Ron Scheffler – Sports Photography
Hamilton Camera Club
On Feb 8th a large group of our members enjoyed a very interesting presentation from Ron Scheffler a Hamilton based photographer, and a past member of the HCC with 20 years experience photographing sports. Ron shared his images and his interesting experiences from photographing an impressive variety of assignments. Ron’s shared some of the work he has done for the Hamilton Spectator, CFL football, Major League Baseball, FIFA World Cup Soccer, Toronto Raptors basketball, Formula 1 Racing, McMaster University Medical Centre, Weddings, 1812 re-enactments as well as his impressive images used by a major USA sports trading card company.
Many of our members could relate when Ron traced through his personal experiences of first being introduced to photography in Grade 5, then getting his first “real camera” when he was 13, a Canon SLR. He saw his passion for photography develop further when in Grade 8 he got to work with award winning Hamilton Spectator photographer Mark Fraser. Ron honed his skills further through high school and formal training at Sheridan College.
Ron provided valuable insight into the techniques and the approaches he uses when photographing sports, many which apply in other situations where there is unpredictable action and movement such as photographing wildlife or weddings. He explained the importance of paying attention to the type of light – natural or stadium lights, backlit or front lighting, sun or overcast and how this impacts the camera settings required. He explained different techniques he uses when shooting football, paying attention to whether he should be standing or kneeling, where he is positioned around the field, understanding how the background affects the image and the use of histograms to check exposure. He also shared some tricks he uses to get unique and very impressive shots of the players, as well as off field action shots of the coaches, cheerleaders and fans. He also stressed the need for safety when you are standing on the sidelines and 300 pound players are rushing and tumbling towards you!
Ron explained the equipment he uses and how carries three cameras with different types of lenses when shooting football, juggling them as required to get the perfect shot. He explained how in the short time it takes for the teams to run one play he may need to shoot with a long telephoto lens such as a 400-600mm, then quickly switch to a 70-200mm and then finish with a wide angle 16-35mm. He explained the different strategies he uses to increase his chances of being in the right place to get good shots as the play unfolds. In sports when a spectacular event happens he stressed there is no “re-do” as it won’t happen again. Ron talked about the competition amongst sports photographers and the challenges they face to get that perfect image.
The group also enjoyed seeing images that we don’t typically get to see from
behind the scenes as all the sports photographers prepare their equipment and get set up. Ron talked about how the photographers work with their newspapers and magazines as the photographers need to send their images as quickly as possible.
Ron encouraged the group to try their hand at sport photography by photographing amateur sports. It was a very interesting and enjoyable presentation.