A friend is playing in a rugby match (scrum?) and I want to take photos of him and the scrum. i have a 35mm, 18-55mm, 18-140mm and a 70-300mm. The 18-55 and 70-300 are Nikon kit lenses. Which would be best and am I right that I should use Shutter priority for best at speedy subjects?
I tried to find "photographing rugby" "rugby photos" but found nothing. Any help is much appreciated.
Daytime game? I hope so! Otherwise it get difficult and the gear needed can be pricey!
If it's a day game, the 18-140mm and 70-300mm should cover 99.9% of your needs.
It's really like shooting any sort of field/team sport. I use two identical APS-C cameras, personally... one with the shorter focal length lens, the other with the longer. I switch back and forth between them very quickly as the action moves closer and farther away.
But shooting a match with a single camera - which is what I assume you'll be doing - you probably can simply shoot for a while with one lens, then switch to the other for a while... getting some wider shots of the action with the shorter zoom, then switching to the longer telephoto for some tighter shots. Also move around, from one end of the field to the other, as best you can without blocking spectators or interfering with the play.
Be sure to set your camera to continuous focusing mode (I think Nikon calls it "AF-C"). I would usually only use a single AF point, often the center one. This is more work for the photographer, but assures you get the highest percentage of in-focus shots. I also make a point of using cameras and lenses with very fast AF.... with near instant focus acquisition and very good tracking of moving subjects. In the Nikon line, I think AF-S lenses are their fastest, but it's not the system I use so I can't be sure. Fast AF also depends upon the camera, but most DSLRs have a higher performance AF point right at the center of their array.
Many sports shooters use Back Button Focusing. I don't know how that's set up on Nikon.... but if you decide to use it, go do some practice in advance. It takes a little while to became accustomed to it. After shooting an event or two with BBF, it becomes second nature. But it can seem strange at first.
Take extra batteries and plenty of memory cards. Set your camera to it's highest frame rate and shoot short bursts of 2, 3 or 4 images. Try to time peak action moments, though to do so requires some familiarity with a sport. You'll probably find it easier to do later in the game, after seeing how it's played. I'd e sure to study an unfamiliar game beforehand too... so you have some idea what's going on and what to expect. Take lots and lots of photos! At a two hour game, I'd probably shoot 1500 images or more.
"Scrum" is a great word. Congratulations on managing to use it twice in your initial post!