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Shooting Baseball

© HBVigneault

It’s spring and thus time for High School Baseball.  Pictures in this post are from the Quarterfinals at CMU’s Baseball Field.  I shot these with a nikon D3s, with a Nikkor 200-400 mm VR lens and a TC-14 extender.  Baseball is definitely one of my favorite sports to shoot.  I wrote about it in an earlier post this year.  This post adds to that information.   It’s fairly easy to set up for good angles and there’s enough space on the field that you seldom get blocked.

© HBVigneault

My favorite spot to set up is along the first base line a little beyond first base.  From their you can get a clear shot of the batter.  That is, depending on where the first base coach likes to set up.  I try to learn their habits early!  If you have a left handed pitcher throwing, you can also get nice ‘open’ shots of them delivering the ball to the plate (especially when throwing from the stretch).  If a runner at first steals second, you will have an open shot to the play at the base.  If there are more than two umpires (as there are in the quarterfinals), you will need to be mindful of where the first base ump sets up before the play.  Otherwise, with two umps, the first base ump will be out of your way below second base.

©HBVigneault

From the first base line you will have a multitude of opportunities to get a great action shots of the batter striking the ball.  The problems you will face is; getting the ball in a good position in relation to the bat and timing when the batter is going to swing.  Timing can be frustrating.  It’s hard not to fire off a lot of shots of the batter taking pitches.  I try to cull them in camera as much as possible so as to save time when editing later.

©HBVigneault

Catching a batter bunting is easier in that they ‘show’ bunt early.  These are usually rich opportunities.  Quickly following a bunt you will get the opportunity to get a shot of the third basemen or pitcher fielding the bunt and throwing to first.  Unless of course, the runner gets in line of the shot!

©HBVigneault

The tougher shots for me are the action shots in the field.  Unless you set up for a specific shot and wait for it to happen.  I find myself swinging that big lens on a monopod around (from being focused on the batter) and trying to find the action in the field while peering through the lens.  Then, if you find it, you have to hope you can get it focused before the peak of action occurs!

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