Sunday, September 28, 2008

For my birthday I received a pair of waterproof camping pants for use during inclement weather at outdoor sporting events. Early in the week I headed back to REI and purchased a top to accompany the pants so that I'd have complete coverage during the next outdoor event where rain was expected.

This week it rained on Thursday and Friday. As Friday evening approached I looked towards the radar and noticed that heavy rain was moving in the direction of College Park. I was glad that I picked up the foul weather gear. I also asked Al if I could borrow his Aqua Tech. He gave me the nod and dropped it off at my house Friday afternoon.

It didn't take long before the skies opened up and heavy rain pounded the field. My gear held up well and protected me, and the Aqua Tech rain coat kept my equipment dry and safe. I felt well-prepared having shopped earlier in the week for a top to accompany my water proof bottom.

The game was a big one: No. 1 ranked Wake Forest (and 2007 national champions) faced the No. 2 ranked Terrapins at Ludwig Field. It was nationally televised and a record crowd of 6,500 came out and braved the elements to cheer on the Terps. For once there were actually a few photographers present: James from UPI was there shooting for Greg Fiume, Jackie from the Diamondback was there, and another photographer showed up fully entombed in foul weather gear.

Jackie (and the Diamondback) has been to several games this year and I've bumped into her a few times at other events. She recently switched from Canon to Nikon and leapt from a Rebel XTi to a D300. I asked her what prompted the switch and she said that when using the Diamondback's Nikon equipment her photos came out so much better than on her Canon. It was significant enough to warrant her dropping her own cash on purchasing a D300. For a college student that's no small feat! Since she didn't have any foul weather gear or protective covering for her camera body I loaned her my jacket to use during the first half.

When she headed home at half time I got my jacket back and got a real chance to try it out in the driving rain. My shirt was already soaked at that point but I didn't get any wetter in the second half. The jacket and pants really worked well! It's definitely worth the $100 or so to purchase waterproof pants and a jacket!

The photos came out kinda shaky tonight due to the bad weather. I shot at ISO 5000 and the exposure came out pretty well. At a few different times I got some water on the front element of my 400mm f/2.8 lens. I used a soft paper towel to dry it off but droplets continued to form. I only have a partial lens hood and I suspect that didn't help me during the downpour this evening. If I had a full lens hood it would give me another 4 inches of coverage in front of the front element. Oh well...

It took a little longer to post process my images from the match because I didn't have a chance to delete them on camera during half time. The Aqua Tech doesn't make it easy for you to get your hands in and work a lot of the dials so when I arrived at home I was working through 600 or so exposures. I still managed to get the photos processed and captioned before I headed to bed.

On Saturday morning I put together the article based on the box score posting and my own recollection of the game. You can view my photos of the Maryland Terrapins vs the Wake Forest Demon Deacons over on Flickr. You can also read my article on the Terps vs Wake Forest men's soccer game over on the DC Sports Box website.


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