Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Freedom played their last game of the season and I wanted to make sure that someone from the DC Sports Box covered the event. Yuchen attended one of their games back in early June and I missed one or two of them, so I wanted to make sure that when the end of the season rolled around we had someone on the field. Unfortunately none of the 5 other photographers that work with our group would commit to heading up to Germantown MD for a 7pm game.

So, at around 5:30 pm, I embarked on a trek that originated in Annapolis Junction and took me through the rolling hills of Howard and Montgomery Counties towards Germantown. I wound my want down Sundown Rd, Bright Lane, Blunt Rd, and eventually onto the familiar Germantown Rd. For a 2 mile curvy span of Blunt Rd there weren't any line markers on the pavement and the road really narrowed!

I made it in time and headed down to the field. The folks working the welcome desk recognized me from my attendance at the previous games and didn't give me any hassle. When I reached the field the players were out practicing and I looked around for Shane. I wanted to talk with him about his shots from Sunday night and see if he had resolved his website link issue.

As the players headed off the field prior to introductions I went through a mental exercise of what lens to use for their entrance. I considered the 14-24mm lens as well as the 70-200 but opted to go with the 70-200. In the end it didn't matter because the players didn't make much of a show during their entrance. They just kind of shuffled onto the field. I was surprised about it since it was their final home game.

I fired off a lot of exposures during the first half of play. The game started promptly at 7pm and the sun was in that golden-hour I love to use. The players looked spectacular - they were extremely well lit and the backgrounds had this soothing light on them. When the sun is so low in the sky you don't get as many shadows on the faces of your subjects and it makes for some great photos. You have to find the right spot where the sun is towards your back and the players are moving in your direction. If you can locate that magic spot you can get some tack-sharp photos with some wonderful color. I live for those shots.

When halftime rolled around I was up to around 600 exposures. I did my best to review as many of them as possible and delete the uninteresting ones. I was able to get it down to around 75 good ones and 150 I hadn't reviewed before the players re-took the field 15 minutes later. I realize that I'm chewing up the battery on my camera when I delete photos during a shoot but it significantly cuts down my post-processing time at home. Wading through 400 photos at home takes considerably less time than going through 1000.

I managed to capture a few good moments for the players thanks largely in part to the spirited competition. It was 0-0 for 88 minutes of play and that keeps the action competitive. Both teams dug at each other and that's what you need in order to get some great shots.

When I got home I made some pancakes with Julie and headed upstairs to post process. After about 2 hours I was finished with cropping, captioning, posting, and writing. To my surprise I didn't make any color or exposure adjustments to the photos. The ones in my photoset are direct off the camera and didn't require any adjustments in post-processing other than some minor rotation and cropping. That made me smile.

This upcoming weekend we have a lacrosse assignment that's been offered to our group. It sounds like a lot of work for a small amount of money but the exposure for our company could be really good. We've received exclusive rights to the photo sales and that's a good thing for us. As a result we're all rushing around to work out the logistics of covering 39 games in 3 days using 4 photographers. It's a lot of work to coordinate the post-processing and publishing activities of an event like that but I'm up to the challenge.

In the meantime please go take a look at my article about the Washington Freedom's 1-0 win over the Long Island Rough Riders, including a description of Christie Welsh's goal, over at the DC Sports Box. You can also check out my Washington Freedom Flickr Stream.


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