Cursed camera envy

Written by Bob on March 21st, 2011

Photos of the Summit (boys) SkyHawks and Rialto girl’s basketball teams that both won Southern California Regional Division II championships. Fontana and Rialto are neighboring cities that have strong basketball programs.
Photos By BOB OTTO

YUCAIPA, CA – Last Saturday I photographed the Fontana Summit boy’s basketball game against the Lincoln Hornets of San Diego for the Southern California Division II championship at the USC Galen Center.

I came away with what we in photojournalism call, “camera envy.” Actually, by the time the game ended, I had a raging case of it.

I sidled in and sat down amongst six other photographers along the baseline of the Summit basket. It was like I was driving a Chevy Impala (a very nice car) and had pulled into a parking lot in Beverly Hills full of Lexus, Mercedes, BMW’s, and even a Lamborghini or two.

The array of extremely expensive Nikon and Cannon photography gear was pretty amazing. I’ve got good stuff, but it nowhere near measures up to what some of the photogs were shooting with.

I mean we’re talking $4 -5,000 camera bodies. Lenses costing about the same. And these guys don’t shoot with just one camera. They’ve got two strapped around their neck, and one hanging from their hip.

Me? I’ve got a Nikon worth a tenth of what these guys were toting around.

I put my mental calculator to work. With the dozen or so photographers on hand, I figured that their gear could buy a pretty decent house in today’s southern California market.

I glanced over at the guy on my right. He had a Nikon D3 and a D700 (price them and your jaw will drop), along with a huge 400mm lens and an assortment of smaller lenses in his arsenal of photographic weaponry.

When he hit the shutter of that D3, it sounded like a machine gun firing away – nine to 10 shots per second. My Nikon D90? More like a three-shot, bolt action .22 rifle. In a drag race, my D90 would have just gotten off the starting line, while the D3 had already sped across the finish line.

“What are you shooting with?” the guy to my right (let’s call him Larry) asked.

“Oh, just a D90,” I said with a twinge of embarrassment about my used camera worth about $400. “And I’ve got this 300mm lens; it’s an F4 (maximum aperture), but it’s sharp as a tack, and I got a good deal on eBay.

“I’m semi-retired, so I don’t want to spend that kind of money for the really good stuff,” I added, realizing I was talking way to fast, trying to justify my sudden feeling of inadequacy for shooting with such pitiful equipment at such a big game.

(Larry did give me a sympathetic look that said, “It must be so hard for you stuck driving that old, slow Chevy in the fast lane.”)

But then I realized. I’ve got a press pass hanging around my neck that allowed me to be up close to the action. And I’m getting paid to shoot a championship game in the Galen Center. An incredibly beautiful facility. For a sports photographer, it doesn’t get much better than this.

So what if my Chevy’s parallel parked with a Lamborghini on my left and a Lexus to my right.

Now, if I could just get rid of this insatiable itching to shop on eBay.

“Cursed camera envy!”

4 Comments so far ↓

  1. Metta says:

    Loved this story! Really enjoying your website, Bob! I had heard you had this, but never knew the address to check it out. Hope all goes well with your book! If I could afford one, I would order a copy from you…

  2. Bob says:

    Hi Metta, I have to take care of the softball players, managers, sponsors and fans first. I did send a book to John for family history. I’m sure he will share with family. If any books left over, some will go to family. Love brother.

  3. Lucy says:

    Loved your “Cursed Camera Envy” story!! You are a interesting and fun writer!!! Keeps wondering what’s going to happen next!!! Thanks for the intriging story!!!

    Love, Lucy

  4. Lucy says:

    Love the photo’s, too!!!!

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