This weekend was the fourth running of the US Grand Prix in Austin, TX. I joined two close friends for an incredible weekend. Wet, but incredible. We sat through a torrential downpour for the UT game, they beat K State fairly convincingly (if you ignore the second and third quarters) and Sunday morning we headed out early to catch the qualifying round that was cancelled from the day before and finally at 2 PM the race would get underway. Assuming, of course, that the rain would stop.
Regarding camera gear, I rented the Sigma 150-600, f5-6.3. It is a heavy, solid lens in every sens of the term. Very fast focusing and quiet. But I did not have a lot of time to play with it before the race. I may not have gotten the best out of it but I used it well! It certainly was much better once the sky lightened, the 5-6.3 limitation is just that with overcast or low levels of light. I have over 1200 images to review, so here are just a couple for now.
As many know, we are avid supporters of Penn State Men’s Soccer. The goalkeeping program is the recipient of the Mack Brady Fund in memory of our son and I am the “faculty partner.” All of that means I attend most of the games with camera in hand. As of a few weeks ago that camera is now a Nikon D810.
I was in the stands for the second round of NCAA playoffs called the “College Cup” in soccer, versus Syracuse and I was armed with my Nikkor 300mm f4 (the older version, not the newer version). Even so, I had a fairly good angle. Our lads lost but our keeper Andrew Wolverton had an incredible game, blocking 8 difficult shots. Connor Maloney scored on a PK and for a time quieted the 1500+ strong Orange crowd. Our Bhoys in Blue ended up losing 2-1, but it was a hard fought match and I could not be more proud of this great group of young men. Watch for some of these men to be playing in the MLS! Especially our Mack Brady Keeper, Wolvey.
I was invited by Athletics to be “Guest Coach” for a game and chose Maryland. It was a cold and blustery day, gray with occasional sunshine. An interesting experience for me, to be sure, sitting in on team meetings and meals over Friday and Saturday. Photographically, I borrowed a friend’s D300 with grip in order to get the greater frames per second. The sensor is not as good as the D7000, but I hoped the FPS would outweigh that. And I think it would have if I had been more comfortable with the set up. These shots aren’t too bad, but I lost focus on many, just simple user error. It is great to have that frame rate though!
Penn State Men’s Soccer had a good spring training with several fun games (although some in the very cold temps). Always in the quest for better gear on a budget, my friend John found a Nikon D2Hs on eBay for only $250. This was Nikon’s sports and wildlife pro camera from 2003-2007. This particular camera had only 15,000 shutter activations and was incredibly well kept (read: hardly used). Coincidentally Ken Rockwell just purchased one for use as well and has a full review. The D2Hs is much better than the D2H and while it is only 4.1MP it is a fully pro camera and shoots 8 frames per second. For daytime sports, it is great! I can’t really expect to do any cropping, but those two extra FPS over my Nikon D7000 is worth it for sports. I am not sold on its JPG compression, but at 4.1MP I shoot everything in RAW with no real lag in buffering.
On Sunday October 27, 2013 Penn State Men’s Soccer came back from a 0-1 deficit to tie the game with 1:40 left in regulation. They scored the winning goal with only 1:35 left in double overtime! (In NCAA regular season play the game would have ended in a tie.) That gave them the B1G Championship outright, even with several more games to play. The pictures here are a sampling of the action, including a key save and some jubilant celebrations.