The Lumix Diaries Takes in Minnesota Twins Baseball

Posted Jun. 22nd, 2014 by Daniel J. Cox

The Lumix Diaries takes in Minnesota Twins Baseball. Yesterday afternoon I was taking a nap at my sister’s place in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. My wife Tanya comes in and says, “Hey hon, Doug has eight tickets to the Twins for tonight. They’re playing the White Sox. We’re going to see a baseball game!” Ok, so most guys would have probably jumped off the bed, hitting the floor with a whoop and a holler and maybe even a back flip thrown in for enthusiastic effect. Me, not being a big sports guy, yawned, rubbed my eyes and said, “Baseball? Hmmm…that sounds kind of fun. I’ve never seen a professional baseball game.” Doug Fick, a brother-in-law that is more like a shining knight in our family was at it again, finding eight tickets for all of us to go spend some time making family memories.  I played baseball as a kid and though my father is a rabid Twins fan, I’ve never seen any in-season major league baseball games. “Ok, let’s do it.”

Wishing I was down there in the camera crew pit which was just to the left of my seat, right behind the White Sox dugout. Man those other guys have big cameras.

Wishing I was down there in the camera crew pit which was just to the left of my seat, right behind the White Sox dugout. Those other guys have big cameras.

I thought about bringing my Lumix GH4 and a longer lens but then decided, no, I’ll just take a break from photography tonight. Yeah right. That never seems to work out. I get to Target Center with my wife’s super-mini orange GM1 hanging around my neck and within seconds of walking through the front gate I’m realizing I’ve made a big mistake. I’m really, really wishing I had brought a more complete camera kit. The Target Center is absolutely gorgeous, as was the weather. The evening light was just reaching the golden hour and this virtually brand new stadium is so wonderfully designed you would swear you are in a much, much larger city. Kirby Pucket’s larger-than-life spirit in the form of a stunning bronze statue greets us as he’s charging onto the field, and the impressive, glistening glass towers of Minneapolis shimmer against a dark sky, clouded with zebra-toned cumulus clouds. The air is electric with lots of laughter and kids waiting patiently to get their photos in the giant catcher’s mitt. Off in the distance I hear, “Popcorn, peanuts, ice cold beer. Get it now, get it here.” The spirit of baseball is alive and well in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Dusk brings the blue light that is so beautiful to shoot in. Behind home plate. Lumix GM1 with 12-35mm lens. ISO 640

Dusk brings the blue light that is so beautiful to shoot in. Behind home plate. Lumix GM1 with 12-35mm lens, ISO 640

One of the main reasons I thought it best not to bring my larger camera gear was my misconception that security would be blocking any serious equipment at the gate. Not the case at Target Field Doug tells me. Doug pipes up, “Hey Dan, why the little camera? Where’s your big stuff?” I gave him my thoughts on security and he says, “No, not a problem at Target Field. None of the other sports teams in Minneapolis will let you shoot—not basketball, hockey or football—but no problem here with the Twins.” Wow, what a nice bonus from the Minnesota Twins.

No idea who this player is or maybe he was a coach. I just liked the composition with the Twins logo on the dugout in front. Lumix GM1 with 12-35mm lens. ISO 640

No idea who this player is, or maybe he was a coach. I just liked the composition with the Twins logo on the dugout in front. Lumix GM1 with 12-35mm lens, ISO 640

Making the best of it I decide this will be a great opportunity to really test the Lumix GM1, which by the way, had already passed its first test with flying colors as far as my sister was concerned. Yep, she’s also a camera connoisseur. Seems she really, really likes the fact it’s orange. Guess I can’t argue with that since it’s the exact reason Tanya wanted it as well. Admittedly, they both like the fact it takes an entire, relatively expansive line of lenses and it’s super small. But these two positive attributes are voiced long after the cool color comments. Me? Orange is OK but I’m pretty certain it was a confidence builder for the guy two seats behind us, who tried knocking me down with his thunderous voice that belted out “down in front” while I was shooting a few images. I’m confident he wouldn’t have been such a tough guy had my GM1 been black. Guess I’ll never know, but I’ve never had to take such abuse with my black cameras.  Thankfully our seats were really close to the action, first ones just behind the White Sox dugout.

An iPhone 5 image makes it in to the series of photos since my GM1's battery died before the end of the game. Unfortunately, being a super small camera, you get a comparable battery. That said, I can typically shoot for 3-4 hours before running out of battery power. This evening I grabbed the camera having without checking for a full charge so I paid the price by not being able to finish the entire game with the Lumix.

An iPhone 5 image makes it into the series of photos since my GM1’s battery died before the end of the game. Unfortunately, being a super small camera, you get a comparable battery. That said, I can typically shoot for 3-4 hours before running out of battery power. This evening I grabbed the camera having without checking for a full charge so I paid the price by not being able to finish the entire game with the Lumix.

The players were close as was third base, so my little orange camera with its kit lens of 12-32mm was not as limited as it could have been. Not a sports lens by any stretch like the young man in the camera pit who was shooting a Canon 400mm F/2.8, a 70-200mm F/2.8, and th 24-70mm F/2.8. I was most certainly outgunned but I had intentions to make some nice pictures.

A wonderful, friendly lady who kept track of where people could go, was the only one who didn't run me out of this nice location. She was such a sweet gal I asked if I could take her picture which she said yes to. Lumix GM1 with 12-32mm. ISO 50

A wonderful, friendly lady who kept track of where people could go was the only one who didn’t run me out of this nice location. She was such a sweet gal I asked if I could take her picture which she said yes to. Lumix GM1 with 12-32mm, ISO 50

First on the agenda was to enjoy the game, a cold beer and half a cheeseburger while the evening light faded. As gorgeous as the golden hour was, one-third of the field was in bright sunshine, the other two-thirds were in the shadows. Too much contrast at that point so time was on my side as I waited for the blue light of dusk to envelope the Target Center. Right at about the start of the sixth inning I decided to make my break. I excused myself from the family as Doug made suggestions on which way to go and some highlights around the park to look for.

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I slowly made my way around the entire field, stopping here and there to take an interesting angle or document a friendly face. Lots of security folks on hand and I was asked to move on more than once.  I would make a couple of pictures and move down to another entry way. The sky was so beautiful that night I was wishing desperately for my 7-14mm wide angle zoom. I did the best I could with the the GM1’s kit lens at the 12mm setting which is equivalent to 24mm on a Full Frame system.

A shot from way up high in the nose bleed section of Target Field taken with the Lumix GM1 with 12-32mm zoom kit lens. This JPEG was produced from an original Lumix RW2 RAW file with Apple's Aperture. I added no sharpening to the frame and you can read the number 44 on one of the Chicago players, on the field, in the bottom of the image. Anybody who claims this lens isn't very sharp must have bad eyes.

A shot from way up high in the nose bleed section of Target Field taken with the Lumix GM1 with 12-32mm zoom kit lens. This JPEG was produced from an original Lumix RW2 RAW file with Apple’s Aperture. I added no sharpening to the frame and you can read the number 44 on one of the Chicago players on the field, in the bottom of the image. Anybody who claims this lens isn’t very sharp must need some new glasses. Click on the image to see a much larger version where you can actually make out the number 44 on the Chicago White Sox player.

I’m a big fan of this new recently released miniature lens having a wide setting which gives us 4mm more on the wide side than most of the kit zooms that come with many other mirrorless cameras. I’ve always loved the 24mm range and now this lens gives it to us in a super compact package. There have been a few negative comments floating around the Internet regarding sharpness issues on this lens and I actually held off buying it due to what I came to find were completely false reports. I found this lens to be extremely sharp and produced fabulous details.

Joe Mauer's name is on the back of many a Twins fan. Mauer who is local St. Paul native is well loved and has a salary of 28 million USD. Pretty good for one of the Minnesota locals.

Joe Mauer’s name is on the back of many a Twins fan. Mauer, a local St. Paul native, is well loved and has a salary of 28 million USD. Pretty good for one of the Minnesota locals. I shot this at 1/20th of a second to get the feeling of motion from the people going up. Lumix GM1 with 12-32, ISO 640

I’ll close with a story about how my dear wife got ahold of a game ball. Sitting behind the Sox dugout is a great place to get a game ball since players from both teams throw a ball into the stands between innings. Doug warned me to be ready. So as the Sox players would come in, Doug and I would stand and do our best to look worthy to get a ball tossed our way. After three or four handouts to kids and others around us I finally told Doug, “Don’t stand up, just let the girls stand and we’ll sit back. I bet the boys from Chicago can’t pass on two pretty ladies.”

Tanya and Suzy are all smiles after a Chicago White Sox player through them a game ball. Lumix with 12-35mm. ISO 500

Tanya and Suzy are all smiles after a Chicago White Sox player through them a game ball. Lumix with 12-35mm, ISO 500

So we did and sure enough, the next inning one of the Sox players gently underhands a game ball to the two pretty ladies. I was doing everything just short of ducking down behind the dugout, but fortunately my plan worked and we went home with a souvenir of our fabulous night at the Target Center. Oh, by the way. The Twins were ahead 4-2 for several innings until the top of the ninth when Chicago tied the game 4-4. Miraculously, in the bottom of the ninth, Daniel Webb (4-1) walked Eduardo Escobar and Sam Fuld with one out and Escobar beat the throw home with a thrilling slide to win the game. The play was confirmed upon review. It was a wild finish.

My sister Suzy and her night in shining armor, not just for her but our entire family, Doug Fick. Thanks again for the game Doug and Suzy.

My sister Suzy and her knight in shining armor—not just for her but our entire family—Doug Fick. Thanks again for the game Doug and Suzy. Lumix GM1 with 12-32mm, ISO 500

 

 

 

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There are 5 comments on this post…
  1. ScottOn Jul. 29th, 2014

    Great post. Love the story and pics. Makes me want to go to a Redbird’s (AAA) game here in Memphis just to get the ambiance.

    I have a GH3 and would have loved to have seen what you could have captured with the GH4!

  2. Fred KurtzOn Jun. 25th, 2014

    Dan, here is another advantage of the Panasonic M4/3 systems. Today in Slovenia we had pouring down rain. Our group decided to go out and shoot in it. I have never shot in this much rain before. The DSLR users zipped up in a rain jacket with hoods on and put bags over their cameras and lens. I had my rain jacket on (no hood), an umbrella in one hand and my GH4 in the other. This camera is so small and light, you can shoot one handed all day long even with back button focus – and my camera stayed dry where the DSLR’s had to be wiped down. Another thing Panasonic can use to market their cameras! I am very much loving my pair of GH4’s.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jun. 25th, 2014

      Good point Fred. I can see the benefit with it being so much easier to handle. Looking forward to seeing your pictures.

  3. Fred KurtzOn Jun. 22nd, 2014

    What a great story Dan. I also have never been to a major league baseball game – just AAA. It is too bad you did not have your GH4. It would have been interesting to see what you would have gotten. This is also a case where Panasonic needs a professional lens up to 400mm equiv. I am loving my pair of GH4’s.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jun. 23rd, 2014

      Thanks for adding your voice Fred. The lens I really missed was my 7-14mm. However, I could have shot some nice images from where our seats were but as I mentioned in the post, I had no idea they would have let me bring larger lenses in. May give it a try next season. And yes, we definitely need longer, higher quality professional lenses from Panasonic. I appreciate you stopping to add your voice since the more voices we have on this subject the sooner Panasoinc will get us what we need.

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