The last two weeks have been huge for my photography. And by huge, I mean revolutionary, highly important, critical, and incredibly exciting! To start with, I’ve been granted privileged access to the sidelines at all of the 2015-16 season FSU home soccer matches. This has been something I worked for since this time last year – I asked for access last year around November, but was told the NCAA has rules preventing photographers that did not hold field passes during the normal season from holding field passes during the post-season.
While I don’t work full-time, and I’m far from supporting myself via photography, I do spend a considerable amount of time at the swimming pool coaching. Ever since I showed one of the head coaches the pictures I had taken at a swim meet, I was sort of designated as “the photographer” for the team…the other weekend, I was blessed to be both a coach, and documenter of my team’s largest team-wide clinic, largest team-wide relay, and largest team cheer. Hear we see the head coach instructing the younger swimmers, and the older swimmers in the foreground waiting to demonstrate.
One of my coolest breaks was getting a text from a local sports writer late on a Friday night, asking me to come out to a Saturday evening high school football game and shoot for the paper, because for a variety of reasons, the other photographers couldn’t make it. And so not only did I get to shoot my first football game…
I was a credentialed press photographer, and had one of my first football images published in the paper!!!
In addition to coaching the local club team, I am now also an assistant swim coach for the most dominant high school swim and dive team in town, and while I have yet to take any action shots at a meet (we’ve only had one, that was cancelled early for thunder/lightning), I snapped this through the crowd while everyone was waiting out the thunder.
Before getting the call to shoot the high school football game for the paper, I had already decided that I wanted to photograph my high school alma mater’s games this season, and so I did indeed shoot their game – probably a poor decision on my part as it kept me WAY up past my bedtime doing homework after editing them all.
Back at the FSU soccer field again, I decided to try and set up a remote behind the goal…it was one of the coolest evenings because not only did I get to capture this image through the pursuit and attempt of something new, but one of the other photographers whom I had meant the week before decided to help me out with a mount for my remote camera: he leant me a ball head and a heavy-duty weighted plate to mount the ball head and camera on so it wasn’t a wobbly danger on the field.
That same evening (apologies for two net pictures), I captured this image with my primary camera, and it happens to be my favorite celebration picture I’ve taken of the FSU team. It is a close call between this and a picture I took during this past winter of a high school soccer celebration, of which I like better.
Then we jump straight into kiddy triathlon, which is something I’ve shot before, and is very satisfying to both watch and shoot, since all the parents LOVE the pictures, and there’s always something different to try, and different kiddy-winkers competing.
Yesterday (Labour Day), I decided to take a leisurely walk in the almost-fall-like weather with one of my good friends, and she very graciously put up with me clickety-clacking with the camera. Which produced this very smooth black and white image (that was oh-so dreary in color), and what may be one of the finest landscape shots that I have ever taken. It required some interesting tweaking in post production, in ways that I had never played before, but in the end, with one image, I was able to almost perfectly replicate the dreamy, ethereal fairy-tale image that my mind’s eye saw.
Most frustratingly, I have been battling some focus issues…I have known that my 80-200 f/2.8 zoom lens (a product of the late ’90s that I got for cheap) has issues tracking front to back, but I had never had as many tracking issues as I have had the last couple shoots…this was again present today, when I offered to shoot some pictures after practice for the high school group that I coach, I was puzzled by the semi-softness that was present. It wasn’t awful, and the pictures almost perfectly useable (especially after plenty of sharpening), it dawned on me…but then I realized, I had switched some of the focus settings to try them out, and never switched them back to my preferred settings. There is a feature on the Nikon bodies where the photographer can tell the camera in continuous (always focusing) mode how long to wait between focusing; this is useful, say, if something comes in-between you and your subject, and you don’t want the camera to snap to focus on that, you can adjust the period of time before the camera refocuses. I had originally used “off” for this setting, so that the camera was ALWAYS focusing, but recently switched it to the next slower option, which after pondering my problem, is the only logical reason I can think for the missed front/back focus issues. Make no mistake that I have changed everything back to “off!!” Pixel-level sharpness is soon to return to an image by me near you!
Again, if you’ve stayed with me this long, through what may or may not be grammatically proper sentences, thank you! I hope you have gotten something out of my lengthy post (even if it was only to look at some images that I might not have posted on social media). Again, thank you!!
OH!!!!!! And after all of that, I forgot to write the most important and exciting thing!! I will soon be an employee of the FSView – the student run newspaper at FSU! This will hopefully open many new doors for me, allowing me access that I as an individual simply could not get alone, as well as meeting new people, learning new skills, and experiencing new people, places, and things. Stay tuned for more!!