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Memorial Day With The San Francisco Giants

Is there a better way to spend your Memorial Day Holiday than at AT&T Park with the San Francisco Giants? I think not, mon frere!! Not only is San Francisco usually the host of one of our armed forces branches, but we get to show them our appreciation for the duties they perform every day and pay a salute to those soldiers that have paid the ultimate price for the freedom that we all enjoy here in this great country of ours. Take all that and wrap it up with a nice ballgame against a divisional rival and you have the recipe for THE ONLY way you should spend your Memorial Day Holiday!! The only thing missing to make this more American is to get the freakin’ apple pie out!! We should have stopped at McDonald’s on the way to the park…

Anyway, we went to the ballgame today and had a great show. The Giants struck fast and hard, and Zito threw an awesome game. We held the lead the entire game and got him another W!!

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I picked up a Canon 300mm f/2.8 L along with a Canon 2X extender from Adolph Gasser on Friday and was able to use their fabulous 40% discount program to rent it for the weekend. The only plans for the lens combo was today’s game, but at such an attractive price, it was totally worth it. Today we sat in section 302 row 6, which is a far down the first base line as you can go in the view reserve. We did have seats in row 6, which were good, but had a group of clueless people down in the few rows below us that couldn’t have found their seat if their lives depended on it. It was brutal, and folks started to heckle.

It’s simple!! The sections go in numerical order, just like the rows and the seats. Have your ticket out and know where you should be before you start walking up the section and possible inconvenience someone trying to watch the game that actually gives a shit!! There are ushers at every section, so ask someone if you don’t have a clue, but don’t just sit in plain view inspecting your seat number on the ticket like you were trying to decipher a new language. What jackasses!!

Today’s seats weren’t ideal for photographing the game, but I did alright thanks to an extremely bright day. The 2X extender is brutal on the lens, since it effectively causes it to lose 2 f-stops, so I was shooting with a max aperture of f/5.6 instead of f/2.8. What does this mean? Well, it means that I took a gutsy lens, which is the 300mm f/2.8, and grabbed it by the balls to make it scream, which in this analogy is the 2X extender. Extenders are great for getting closer to the action, but the drawback of the loss of image quality and the loss of light usually does not favor the combo. In this case, it did alright, but I would much rather have been sitting on the lower levels to photograph the game from a straight ahead view instead of a birds-eye view.

Although the Canon 300mm f/2.8 L that I was shooting with is not the top of the line model that is currently out, it performed very well. It is still L series glass and commands great respect for how it performs. This particular model does not have IS, or Image Stabilization, but at the shutter speeds that I was shooting, I was almost stopping time and the IS would not have helped one bit. Other than draw on my battery a little, I would have had no use for it. So, for this particular shoot, the older 300mm works just fine. It is still a beast and will require good and strong arms to carry it around for any extended period of time. The newer model that features the IS isn’t any lighter either. After renting it a few times, I’ve gotten used to it, so I can hand hold it throughout the entire game, but that is with setting it down on my lap in between the action. I would think twice if I had  to hand carry this thing around all day. I’d probably opt for a monopod…

I shot at ISO 400 to ISO 640 throughout the day, as the clouds came and went. This allowed me to shoot with a minimum shutter speed of 1/2500th of a second, and all the way up to 1/4000th of a second on some of the bright shots. The post processing was kept down to a minimum with slight cropping of all images along with a little sharpness and contrast added in Photoshop. Enjoy!!

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