DVD Review: Capturing The Action With Yamil Sued

yamil_suedAdvantages: Brings you up to speed quickly on shooting a match, good tips for all kinds of sports photography. 
Disadvantages: Not a lot of talk on what makes a good photograph of an action pistol match, needs gear tips for beginners.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

A word of warning right up front; Yamil and I are friends. I’ve known him for a while now and because the Phoenix-area photo biz and shooting biz are small worlds, I run into him all the time.

So how good is his new DVD from Panteo, “Capturing the Action“?

Pretty good. Really good, actually. It’s a great guide to getting good photos in almost any type of sports photography, not just practical shooting.

A little more background. I’ve been in and around the commercial photography biz for over 20 years, and before I was a (bangbang) shooter, I was a stringer for a local paper in college and assisted on shoots for Sports Illustrated when I was starting my photo career. I have a foot in both the photo worlds and the practical pistol worlds, and Yamil’s DVD is chock full of good advice on how to shoot (clickclick) a match.

The tips Yamil gives in this video are ones that work for all types of types of sports photography, and will work for anyone who wants to take better action shots. The gear he uses also looks very familiar as it’s the same kind of thing I’ve used, and we both have an irrational affection for the 85mm f1.8 lens.

A few more notes on gear:

  • Yamil recommends spending your money on lenses, not cameras. I agree 100%. All that light that makes the photo has to go through the lens before it hits the sensor, and imperfections in the lens are hard to correct in Photoshop.
  • His recommendation for a one camera, one lens setup (a D3 with a 28-70 f2.8VR) surprised me. I would figured a longer lens would have been his preference.
  • Something I hadn’t thought of: Carrying a lightweight 2 Way radio in your bag to communicate between bays at the range.

Now, on to the shooting (clickclick) part.

When the trailer for this video was released, there was a lot of grief in some circles about how Yamil was being unsafe when he took his photos.

In a word, bullcrap. In two words, total bullcrap.

The 180° rule and how to interact with the stage, shooter and RO is discussed at length in the video. Best quote I heard on the video about staying safe and staying out of the way was “Nobody waits for you: You are on the shooter’s schedule, he’s not on yours.” If you break the 180 and go home and the shooter needs to re-shoot the stage, how is this beneficial to you, the match and the shooter? You may have gotten the shot, but you left a lot of other good shots behind you because you had to leave the match. The rule of thumb mentioned in the video is, “The shooter and the stage crew should never know you’re there.”. 

Which is how I shot (clickclick) sports back in the day. The only time an athlete noticed I was there was when they’d crash into me on the sidelines after running out of bounds (having Larry Centers land on top of me is not something I want to do again…). I didn’t run out onto the field/court to get a shot at a football/basketball/baseball game, and you shouldn’t break the 180 to get a photo at a shooting match.

If there’s one thing that’s missing from the DVD, it’s a discussion about what makes a good action shooting photo and why. Is it the concentration in the shooter’s eyes? Brass flying thru the air? A freeze-frame shot of smoke coming out of the ejection port as the gun cycles? Some indication of what a rookie match photographer should look for in a shot would shorten the learning curve and help bring new shooters (clickclick) up to speed faster. 

Bottom line is, if you want to show off your friend’s shooting abilities and show others how exciting and fun action pistol competitions can be, buy Yamil’s DVD. If you want to take better pictures at ANY sporting event, not just an action pistol match, buy this DVD. Learn what Yamil teaches you, and you’ll soon be showing off your your photos and practical shooting to the world.