Last Saturday Nick’s Nordic Ski team had a Pursuit Race. We had to leave the house at the crack of dawn and I could not find my telephoto lens. All I could turn up were short focal length (7—14mm and 20mm, which in M4/3rds is similar to 14—28mm and 45mm in a 35mm format) lenses.
Shooting sports is always better with longer lenses – you stand off and track the action from afar, letting the long glass get you close to the athletes. Long lenses also flatten perspective and offer interesting bokeh (the unfocused areas outside of the depth-of-field) making for appealing images. I shoot the telephoto from a monopod, which provides me with a stable platform that still allows me to pan side to side to keep the action in-frame.
My 20mm prime is a fantastic portrait lens, and is very fast, meaning it is great in low light, but the focal length makes for “snapshot” looking shots of sports.
I love shooting with wide-angle lenses, but they are not my first choice for shooting sports. In the past I’ve used my wide-angle as a secondary lens while shooting sports, taking close-up shots from a very short tripod close to the ground with a remote shutter. This time however, I affixed the camera and wide-angle to my monopod I usually have the telephoto on, but used it instead like a boom – held low, or high in the track of the race course. I’m pleased with the results: