Monday, October 20, 2008

Volleyball: Maryland Terrapins vs Clemson

After plenty of celebratory beer, bratwurst, hamburgers, and other unhealthy eating at the post-football-game tailgate I stumbled out of bed early Sunday to catch up on my Madness photos from Friday night. After making pretty decent headway I headed over to Comcast where I took in a volleyball game between the Terps and Clemson.

I bumped into Greg Fiume at the volleyball match. He was a little disappointed because he had arranged for a lift to be placed at the end of the court. He had planned to shoot from up high with a 300mm lens and was naturally disappointed when the lift was not in place prior to his arrival. He ended up shooting from up high in the corner of the stands. He got some good looking "over the net" shots.

I elected to shoot from the fans side of the court rather than sit behind the scores table and the players benches. I'm constantly blocked by referees, coaches, and players when I stand on that side of the court. When I sit on the opposite side the only people I have to contend with are the crowd members.

I've struggled to find the sweet spot in volleyball. It's a difficult environment in which to work because so much of the court is considered "off limits". For example, I can't reside in the backcourt because it could be distracting to the players (or so I've been told). I can't sit too close to the sideline because it disrupts the players (again ... so I've been told). The court is small enough where 300mm is overkill when shooting the players on your side of the net but it might be just right for under-the-net shots of the opposite side of the court.

I tried playing with a few different angles today but stayed low for the most part. I noticed that Greg stayed high through the whole match and I wonder if I should give that a shot next time. Generally speaking the players look up as they set the ball, spike, or bump, and that's different than how players in other sports behave (they tend to look down). Perhaps being up higher would offer better views of their faces...

I would still love the opportunity to try out an 85mm f/1.4 lens from Nikon for volleyball. I think it'd be great fun at the net and would let in an enormous amount of light in that venue. Maybe I can find someone that owns that lens and borrow it for a weekend to try out...

My photos from volleyball came out pretty well. For the first time I managed to get some expression on the faces of the players. I don't think that's indicative of my skill level improving (or maybe it is) - it could just be that the players were more jazzed up today. Maybe they were still giddy over the win over Wake Forest in football on Saturday.

Either way ... I had a good time at volleyball before heading down to Field Hockey. Photos and an article about Maryland's 3-0 loss to Clemson are up on the DC Sports Box website as usual.


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