Wednesday, December 10, 2008

After a late night out on Saturday shooting One Louder perform up at Sonoma's Bar and Grille I headed down to the Verizon Center in Washington DC to shoot the Terps face the GWU Colonials in the 14th Annual BB&T Classic.

Last season I didn't cover any Wizards or Mystics games so it's been awhile since I've been to the Verizon Center. In fact, it's been so long that I believe the last time I was there the facility was called the "MCI Center". Coming up the escalator I was very impressed by the recent improvements to the surrounding neighborhood. When Julie and I attended Caps games several years ago the neighborhoods were undergoing a revitalization and there was a lot of construction. Nowadays with all the construction finished the area around the Verizon Center is really quite nice.

I made my way to the media entrance and found my way down to the media room without any problems. The media room had a lot of equipment in it but I staked out a little corner and unpacked my gear. At times like these I'm happy that I have a Think Tank with a lockable strap and zipper. After taking out my gear I locked up my bag and secured it to the table.

Heading out to the floor I was amazed by the quality of the scoreboard in Verizon Center. It was spectacular! I ended up watching the trailing end of the Virginia Tech and Navy game on the scoreboard because it looked so great!

Once Virginia Tech and Navy vacated the floor I kept my eyes peeled for what side the Terps would take as their home bench. I wanted to shoot on that side so that I was close to Gary Williams and I'd get the Terps shooting towards me in the second half rather than the first. After settling in I tried to adjust my white balance but had little success without a neutral gray card. I tried to set the white balance off the back of my white press credential but failed - the colors came out green and disgusting. I ended up going down to auto white-balance in the first half and it didn't work well at all. The colors were inconsistently off and I was not at all impressed.

At half-time I changed my white balance to flourescent so that the results would at least be consistent. By going with a fixed white balance I can then at least copy and paste the white balance adjustment in Lightroom afterwards. When the camera auto-calculates the white balance it means that I need to adjust the white balance for each individual photo I publish. It's a lot easier to just make sure that every photo is off by the same amount and then apply the same correction in post processing.

Overall the lighting in Verizon is very good and I was able to shoot around ISO 2000 at f/3.5. I've been keeping my aperture tighter than f/2.8 lately so that I can increase my sharpness. With the good high-ISO performance of the D3 I can flirt with f/4 sometimes if I kick the ISO up to 3500 or 4000 in some cases.

Please go over and read the article and view the photos on Maryland's win over GWU at the BB&T Classic over on the DC Sports Box.


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