Thursday, November 20, 2008

This evening I was awarded with a plastic credential from UM with my name on it. I'm very proud of that achievement. It was very rewarding to see my name and photo on a plastic credential produced by Maryland. I've shot over 250 games at the University and written hundreds of articles for the DC Sports Box. Receiving that piece of plastic, as silly as that sounds, really meant a lot.

Tonight I introduced a new photographer from our company to Maryland. Kim Lynch shot her first Maryland event this evening and I was happy to walk step her through the rules and procedures. We both sat baseline while she shot for the DC Sports Box and I shot for Inside the Shell magazine.

In the second half I decided to diverge from my normal high-speed shooting process. I switched to single frame exposure and I changed my aperture from f/2.8 to f/3.5. That required an increase in ISO 3200 but on a D3 the increased noise is negligible.

I attempted the single-shot approach last year when shooting my D200 and I decided to try it out again this year. When I look at Greg Fiume's photos I think to myself that the most difficult aspect of his shots is his timing. Whereas I (and everyone else) can rip through 9 FPS of shots during a drive Greg gets a single shot to fire his flash. It takes a lot of skill to time the shot perfectly.

For the second half I went to single-shot shooting mode and relied on my own timing to get my shots. To my surprise I didn't do too poorly. My timing is a lot better than last year, and of course that's no surprise considering I've shot a lot of games since then. None-the-less I was still surprised how many decent shots I got using single-exposure shooting mode. I was very pleased with a few shots I got of Marissa Coleman driving to the net, including the one I featured at the top of this page.

I haven't decided how much I'm going to pursue the single-shot shooting mode approach to sports photography. Installing strobes in the ceiling of Comcast is simply not an option due to prohibitive costs. But, there is value in shooting single-shot mode even if you don't fire strobes. The value comes from your ability as a photographer to time the moment and pick the exact split-second moment you want to capture and show to the world. If you rip through 9 frames per second all you're doing is sitting in a privileged spot with an expensive capture device and then picking the best shot from the collection. If you can time it right, get the focus sharp, and get that perfect shot ... well ... that's pretty good.

So even though I have no intentions of strobing the arena I still am thinking about shooting single-frame so that I improve my own photography skill. We'll see how risky that proves. Will I fall back to a 9FPS rip on a big play? I don't know. Seems like the best approach is to try out the single-shot approach on women's games. If I can make it through an entire women's game using single-shot maybe I'll take a stab at shooting the second half of a men's game single-shot.


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