Proud Parent...

by Pino Pino September. 08, 2019 1037 views

So this is a bit of photography blog and a bit of a proud papa blog...

My son is in his first year of high school band - and it is marching season... and for those of you with band kids you know the full weight of that statement.

There are practices... and some practices... and band camp... and a few more practices... and football games... ... and some practices... and competitions... and a few more practices...

And practice, particularly band camp, means hours and hours on their feet, marching (Have you ever tried marching? It is crazy difficult!), carrying their instruments, repeating movements over and over until they become reflex...

And the kids all love it!

Okay - I have to say that our band kids love it for many reasons but one (or rather two) of the main reasons is our band directors... the parents are awesome, the kids are awesome, but the band directors truly do set the tone for the whole experience.
Our band director and assistant band director are two of the most dedicated, patient, encouraging, supportive people and it shows in how the band responds to them and, more specifically, how my son talks about them. The work they put in given the short time they have to prepare incoming freshmen for the performances, performances that are much closer on the calendar than they look when this all starts, is amazing - and all with the patience and encouraging attitude that has these kids still smiling and laughing after a full day (and I mean a FULL day) of marching and playing at band camp.

Hmmmm... probably should talk a bit about photography... ;)

So, I usually take my 70-200 2.8 for things like band practice and particularly for evening/low-light times. There is a reason that every manufacturer makes one and most every photographer who shoots action and/or low light either has or wants one.

They're Sharp... They're Quick... And they're oh so much fun to shoot!

So I brought my 140-450 4.5-5.6 to the first football game performance.

Allow me to explain... I'm a bit nuts.

I usually use the 150-450 for wildlife - birds and such... where light is usually good and reach is massively important.

Would I love a 400 prime? Sure.
Do I want to spend a few grand on a single fixed length 2.8 lens?
Let me rephrase that with a little more 'self preservation' built into it...
Do I enjoy the fact that my wife lets me sleep in the house and would she kick me out of the house if I spent a few grand on a single fixed length 2.8 lens
So the 150-450 it is.

I had been shooting all the practices with my go-to 70-200 and loving the results... but I wanted to see how the 150-450 would perform... and it did quite well on my full-frame K1.

I loved the extra reach... and the K1 in-body stabilization let me slow the shutter a bit... so it was a fun experiment and I got some good shots...


I'm going to be shooting the competition my son's school is hosting later this month and I know I'll want my 70-200 for that... and probably a wide angle...

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand maybe a third body wearing the 150-450. ;)

The 150-450 on the K1 and 70-200 on the KP (making it about a 105-300ish)?
And then maybe a 28 or something on my K3?
Or maybe I bring the Nifty 50 or my 28 but swap them onto the K1 or KP for wider shots?
Or the 70-200 on the K1 (Because that is just HEAVEN to shoot!)
Ooooh... film!
No. Not for the competition. I'm nuts but I ain't crazy. I love film, but the lower stress of shooting digital wins this round.
Oh, well... I've got time to figure out gear...
and some way to also run the GoPro...
and maybe sneak in a few film shots? No - bad Ken! Very bad! Put down the Ricohflex and back away slowly... now breathe. Walk away.

So here is a shot from that night - finally.

It is my personal favorite - actually taken with the KP wearing an 18-135 - with hot shoe mounted flash that was wearing a little altura soft box. This shot is 8:30 p.m. and I know my son is tired and hungry... but that little sneaky crack of a smile just teasing the edge of his mouth but showing like a beacon across the rest of his face... that was the proudest proud papa moment of the night for me.

Sounded good... Looked good... Worked hard... and he loved every minute of it... Love you, Buddy!

Sounded good... Looked good... Worked hard... and he loved every minute of it... Love you, Buddy!

I'm going to cop out a little here because, as much as I want to share more of the 150-450 shots that I'm really excited about, I don't want to just willy-nilly post photos of other people's kids.

With that in mind, here are three of them walking in - a public aspect of the night since it is after the in-school preparation and prior to entering the stadium for their performance.

Two shots of the band headed in and one of the football team headed in... but taken with the 150-450 - on a mono-pod with me scrunched down in front of them as they walked.

Note that if I receive any concerns from the parents object about sharing these I'll pull them out of the post... so if there are no pictures below this point when you view this blog you'll just have to trust me - they were great! ;)

Wasn't really there to shoot the football team but just couldn't resist this shot - the look of sheer determination made me keep this one.

Wasn't really there to shoot the football team but just couldn't resist this shot - the look of sheer determination made me keep this one.

Join the conversation
There are 5 comments , add yours!
Bethany Plonski 1 year, 7 months ago

Love this post! Especially like #1. Marching band is such a unique experience - so much discipline and coordination required from everyone involved. Great shots that bring back lots of memories.

1 year, 7 months ago Edited
Pino Pino Replied to Bethany Plonski 1 year, 7 months ago

Thanks! It is so much fun to watch him experience this part of his life and to get to be some small part of it...

1 year, 7 months ago Edited
Camellia Staab 1 year, 7 months ago

You definitely grabbed my attention not only by your photos(very handsome son), but by your narrative. Having taught at the high school level for gazillion and one years and having had my own kids, I definitely know both sides of the "band/sports" side of life. "Practice makes perfect" is definitely applied when kids participate in these types of activities.
Going beyond the band and reading your thoughts about the lenses is also another part of your narrative that grabbed my attention. I have a month long trip coming up and I have done nothing but ponder as to what lens I should take. Knowing I don't want to be bogged down with weight and yet knowing that if I don't take the "right" lens/lenses I will be kicking myself from here to Timbuktu.
 Btw any chance your wife might be related to my husband? 😉

1 year, 7 months ago Edited
Pino Pino Replied to Camellia Staab 1 year, 7 months ago

I havent gotten better about picking a lenses or lenses for a particular outing and not totally obsessing over the ones I didn't bring - I still obsess, just not totally obsess... usually...  simetimes...   occassionally...   :)

I am pretty sure all spouses of photographers have a secret support group - their motto is probably something like "tough love - investing in gear is not a retirement plan - stand strong"...

1 year, 7 months ago Edited
Camellia Staab Replied to Pino Pino 1 year, 7 months ago


1 year, 7 months ago Edited