Nothing will give you more dramatic lighting than a dark and stormy night game. A few standing lights on a field illuminating athletes here and there during a football game make you feel like you’re painting a masterpiece. Then they start to move, and you feel as if you’re learning to use your camera all over again. I had the opportunity to photograph the Homecoming game at my old high school. Before setting out, I did a quick search on Google to check if the equipment I had was even good enough — Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 lens with Nikon d60 base. One website blog, photo.net, stated this was what you needed at minimum. After shooting it myself, I have to agree.
The field itself was dimly lit with lights borrowed from the Town of North Hempstead. These lights travel from high school to high school and use diesel to keep the game rolling. While the team was warming up for the big game, I went over the settings on my camera. I settled for ISO 800, an aperture of 2.8, and a shutter speed of 1/50s. No flash. The issue with flash is that unless you’re using a top of the line flash (sadly that’s not built into your camera body) and the subject is fairly close, you’re mostly going to just illuminate the grass around you and not the player on the other side of the field getting pummeled by the opposing team. With these settings, the pictures were all a little dark and all a lot blurry.
Shooting motion at night is tricky. By moving your camera at the same speed as the players you can avoid some blur but not all, and as far as I could tell it seemed arbitrary what was and wasn’t in focus. Biggest piece of advice? DO NOT DELETE A THING. You never know what you’ve captured. Second piece of advice is buy a rain sleeve for your camera that way you give out before your equipment does.