Weekend handball

I was out shooting handball this past weekend. It's one of the sports I think is the hardest. Having to shoot through the defending team to get the attackers coming towards you, is always a challenge. But practice makes perfect. Not that these photos are perfect - they are far from it but it's getting there. Once again I have to praise the quality of the 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II. It stille amazes me how sharp it is .. And how bad my other 70-200 had become!

The storytelling action photo

I shoot a lot of sports. Especially hockey because it's the "pride of the city" when it comes to sports teams. Handball and soccer is secondary, even though they are bigger sports nationwide. Of course a celebration photo or players looking down depressed will tell either who won or who lost.

When it comes to hockey I seldom get "the goal". Bad lighting means relatively slow shutter speeds so the puck is often blurry, or players get in the way so the puck is either blocked or just hard to see. Last night I finally got the moment. It was a goal scored on a penalty shot. It was the game winner.

This is the shot I'm talking about.

This is the shot right after in the sequence. Here the puck is in the top of the net. The puck is harder to find, but you know the puck is in the net. I'm not really sure which one is best.

Last round of soccer for 2014

The soccer 2nd division season went on winter break last weekend. The local soccer team ended the first half of the season winning yet another game. It's so much more fun to shoot a team winning, than shooting a team losing. I cover "Avarta" regularly for the paper and they haven't been this good for many years.

It also let me try my new 70-200 f/2.8L IS USM II. IT's Ah-mazing! My old f/2.8L IS was beginning to go soft. And I basically got more useless photos than keepers with it. So I only used my 300mm. Same goes for hockey. It's fantastic to have the 70-200 again. It even meant that I dusted off my good old 1D Mark II and took it for a spin.. It's STILL a tank of a camera and delivers. The 8.2 mp is a different story. I've gotten so used to the 20 mp of the 5D and 7D cameras I can't shoot as loose with the 1D as I can with the other cameras. It just means I have to be more sharp and focused.

The Fuji X100s re-boosted my passion for photography

Before I started working full time as a photojournalist, I would bring my camera everywhere. I’d take photos of whatever caught my eye. I enjoyed “hunting” for pictures. Always looking for something to capture.

My first digital camera was a Minolta Dimage S414. It was back in 2002 or something where compact digital cameras started to hit prices where everyone could join the party.

As my interest for photography grew, so did my gear. I swapped my Minolta with the silver Canon Digital Rebel (EOS 300D) in the summer of 2003, then the EOS 20D in early 2005 and from there I went all the way and got the top of the line Canon - at the time - The EOS 1-D Mark II N when it was released.

In 2006 I started working full time as a photographer. Almost the same day I started, I completely stopped carrying my camera with me outside of work. I guess I got my “fix” during the day shooting assignments. Also the gear was getting bigger and bigger. And required more to carry around. When I think of it, the bigger my gear got, the less I brought it with me. Even before I started working as a photographer full time.

I did bring the big old camera bag when I was on vacation. A trusted Domke F1-X camera bag with the 1D, a 17-40mm, my 70-200 f/2.8 and a flash. (I don’t think I’ve EVER taken a picture during a vacation where I used a flash, but I brought it along for some reason). Guess how many pictures I took on the two week vacation? Maybe 75. And it included a day in Paris!

I went to Aberdeen, Scotland for four days a couple of years ago and a two day trip to London last year. I didn’t bring my camera bag. Why? Because I was getting tired of having a sore back/neck/shoulder from logging around 15 pounds of camera gear. If I saw something interesting I always had my phone with me. It’s a decent tool for snapshots but does have its limitations..

About this time last year I bought the Fujifilm X100s. A friend of mine had the original X100 but sold it and upgraded to the X100s. He praised it. A lot. For a long time I wanted a small camera that could deliver great image quality. Something light. Small and less bulky than a 5D to carry around. A camera for vacations. And eventually for my job.

The Fuji X100s does exactly that. The “use it for my job” part hasn’t really been something I’ve done much (yet). Shooting a rangefinder is a bit different. and requires some adjustments. Having to deliver every time I’m on an assignment I haven’t had the stones to just leap into it and trust the camera.

Leading up to the summer, I brought my camera to the streets of Copenhagen for some casual street photography. Practice basically. Getting used to the camera. Learn its strengths and limitations.

In mid august I went on a two week vacation to Minnesota to visit said friend. I only brought my X100s. And what a relief. No bulky camera bag to carry around. And no extra lenses. Just the fuji and its 23mm f/2 lens (equivalent to 35mm on a a full frame). It makes you focus on what’s in your frame. And how to compose your picture. No zoom in or out. Another benefit is that’s it’s small, and quiet. Which makes it great for the streets. You don’t draw much attention and you can basically shoot right next to somebody and they wont hear that clunk from a flapping mirror.

I’ve begun bringing the camera with me almost everywhere I go now again. The Fuji weighs next to nothing, and doesn’t require a separate bag. I’ve started shooting a lot more outside of work than I have done for many years. I enjoy photography a lot more now. Because I’m shooting what I want to shoot. not what I'm told to shoot. So I'm kinda back where it all started.

This has even inspired me to do a documentary project in my spare time. I haven’t quite figured out exactly what yet. But more on that when I find out.