Sunday, October 5, 2008

Football: Maryland Terrapins vs Virginia

Dave and I arrived in the media parking lot at the University of Virginia 2 hours before kickoff. We wanted to give ourselves plenty of time to park, get settled in, and familiarize ourselves with the venue.

The University of Virginia provides parking spaces for media in a satellite lot and shuttles us into the stadium using golf carts. It sounds pretty silly but it's actually really efficient. When we arrived in the parking lot there was a golf cart waiting for us (along with others) and it took very little time to get us from the parking lot down to Scott Stadium. I was very impressed!

We used the strong Internet connection in Scott Stadium to upload our photos. It was wifi based but my authentication from Katherine Palmer earlier in the day still worked. Their access points must have a good memory for MAC addresses. We published the gallery for the Field Hockey game and prepared for the football game.

It turns out that UVA granted us 1 media and 1 photo credential. This was unfortunate since both Dave and I are photographers but we also both write. Fortunately the WMUC (a college radio station in College Park) sat alongside us and was assigned a photo credential for one of their radio reporters. We were able to swap photo for media with them and that gave us access to the field for both of us.

The University of Virginia uses a vest based system for on-field access. If you're a photographer you have to obtain a vest from the media department that clearly shows the name of your organization along the back. They pre-print the names on pieces of paper that hey insert into the back of the vest prior to the game. As a result I don't think you can just walk up and ask for a photo vest unless you're on the list.

With the WMUC vest I headed down to the field. I worried about Greg Fiume's response my presence on the field. I didn't know if he would be upset that I had traded credentials with WMUC for field access or if he wouldn't mind at all. Fortunately for me he didn't seem to upset!

I bumped into Dave on the field and we agreed to keep some distance between us for the game so that we could cover as much territory as possible. Initially we thought we'd try opposite endzones of the field but that didn't seem too practical. In the end we settled on separating ourselves by the benches on the field. In the first half Dave took the UVA bench side of the field while I shot the Terps side of the field. In the sceond half we switched.

For the shoot I used my 400mm f/2.8 on my D3. Al loaned me his D3 and I used a 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens on it. I barely used Al's body during the shoot - he's monkeyed with the color enhancements on it and turned them cold and took away a lot of contrast. Plus you just don't get many chances on a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens in football because the field is so large.

I ran into Jackie at the football game and she seemed like a ghost. A bunch of Diamondback and WMUC folks headed down to South Carolina to cover the Men's Soccer game against Clemson on Friday night and the party headed north to hit Virginia on the way home. The combination of a long drive, long hours, and a lot of physical work to move around the field, had taken their toll and the reporters seemed more than ready to get back to College Park for some solid sack time.

I also bumped into Patrick Smith from the Baltimore Sun. I've worked with a few Sun reporters in my limited experience as a photographer but none of them have been similar to Patrick. Like me, he's young and enthusiastic about his assignments. He's also pretty tech savvy and maintains a Flickr page. I really look up to him from a photographic standpoint - he's technically very competent (which is easy) but he has a taste for the artistic that makes his photos very compelling and interesting. It was really a lot of fun working with him for the first time and I hope that the Sun sends him to more Maryland Terrapins assignments.

Both Dave and I (along with several other photographers) had a difficult time with the white balance in Scott Stadium. I don't know what it is about reddish colors but they really wreak havoc on the WB code in the D3. I initially set my camera to Auto WB but found that the camera produced unreliable results. I changed it to the stadium lights setting but found the photos to be too warm. In post production I cooled them but after Al looked at them he suggested warming them slightly. I guess I pulled the lever too far to the cool side...

After posting Dave's article and my lead-in photo we headed out from the stadium and back to College Park. It was around midnight before we shuffled off and back onto US 29 north. We arrived back at Dave's house around 2:30am and unloaded his gear. I made it back to my house around 2:45am and put all of my equipment away before jumping into bed with Julie.

After being on the road and on my feet for a solid 20 hours I was very happy to get some solid shut-eye. I hit the pillow around 3:15am and slept until 12:26pm the next morning. It was one of the best sleeps evar.

My photos from Maryland's loss to Virginia are up on Flickr. You can also check out Dave Lovell's article and our photo gallery on the Terps loss to Virginia up on the DC Sports Box.


Post a Comment