The photo above illustrates what it takes to be a good sports photographer. As the other shooters in the background (subtle yes, I know) chimp their photos from the play directly before this, they miss a really good moment. The celebration shot tells it all. Platte Canyon needed a touchdown to win and while they didn’t get the touchdown on this play they came within a yard of the goal line and gained a pivotal first down.
The point of this post is that you can’t stop shooting when the play is over. Some of the best moments come right after the play as teams celebrate or react. Capturing the moment that defines the game is always the goal for sports photojournalists. Sometimes that moment does not have a ball in the frame.
UPDATED SEE BELOW: I finally decided that I need to purchase a 300mm lens. I used to say that I could do about 90% of my daily assignments with 2 lenses: a 70-200mm f2.8 and a 16-35mm f2.8. And for a couple of years when I wasn’t covering a lot of sports or when I was working for a paper that had great pool equipment*, that was all I needed.
When I took my job at the Canyon Courier I brought with me all of the gear I had amassed as a freelancer on the east coast. Remember boys and girls Freelance is a nice way of saying unemployed. No job=no pool equipment or a freelancers trunk is the pool closet. I had the basic gear to complete any assignment from biz profile portraits to editorial work that the local papers or clients needed. A 300mm f2.8 was a luxury that I couldn’t afford and truly at the time I didn’t need.