Sunday, October 5, 2008

On Monday Al submitted credential requests for Dave Lovell and I to cover the Maryland Terrapins vs Virginia football game on Saturday. It just so happened that the Maryland Field Hockey team was scheduled to play against Virginia that morning at 11am. I spoke with Dave about it and we agreed to head down early to hit both the Field Hockey game as well as the football game.

I woke up around 6am and drove over to Dave's house to pick him up. My wife remarked "wow you must really care about this since you don't wake up this early for your other jobs." I laughed. It's true...

This week I really looked forward to the trip down to the University of Virginia. Last Fall I drove down to Raleigh to photograph the Terps field hockey team play the No. 1 ranked Tar Heels. It was a bit of a long drive (and I was alone) but it was fun seeing a different campus while also seeing the home team play. UVA is only 2 1/2 hours away from College Park so this seemed like a great chance to go down, see a new campus, watch the Terpies play, and have a good time.

So around 7am I picked up Dave and we drove south. I didn't know what I was going to talk with Dave about in the car for 2 hours though! Whenever we're together it's pretty brief - we just chat to make arrangements for who's going to be where on the field and that's about it. We also have a few years between us and some dissimilar backgrounds. The drive actually went remarkably fast and we found lots of different things to talk about on our way down to Virginia. Most of it was photography related and there's thousands of different things to discuss when it comes to that topic!

I took a few wrong turns on the way down to UVA. It turns out that Interstate 66 intersects with US Route 29 in a couple of locations. I wasn't aware of that and I took the first US 29 South exit that I saw. We got stuck as we traveled down the road and realized that we were actually going the wrong way! After doubling back we got headed in the right direction and made it down to the campus around 9:45 or so.

I wanted to be there and be all set up before the team walked off the bus. Last year I got a pretty good photo of head coach Missy Meharg coming off the bus when the Terps played North Carolina. She was really happy to see some media from up in the DC area travel to follow her team and it was apparent on her initial reaction to a camera being present as she stepped off the bus. We planned to do the same this year but it just wasn't in the cards ... we didn't arrive early enough.

When we arrived at the field hockey stadium Katherine Palmer greeted us and showed us our seats. She provided us with field access credentials and showed us where the power was located and helped us out with the wireless connection. She was great - she seemed really upbeat and happy to be there and was very helpful to both Dave and I.

The game was a little difficult to shoot because of the position of the field relative to the sun. The field was situated East to West and the game started at 11am. The sun initially fell over one corner of the field but steadily made it's way to midfield by the end of the game. You really have to keep a close eye on where the sun is when you shoot outdoor sports because it can make a big difference in how pronounced the shadows are.

Dave took the corner with the sun behind him while I worked the midfield. It was a little difficult for me because I wasn't in the backfield so I couldn't catch the players head-on when they attack. I managed to get some decent backfield and midfield cross shots but I didn't get any attacks on the goal. Everything I would've shot from midfield would've been the backs of the players lit at an odd angle...

After the game Dave and I posted a quick article from the venue and headed into downtown Charlottesville for a bite to eat. On the way we bumped into a couple of Dave's tailgate buddies from Maryland who seemed to be having a great time in the UVA parking lot. They were all decked out with tents and satellite TV watching the Florida State vs Miami game. They seemed to be a really happy bunch with lots of food and drink. Our bumping into them was purely coincidental - as we drove down a street I pointed out some Terrapin tents and Dave said "I think I know those guys ..." When we pulled into the parking lot he said "Ya I definitely know those guys!"

They suggested a brewery in downtown Charlottesville for lunch and after getting the coordinates off their GPS we headed into town with the help of my iPhone. Unfortunately the pub was closed and Dave and I found a soup shop to settle down: Revolutionary Soups. The place was highly liberal, with nearly all of the employees wearing "Obama 'ville" buttons. I felt very out of place but I understood the demographic as it was a University town.

We spent about 2 hours in the soup shop cropping, rotating, and enhancing our photos. It was quite an ordeal - both of us shot around 600 frames and it's a tall task to get 1200 photos down to 25 images to publish. Over a course of 2 beers each, some delicious potato soup, and sandwiches to die for we bridged the gap. At the end of the process I uploaded my photos to Flickr to test the bandwidth in the sandwich shop. It came as very little surprise that the Internet tubes were more clogged than an overweight man's arteries...

At the conclusion of our late lunch we had our article posted including a lead-in photo. Rather than trying to squeeze out a bunch of imagery through a 100Kbps pipe opted to head to Scott Stadium to post our gallery.

You can view my photos of the Maryland Terrapins vs Virginia Field Hockey game over on Flickr. I also wrote an article about the Terps vs Virginia and it's posted over on the DC Sports Box.


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