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Nose to nose

April 21, 2011

Ball bounces from glove

A ground ball bounces from the glove of a Sherman Husky during Tuesday's game. Photo by Mark B. Gibson/The Dalles Chronicle

I shoot sporting events almost every day, it’s always a challenge to get something interesting. Setting up is not unlike any other photographic assignment; you figure out what is likely to happen and where you can best be in the “right place at the right time.” You set up your camera and lens, looking for a good compromise between the subject and background. Then you wait.

Much of my actual shooting has become pretty instinctive, quick bursts of images when focus and action achieve a balance. I try to follow through, shooting both the action and the reaction. With baseball, I’m careful to sit with a fence between myself and the batting box; if you’re looking through a lens, its easy to get blindsided by a foul ball.

Autofocus is a great tool in sports. It’s not perfect but it’s fast. It doesn’t take long for a light hit to bounce halfway across the infield. If I can get the infielder framed in the lens and focused I’m all set. As soon as I see that the subject is in focus I fire away. Experience (and a fast motor drive) yields a pretty high percentage of usable photographs.

This photograph is one of those odd little moments you sometimes catch. It is an “unseen” moment that occurs too fast to register on our awareness.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. malkomk permalink
    April 26, 2011 06:28

    Nice shot.

  2. May 13, 2011 08:12

    I laughed and laughed over this one. Your description of how you handle sports photos is fascinating. I especially like that last sentence. Awesome. May I quote you?

  3. Emil permalink
    November 3, 2012 17:57

    You talk like you’re just starting out with photography and are discovering all these wonderful things about it that are passe and noneventful for the seasoned newspaper pro. Your images are amateurish at best and you should definitely not attempt any more video. How you got a job doing photography at all is a mystery, one that is likely answered by “It wasn’t how good I was, I knew someone who helped me get a job even though I’m not qualified.” Which is a major part of the reason newspapers and photojournalism are dying dying dying. Thanks for contributing to the death of newspapers and the continued unemployment of actual photojournalists.

    • November 5, 2012 21:27

      There are, of course, many opinions as to what is quality work. This photo didn’t run in the paper… many of the things I “blog” do not… so hopefully the newspaper industry won’t fail on my account.

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