Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Immediately after the Majestics game the Royals squared off against the Delaware Dynasty. Game time was scheduled for 7:30pm and it started off pretty much on time. I was pleased that they got the game started on time because after the Majestics left the sun was rapidly dwindling. The sun provides such great color on the subjects, especially when it gets low and gets red.

I had to make a few adjustments to my ISO and White Balance settings to accommodate the changing light conditions. I started off at ISO 100 and by the end of the shoot I was all the way up at 1600. Unfortunately this greatly increased the noise in my shots and decreased the quality. I also transitioned from Sun WB to Shade to overhead lights. I thought about trying out the coffee filter method again and compare it to the built-in WB setting for overhead lights. But my bag was out in my car and that was a little distance away. And at that point I was on my feet for about 12 hours shooting during the day. So the built-in WB setting for overhead lights worked just fine.

I had a lot of trouble with the autofocus system and the soccer players. I started shooting the game while sitting down and I used continuous spot focus. However, I noticed that several of my shots were focused on the grass beneath the players rather than on the players. I wonder if this has anything to do with how the autofocus system works (in checking the variation in contrast) - perhaps the blades of vertical grass throw off the autofocus system. I originally started out using a matrix autofocus but switched the spot thinking that might improve the focus. It did... slightly... I also noticed that switching from sitting down to being on my knees helped a lot. Towards the end of the night I stood fully upright and that seemed to do the trick. However, that reduces the bokeh in my pictures... So I'm going to have to give that some thought.

I was also very happy to see that my EN-EL3E batteries held up the entire day. I'm very proud of them, and I'm going to go out and purchase 2 more to use as emergency backups. I'm going to ditch the AAs as an emergency backup because they simply could not stand up to the load. Nikon did a great job with those batteries.

I'm also very pleased to report that I have my first photography "job" thanks to Jake at the Bowie Blade. He assigned me a test event (the lacrosse tournament), and said that if he was happy with my work he would offer me additional assignments. I finally got my pictures through to him today and his response was very positive. It sounds like he's going to offer me additional events to cover in the future, and I'm very excited about that. I'm looking forward to one day being able to attend events for free and have my pictures published somewhere and I look at the Blade as my first step in this process.

Jake also connected me with a sports website named the "DC Sports Box". Al Santos is a photographer/editor there and he covers a lot of Maryland events. Al and Jake worked together to set up the DC Sports Box, and Jake thinks I should contact Al. I'd like it very much if Al and the people at the DC Sports Box allow me to tag along on some events. I learn a lot when I'm with professional photographers, and the more exposure I can get to games alongside professionals the better I become. I sent a message to the DC Sports Box via their Contact Us page and I'm waiting to hear back from them. Hopefully there will be positive news...

On an unrelated note... I'm heading to North Carolina for a week or so. Work has been really bad lately and my wife and I would like to spend some time away from the computer. As a result we're extending our Memorial Day weekend and heading out of town early on Thursday evening. We're also not returning until the weekend after Memorial Day. I'll have my camera with me and I'll be shooting throughout the week but I'm not sure how much I'll post up here. This is intended to be a photoblog with an emphasis on sports, but at this point I don't have any software set up to display my photoresume. As a result I use the blog for pictures of family (like yesterday). So the bottom line is: I'm not sure how busy this blog will be over the next week or so. It's not like it matters tho - I'm convinced that the only readers of it are my wife and brother!


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