Saturday, December 6, 2008

The lesson for today is: Don't Trust Google Maps on the iPhone.

Let me say that again: Don't Trust Google Maps on the iPhone.

I split early from the men's soccer game so that I could come home, offload, swap lenses, pick up Julie, and head down to the Show Place Arena at the Maryland Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro MD for Maryland Competitive Cheer's performance at JamFest. The arena has an address of 14900 Pennsylvania Avenue Upper Marlboro MD. Well, where Google points you sure isn't the Show Place Arena.

On the iPhone it's even worse - Google Maps places you INSIDE the Beltway!

Julie and I got all double-crossed up going back and forth on Route 4 trying to figure out where the Show Place Arena is located and ended up arriving late. With Maryland set to perform at 3:55 and our arrival time being no earlier than 4:10 I planned on just trying to get some shots of the cheerleaders after the event. Fortunately for me the performances were running about 30 minutes late and my arrival was about 5 minutes ahead of when the Terps headed out to perform.

I made my way around the floor and located a couple of the coaches of the competitive cheer team. I told them who I was with and arranged for a group photo after the routine. The coaches were excited to have someone photographing the routine of their team - I don't think they get very much photographic exposure.

During the routine I ripped through as many photos as possible on both bodies. When one body slowed down for the cache to be synced out to the compact flash I'd pick up the second body and start ripping frames. I haven't ever shot cheerleaders before so I didn't know what I was doing. As a result I figured I'd take the buck-shot approach and get as many photos as possible!

Afterwards I headed backstage and attached my SB-800 to one of my bodies. I have 3 SB-800s but I only brought 1 to the event today (I didn't want to have to carry the second or third around with me). I took some test shots over near the water jugs and settled in on ISO 800, 1/160th second exposure, and f/6.3 aperture. I wanted the aperture to be pretty high because I knew that the girls would have to be in 2 or 3 rows in order to all fit in the frame. I also wanted them all to be tack sharp and I knew that I needed something above f/5.6.

It was really easy to get the girls lined up for the group shot. They all just piled in and actually lined up quite perfectly from a balance standpoint. I took 2 shots on the 24-70mm lens and then I got close up for a couple of 14mm shots. The cheerleaders out towards the edge of the frame are a bit distorted but the ones in the middle look really good. I made sure I got players only as well as players and coaches.

Finding a location for the shot was a bit difficult. The arena didn't have any good backdrops I could use so we just went into a tunnel and I took the photo there. With solid green walls on either side and with no light coming from the back of the tunnel it created a decent enough scene for the photo. Plus with the SB-800 set to +1.3 exposure compensation and my aperture at f/6.3 I was pretty safe in that very little light from the background came through into the photo.

Julie and I stuck around in the arena until the conclusion of the event and waited for the awards ceremony. It took about an hour before all was said and done and in the end it probably wasn't worth the wait. There wasn't a gold or silver trophy and the teams didn't line up afterwards for photos. They just accepted it and headed for the bus. I got a shot of a few girls with the trophy and maybe the magazine will use it.

Afterwards we headed home through the somewhat heavy snow, warmed up some leftover spaghetti, and settled down in the living room. I got through all of my soccer and cheer photos and even was able to get both blog posts up before heading out to the One Louder show in Columbia later on.


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