Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Waiting for a Goal...

Last week Abilene High played a home playoff soccer game. Since soccer crowds aren't usually big I normally get there about 5 minutes before the game since I don't have to worry too much about fighting crowds. That and most of the time it takes at least 30 minutes for a goal. This time it took even longer. After two 40 minutes halves and two 10 minute overtime periods neither team scored a goal. There were a couple of missed opportunities, but those don't really make great photos. So they went to a shootout. It worked out ok, the bottom shot of the ball getting by the goalie is the winning shot. The funny part is the kid's family was sitting behind me and said, "Hey, make sure you get a shot of the goalie in the newspaper." I don't think this is the shot what they wanted... how ironic. But, the photo did tell the story.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Fighting Fire With Fire...

It's getting to be that time of year again. Grass fire season. This year has been abnormally quiet as far as brush fires go because of all the rain we've had. It's was kind of ironic, I was talking to a friend of mine on Sunday who works at the fire department and he said "With the dry windy weather we're supposed to have next week we are primed for a grass fire." He was right.
On Tuesday, one of our other photogs went out and shot a brush fire in the morning... it didn't seem all that big at the time. About an hour after I came in to work there was a call that the wind picked up and the fire was starting to get out of control again. So a reporter and I went out to the fire. When I got there was of the volunteer firefighters was setting a back fire, a smaller fire that burned up an area in the direction the fire was heading. Basically, the back fire was meant to give the fire no where to go when the fire gets to the already burned area and not be able to jump over the road. While I was shooting pictures I had no idea who was setting the fire until he came up to me and thanked me for some photos I took a couple of weeks earlier. The person setting the fires was the Merkel assistant chief (top photo) who also works for the Abilene fire department. I had shot some photos of a high school kid doing a ride along for the day. It was going to be a really cool story and I was supposed to get to ride on a fire truck... something I've wanted to do since I was a kid. The problem was, in the four hours I spent there there wasn't one damn call for that station!!
Oh well. It turned out well, since have hung out with these guys a couple weeks ago it got me an in at this fire. Most of the time volunteer fire departments are pretty helpful but there are the occasional ones that just want to feel important. These guys were pretty good, but knowing someone really helped. It just goes back to knowing that in this business it's always good to be nice to everyone because you never know who you will run into somewhere down the road. This time it really helpd and I was able to make a few nice frames from it.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Spring Break...

This is a story I shot on what parents do with their kids on Spring Break when they can't get time off themselves. We have some reporters who are really awesome and know how to help out a photog who is swamped, this one was one of them. On this day I had three other stories to shoot and one to write. So, when I called the reporter to try and get some info she not only gave me a name but had already told the contact a photographer may be coming. It worked out great and saved me some time of either having to call and explain what I wanted to do or show up and do the same thing. It worked out well, I ended up spending only about 30 minutes since I needed to get the photos in and hurry out to another assignment. I got some photos of them playing games in a classroom, but my favorite pix were from the last five minutes I was there of the kids playing basketball. The cool part is since it was a pretty informal game I could pretty much roam around on the court and shoot photos (I'd love to see what happened if I tried this in a high school or college game). It allowed me to shoot stuff I'd never be able to get shooting an organized game, which was what I was looking for.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Forcing Out a Landmark...

The good thing about my blog as opposed to what I have to write for the newspaper is I can give my opinion in my writing. When I'm doing work for the paper I have to be balanced in coverage. Here it's my world, my story and my opinion. This is one I feel strongly about. I don't smoke, but I've always enjoyed going to The Leaf tobacco shop, both for assignments and for the occasional drink (they have a coffee bar there too). The owner, Bill, is super cool and always a good conversation.
The story assignment I got said The Leaf was closing. After finding out a little more about it before going over there I found out the owner of the building was essentially kicking him out. The reason being that he can't keep a tenant in the place upstairs from the shop because they always complain about the smoke. Ummmm, then why do these people move into this place? I mean it's not like they just opened the place? it's been there for 10 damn years!! Well, it was cool going in there to shoot for possibly the last time, hopefully Bill will find a better place and continue doing business for a long time, God knows we can't afford to lose anymore business here!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

State Tourney, Finals... When the Refs Take Over...

After just blowing through the previous three rounds of the playoffs it was looking like Wylie was peaking and couldn't lose. And at the beginning of the game it looked like this game was going to be the same. Wylie jumped out to a quick lead and seemed to be hitting everything. Then Liberty-Eylau started to chip back at the lead. The first half of the game was fun to watch, it was pretty much what you would expect, both teams were playing really physical The second half, however, was a different story. All of the sudden the referees decided to start making every touch call that happened on both ends of the court. The second half was taking forever!
During the last couple minutes of the game the calls got ever weirder. The was an intentional foul called on Liberty-Eylau that was just a hard (smart) foul on an easy layup. Then there were another couple of questionable calls made and the game ended up going to overtime. By this time Wylie's two best post players had fouled out and Liberty-Eylau's posts were doing what they wanted in the paint. Still it was looking like a good game and Wylie hit a huge 3-pointer to tie the game in overtime with less than a minute left... and it was waved off due to a traveling call. Then after a real foul put Eylau up by four. Wylie brings the ball down the court and gets another questionable call to put them on the line. And again, with three seconds left after another questionable foul, Wylie misses a free throw and the girl from Liberty-Eylau pulls down the rebound and practically got run over by a Wylie player trying to get a quick foul, and she got called for traveling!! Finally Wylie shoots a 3-pointer to win the game and the ball was just off.
It was a really sad ending, not because of the missed shot at the end but because the referees changed the outcome of the game at least four times at the end of regulation and overtime combined. This had the potential to be one of those games that everyone could walk away saying "it's a shame someone had to lose that game." Instead everyone seemed to walk away thinking it didn't matter which team lost, either one of them could claim the refs screwed them. That's not the poor officiating that should be found in the state championship game.








Thursday, March 11, 2010

State Tourney, Semifinals...

Thursday was the first day of the girls half of the state basketball tournament. The game was at the perfect time of day, 3:30pm. Which was nice I didn't have to get up early to make the 4 hour drive to Austin and it wasn't too late that I would have to worry about deadlines. After getting a little later start than I'd planned because of computer issues that needed to get fixed we got to the arena about 40 minutes before the start of the game which was a little delayed after the previous game went to overtime.
The game started out the same way the last few had, with Wylie jumping out to a quick lead and never looking back. They played great tight defense and sophomore Peyton Little showed why she was the best player on the court nearly outscoring the whole Giddings team with 30 points. The final score was 64-34. The best part of the Lady Bulldogs' win was the next game wasn't until Saturday and I got a day off on Friday.







Monday, March 8, 2010

Heading to State...

Day two of my roadtrip to Lubbock was a lot easier than the rush to get there on time. I had stayed up until almost 4am putting the slideshows of the two previous day's games online, but then again I'm usually up that late anyway so it's no big deal. And, since the game was at 1pm and checkout at the hotel was noon, it all worked out perfect. Saturday's regional finals game wasn't a whole lot different from the previous night's semifinal. And, that wasn't really unexpected, after having watched the second half of the second game I didn't think Wylie would have a whole lot of a problem and they didn't. They got out to another big start and never really looked back. Liberty Hill did make a little run early in the fourth quarter but the game was pretty much decided by then they weren't going to let go. I even went as far to joke with the writer that was with me that we might as well make our hotel reservations for Austin right there.
The best part about games like these are not only are they played in big arenas with great light (and good lights that don't pulse and change colors on you). But, there is always so much emotions involved. I think that what I like about shooting girls basketball so much, women's sports always involve so much more emotion than the guys' equivalent. And this one was no different, there were plenty of emotions at the end of the game.





Friday, March 5, 2010

2 Games, 2 Cities, 1 Day...

Last Friday was kind of an odd day. I had two assignments, both basketball games. One in Abilene and the second one in Lubbock. The Abilene game was Roby playing at 1pm in the Class 1A regional tournament. The second game was Wylie playing in Lubbock in the Class 3A regional tournament.
The first game was a great game... maybe a little too great. My plan was to leave for Lubbock at 3pm. Well, when the game went into overtime I figured that wasn't going to happen. But at least I was treated to a great game. Roby ended up winning the game in overtime. The game ended at 2:45 and I had to rush to the office to get the photos in and head out.
Well, I didn't leave at 3pm like I wanted it was almost 4pm. It's 150 miles and the Wylie game was at 7pm. I didn't have to break too many speed laws to get up there (thank god for those 70mph Texas speed limits!). I rolled up to the United Spirit Arena at 6:30 and made it to the game on time. Good thing I made it there so quick. Wylie just dismantled Burnet from the start holding them to only one field goal in the first quarter. I made a few decent photos but it was a pretty ugly game.




Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Boys of.... Summer?

Let me make one thing perfectly clear, I HATE HATE HATE snow!! The last time I was excited about snow was when I was a kid amd it got me out of school. Cold weather, I'm not a huge fan of but I can deal with it. But snow, no way. It's a damn nuisance, and just causes me to work more. Last Monday I got asked to work to shoot the crosstown baseball game since the normal Monday night photog was on vacation. I figured no big deal, go out shoot the game and be done. The editor who called me also asked to grab a few weather shots too. That was easy enough, most everyone in the stands was pretty bundled up because the game time temperature was about 33... way too damn cold for a baseball game!!
After the first couple of innings it was clear this was only my second baseball game of the year, my timing was off, got caught off guard and looking the wrong way more than normal. It actually turned out to be a good thing, I was trying to be done shooting by 9pm to make deadline. I was stretching it waiting for a decent shot. Then the snow started. It was really light at first, then between innings it just started coming down hard. It was kind of funny. I shot the top photo which was about the third pitch and the kid threw two more pitches before they called the game. Didn't matter I knew I had my shot. I stuck around to get a few shots of them putting out the tarp since both teams were putting it out. After the tarp was out I had to go, it was after 9pm and both the front page and sports front were being held for these photos. The ironic part of it all was that by the time I got in my car and headed back to the office it had stopped snowing... We did get five inches by morning though. I'm ready for Spring!!