Friday, February 20, 2009

Football: Byrd Stadium Improvements

February 4th is signing day for collegiate football and Inside the Shell asked me to photograph the press conference Coach Ralph Friedgen scheduled in the afternoon. The press conference was nothing unusual - the typical Maryland Terps backdrop was in place with lights on either side of the Head Coach.

I selected shots where Coach Friedgen looked up at the audience (or at me) during his comments. I've been around Coach Friedgen since his arrival at Maryland both professionally through the DC Sports Box and Inside the Shell as well as personally. Both Gloria and Ralph, along with their daughters, are genuinely good people and care a lot about the well being of the family, friends, and fans that surround them. I used to attend the Sunday evening "Dinner with the Fridge" events over at the Inn and Conference Center as well as the TV recordings at the Outback Steak House over in Montgomery County. Coach Friedgen recognizes me that helps when I'm behind the lens looking for a smile or some other personal gesture that helps my photos stand out from the others.

I've heard from Seth and Jeff that the folks on the forum at are interested in getting a photographic update of the Tyser Towser expansion at Byrd Stadium. As the press conference with Coach Friedge and Coach Sollazzo drew to a close I pulled the chute early and headed down to the field level to get some wide-angle shots of the construction. I was careful about my timing and left during the last 15 minutes of sunlight so that I could get some pretty colors on the construction.

It was snowing during this event and that helped make the pictures stand out a little bit more. It wasn't a blinding snowstorm by any means but there were some flurries in the air and through increasing the contrast in my photos I drew them out a little bit more.

While walking across the field I was a little concerned about someone stopping me and telling me to leave. While contemplating my response to an eventual confrontation I realized: who's going to hassle me? The CSC staff weren't present because there was no game. Is somebody going to call the Maryland Police to shoe me off the field after a press conference? That seemed kinda crazy to me...

So I took my shots, headed up into the stands, and shot a bunch more angles. I opened up the aperture and stepped it down as well while I played with how much light I wanted to throw onto Tyser Tower. I was shooting directly into the sunset towards Tyser Tower while on the Upper Deck side of the stadium. That meant that the details of the expansion were not well lit because the sun shined directly in my direction. During this whole exercise I considered the Active D-Lighting feature on the D3 and hoped it would perform well.

If I increased aperture or reduced shutter speed to properly expose Tyser Tower the clouds and sunset would be blown. But if I properly exposed on the sunset and clouds Tyser would be dark. As a result I shot a bunch of different exposures and hoped to adjust in post processing.


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