Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Playoff mileage total: 1211 miles

I took a little break on Saturday from shooting football. The Brownwood High School volleyball team was playing in the state volleyball tournament and if they won their semifinal game on Friday I was going to San Marcos, about 250 miles south of Abilene. Well, obviously they won, since these are the photos from the game.
After shooting football in Stephenville on Friday night I got out of town as quickly as I could after the game. I headed down to Georgetown, just north of Austin, to spend the night. Georgetown was about 40 minutes north of San Marcos, I left about 11am for the 1pm game. I got there a little more than an hour before the game. Since I had never shot in the Strahan Center before, I got there while the Class 2A game was still going on so I could scout out places to shoot from. I also wanted to check the light, which wasn't that bad, good enough even to use a teleconverter on my 300.
I know I've said it before, but volleyball is not a sport enjoy shooting. Way too often I find my shots mediocre at best so this one was going to be challenging. My plan was to basically make my way around the arena changing up my shooting as much as possible. I started up in my regular spot on the floor, then moved beside the Brownwood bench to shoot some wide stuff.
After the first game I moved up high to shoot down on the action. Instead of bringing a 300mm and 400mm lens, I upped my ISO and used a teleconverter on the 300mm lens. I spent most of the second game shooting from this position, and got ok results but nothing spectacular.
For the third game I shot from the TV camera deck up high at mid-court (it was empty, the only broadcasting being done was a webcast and they were shooting from lower levels). I liked this angle because I could shoot some nice stuff of the net players and the opponents blocking at the same time. It also allowed me to shot the players in the back row at the same time allowing me to shoot both. Normally when I'm sitting by the bench or in the backcourt I can only shoot one or the other.
Sadly I was only able to shoot a little more than half of the game from up there, since Brownwood was losing the final game and was looking to get swept I had to make my way to the floor to look for reaction shots. Now, my job as a journalist is to tell the story not hope for one team or another to win. Any while it's not a big deal to me that they lost since I didn't have a dog in the fight, I was hoping they would at least win one game so I could work this angle that I felt I liked the best.
But, it wasn't going to happen, so I made my way to the court to wait for the reaction. This also game me a little time to shoot from behind the players. I was able to make a couple shots I didn't ever really think would get anything from back here, so it was a pleasant surprise.
My plan in sitting behind the players was that they would turn around and face me when they reacted to their loss. Well, it didn't quite work out like that. The one girl that collapsed, sat down with her back to me, so it didn't quite work out as planned. Oh well, it was worth a shot. I can say that now, since I was able to make some decent dejection shots from before and during the medal ceremonies.

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