Sunday, March 8, 2009

Baseball: Maryland Terrapins vs Quinnipiac

Olympic Sports at Maryland is starting up for the Spring and that introduces some welcome changes to the schedule. Olympic sports are typically outdoors and can be a lot of fun.

This Saturday marked our first involvement with Spring Olympic Sports and both Julie and I attended the Maryland vs Quinnipiac baseball game played at Shipley Field at Maryland. Julie has started writing for the DC Sports Box and has covered a couple of wrestling matches, men's basketball games, and gymnastics meets. She has a background in English and Journalism and her experience is relevant to our growing organization. It's also been nice to have her at the same games I attend because we're able to spend more time together.

Baseball is a difficult sport to cover because the teams typically play 3 games in a series and each game takes at least 3 hours. Some games have gone as long as 5 hours. When you add it all up you're looking at a least 9 hours of gametime for a series compared to 40 minutes of gametime for a basketball game. It's a huge difference!

This afternoon I shot the Maryland vs Quinnipiac game while Julie wrote. Andrew has shot a couple of women's lacrosse games this year for Maryland and he arrived at the baseball game to return some of my equipment. I brought 2 PocketWizard MultiMax units for an experiment I cooked up a week or so ago...

The idea was the use multiple photographers to capture parts of a game while synchronized using Pocket Wizards. Two different photographers from different vantage points communicate with one another and agree on a focusing pattern while one photographer controls when the shutter is released. As long as the cameras have their times synchronized you can very easily line up the timestamps on the resulting files and build a nice composite picture of an event that occurred using different perspectives.

With Andrew's help I took a stab at this approach during the Maryland vs Quinnipiac game. We started out with Andrew on the first base line on a 400mm lens shooting the pitcher while I sat behind plate on a 300mm on the pitcher. The problem we had was that the 400mm was too strong from the first baseline. It was difficult to relay that information to each other because we didn't have radio contact.

The next approach we tried was for me to be on the first baseline following the ball while Andrew was high above 3rd base following the ball. We got some decent shots with this approach. The tightest shot we got was a combination where I was low and got a Maryland batter diving back to first while Andrew caught the pitcher making the throw back to first. It really came out well in post production!

Having personal radios would've helped a lot because it would've meant we didn't have to run around the ballpark to communicate. I plan on picking up some batteries to run the radios we use for skiing so that the next time I head to a multi-photographer event I can use radio to communicate.

I also headed way over to the football practice fields so that I could climb the observation deck and shoot through the 400mm from a great distance from the outfield. the angle was definitely unique and I wish I had a 600mm or 800mm lens to use from that position. It's close off the pitcher to catcher line but down the second base to third base alley so it's a great spot for some long shots. I'd love to marry it up with some PocketWizard multi-angle shots but I need to think about how to compliment the shot well.

While I was perched up there I was fortunate enough to capture a steal to second base (including a slide) as well as a batter rounding third heading for home. It's a great spot but it's a huge distance from the ballfield.

Julie's article, along with my photos, of Maryland's sweep of Quinnipiac in baseball at Shipley Field can be viewed up on the DC Sports Box.


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