My Loadout For Tomorrow’s Falcons/Titans NFL Game

Finally! The wait is over — Football is back, baby!!!! (Whoo Hoo!!) :-)

Tomorrow’s my first shoot of the season (well, the preseason), and I’m off to Nashville to shoot for the Atlanta Falcons in their pre-season game against the Tennessee Titans, and I am trying out a completely new camera set-up (Take a look at my load-out of the game below).

So, last season when I was shooting for the Falcons up in Atlanta, my buddies Michael Benford and Matt Lange (from the Falcons crew) both were shooting the new Canon EOS 1DX, and they kept running over and showing me some shots during breaks in the game because the noise was just so incredibly low (we all have to shoot at around 4,000 or 5,000 ISO in the Dome at night). I’m used to shooting with a camera that does great at high ISO situations, but what I was seeing was still pretty freakin’ amazing, so when a friend at Canon asked if I wanted to try out some of their gear this season, I was all over it (especially since this first game is a night game, so I’d really get to check out the high ISO performance of the 1DX).

Inside My Bag
I’m using pretty much the same lens configuration I was using with my Nikon gear, and I had the option of going wide with my 2nd body lens, but I decided to go back to a 70-200mm f/2.8 for the shots inside the 20-yard-line. I didn’t bring a fisheye, but I might just throw a 16-35mm in there at the last minute for some pre-game and post-game shots.

Above: Here’s a closeup of the EOS-1DX body sitting on top of the my bag (photo by Brad Moore) — one of two I’ll be using tomorrow night (ya gotta have two bodies for football — there’s no time to change lenses during a play).

Setting It Up For Football
I’ve been playing with the 1DX at home at night, just getting used to the feel of it and setting it up for football, and I found an article from sports photography legend Peter Read Miller on his own settings for shooting sports with the 1DX, and if they’re good enough for Peter….well….needless to say, those are the settings I’m using! :-)

A full report on Monday
Check back here on Monday and I’ll have a full report, and lots of photos. Hope you all have an awesome weekend (did I mention football is back?), and GO FALCONS!


P.S. I’ll be in San Jose, California teaching my “Shoot like a Pro” tour on Tuesday. If you’re coming out to the seminar, and you read this blog, make sure you come up and say hi. See you there!

  1. Just hold down the fire button and that thing will practically record a movie it shoots so fast. You won’t be missing any shots. It should be a weapon in Call Of Duty.

    1. Matt — you didn’t have to go to Call of Duty now, did ya, cause I LOVE call of duty (and I’m in a clan called [SNOW] with a bunch of my photography buddies — Matt, RC, Jeff Revell, Brad, and a whole bunch more). It’s a blast! Next time I’m choosing a class, instead of choosing the AN-94, I’ll look to see if I’ve unlocked the 1DX ;-)

  2. The one 1Dx is amazing (from a Nikon guy whose wife works for Canon). I’ll be waiting to see the shots. I’ll be in town for the Bucs game hope to talk to you then.

  3. You will fall in love with the 1D X, it’s an amazing camera & the 400/2,8 IS II is awesome… I think you wanna keep that gear after the shoot… =D

    1. Al — now that sounds like a fun adventure! Make sure you come up and say hello at the seminar (and tell me you’re Al from Oz) and I’ll make sure you make some friends at Photoshop World. Safe travels and we’ll see you there.

  4. Is it April 1st today? Next thing we’ll hear is you’ve bought an Windows 8 computer, switched to Gimp for your post-processing, and have taken up the bagpipes as your favorite musical instrument! Oh, the humanity! :-)

    Have a blast shooting the game, Scott. I bet all of the different controls on the Canon won’t hold you back one bit. One question….why the gaffer’s tape around the pen?

    The crisp, in-focus shot of the ref at the top of the post gave me chuckle! Nice framing!!


    1. Hey John: The gaffers tape on the pen is so I can keep a small amount of it with me, and peel off a strip and tear as I need it, without actually putting a big bulky roll in my bag. It works great — just wrap a bunch around a pen (I stole the idea from another football shooter whom I borrowed a few strips from). I was able to customize all the dials on the 1DX so they’re set up exactly the way I shoot, so I’m already pretty comfortable with it. I’m more worried about just being rusty from not shooting football for eight months. Cheers buddy! :)

  5. It’s not perfect but I can say that the 1DX is the ONLY reason I didn’t switch to Nikon (well that and all the money invested in Canon glass!) but seriously, I had already ordered all Nikon replacement gear when I decided to give the 1DX and Canon one more try. After all, I’d been shooting Canon for years. While the 1DX isnt the 2nd coming, it is, for sports, an awesome camera. Insanely fast, great focus and super low noise. My favorite combo is my 1DX with the 300mm 2.8 attached. Super sweet! Good luck with the game!

  6. Its a given I’ll never be able to afford the contents of the bag (maybe the bag iteseld, but I doubt it), but how do you travel with it? Its got to be heavy and its value says “don’t leave me.”

    1. I checked last night to make sure I’m not flying on a regional jet, and luckily it’s all full-sized jets, and that rolling bag is designed to fit perfectly in the standard overhead bin. It’s lifting that bag up into the overhead that is a bit of a trick. Also, the bag has a built-in cable and lock to secure it, and I’ll be using that for sure. :)

      1. Something I’ve never worked out if you are allowed to do or not, is flying with the monopod on the side of your bag as hand luggage? is that allowed? is that what you do, or do you check your monopod in in another bag (if you take another bag)?

      2. Something I’ve never worked out if you are allowed to do or not, is flying with the monopod on the side of your bag as hand luggage? is that allowed? is that what you do, or do you check your monopod in in another bag (if you take another bag)?

  7. Hey Scott, as a canon user, I’m looking forward to your report on the DX1 and would like to hear your final settings. I’m not lucky enough to have one, but I’m still interested in your analysis. Looking at your bag, I’d say you have it covered! :-) So, which laptop locking mechanism will you be using? Have a Great time and I’m looking forward to your photos and critique!!


    1. Hi Dennis: I’m going with the MacLocks solution for locking down the laptop. I’ll let you know how it goes on Monday, along with the 1DX. I do think I’m going to sneak that 16-35mm in there though, so the bag’s gonna get a little heavier. Hope I can lift it into the overhead bin. LOL!

      1. Hey Scott,

        I thought Brad did all the heavy lifting! (LOL) Have a Great time … looking forward to report!


  8. I read with interest the Peter Read Miller settings post. I know you have been a long time Nikon shooter and have many very experienced contacts ( like Peter ) shooting sports with Nikon. I am on that learning curve learning my D4. Please provide some similar settings info on the d4 if you would. Ps really enjoyed Peter Miller video on Kelby training

    1. Peter’s pretty amazing, right? I went to one of his workshops last year and in just one day I learned a ton! If you look back at my posts from last football season (2012), I posted my D4 settings, but I can tell you I used 9-focus points; Continuous focus mode, JPEG format, High-Speed Continuous shooting mode (10-fps); my focus lock/release thingy to “Long” (Dave Black convinced me to change to that), but the thing that trumps all of that is setting up “Back Button Focus.” Hope that helps. :)

  9. Hope you have a great time Scott. Start of a new season, along with new gear, I’ll be expecting a least one blog post with your outstanding “back of ref” shots :)
    Don’t let us down and ensure you post some of those wonderful “learning curve” images.

  10. Hope that you have a great time! Thanks for labeling the bag contents so clearly. I shot high school football last night and it was a rush being back on the sidelines…I can only imagine a pro game :)

    1. Cindy — it really is a blast, but what you’d like the most is the lighting in an NFL stadium. It’s never as bright as you’d really like it, but it’s a lot better than most high school stadiums (well, probably except in Texas. LOL!!!). You do have to be really careful at a pro game — those guys will run over you like a truck!

  11. “Fallen to the Dark Side he has”. I think I need more coffee to be able to handle this. :p

    So….Canon is letting you use the equipment for free….

  12. I’m curious on your take of the ISO since you do shoot the D4 and the D4 is supposed to be stellar at high ISO as well.

    Good luck with the game and very much looking forward to your shots!

    – Shawn

  13. Scott this is a perfect example of using the right tools for the job. Each system has their pluses and minuses. Good job. Can’t wait to see the results.

  14. Thanks Scott for the article. I have my 5D Mrk III set for tonight’s scrimmage. I love that bag and my 70- 200 mm f2.8 all I need is that 400 mm f2.8. Please ship my way when you are done with that lens. (LOL)


  15. Welcome back to Nashville! I can’t wait to see the results from the game. If you don’t want to lug that gear back home you can swing it by Lipscomb University. We will be sure to send Canon their tax write off and put it to good use with the rest of our Canon gear shooting our NCAA Division I sports.

    All kidding aside, welcome to the Music City. I hope the weather is good for the game it’s been a mixed bag lately. Go Titans!

  16. Scott – Cannot believe you have gone to the dark side! With that said, I am very anxious to hear your comparisons to the D4….Thanks for mixing it up and giving us all sides….Good luck with the game!

    1. I wonder how many mistakes will happen with new camera gear at an NFL game? :)
      I’ve heard the 70D coming out has an awesome autofocus upgrade on their dSLR’s, which will be on all future models.

  17. It seems the world is coming to an end, Scott with a Canon. It is a credit to Scott that he is willing to use anything do get the job done better, as should we all.

      1. I hope that if the tape is being reached for in the event something broke.. that you’ll think of me and at least laugh a lil! :)
        You forgot the ‘NYC’ hahahah!

  18. What fun! Trying out new Canon gear and shooting an NFL game to boot! I had the privilege of getting to know Matt Lange and Mike Benford at PSW-Orlando. Two great guys, and we still keep in touch through social media. I hope you have a great time and I look forward to reading about your experiences. If you don’t mind and can remember, tell Matt and Mike, Ivan says hi!

  19. Scott, besides the main information in the article which is always interesting, I also seem to always get some little tidbit when you post articles like this. Like the gaffers tape around the pen instead of the whole roll. College football starts for me next week and anxious to start another year as I really enjoy football photography. Anyway, This week I got the new Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 “S” lens the other day. Will be using it on a Canon 7D.

    1. Thanks Sean. I love Collage football — high-scoring run-and-gun games! I usually get to shoot a bowl game, and always love it. Plus, the energy surrounding a big college game is just electrifying! I shot an Ohio State/Michigan game at Ohio State —- it was the last game of the season, and it was insane. They literally had the National Guard there to keep everyone from going insane. Loved it (even though it was like 28°). :)

  20. I have a friend that works at Taco Bell, he won’t give me a free burrito. You have a Canon friend that basicly gave you a car in value. What’s wrong with this picture?

  21. Scott,
    I can’t wait to see your images. I suppose the NFL Preseason is a good time for Preseason for you working with a slightly less familiar gear set. I’m sure you did great!
    See you in about a week, and then again about 2 weeks later in Arlington, Tx.
    PS I’m getting totally psyched about Photoshop World!

  22. I covet the Canon 1DX like I covet the Chevy Corvette, which is a lot! One of these days, I’ll buy a Canon DSLR; until then, I’ll use my 33 year old Canon A-1 and newly acquired Canon F-1 (New).

  23. Looking forward to following your football shoots ! One of my grandsons made the high school team and I will be shooting at those games this season. Hoping I can use some of your tips ! I shoot Canon, Would love that 400mm ! Only the 70-200 and the 7d for me !! Hoping to get the best shots I can ! Watched you on Kelby Training with Dave Black lots of great tips there !!

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