A few days ago I was able to gain access to a St. Paul Saints game, which is a professional team in the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball. Minnesota has always had a rich history of minor league baseball even before the Twins came here in 1961, however this team has been around since 1993 and finally moved into their new home of CHS Field which is nothing short of beautiful. Target Field, which is where the Twins play, is one of my favorite ballparks behind Wrigley Field, but we have a hidden gem in CHS Field here in the Twin Cities.
For this game I rented a 300 f/2.8 L and brought along my 1D Mark II with a 70-200 as my second body. Since I'm shooting with a Mark IV which is a 1.3 crop body, my focal length was actually 390mm (1.3 x 300) When I arrived and got up to the pressbox I was assigned to the home radio booth so space was pretty limited for me as there were two other people in there so getting everything ready to go for the night was a little cramped. Also there wasn't any space in the photo well in the home dugout because it was taken up by the team's live mascot (a pig, not kidding) but I made do with standing on the steps. I could've done without the lady squawking at me to "move" however but overall it didn't take away my ability to photograph how I wanted. I mainly stuck to shooting down the first base line perpendicular to the back edge of the infield, which allowed me to shoot tight on the batter like you can see above and also gave me a good angle to shoot 2nd base if there was a play happening there.
Something else I did just for fun was I attached a GoPro to the lens hood and took a time lapse. I'm using a Hero 3+ Silver and set it to take a picture every 5 seconds then set the duration of the pictures to .15 seconds. I used "The Frame" and mounted it on a J hook then used a ton of gaffer tape to get it to stay on the hood itself. Around the 4th inning I switched it and mounted it on my camera body, using a mount for the hot shoe to take some video. I believe it was just some $20 thing I found on Amazon, not too hard to find.
Here's the footage, be sure to watch in HD as it's not a default option on my site:
This one was just a test shot with the 300, I wanted to see what my depth of field was going to be like
All in all, I'd say I had an awesome experience. I learned some new things and got to see a great venue. Minnesota is a hockey state, I'm a huge hockey fan and consider myself more of a hockey photographer when it comes to sports photography, but baseball will always be my favorite sport.
I posted this on my Facebook page but I got picked up by Icon Sportswire, so now that I'm a photographer for them I'll be able to request credentials to Minnesota Wild, Twins, Gophers, etc games and I'm so happy that my photography career is headed in the direction I've been working towards for so long. Right now my schedule is pretty bare but around the end of Sept. is when it's really going to pick up for me and I'll be busy, busy, busy so hopefully I'll be able to push out more content with my blog. Until then!
Canon 1D Mark IV
Canon 1D Mark II
Canon 5D Classic
300mm f/2.8 L
70-200 f/2.8 L
24-105mm f/4 L