Tuesday, June 26, 2007

In my previous post I mentioned that the Royals and Majestics played side-by-side on adjoining fields on Saturday evening. This was extremely convenient for me because I floated back and forth between the two games.

I mostly focused on capturing some men's soccer photos, but I managed to get a few decent shots of the Majestics taking on the Rough Riders. To my surprise many of the shots are in focus and not too bad. I was surprised by this because from a percentage basis I spent only about 10% of my time shooting the Majestics, but I came out with a lot of good shots!

I've been spending a lot of time thinking about focus during my shoots, and I think it would really help if I had another photographer present to compare notes with. It would be great to have someone I could watch from start to finish: from set-up and setting selection time all the way through to post processing and publication.

I'd like to see how many shots they take, when they take them, and what they do with the shots after the take them. Do they review them on their LCD or do they wait until half time and after the game to review? Or do they review them every few minutes and make minor adjustments to white balance, autofocus settings, etc?

Likewise, I'd like to see what kind of results they get when they take their photos off of their cards. I'd say that roughly 50% of my shots are out of focus (OOF), but I have no idea if that's normal or not. If I knew that 50% OOF shots is normal I could move onto to improving other aspects of my photography. But, if it's only normal to have 10% OOF shots then that suggests that I need to continue to focus (pardon the pun) on my autofocus skills.

I'm hopeful that Al's going to be able to help me in this aspect. If I can follow him (or another one of his photographers) to one game I can get a sense of where my weaknesses stand as they relate to photography in general. It could be the case that what I perceive as a weakness is simply an unavoidable aspect of sports photography. Or it could be that there really is a better way. Unfortunately it would take me a long time to figure it out on my own, so I'm hoping I can observe someone else and get some hints.

Overall the shoot for this game went off pretty well. I didn't manage to get very many candid shots of the players before the game and during half time but I believe that's because I was really focusing more on the Royals. It might be better though that I didn't get the candid shots. Maybe I need to focus more on the action shots. I'm very much on the fence though and thinking that a balance between action shots and candid shots makes for an overall better photographic experience. 100% action shots get boring all the time, and 100% candid shots are also boring all the time.

I wish that the Majestics were using my photos on their website. I've tried to contact the site maintainer, but I can't seem to get much response to my offerings of photos. I suppose that the site author is busy doing other things and probably doesn't devote too much attention to maintaining and improving the site. That's unfortunate because I've covered quite a few games and have captured quite a few pictures that the players would probably be interested in having. Maybe during the last game I'll cut a few CDs and bring them to the game and hand them out to the coaches and players. Just because a single website author doesn't have the time to post my pictures doesn't mean that the players aren't interested in them.

Moving forward I'm not sure what my next photographic assignment will be. I'm away this week at my house in North Carolina and as a result I'm away from the action of the DC Sports market. Al mentioned that if I was in town he would've offered me an assignment this week at Verizon Center. I hope that he'll have something for me next week, and I'm also hopeful that there will be some interesting assignments coming from Jake at the Blade. Overall I'm quite happy with how the summer has been going tho. I'm covering more games than I did in the Spring and I'm getting a lot of exposure to different sports and different environments. Although I'm looking forward to the Fall and the return of the Maryland Terrapins I'm also looking ahead to what other events I'll be able to cover for the DC Sports Box.

I've also been giving more thought to setting up a separate domain just for my photography. Right now I'm using some hideous PHP software named Gallery to manage the photos for my family and for my sports events. With all of the sports shooting I've been doing I'm shifting the balance of my gallery from family oriented photos to sports shots. I'd like to keep my existing Gallery site dedicated to just family related photos (along with photos of friends) and set up a new site that focuses exclusively on athletics and sports shooting. I'm trying to come up with a good domain name but I'm so far shooting blanks. If you have any ideas please leave them in the comments. Who'm I kidding - noboby leaves me any comments!


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