Wednesday, November 7, 2007

In my last post I mentioned my frustration over our credential situation. In less than 24 hours there was a remarkable turnaround. I'm still confused about what exactly happened to evoke that change, but we were granted a credential on Tuesday for Maryland's men's basketball game against the Concordia Stingers. You can read my article over here.

Al and I headed to Maryland on Tuesday to pick up our credentials and meet the media folks. We shook hands with everyone in the office, and made a point to talk with the field hockey media relations person, Natalia Ciccone. Natalia was very nice and gave us a form to fill out for credentials for this weekend.

We also introduced ourselves to Doug Dull. We were both happy (and a bit surprised) to hear that Mr Dull contacted other media PRs in the region to ask some questions about us. He told us that they all had very positive things to say about us.

It really made me happy to hear that. I had been down in the dumps a little lately with our credential situation on the sports box. Al keeps reminding me that we've only had a web presence for 6 months now and that's not very much time at all. He's right, but at the same time we do such outstanding reporting. All our photographers have 400mm lenses, multiple camera bodies, and a lot of experience. Our writers put together a ton of wonderful in depth articles.

With Maryland giving us a positive nod it really put some wind back in my sails. Al was also excited as well. His feeling now is that "we've made it" with Maryland. I still have a wait-and-see pessimistic outlook, but that's mostly because I look at things like this from a negative standpoint. I tend to understate the upswing potential and overstate the downside chances. It helps keep me focused on doing a good job and allowed me to be successful.

As a result I'm going to continue to operate as though Maryland will pull our credential at any minute. That means I'm going to attend as many Maryland events as I can and do as much extensive reporting as possible. While we have the credentials I want to use them as much as possible, and if we're lucky Maryland will continue to offer us the credentials.

I was very excited to cover the Maryland men's basketball game against the Concordia Stingers. The game was a preseason exhibition game, but those can offer some of the best shooting opportunities because the teams can be very unequal in skill. If one team dominates the other it can mean a lot of dunks, which make for great photos.

I made a point to arrive at the game with plenty of time to spare. I think I was about an hour early. When I arrived the media room was packed with people. The folks I know in the media were very surprised to see me. I remember the phrases "They let you in?!", "How'd you get in to this game?", and "Dude, are you supposed to be here?". I just smiled, nodded my head, and said we were covering the game tonight. I also showed them my credential to prove it.

I set up my laptop and my card reader and prepared for the game. I extracted all my camera equipment from my Think Tank International and assembled my bodies and lenses. I went with the 70-200/2.8 and the 17-55/2.8 lenses on D200s. Al let me borrow one of his D200s and I was happy to not have to use a D2H.

With everything ready to go I decided to walk out to the court to see where my seating assignment was located. For tight games Maryland assigns seating. I wanted to scout mine out so that I knew where to go when game time started. I figured I would be in the #1 spot (1 out from directly under the basket). It's the "worst" spot according to photographers, but I'm happy to just have a spot. I don't care where the spot is - I'll take anything Maryland is willing to offer me!

While I scouted my spot I took note of the other assignments. WUSA, WJLA, WTTG, US PressWire, AP, Washington Post, and the Baltimore Sun were some of the names I recognized. I felt very fortunate to be sitting alongside such huge media organizations. It was very humbling...

When game time approached most of the photographers on my side of the court moved to the opposite side of the court in order to shoot Maryland's offense in the first half. There was a little bit of space on that side and I probably could have headed down there but I didn't want to do anything like that on my first men's basketball shoot.

I elected to stay in my assigned spot and shoot the Maryland defense during the first half. It went fairly well, and I played around with the exposure settings a little bit. I recalled last year that I used 1250 at 1/400th on f2.8 and got decent results. I started out with the same tonight.

I ended up cranking the ISO up to 1600 about half way through the first half. The results looked good on my 2" LCD so I stuck with it. At halftime I checked out the shots and the noise on ISO1600 is very good. The noise level on Al's D200 is a little bit worse than my D200, but I think that might be correctable with a firmware upgrade.

The second half was very exciting with Maryland shooting on my side of the court. Bombale Osbey was a menace on the right hand side of the court. Vasquez kept dishing to him and Boom beat Cecil on like 5 possessions in a row. I caught several of his dunks but I could only use 1 or 2. You can't run 5 shots of Boom dunking, even if each shot looks great.

I also got some decent shots of the other players reaching around the defense. Vasquez has so much emotion that he's a lot of fun to shoot. You can see the passion in his face when he plays the game. He truly loves it.

Gary's also a lot of fun to shoot. He has a lot of emotion too and you can get some good reactions from him. It helps tell the story of the game.

I have to say that the whole experience of shooting men's basketball at Maryland was both exciting and humbling. Maryland has such a strong athletic program, and I have enormous respect for the jobs that the media folks have to perform. I appreciate their need to keep the sidelines clear of riff raft, and I'm very thankful that they've done some research on us and are now looking on us more favorably.

I'm looking forward to covering more Maryland games in the future, and I can only hope that Maryland continues to look fondly on us. If they offer us the shot or the writer's spot I (or someone else from my organization) will be there. I can pretty much guarantee that!


Post a Comment