Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Women's Soccer: Maryland Terrapins vs Miami

After arriving home around 2:30am after the Football game against Virginia I put away my camera gear and hit the sack. It was around 3am before I finally bedded down and I was ready for some shut eye after being up and on my feet for a solid 18 hours.

I didn't wake up until 12:30am on Sunday and that was just in time to head out to the women's soccer match against the visiting Miami Hurricanes. As I looked out the window I saw the bright sunshine and smiled thinking about shooting a well lit game.

I hustled to get out of bed, shower, put on some decent clothes, and get over to Ludwig Field in time for the opening kick. Fortunately for me Maryland is really close so making it to the event wasn't a problem at all.

With this being a mid-day game I took up my position in the endzone portion of the visiting team's defense zone and shot with the sun directly over my shoulders. Dave Lovell also showed up and he took up a position exactly opposite of mine - Terrapin defensive zone, right hand side. His angle forced him to shoot straight into the sun.

I also was pleased to see Greg Fiume out on the field. Greg is the team photographer for Maryland and I enjoy shooting alongside him at events. Whenever he's on the sidelines we talk shop about camera gear, sports, teams, work, life, etc. It's a lot of fun speculating with him about where camera gear is going in the next few years and decades. He's shot for awhile so he has some really good perspective on the industry and what trends he saw come and go. I always like talking with him...

During the game I had a bit of guilt wash over me for Dave's position. The two primary drivers for me when I select my position on the field are: 1.) I want the sun to be behind me, and 2.) Where is my team shooting? If I can shoot my team facing into the sun I'm set. If not then I have to make a choice: follow the sun, or follow my team?

I did not envy Dave's position on the field because he got the raw end of the stick in the first half. The Terps, who dominated the game, shot on the opposite side of the field from Dave AND Dave shot directly into the sun. I felt guilty for taking the prime spot on the field.

Lots of times I have people that would like to meet up with me before or after a game, or would like to carpool to an event together. It gives me a lot of stress because when I'm alone I feel like I don't impact anyone with my decisions other than myself. If I want to arrive an hour early to shoot some practice then it doesn't mean that the people that rode with me are sitting around bored. Likewise, if I shoot a game alone I can just go pick a spot to shoot without thinking about another photographer feeling like I'm intruding on their side of the field or that I'm hogging the good spot (with the sun behind my shoulders).

At the conclusion of the first half Greg said he was going to head towards midfield and get some "rim" shots of the defense. He's referring to the halo effect that occurs when you shoot a player that has their back to the sun. You intentionally overexpose by a stop to properly illuminate their face. In doing so you overexpose their hair, shoulders, back, chest, and legs (anywhere that has sun on the "rim" of it).

Until now I avoided that practice because I felt like it produced harsh shadows and didn't look as sharp as a full-frontal really nice sun-over-the-shoulder shot of a player attacking. Boy was I wrong!

I decided to follow Greg around the field and took a few shots of my own. I was really stunned by now nifty the shots looked! If you do the halo-effect correctly you can balance the overexposure with the light on the players face and produce a really neat effect. You can also REALLY throw the background out of focus and completely out of mind when you view the photo because it is not well lit AT ALL.

During the event I had reservations about shooting "into the sun" but in post processing I was really surprised at how well the photos came out. They have a bit of an artistic touch to them that puts them into a slightly different category than the normal pictures I've shot during sporting events. My other shots, while technically decent (sharp, properly exposed, good colors, etc), seem kind of one-dimensional in retrospect. Everything is sun-over-the-shoulders exposed. By adding in these "rim" or "halo" shots it seemed like my gallery took on a second dimension and I was really happy with the results.

Photos from the Maryland Terrapins vs Miami Hurricanes women's soccer match are over on Flickr. You can also read my game writeup of the Terps vs Miami soccer match over on the DC Sports Box.


Post a Comment