Sunday, October 14, 2007

At the conclusion of field hockey I walked over to my beat up old 1994 Oldsmobile "98 Regency Elite", popped the trunk, and extracted my Think Tank International bag.

I put my 400mm lens away and put my 17-55/f2.8 lens on my D2H and my 70-200/f2.8 lens on my D200. I thought about adding the SB-800 to the D2H/17-55 combo but then decided against it. You can't use flash photography during the game, and the SB-800 is a pretty big piece of equipment. I didn't want to tow it around with me during the 2 hour match.

So I decided to bring my bag in with me. I thought pretty hard about that choice because I knew I was going to head into Maryland Madness after the volleyball game and I didn't know how easily I would be able to move around with my bag. I didn't even know if I would be admitted to Comcast with my carrying bag.

Volleyball started at 7pm and it usually goes 1:45 or so. That would put us at 8:45 by the time the match let out. If I had to return to my car to drop off my bag it would put an additional 15 minutes onto my transition time from Volleyball to Basketball. That's bad, but it would mean I would be practically guaranteed entrance to Comcast (because my bag was in the car). You can read my Volleyball article over at the DC Sports Box by clicking here.

I decided to go for it and hope that my luck with the CSC event staff would continue. It was no problem carrying my bag into Volleyball and I waited for a timeout before I walked in front of the crowd and down to the far side of the gym where I placed my bag. I was all ready to go from having swapped lenses out in the parking lot, so I stood on the sidelines and took some shots while waiting for the timeout.

The Terps wore their white uniforms for tonight's game and that helps a lot. Whenever there are poor lighting conditions a highly reflective color (like white) can make a big difference in the quality of your shots. I don't have any concrete metrics about how many stops of light it can add but I believe it helps.

I took a few photos with my 17-55 without the flash and they came out pretty well. I ended up swapping bodies when I shot with the 17-55 because I wanted to use my D200 for almost all of my shots. As I've mentioned before, I love the D2H during well lit events, but in low light it struggles at high ISOs. It's very noisy and the lack of pixels make for poor overall image quality.

It was kind of difficult to swap bodies and lenses, and I wish I had a belt with a few bags. Al said he has a belt he would give me and I'm going to take him up on that offer. I was basically using the D2H as an expensive bag and just using it to hold my 17-55/2.8 lens. I never shot a single frame with it during the Volleyball game, but I did swap my lenses several times.

With a belt and a bag it would mean I would just carry my D200 and on my belt I would have a carrying case for my 70-200 and a bag for my 17-55. I'd simply pop the 70-200/2.8 lens off the body and put it in the case and extract the 17-55 from the other case and place it on the body. That's going to make life a whole lot easier. I can even keep my SB-800 on my belt too, and my media wallet and some batteries.

I noticed during the last game that 90% of my shots were of spikes. That results in a whole lot of pictures of Doyle, Mary Beth Brown, and Michelle Kenning. They're the attackers for Maryland and they spike a lot. But Gillming, Doucet, Schmelzle, and Profit are left in the back court without very many photos. Schmelzle and Gillming come up to the net from time to time, but it's Mary Beth Brown, Doyle, and Kenning that are the presence at the net.

I decided to try to get some more shots of the backcourt players and it's really difficult. They move around a lot and it's tough. But I managed to get a few of them bumping the ball off a serve, or setting to someone in the front line. When I post-processed and wrote up my DC Sports Box article I was pleased that I managed to shoot a pretty wide variety of players (rather than just the 3 up at the front line spiking and blocking).

After the game ended the players hung around on the court for a little bit. It's parent's weekend at Maryland this weekend and a lot of family members were in town. It's always nice to see parents come out and support their child as well as other team members, and it makes for some great photos. Before the game ended I went over to my Think Tank and grabbed my SB-800 and attached my 17-55 to my D200. I put my 70-200/2.8 and D2H back into the bag in anticipation of just needing a wide zoom for the after-game photos.

I walked around the crowd and got some pretty good shots of the players hugging their families and celebrating the win. None of the photos made it up to DC Sports Box because they're not game related, but I kept the photos in case any parents want them.

I had 2 or 3 different parents ask me if they could purchase my photos. Like always, I tell them that I can't sell them photos because NCAA, the ACC, or Maryland prohibits it. But if they would like a copy of the pictures they can email me and I'd be happy to send them whatever I have.

One particular parent had an interest in this and asked me if I had any pictures of Kenning, Schmelzle, and Gillming together. I took almost 1000 pictures during the game and I replied "probably, but I don't know off the top of my head". He then told me that they all went to the same high school and he would like to send a photo of them back to the HS for inclusion in their school newspaper.

I thought that was pretty neat so I gave him my business card and asked him to email me. I also took a photo of him, his wife, and their daughter and offered to send it to him as well. Lastly, I made a mental note to take pictures of those 3 players during tomorrow night's game against Miami.

Walking around the crowd and shooting was a lot of fun, but I had to get moving if I wanted to get to Maryland Madness. I put my 70-200/2.8 back onto my D200 and moved my 17-55 onto my D2H and attached the SB-800 to the D2H. I then grabbed my bag and headed out the door to walk across the hall to Comcast.


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