grandkids to see the Mets spring training game against the Cardinals. I had a truly great time. I wore a 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers t-shirt featuring the entire roster from their long-awaited World Series victory over the hated NY Yankees. Eight old codgers approached me while commenting on my shirt. We talked and talked about the good old days. I broke down and had a ball park hot dog and one slice of pizza for lunch!

I brought the SONY rig, the 100-400 OSS, the 1.4X TC, and the a9. I suspected, it was quite versatile and the AF performed admirably for sports. Notice in Image #1 that it easily focused on the batter while ignoring the protective screening. Only twice did AF grab the screen; I simply pointed the lens at a more distant subject, acquired focus, and then went back to the original framing. No problema.

throwing-to-first-_A9A6387-First-Data-Field,-Port-St.-Lucie,-FL-

This image was created at First Data Field, Port St. Lucie, FL on March 10, 2019. I used the hand held Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 1.4x teleconverter (at 280mm), and the beyond remarkable Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless Digital Camera. Auto ISO: 2500. Highlight metering at zero: 1/2000 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode.

Image #2: Mets Infielder Adeiny Hechavarria throwing to first base

AF at the Game

Almost without exception I used left middle zone for horizontals and either center upper zone or upper Flexible Spot (M) for verticals. Left middle zone grabbed and held the batter with Image #1.

Mets-catcher-stretching-_A9A5343-First-Data-Field,-Port-St.-Lucie,-FL-

This image was created at First Data Field, Port St. Lucie, FL on March 10, 2019. I used the hand held Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 1.4x teleconverter (at 522mm), and the beyond remarkable Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless Digital Camera. Auto ISO: 1000. Highlight metering +.7: 1/1000 sec. at f/11 in Manual mode.

Image #3: Mets starting catcher Wilson Ramos stretching before the game

Warm-ups

As we arrived early I took advantage of a few clouds and the proximity of the Mets players who were getting ready for the game. The Mets dugout was on the third base side.

home-run-trot-_A9A5688-First-Data-Field,-Port-St.-Lucie,-FL-

This image was created at First Data Field, Port St. Lucie, FL on March 10, 2019. I used the hand held Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 1.4x teleconverter (at 475mm), and the beyond remarkable Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless Digital Camera. Auto ISO: 1000. Highlight metering -.3: 1/2000 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode.

Image #4: Amed Rosario home run trot

The Mets Logo …

I made lots of images, more than 1250 in all. I kept 71. My eight favorites are featured in today’s blog post. I created lot of images of pitchers pitching and guys in the field running and throwing. In most of the best images the best ones featured the player’s chest square to the sensor so that we have a good or perfect view of the Mets logo on the front of the player’s uniform.

Mets-pitcher-_A9A5416-First-Data-Field,-Port-St.-Lucie,-FL-

This image was created at First Data Field, Port St. Lucie, FL on March 10, 2019. I used the hand held Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 1.4x teleconverter (at 375mm), and the beyond remarkable Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless Digital Camera. Auto ISO: 1250. Highlight metering -.3; 1/1000 sec. at f/11 in Manual mode.

Image #5: Mets pitcher Steven Matz warming up

Steven Matz

My younger daughter Alissa and her son Idris, the younger of my two autistic grandsons, are huge Mets fans. Idris, who is ten — he will be 11 in July, has been in love with the Mets and with baseball for about three or four years now. The best way to describe him with regards to baseball knowledge and statistics is as a savant. And, yes, he is a high-functioning autistic.

Any who, Lissy has always taken the boys to every conceivable program and event. Twice Idris had the opportunity to meet Steven Matz at a promotional event near their home in Holbrook. Both times he went out of his way to be nice. Steve Matz, a Long Islander himself, it one of their very favorite players.

Tim-Tebow-smiling-_A9A6210-First-Data-Field,-Port-St.-Lucie,-FL-

This image was created at First Data Field, Port St. Lucie, FL on March 10, 2019. I used the hand held Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 1.4x teleconverter (at 522mm), and the beyond remarkable Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless Digital Camera. Auto ISO: 640. Highlight metering at zero: 1/1000 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode.

Image #6: Tim Tebow smiling on the way to his position in left field

Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow was a big-time college football star for the University of Florida, winning the Heisman Trophy in 2007 (the first college sophomore to win the trophy) and appearing on BCS National Championship-winning teams during the 2006 and 2008 seasons. He was selected by the Denver Broncos in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft and spent two seasons with them. He also played for the New York Jets in 2012. Additionally, he had preseason stints with the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013 and 2015 respectively.

In 2016, when he knew that his football career was over, Tebow announced that he would pursue a career in professional baseball and signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets. He has played minor league baseball for the Mets organization from 2017 through the present. After the game we attended, he was sent back down to the minors. Tim has lots of detractors; I am one of his admirers.

Nimmo-throwing-_A9A5712-First-Data-Field,-Port-St.-Lucie,-FL-

This image was created at First Data Field, Port St. Lucie, FL on March 10, 2019. I used the hand held Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 1.4x teleconverter (at 522mm), and the beyond remarkable Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless Digital Camera. Auto ISO: 1000. Highlight metering -.3: 2/1000 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode.

Image #7: Left fielder Brandon Nimmo warming up

Brandon Nimmo

Regular left fielder Brandon Nimmo is Lissy and Idris’s favorite Met because of his delightful personality and positive attitude. Lissy sent me a link to a video with the title “Happiest Met” in the subject line. It features two old timers, both Mets, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling, the current Mets announcer, trying and failing to teach Nimmo to be meaner. You can click on it below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUdSRN1OVi8&feature=youtu.be

Tim-Tebow-out-at-the-plate-_A9A6192-First-Data-Field,-Port-St.-Lucie,-FL-

This image was created at First Data Field, Port St. Lucie, FL on March 10, 2019. I used the hand held Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 1.4x teleconverter (at 560mm), and the beyond remarkable Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless Digital Camera. Auto ISO: 1250. Highlight metering +.3: 1/1000 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode.

Image #8: Tim Tebow out at the plate

Photographing Sports Action and Me …

I have long thought that I could be a pretty good sports photographer and/or a pretty good sports announcer. Why? I have long followed baseball, football, and basketball and am fairly knowledgable. Not to mention golf. About five years ago tried to photograph a local high school football game at night and failed miserably. I had no clue. I brought my SONY rig to the game in part to have fun and in part to learn more about SONY. I did both. Though I did a lot better at the game last week, baseball photography turned out to be a lot more difficult than I thought it would be.

I was pretty good at anticipating the action and the SONY AF system is perfect for sports action. Once using center left zone I was tracking a Cardinal outfielder about to make a throw into the infield. I had him beautifully on the left side of the frame when suddenly and unexpectedly, he stumbled and fell. I kept panning and that was the end of that sequence … With plays at second base there was always an infielder messing up the shot. My best action shot turned out to be Image # 8 above when Tebow was thrown out at home.

UK-puffins-2018-CARD-

Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. All of the images on this card were created on the 2018 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT

The New, Expanded 2019 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. Seahouses, Bempton Cliffs, and the Dunbar, Scotland Gannet boat to Bass Rock! Thursday June 27 (from EDI) through Tuesday, July 9, 2019 (on the ground; fly home on Wednesday July 10.): $9,999. Limit 10 photographers. Co-leader: Peter Kes.

Join me in the UK in late June and early July 2019 to photograph Atlantic Puffin, Common Murre, Razorbill, Shag, and Northern Gannet, Red Kite, and more both in flight and at close range. We will also have great chances with Arctic and Sandwich Terns, both with chicks of all sizes; Black-headed, Lesser-Black-backed, and Herring Gulls, many of those chasing puffins with fish; Black-legged Kittiwake with chicks; plus Grey Seal. There will be tons of great flight photography. As on all IPTs, if you pay attention, you will learn a ton, especially about sky conditions and the relationship between light angle and wind direction and their effects on flight photography.

Why go all the way to Machias Seal Island off the coast of Maine, endure a two-hour boat ride, and have to photograph Atlantic Puffins from a cramped blind usually in bright sun (and well off sun angle) when you can hop a red-eye flight from Newark, NJ and be in Edinburgh, Scotland early the next morning. First we drive down to Bridlington for easy access to Bempton Cliffs where our primary targets will be Northern Gannet in flight. We will also get to photograph Razorbill, Northern Fulmar, Herring Gull, and Black-legged Kittiwake. While in Bridlington we will spend one afternoon visiting a Red Kite feeding station that should provide lots of flight photography action.

While in Bridlington we will staying at the Lobster Pot by Marston’s Inn, just fifteen minutes from Bempton Cliffs. After 3 1/2 days of photography at there, we drive down to Seahouses in Northumberland to the two lodges that will be our home base for a week. After a short boat ride each day we will have hundreds of puffins posing at close range all day, every day — usually in ideal cloudy-bright conditions. While we are in Seahouses we will do six puffin/seabird trips, all weather permitting of course; last year we did not miss a single landing. In five years we have averaged losing less than one half day per year to bad weather. We land at Staple Island in the mornings and then sail over to Inner Farnes for our afternoon sessions. In addition, we may enjoy a session or two photographing nesting Black-legged Kittiwakes at eye level from a rocky beach in Seahouses.

In Seahouses, we stay 7 nights in gorgeous, modern, upscale lodges with Wi-fi. They are beyond lovely with large living areas and lots of open space for the informal image sharing and Photoshop sessions. The bedrooms are decent-sized. Each lodge has one double bedroom and two twin bedrooms. (See the single supplement info below.) At the lodges we cook our own breakfasts each morning and prepare our own lunches to be brought on the six puffin boat trips. For dinners we will alternate cooking in the lodges with fine dining at several excellent local restaurants. We stay two nights at the Marston’s Inn in Dunbar. We will enjoy a fine-dining Thank You dinner at the Dunbar Hotel on the Tuesday evening before we fly home.

On the morning of Monday, July 8, 2019, the plan is to sleep late, pack, and head up to Dunbar Harbor, Scotland for lunch and an afternoon gannet boat chumming trip: flight photography until you cannot lift your camera. The next morning, Tuesday July 9, we will enjoy our second gannet boat chumming trip (both weather permitting). On both trips we will enjoy great views of the huge gannetry at Bass Rock. Included will be two nights lodging at the Pine Martin by Marston’s Inn in Dunbar. Very early on the morning of Wednesday, July 10, we will drive up to Edinburgh Airport so that everyone can make their flights home. No moaning please. You will need a flight that leaves at 8:30am or later. Not too much later is generally best. Note: this trip needs a minimum of four photographers to run.

UK-Puffins-2017card

Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. All images were created on the 2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT

The Details

This IPT is all-inclusive except for your airfare and alcoholic beverages. All ground transportation, lodging costs, meals, your National Trust membership, and all boat, entry, and landing fees are included. Weather permitting, we will enjoy three and one-half days (at least six sessions in all) at Bempton Cliffs, an afternoon with the Red Kites, six full days on the puffin boats, one amazing afternoon gannet chumming trip, and one spectacular morning gannet chumming trip. The trip cannot be finalized until I have at least six deposits as we will be renting a lovely 15-passenger bus with our private professional driver who happens to be my web-master, Peter Kes, who is also a skilled photographer and my co-leader 🙂

IPT Details

If you are good to go sharing a room–couples of course are more than welcome, heck, we actually need two couples — please send your non-refundable $2,000/person deposit check now to save a spot. Please be sure to check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below. Your balance will be due on February 28, 2019. Please make your check out to “Arthur Morris” and send it to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855.

Please shoot me an e-mail if you are good to go or if you have any questions.

Single Supplement Info

Single supplement rooms in Bridlington and Dunbar are available for those who register early. The cost of the single supplement for those six nights is $600.00. Single supplement rooms at the lodge may be available on a limited basis but only if the trip does not fill with ten photographers. The single supplement fee for those seven nights is $700. If you would like your own room in Bridlington and Dunbar, please request it when making your deposit and include payment in full for the single supplement with your deposit: $2,600.00. The single supplement deposits are non-refundable as I will need to make the reservations well in advance.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for big international trips is highly recommended as we never know what life has in store for us. I strongly recommend that you purchase quality insurance. Travel Insurance Services offers a variety of plans and options. Included with the Elite Option or available as an upgrade to the Basic & Plus Options you can also purchase Cancel for Any Reason Coverage that expands the list of reasons for your canceling to include things such as sudden work or family obligation and even a simple change of mind. My family and I use and depend on the great policies offered by TIS whenever we travel. You can learn more here: Travel Insurance Services. Do note that many plans require that you purchase your travel insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check or running your credit card. Whenever purchasing travel insurance, be sure to read the fine print carefully even when dealing with reputable firms like TSI.

I truly hope that you can join me on this exciting venture.

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As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And please remember that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.

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Typos

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11 comments to Take Me Out to the Ballgame. And What I’ve Learned Photographing Sports & Action and Me …

  • Hi Artie…

    Those are nice sport action photos!!! That Sony gear really rocks!!!

    Brings me back some good old memories when I played minor league baseball in my home country, and then adult baseball here in the US, up until 2008… Like you, I am also a big fan and admirer of Tim Tebow, and that was a good action shot right at the moment of the tag when he was called out at home. Definitely, you would have been a great sport action photographer!

    The photo of Wilson Ramos, who resembles my body type (I was a bit more muscular) when I played reminds me of my playing days as a catcher, which was my natural position before I hurt my arm and ended playing second base and then right field.

    Take care and see you soon!

  • I’m a baseball fan so I like em all. Really like 1st swing batter batter shot and Matz. I also like Tebow pic smiling heading out to his position happy he’s getting to play baseball. I’m with you I root for the guy, he’s a quality guy and I hope he gets called up soon. Pizza and a dog! Watching ball….good stuff….hanging with family not a bad day eh! You failed to mention What you were drinking? Lol

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. Fun stuff. We’ve been having snow and wicked high winds here in New Mexico! My favorite image would have been #1 if the ball had been in the picture. As it is, my favorite is #8, the same player (Tim Tebow) getting put out at the plate. Do you think Tebow will make it to, and then in, the majors? What do you think of the Mets’ new general manager, the former player agent Brodie van Wagenen?

    I’m reading a wonderful baseball book called “The Only Rule is that It Has to Work,” by Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller. Ben and Sam are statheads who got an opportunity to apply their analytics to an independent baseball league team. Their writing is full of humor, insight, and humanity.

  • avatar Eugen J. Dolan

    – With plays at second base there was always an infielder messing up the shot.
    FYI –
    You need to change the AF tracking Sensitivity to “locked on” – stays locked on the selected subject.
    Setting 5(responsive)- “The camera focuses quickly on nearby subjects instead of tracking a single subject”
    -:)

  • avatar Larry Brown

    Artie,
    I have a tee shirt featuring Ebbet’s Field and the 1955 World Champion Dodgers. I also like to do baseball photography mostly of my grandson’s high school team.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I will need to get a photo of me in the shirt so you can LMK if it is the same shirt 🙂

      with love, artie

  • avatar frank sheets

    Did you try “eye” af? It’s pretty amazing. Not so sure if it works when you subject has shades on.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Did not but when you start AF in Zone the system does a pretty good job of staying where it started … I look forward to the new firmware updates.

      with love, a

  • avatar Byron PRINZMETAL

    Artie,
    I used to take quite a lot of college sports (football, baseball, softball, basketball, sand valleyball, etc.) I found anticipating where the action was (might be), focusing there before the action started, pushing the shutter button before the player/action got to the point and held the shutter button down until after the action was over worked best. Photo mechanic was obviously an absolute requirement. but, my back could not stand my standing for 2.5 hours or so at a time so I stopped. My really old man reflexes are not fast enough to move with fast action especially action happening close to me so I had to anticipate where things are hopefully going to happen. Miss much, get some.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      With SONY initial focus acquisition is so quick that you do not need to pre-focus (except when shooting through a screen as in Image #1.

      with love, artie