Saturday, November 22, 2008

Wow, what a game. I realize that many people on the baseline and in the reporters booth are supposed to maintain an indifferent perspective on the events unfolding on the court but tonight all I could say is wow! Both Maryland and Vermont played with their hearts out on the hardwood and it was extremely exciting to be so close to such a hard fought match between the two teams.

Maryland and Vermont were well suited for one another and both teams had to put all they had on the court this evening to earn the W. Maryland came up with it in the end but Vermont put up a formidable battle. As a photographer such a matchup is a great opportunity to capture some great moments of competition.

The space was pretty tight this evening on the baseline but spots for both DC Sports Box and Inside the Shell were allocated on the baseline.

Mike Busada stepped in for Dave Lovell and shot the game this evening for the DC Sports Box. I enjoy working with Mike on assignments - he works full-time in the photography field and has a lot of valuable insight he's willing to offer. In the past I'd look to Mike to offer technical advice on matters like exposure. Nowadays, with 250 games under my belt, exposure is not so much of a concern any more. I'm now trying focus on dynamics like capturing the mood and moment of the game.

How do you characterize that? Is it a shot of a fan with veins protruding from their neck while cheering on their home team? Is it the home coach calling a play or giving a stern look towards the referees? Is it the team captain amping up the crowd with an on-court emotional display like a fist-pump or a celebratory scream?

I feel like at this point I'm competent enough with the mechanics of photography to capture enough in-game shots to accurately portray the story of the game. I want to focus now on displaying the emotion or "bite" in the game. What was it that makes the Vermont game memorable versus the 20 other games that the Terps will play this season? To do that I realize I need the advice of photographers more experienced than myself. To me it seems like proper exposure settings are simply a pre-requisite into this higher level class.

As is always the case, my struggle is to find someone willing to teach and offer me advice. Certainly Mike is a great photographer but his primary focus is in subject matters different from sports. And the people I sit next to are people that look at my product as a potential competitor to their own offerings. How can I learn the subtle art of emotional sports photography when the lessons are so highly protected by the practitioners of the art? That's what I wrestle with...

In the mean time I continue walk down this learning process realizing that my path is not straight and is not the most efficient approach towards becoming a great sports photographer. However, I accept the inefficiencies because I'm aware of the free market and realize that my potential competitors have little to gain in offering my insight into their tradecraft.

As is always the case I continue to show up to games and do my best to convey both the flow and emotion of the event. It looks more and more likely that if I'm going to learn the art of sports photography I'm going to have to bump and bounce my way through it. While it's certainly suboptimal I can accept it and I have the perseverance to see it through - after all I've shot 250+ games now at UM.


Post a Comment