Friday, May 2, 2008

Baseball: Maryland Terrapins vs Old Dominion


I've had a photoset in my queue for almost two weeks and I finally got through it tonight. Both Dave and I attended the Terrapin's game against Old Dominion. I offered to write the article and we would use his photos. I wanted to "give him the night off" from the writer's desk since he's been doing so much work for us lately.

News at the DC Sports Box has been very positive as of late. Yuchen and Al had a bit of a problem over getting Yuchen's name submitted for a credential for the women's and men's 2008 ACC Tournament at the University of Virignia in Charlottesville, but they squared it away the day before the event. I'd really like for us to become more proficient at submitting credentials and communicating their status. I think I could whip up a quick Django app to handle it for us.

It's a good thing that Yuchen headed to the tournament because we've been swamped with requests for photos from various players and athletic departments. The University of Virginia is interested in including some of his photos in their media guide. It's exciting and rewarding when we receive recognition for our work. I've considered Yuchen to be one of the best photographers I know and I'm happy that he's getting the attention he deserves.

Al has talked a lot about the dilemma of us charging for prints. On one hand the NCAA specifically permits the selling of photos for "private use". But on the other hand it's up to the individual school's media relations department to decide whether or not they will offer you credentials to their events. What that boils down to is: the NCAA makes the rule, but the school is the ultimate judge. If they don't approve of you selling prints then you're not going to be able to sell your prints.

In the next week or two we're going to cover several high profile NCAA sporting events in the Washington DC area, and I anticipate some requests for photos will be forthcoming. We'd like to get all of this stuff behind us so that we can move on to bigger and better challenges, and in that light we're going to extend our hand to the University of Maryland to see how they would react to us selling our photos for private use.

I'm not quite sure what to expect from this, and the eventual outcome for use remains a mystery. Will Maryland flat-out reject our request? Will Greg Fiume interpret this as competitive behavior? How will this impact our presence on the field at events? These questions, along with many additional questions, weight heavily on my mind as we take these steps forward into uncertain territory. The last situation any of us desire is to create a conflict with either Maryland or Greg.

It will be interesting to see how things go over the next few days to say the least.

On other fronts... As the Terps wind down their Spring schedule I'm forced to look back at a full year of sports photography. It's truly been a transformational experience. What started as an interesting side-project that cost $500 for a D40 and an 18-55 variable aperture kit lens has turned into a full-fledged second job (albeit unpaid for the time being) that has infringed on my day job on more than one occasion. I've partnered up with some excellent writers and other photographers and have worked alongside them both in the field and in the ether as we upgrade and improve our site.

Last year I was greatly saddened at the end of the Spring season and the departure of Maryland athletics from my weekly routine. This Spring I look back on the games I've covered as well as the Maryland games that Dave and Yuchen have covered with happiness in seeing the growth of my own photographic skills as well as the growth of our group. As I focus on the few months ahead of relatively slow activity I look forward to improving our site, growing our business, bringing in new people, and expanding our reach. I view the summer as a vacation from the 2 games per week and 5 on the weekend sprint that unfolded last Fall and this Spring. With some luck I'll be able to sit back on my MacBook Pro, sling some Python, and transform our site into a pluggable, mashable, web 2.0 experience that will really distinguish us from the competition. Oh the places we'll go!

But for now it's time for bed. There aren't too many games left this Spring and they promise to be exciting. Make sure to check back (or have your aggregator check back for you!)

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