Sunday, May 19, 2013
State tennis this year was a lot different from years past. Like a completely different place and city even. In the past Classes 4A/5A and Classes 2A/3A traded back and forth between playing at the University of Texas courts in downtown Austin and at Lakeway World of Tennis about 40 minutes outside Austin. The problem was, when the matches were at Lakeway, nothing ran on time and Lakeway being a private club made it pretty clear they didn't really care about state tennis being played there and it was a giant pain in the ass to both deal with the members running things, bad parking plans and things never able to stay on schedule.
This year Class 1A-3A got moved to the Texas A&M courts in College Station (Class 4A and 5A stayed at UT in Austin). And, I have to say there have been some really bad ideas made about venue changes (like the move to Lakeway in the first place), but this may have been one of the best ideas made in a long time. A&M has great facilities, they didn't charge for parking, things all ran on time and the people running things did a really great job of keeping everything running smoothly.
So, on to the competition... Wylie had their regular contingent of entries into the tournament, seven total singles and doubles teams together. We also had boys singles players in 2A from Merkel and Jim Ned. The first day of competition is a lot like the first day of regional track, there isn't a whole lot of emotion, just the players going through their matches. So, part of it is trying to get all of the local kids' matches in and just trying to find some nice action going on and any kind of reaction that may go along with it. It made for a pretty long day, but not near as long as it had been in years past since everything at least was running on time.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
The second day of regional track started early. I had to shoot a couple of the early field events before the running started in the afternoon. The good part about this was I'd be able to edit all the field event photos before the running got started, less to do after the meet ended. And since I had a 150 mile drive home afterwards everything I could do to save time was a good thing.
Normally there is a little bit of emotion at the end of some of the races, but the people who are expected to win their races aren't much for celebration. Either they were expecting to win anyway or have been to state already, etc. So, the few times there are nice celebrations at the end of races I make sure not to miss the shot. When it's a local kid doing the celebration I get pretty excited, mostly because I have the chance to make a nice image. So, when the Abilene High kid in the 800m made up a lot of ground after getting boxed in and moved from 7th place to 2nd in the last 300 meters there was a great celebration after he qualified for state for the first time.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
I covered the Region I-3A and 5A track meets in Lubbock for the last couple of years now. It's a lot different from the state track meet in a lot of different ways. The biggest is there are both prelims and finals races over two days, at state, it's just finals. So, the first days is pretty nuts and bolts. There isn't a whole lot of emotions, mostly because even if you win your prelim race you still have to come back tomorrow and race again to make it to state. It often is time spent trying to figure out ways to make nice photos and stay creative. The one nice thing that I did have added over the last few track meets I shot, were field events. So, that was a nice change.
Another difference from past years is both the 3A and 5A meets were being combined instead of afternoon and evening sessions. This made things a lot easier for the deadlines since by the late session I was usually trying to edit from the earlier session and the late session both at the same time and send photos all at once. It made for a late night followed by an early morning. This time, though, I was finished and had everything sent by 9pm. In years past the late session was just getting finished at that time and made it for only a 12 hour day instead of 16. That helped a lot the next day.
Monday, May 6, 2013
Despite how early the assignment was I was kind of excited about shooting the first-ever high heel dash in Abilene. It was supposed to be a mile and a half race for people wearing high heels with a pretty big prize ($1,000) to the winner. It was raiding money for the Children's Miracle Network and had brought out a pretty big crowd of both men and women. Most of the guys had bought their heels at Goodwill or other thrift stores earlier in the week. Some, however, had gone all out, buying new shoes online or some had their shoes bought for them. It was a pretty funny event and everyone was having a good time, and this was before the event had even started.
No one had told me ahead of time, but they shortened the race from the original length to just .2 miles. It made my assignment go by a lot quicker, but kind of caught me by surprise as the winners were sprinting across the finish line a mere 38 seconds after the start of the race. And all of the 50 or so runners were done in less than two minutes. It was pretty fun to see all the guys out for the event and having fun, and so many of them took it further than wearing just heels. Made for a lot of fun.
Sunday, May 5, 2013
It's never been a secret how much I've enjoyed shooting track. The last few year, though the only meets I've been able to shoot have been the regional and state meets. And, while those are usually the best ones photo-wise, it's always nice to get a little practice in beforehand. So, I got sent down to shoot the District 2-5A meet in San Angelo. I've only been tot he Angelo State track a few times, but have always liked it. The track is sunken into the ground so there are some nice high angles to shoot from.
I only shot the last day of the meet which was just the running finals, all the field events had finished the day before. They also had the whole JV meet at the same time of the varsity finals. At first it seemed like it was just dragging the meet out longer. But, there towards the end it made for some nice time to be able to download and edit my photos, so hopefully I wouldn't be there all night. So, between 2 heats of the JV boys and girls 1,600m runs and mile relays, I was able to get most of my photos edited and cropped and toned. So, at the end I only had two races to edit and then caption photos and send. It made life a lot easier, though the track meet ending an hour earlier may have done all the same things.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Stories like this I always enjoy shooting. Iria "Bubba" Ephriam was the first black player to play in the Texas state high school basketball tournament, in 1957. I had kind of lucked out when I called him he was out running errands and said he could meet me down the street at one of the parks, perfect, I was really hoping for something other than a shot of him in his home. I grabbed my basketball off my desk on the way out and headed to the park. I was kind of tight on time and was squeezing this in between assignments, but had an idea in my head. I made the shot pretty quick, he was real easy to work with and a lot of fun, a nice guy who had some great stories. I wish I had more time to listen to his stories, he was a really good guy and had a great laugh.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
I've always enjoyed shooting golf. It's not the fastest sport out there and there are a lot of unwritten rules to follow (no shooting on the backswing, don't stand in the golfer's line of sight, etc.), but it's also really satisfying to get a nice frame from shooting golf. Plus on a nice day there are fewer places that are better to be than hanging out on the golf course shooting golf. Notice, I didn't say playing, mainly because I'm an incredibly awful golfer, I'd much rather prefer shooting players golfing... it's much less stressful for me. The one shot that I absolutely love to get are jube shots. It seems like the only time I ever get any real emotions from golfers if when they are upset or reacting negatively. So, when I get a nice shot of someone sinking a long putt with a fist pump and a scream I know I can leave pretty happy. The other thing I love about shooting the game is trying to find something other than the post drive "pose." Of course, I shoot that and probably use it more than I'd like. But, if I get time to work to get something else I'm a lot happier at the end of the round.