Sunday, October 7, 2007

I grabbed my cameras from the women's soccer game and headed down to Field Hockey after the first half ended.

The timing was perfect. It was 1:50pm when I headed out of Ludwig and made it to my car. A quick drive across campus and I parked right outside of the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex. Maryland's events are so accessible compared to the professional events - I made it from one event to another in under 5 minutes! You can't go from a Nats game to a Skins game in that amount of time!

I made it into the Field Hockey game and I was really surprised by the number of fans. It looked to be more than Wake Forest, and I was right! 50 more fans and it was a new ACC record! It's great to see so many people out watching one of the lesser known sports at Maryland. Football and men's basketball is great, but there's a lot of competition in the other 25 sports that are played at Maryland. And the fans of those sports are fiercely loyal!

While it's good to see them it makes my job more difficult. Since I'm an uncredentialed photographer I have to go where the fans go, and that poses challenges. I could work my way onto the field and I doubt anyone would give me a hard time but I don't want to queer any chances for getting a real credential. I don't want someone asking who I'm there for and then black listing us.

So I shot from the sidelines again and it wasn't too bad. I noticed that Greg had bailed on the women's soccer game as well. I suspect he probably went down there early to get a picture with the head coach during her celebration of 20 years "on the bench". When I bumped into him he was walking away from my favored spot. I saw a lot of people being pushed back by the Maryland sports people and I asked Greg: are they moving us away? He responded: ya, but you can go over there.

I headed down to my spot and fortunately the Maryland guys weren't pushing people past my spot. They were just corraling people into the general endzone area and away from the player's benches. This was good because it meant I didn't have to talk with anyone. I'm trying to fly under the radar and just take my pictures and write my articles.

The shots were pretty good, and I handled the shaded area of the field much better today than I did during the last game. Since I was in the endzone I caught a lot of shadows on the players faces. Greg made his way back and was admitted past the Maryland sports person's little barrier. I wanted to follow him to a better spot and shoot but I held back.

It was difficult because as the game went on more and more people congregated around where I was located because of the abundant shade. It was extremely hot, and the field and bleachers reflected a ton of light. There are also trees all around the complex, and so there's very little wind that makes it's way back there. My parents were there and they described it as "boiling."

It was really difficult to work with the 400mm lens and the 70-200mm lens. One lady was sitting on the ground next to me and I kept getting nervous that I'd bump her with my lens or lens hood. I bumped into the guy next to me several times, but it was just with my body and not with my equipment.

I had a pretty funny chuckle right after the first half ended when I was watching Greg converse with another photographer. The two were standing right next to one of the water cannons. From attending all the games I know that they typically fire those up during half time and they come on quickly and with a lot of force. Well that water canon came to life and there Greg and another guy were standing right next to it. I remember looking at them thinking: I wouldn't stand next to that at half time, and not more than 5 seconds later it sprang to life! They ran out of the way really quickly. It was pretty funny to watch.

I headed down to the other side of the field and thought about where I would shoot the second half. Would I shoot from the stands and into the light? Or would I try to go to the far side of the field and shoot from near the Maryland bench. There was a fence with a sign that said "Authorized Personnel Only" on it. I noticed that my parents had slipped past it, and I noticed that nobody was guarding it. I also saw Greg over there and several other photographers so I decided to go for it.

I walked down and entered without any difficulty. I started taking pictures during the second half and they came out extremely well. The players didn't have any side shadows because I was shooting with the sun on my back. When I was shooting from the endzone I was shooting at a 90 degree angle to the sun. That location really is prime real estate for the field hockey complex. I hope that I can get some credentials and shoot from there in the future.

I got several pictures of the head coach in action and they came out really well. I'm glad I took a look at the website before going to the game because I wouldn't have known the significance of the game and I wouldn't have shot the head coach. It definitely pays to do your before-game research to know if any special events are coming up, or if any players are poised to break a team or personal record.

The pictures came out very well. While I was working on my article I did a little research on the upcoming schedule and I was very disappointed to find out that there's only 2 more home games for field hockey! This has been by-far my favorite sport to shoot due to it's field size, outdoor nature, and action. It's been a pleasure shooting field hockey and I'm pretty sad that there's only two more home games in the season. On a positive note, one is a "golden game" (starting at 5pm), but the other is at night.

The only upshot is that the NCAA tournament is being held in College Park and hopefully the Terps will be present. If it's not the Terps it'll be someone else, and hopefully I'll be able to cover it through the DC Sports Box. I'm not sure who grants the credentials for that event. It seems like it wouldn't be up to Maryland Athletics... I'll have to think about that...

Looking forward to this week we've got men's soccer on Tuesday an then Field Hockey and Volleyball on Friday. We'll see if Maryland Madness is in my cards later on this week. I have a feeling it will not be but you never know....


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