The books all talk about long lenses being the sensible choice for motor sports, surfing, field sports, wildlife, and aircraft photography. I've not gone in for a great deal of these subjects, but when I have the advice was good. You need long focal lengths to bring in lions and Tiger Moths - you also need bright light. Anything less is going to be a failure.
Oh yes? Well what if you get an assignment to take pictures at a Halloween dance show in Fremantle -at the Fly By Night hall on High street. That's a picture from the mezzanine balcony at the head of the column. Great place to prop up during a performance as you are in no-one's way, but a long way from the stage...Note: The establishing shot is a Fujifilm 18mm f:2.
Enter the Camera Electronic Rental Department and the 100-400mm Fujinon zoom lens - the big boy in their lineup. Widest aperture is f: 4.5-5.6 but it has a dynamite optical stabilization circuit inside and an extremely smooth focus. The support shoe and rotating ring are also super-professional.
I bolted the lens onto a Manfrotto 234 monopod tilting head and in turn supported that with my Manfrotto carbon fibre monopod. Sitting on a chair up there in the gods at the Fly meant that I was stable and the lens was too. I could even grip the monopod with my knees if I needed to busy my hands elsewhere and the whole assembly stayed upright. I love tripods in the studio but am starting to love the manfrotto monopod more when I am out an about - so much less hassle but still great stability.
The job was a lot of fun - Halloween brings out the theatre in people and if they are good actors, singers, and dancers to start with it is all that much better under stage lighting.
Performers, Nina, Richell, and Jenier. Thank you for a great night, ladies.