Telephoto Adventures

in the market now for professional glass

by Robert Rowsey

So now I need a telephoto that’s autofocus, at least 600mm, maybe 800 or even 1000mm. Here’s a pic I shot this morning of some dude at the Shores goofing around in the small surf on his longboard. He started out surfing it regularfoot but then dropped down to a seated Quasimoto or whatever. I broke out the old Sigma analog 600 f4 and set up with the tripod on the concrete boardwalk. In doing this I quickly discovered — I need to get a modern telephoto lens if I’m going to do any action sports photography. Unlike the shoot at Windansea last week with my Tamron 200 which had plenty of “tack sharp” crispness, these pics were all hit-and-miss. This shot was among the as-good-as-it-gets cetegory:

La Jolla Shores, 11-6-18.
La Jolla Shores, 11-6-18.

In the early 80’s I was out of high school and toying with the idea of contributing to the at that time many surfing magazines being published. Actually in the US there was only Ing, Out, and Er — which were Surfing Magazine, Breakout Magazine, and Surfer Magazine. George Salvadore, who was the editor at the Carlsbad-based Breakout Magazine at the time told me the formula for shooting surfing. It was this: use ASA 64 Kodachrome “Red” slide film, and shoot f4 at 250th of a second or faster. That was it. Today the technology’s improved so much you can shoot at a much higher ISO and stopped down for a larger depth of field and still get good results. But that’s what you had to do back then.

I do like my antique glass though. I’ll hang on to my 40 year-old Sigma monster 600. You can’t turn that tight focusing collar fast enough to stay on a rider but boy does it look impressive mounted on a ‘pod.

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