It’s not about the bike…or the gear. Or is it? When it comes to shooting sports, I could probably put up a fair argument for the latter. I don’t shoot sports, except when my kids are on the team. Being that I don’t shoot sports (or wildlife for that matter), I don’t own any lens longer than 200mm. And that 200mm only fits on my old cropped sensor camera body which I only use as an extreme emergency back up. It was a kit zoom lens and there is nothing more to say about it.
Regardless, I’ve offered to cover games for my kids teams since he was in the 8th grade, so parents can watch and cheer and still be able to have pictures of their kids without the stress of taking them themselves. There’s an easy science to it, for sure. Wait until the ball is snapped, follow the progression of play, shoot the pass, the catch, the run or the big finale of a tackle, put your camera down and repeat on the next play. But with crappy gear, this science seems to be far less scientific and far more fiddle-with-exposure-shutter-speed-focal-length until you miss the shot all together. This year, though, there are 2 other parents with gear. Real gear. Real big, white, expensive gear that can see every little bit of action from the safety and comfortability of 20 feet outside the sidelines. Their pictures are perfect, up close and stunning freeze frames of midair reaches and all star runs. Really great work.
As much as I just want to be relieved that we can cover every side of the field, I’m not. I find the eneagram 4 inside of me starting to compare, starting to feel a twinge of jealousy. That twinge of jealousy leading to insecurity and the feelings of not measuring up; wanting to just sit the game out all together.
But, something finally woke up in me this past Friday; something instructors and photographer friends have been trying to feed into me for years. Shoot with what you have. Don’t wish you had other gear. See the ‘field’ from the vantage point of what you do have and shoot the hell out of it. Ask yourself the question ‘where are you?’. Answer that physically, metaphorically, in the moment and shoot from that place. And at the exact moment of that lightbulb over the head experience, I found myself standing in the middle of a testosterone infused team of grungy, sweaty, uniform clad high schoolers who were about to win their first game of the season against their rivals. And wether or not I was able to get the details of each exact play caught on a zoom lens, the story itself mattered more to me. Just take out your trusty 35mm and make the most of it.
I’m not a sideline shooter. I’ve known that for years. But, I’m finally feeling confident about that. Feeling amped and energized by that perspective.
And that is definitely not about the gear.