Thursday, August 14, 2008

Welcome back, Maryland.

This evening I attended the first Terrapin athletic event of the Fall semester: an exhibition women's soccer game between the Terps and the Georgetown Hoyas. I was thrilled to be back on the field looking through the long glass, and the weather was absolutely perfect.

This time of year the temperature averages in the upper 80s or lower 90s and the humidity is often sweltering. Mid-august time in Washington DC is not good. Not good at all. This past week we've been under the influence of an air mass from Canada that's cool and dry. That makes for some great summertime weather. In fact ... Julie and I have slept with our windows open the past 3 nights! Imagine that during mid August!

Fall, Winter, and Spring sports at Maryland was essentially a full-time second job for me and I welcomed a few months of down-time during the summer. I had planned on writing a bunch of code but in the end I ended up splitting my time between business development and software engineering. I got some code written but I failed to get the assignment desk written. But I managed to get our group incorporated, funded, and I got our bank account all set up and ready to go. Overall I'm happy with my progress.

Maryland Athletics is quickly spinning up this Fall and I'm happy to report that Al has asked me to coordinate coverage for our group. We have field hockey, women's soccer, men's soccer, and volleyball up on the table and it boils down to Dave Lovell and I working the games. Yuchen Nie might fill in for some field hockey and volleyball games, and Al Santos might also take a game or two. For the most part I expect it'll be Dave Lovell and I.

Dave and I have had a few bumps in the past but he's a really great thinker and could help our organization in the long run. He's a great photographer, writes very well, and he's gone the amazingly extra step of volunteering (I think he's crazy for this) to edit the articles on our site. He's also very professional and has a lot of commitment towards doing a great job. I'm privileged to have worked with him in the past and I look forward to what opportunities he can bring to our organization.

Women's soccer kicked off their exhibition game this evening against Georgetown. Like many other of the Maryland "Olympic" sports I was one of the few photographers or writers present. In fact, no other members of the media were in attendance for this season's kickoff. In the past that kind of bothered me but now I just accept it for what it is.

I bumped into my favorite CSC guard Joe. Joe works most of the field sports for the Terps and he also works the women's basketball games. I talk with him whenever I attend the events because he's such a happy older man. He just seems happy to be there getting paid to watch some college students compete. It's really great!

I took a few huddle shots as the Terps prepared to take the field. Afterward Al expressed some concern and asked if I had received permission to take the huddle shots. I explained the nature of the event (20-30 spectators, Terps didn't even wear their jerseys) and said that I had talked with some trainers and assistant coaches beforehand.

The photos of the game went well and I was happy with my camera's performance. In the Fall I shot with a D200 and a 400mm f/2.8 lens and was heavily disgruntled. The lighting at Ludwig is awful and the D200 barely functioned at ISO1600. Above that the photos were useless. This evening I shot at ISO3200 and ISO4000 at some points and the shots came out really well. The colors weren't great but the noise was negligible.

I got a few great shots before the sun set and used most of them in my gallery. I also used the voice recorder feature on my D3 to record some game notes.

In post processing I was really disappointed by Lightroom 2.0's handling of voice metadata. Lightroom has the concept of sidecars that accompany the original image file. Audio files are considered sidecars. Often times I record voice after the last shot of some significant event like a goal. Those photos aren't interesting in and of themselves but the audio helps me write my caption for the good photo or it helps me write my article.

Lightroom doesn't allow me to select all photos that have an accompanying audio sidecar. That sucks! As I skim through my photos I tag certain ones for deletion and I may accidentally remove an image file with a sidecar audio file. I would like for some kind of badge or read-only flag to be set on the images with a sidecar audio file so that I don't inadvertently delete them.

Anyhow... I'll have to put some thought towards figuring out how to handle audio files in a better way as I move forward this Fall. We're ramping up for our coverage of Terrapin atheltics this Fall and I'm sure this will come back to bite me.

In the meantime please go take a look at my Flickr photoset of the Maryland Terrapins vs Georgetown Hoyas in women's soccer. Also, you can read about Maryland Women's Soccer 3-3 tie with Georgetown over on the DC Sports Box.


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