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On Saturday I shot the Florida State Seminoles vs. the Chattanooga Mocs from the sidelines (FSU won 46-7). Being a longtime Noles fan, this was really a treat for me (let the “Gators” comments ensue). ;-)

Below are some pics from the shoot (which are pretty much raw from the camera—I didn’t really have time to do anything but fix the white balance on two of the photos and add an unsharp mask).

SPECS: I shot with a Nikon D3, and a 300mm f/2.8 Nikon lens (which I borrowed from my buddy, sports shooter Mike Olivella) but I attached a 1.4 tele-extender attached to get me closer to the action, because the full-frame sensor puts me farther away than with my D300. All the shots were taken wide open at f/4 (with the tele-extender, you lose a stop of light) to blur the background, and most were taken at 200 ISO at around 1/2000 of a second. I also did use the D3′s high-speed Crop mode a number of times when I couldn’t get close enough to the action (because of the team’s bench, and their position on the field).

I had several challenges during the day; since the game started at 3:45 pm, by the 2nd half the field was 2/3 in the shadows, so plays would start in the sun, and end in the shade, which wreaks havoc on your white balance. I wound up having to increase my ISO to 800, which was no problem whatsoever on the D3 (I didn’t see any visible noise whatsoever). The other problem was my camera itself—it wasn’t shooting nine frames per second—for some reason it was hiccuping, and skipping frames all day. I brought a back-up D300, but my brother Jeff was with me, and I let him shoot with it, so I didn’t want to snag it back. (Had I been on assignment, I would have had to switch to it). Either way—the D3 goes to Nikon for repair today.

Overall, despite the frustration of the hiccuping, I had a great day of fun and football, and of course a win is a win! :)

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