Chicago Food and Travel Photographer

2014 Chicago Bears Training Camp

This week I got the chance to attend the Chicago Bears training camp in Bourbonnais Illinois. About this time every year I get excited to see how my team will fare when the season starts and training camp seems to help me get my football fix. The nice thing about training camp is that it's the only place you can get close to all the players and the action without an official NFL media pass. Since I was attending two days of practice, I decided to rent a sports lens so that I could get even closer to the action. I wasn't sure if I should rent the Nikon 300mm f2.8, the Nikon 400mm f2.8 or the Nikon 200-400mm f4.0. Due to the versatility of the length, I decided to go with the Nikon 200-400 f4.0. 

The Nikon 200-400mm f4.0 turned out to be perfect for training camp. The length of the lens allowed me to get very close to the players and the speed allowed me to freeze the action without any problem. With the lens I was able to get in close for Jay Cutler's passes to Brandon Marshall and into the backfield during hand offs. Overall, it was a great two days of shooting. Hopefully I can make it back next year and capture images as good as this year. I'm now ready for football season and once again excited to see how my Bears will fare. Bear Down!!

If you want to see the difference between the Nikon 200-400 f4.0 and my Nikon 80-200 f2.8 check out my blog post from the 2012 Chicago Bears training camp to see the difference. 

Jay Cutler
Brandon Marshall
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2012 Chicago Bears Training Camp

On Friday I decided to take a short road trip down to the campus of Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, IL to watch the Chicago Bears training camp and to practice my Football photography in anticipation of this upcoming fall.  In the fall I'm planning on adopting a local high school football team and I'm going to shoot at each of their games.  I love sports (especially football) and I think this will be a fun way to help build up my sports portfolio and have some fun at the same time. Brandon Marshall stretching to make the catch.

I couldn't have gotten a better day to watch football. I believe this was the 2nd practice of training camp and there were a few thousand people that had the same idea. The sidelines were jammed with people with all their Chicago Bears gear on scouting to see how the team will fare this year. There were people that you could tell have been to training camp for the past 20 years and kids that were there for the first time.  I got to practice about 20 minutes after it started so there were a lot of people in the prime real estate right along the sidelines.  After a few minutes I was able to find a decent spot to stand and with my Nikon 80-200 f2.8 I just needed an unobstructed view to grab a few shots.

Jay Cutler to Alshon Jeffrey

It's hard to remember how big these NFL stars are when you watch the games on TV.  In person these guys are huge and are really fast.  Not too surprising given they are NFL players but on TV everything feels slower and the players look smaller.

I focused my Nikon D90 on the offense most of the afternoon because they were closer to me and I had more opportunities for good photographs.  The wide receivers were working on a lot of interesting drills and so there were good opportunities for action shots.  I also played wide receiver in high school so I'm a little biased when it comes to the position. Our guys looked really good at practice and I think between Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Earl Bennett, and Devin Hester we could have a great receiving core this year.

Brandon Marshall grabs another ball near the sideline

It was great to see Brandon Marshall in a Chicago Bears jersey.  This guy is the real deal.  I was looking for him with all the other wide receivers and I turned to the guy next to me and asked him which number he was and he responded with "he's the biggest one of the group".  The statement was very true.  Brandon is probably a head taller than most of the wide receivers on the Bears and he is built like a tank.  I can't wait to see Jay Cutler throwing the ball to him.

Devin Hester walking back to the huddle after the play

It was a fun day to get out and experience the energy of the Chicago Bears training camp.  The facilities at Olivet Nazarene University are very nice and the students from the college working at the training camp were very helpful.  It was a lot of fun to see these NFL athletes up close and in person.  This was also a great warm up for this fall's football season.  It's easy to shoot outside in the middle of the day but at night under the lights might be a different story.  I'll have to wait and see.


Earl Bennett catching the pass during drills




Matt Forte


Devin Hester in between plays