Thursday, September 20, 2007

Another nice day in the Fall... another nice game to shoot. Now if I could only start doing these as a credentialed photographer. Update: My DC Sports Box article on this game is posted: here.

I suppose word is spreading around the Maryland media room that the DC Sports Box is not "legit" because we were turned down for a credential for the men's soccer game this evening. We previously were granted a credential for an exhibition game. There's actually more to this story, but I can't discuss it.

When our credential request was declined we asked Matt Lynch (the media relations person for men's soccer) if we could cover the game anyway, as "paying fans." He said that would be fine but said that we could not enter the restricted media areas. I was happy to hear that he gave us permission to bring our cameras in - that's more than what I had expected from Maryland.

I arrived with a few minutes to spare and assembled my camera gear out in the Lot 1 parking lot. If I were credentialed I would have rolled my gear into the restricted media area and assembled there. But anyhow, since I wasn't credentialed I had to do the best I could. So assembling roughly $8k worth of camera gear in Lot 1 while cars drive by is what it's going to have to be for a little bit. It's pretty sad tho - I'm out there applying gaffer's tape to my 400mm/f2.8 lens and D2H while college students are driving by.

I approached the ticket desk and purchased my $8 ticket and proceeded to the gate where I was met by the same CSC event staff person that was present on Sunday evening. He saw me carrying my 400mm lens and my second camera body. I offered him my ticket and he said: "you don't need a ticket if you have camera equipment like that."

I smiled, waited for a moment, and said something to the effect of: "sadly that's not the case..." and presented my ticket. He stubbed it and let me through the gate. I headed over to the bleachers section and set up shop and took some light samples.

I seemed to have pretty good success during the women's game with 1250 ISO, 1/250th of a second, and f2.8 so I decided to use those settings tonight as well. I started off with auto white balance because there was still a slight bit of sunlight left in the sky. I thought the colors looked a little off, but I expected to go to stadium lighting white balance shortly.

I took a few shots from up on the bleachers and then noticed that the CSC staffer guarding the "media area" was acting pretty friendly with some fans. I also noticed somebody with a 27 Sports, 1 Team shirt. They're Maryland staffers, and I decided to approach one of them to ask if I could shoot from next to the "media area". To my surprise he said it would be ok.

The "media area" basically extends on one side of the field where the players benches are. It goes almost all the way to the baselines, but stops short by about 10 or 15 yards. That 10 to 15 yard nook, along with about 20 yards along the baseline, are open for photography. I decided to camp there and take some shots.

The lighting at Maryland is pretty close to the center of the field and is behind the 2 sidelines. There isn't any lighting from the baselines at all. As a result, shooting from the baseline at night is inadvisable because you get wicked shadows on the players. The best spot is the media area, or in the 10-15 yard nook I was able to camp in. The best spot from a lighting perspective would be closer to the center of the field, but then you're fighting against framing and action challenges.

I've found that the best places to cover soccer is equivalent of the "red zone" in football. You get a lot of players coming towards you and that makes for great shots. Unfortunately the lighting at Ludwig competes with your desire to camp in the red zone. The lighting is set up such that the best spot is around mid field. Oh well...

I met a few people tonight while shooting and it was a lot of fun talking with them. An Army reservist named AK is fresh back from serving our fine country in Iraq and is looking to expand his photographic experience. I let him borrow my 400/2.8 for half of the first half while I worked on the 70-200. We then switched towards the end of the first half. He's looking for some ad-hoc shooting opportunities. I gave him my card an offered to email him the contacts I've made. I also mentioned this blog as a possible resource.

I also met a gentleman named Sayid (sp?) from the journalism school. I've seen Sayid at baseball and softball games before, and he was working on a D2HS with a 70-200mm lens. He's not completely committed to sports, but he enjoys them and the DiamondBack sometimes offers him assignments.

Lastly, I met some gentlemen from Old Dominion who were attending the game. They approached me within 5 minutes of me arriving and offered to pay me to shoot for them during the game. Despite Maryland all but giving us the finger I still don't want to do anything that will possibly jeopardize us from getting credentials in the future. So I said I didn't think I could sell them my photos, but I did give them my business card and offerend to send them whatever photos they might be interested in. That makes 2 games and several different people who have requested more media coverage.

I've made a lot of progress on Shock and at some point I'll make a post just about the software. I think it's going to help us streamline the image gallery posting process. Right now it's ridiculously manual and therefore slow and prone to error. With the software in place I think our gallery publication will run much smoother (or at least that's the hope!)

Tomorrow night I'm covering a Nats game for Al. I may cover the Nats game on Friday night as well, but I'm leaning towards staying home. It's been a long week so far and it's only Wednesday. Saturday's going to be a lot with a Wake Forest Field Hockey game and a wedding, and there are some games on Sunday as well. Doing 5 days in a row of day job and photography job at night seems like a bit much...

1 Comment:

  1. Kim said...
    I love the foot ball matches too>

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