Sunday, September 30, 2007

I was really looking forward to this afternoon's games: Women's Soccer and Field Hockey.

Sports during the day are so much more interesting to photograph due to the abundance of light. When you have a lot of light it gives you a lot of flexibility with how you shoot. You can choose to go up to the highest possible aperture, or you can choose to step down to a smaller aperture.

I showed up early to the women's soccer game this afternoon and paid my $6 entrance fee. Instead of assembling my gear out in the parking lot I opted to take my ThinkTank case into the arena. The CSC guards have been pretty friendly towards me and I didn't think they'd mind if I walked in with a suitcase.

To help make things easier I put on my DC Sports Box credential as well as my Media pass to the Baysox. I figured that it would help me get past the CSC security guards. I'm not sure if it made any difference or not, but I made it past CSC without any hassle. It may be because of the ids hanging around my neck, or it could simply be because I have been polite to them in the past.

At 1pm the sun was up high in the sky, but it was slightly setting behind one of the endzones. Fortunately this endzone was the one that the Terrapins were shooting against. I walked over to it and set up shop. I wasn't too worried about shooting from that location since I shot from there during the last Men's game and a Maryland guy said it was ok.

I assembled and started taking some sample shots. ISO 200, f2.8, and 1/8000th of a second worked. I reduced the f-stop to the highest value that would allow for 1/500 of a second and it appeared to be around f8. Perfect light.

I made sure I adjusted my white balance on both my D200 and my D2H and put my 70-200 lens on my D2H. In my previous posts I've remarked that I love how the D200 and the 400mm lens performs. I wish that it had a higher continuous shooting capability, but 5FPS is good enough for me for field sports.

As the Maryland players headed out to be introduced I noticed a photographer on the field. It was Greg Fiume. Greg's the team photographer for a lot of Maryland sports, and I've also seen him down at RFK during Nationals games. He shoots the Capitals, Redskins, and a couple of other DC teams.

I continued shooting the teams during warmup and introduction, and Greg eventually made his way down to where I was located. I chose a spot that was on the strong side of the field (the attacker's right hand side) where they were looking into the sun. I doubt that Greg came to talk to me, and I instead think it's more likely that Greg ended up choosing the same spot. He walked up and said hello.

Greg and I shot the first half and chit-chatted the entire time. It was good to talk with him. We talked about the Rutgers vs Maryland football game the day before (he traveled and shot it), as well as some techniques. I asked him about the shadow problem I had the other day at field hockey and he said the only thing you can really do is try to adjust your position. Instead of shooting at a 90 degree angle to the sun try to find a spot where the sun is at your back.

Unfortunately that's difficult if you're not credentialed. As a credentialed photographer you have a lot of area you can cover. But as an uncredentialed photographer you can be pretty limited in where you can go. So basically I'm screwed until we have some better credentials. In the meantime I'll do my best to find locations where the sun is behind my back.

He did say that you can get some interesting back-lit shots. If you do it right you can make an aura of sorts appear around the player and it can make for some interesting pictures. He said the trick is to slightly overexpose so that you can still see the players face, but then that leads to your aura/halo. I'm going to give it a shot at Field Hockey.

Greg told me that he invested in a D3 and that made me happy to hear. Greg's pretty conservative with his bodies and instead focuses on lenses. He shoots with a D2H and a D1 and his shots look amazing. It's proof that you don't have to own 12MP $5k bodies to take a great picture. When I heard that he pre-ordered the D3 it made me smile because technically the camera is a masterpiece. Hearing that a great photographer thought it was worth purchasing reinforces my believe that the D3 is an amazing piece of equipment.

He remarked to me that the best settings he can get in Byrd is ISO2000 with 1/400 of a second on f2.8. When he described it he said "2000 at 400 and 2.8" and I said: "actually I think that's pretty good". I thought he was saying 1/2000th of a second at ISO 400 and f2.8. He actually meant ISO2000 with 1/400 of a second! I then replied with: "oh ya. that sucks...."

The women's soccer shoot went extremely well except for post-processing. I was stupid and I didn't use separate folders for women's soccer and field hockey this afternoon. As a result, I lumped both soccer and field hockey into the same directory on my MacBook Pro. During post-processing I separated the two into separate folders, but then I ended up "rm -rf"'ing the soccer folder.

When you "rm -rf" a directory in OSX's terminal you permanently remove the file from the filesystem. If you delete a file via Prevew or via Finder it goes into the Trash by "rm -rf" via the Terminal is the kiss of death for a file. Once you run it you can't get the file back.

I took several amazing pictures this afternoon of the women's soccer team, and while I was looking through them in Preview I thought: "wow this is good stuff." Unfortunately I lost all of that work when I inadvertently "rm -rf'ed" my "toProcess/umcp" folder after posting my field hockey pictures.

I downloaded some undelete software from the web and tried to recover the pictures from the CF card but that didn't get me much (about 72 images out of 1000). I ended up using the Trash Can to undelete the "throw outs" I came across during my first round of post-processing.

As a result, the photos you're seeing here and the photos over on DC Sports Box are my "throw out" pictures. They're crap and suck compared to what I took and held onto. Unfortunately my own stupidity and recklessness has caused me to lose those photos.

So take that as a lesson: if you're going to poke around in Terminal be careful with the "rm -rf" command. And for goodness sake use separate folders for your events so that you post process them in different directories!!!


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