Thursday, September 30, 2010

3 Minutes Till I'm Dust In The Wind...

So, the reason why I had to leave the ACU football game early was because I had to shoot Kansas playing with the Hardin-Simmons University Orchestra. It was a pretty big deal since, other than country and Christian rock all the big act... even the outdated ones, have a tendency to skip Abilene. Plus this was a big-name band playing with the orchestra of a fairly small school. It was really cool in that respect. What wasn't cool is, Kansas still wants to put the big-time restrictions on photos, this was one of the worst I've witnessed. Most of the big bands I've covered (except for Willie Nelson) have had a three song limit. Kansas, made it even worse, with a three minute limit. Which basically turned out to be one song, an instrumental. After that I was told I had to stop shooting. I was hoping to shoot at least some singing or something. At least I did get to hear "Point of No Return" as I was walking out. At least Willie will be back in December...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

ACU Football...

Saturday's ACU game I was a little pressed for time, and was only to shoot the first half of the Wildcats' game against Tarleton State. It's too bad because the second half was when all the fireworks happened. ACU ended up winning the game 65-3. I did end up getting a few nice shots and the defense looked pretty good too.



Sunday, September 26, 2010

Wrapping up at the Fair...

The week of the fair was an incredibly busy week, not only was the fair going on but there were football games on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. That gave me two days, Wednesday and Thursday to shoot a photo column. Luckily with the fair going on I could buy some time by shooting a photo page. The problem was Tuesday I had four assignments, two, however, were at the fair. One was a feature story on the llamas part of the stock show. The other was the bubble gum contest. Luckily the Kids fun show followed the bubble gum contest, which I was able to stick around for a little bit before leaving for the next assignment. As I was leaving I was feeling pretty good about what I had, but knew I still needed more.
On Wednesday, there was nothing going on in the evening, so I was able to just go out and walk the midway aimlessly looking for whatever I thought would make a good image. As I was walking to the kids petting zoo I saw the girl (below) staring at goats, I figured this would be my main photo, her eyes nearly popping out of her head nearly made me laugh out loud just shooting it. But, I still needed more photos to fill the page. As the sun started going down I made my way to the carnival rides, the neon lights always look better at night. I saw some people riding the chair swings and figured I'd make a shot of it with the Ferris wheel in the background, when I saw the little girl waving to her mom every time she went by, I knew that was my shot. I did keep walking around making sure I didn't miss anything.




Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Interstate Showdown... It's Still Only a Game

ESPNU's game of the week last week was Abilene High playing Plant High School from Tampa, Florida. Not only was it getting national attention just from the TV network, but from every other major high school web site across the country. We were making it a big deal and both the Tampa Bay newspapers, the St. Petersburg Times and Tampa Tribune were writing all about how big it was to play in Texas. My feeling like it is for every other game is it's just a football game. Hell, this game didn't even count, it wasn't a playoff game, wasn't a district game, just a game, the only thing it added to the the win/loss column.
The game turned out to be a really great game. Plant looked like they would dominate, and their running back/defensive end James Wilder, a Florida State commit, was a beast! Abilene High, however, countered with quarterback Ronnell Sims, who basically carried the offense on his back making three spectacular runs along with a TD pass to Jeret Smith (above photo), who ended up making ESPN's top 10 that night for a great reception then breaking 4 or 5 tackles to score.
But the best part of the night was was the shot I got of Sims' first 42-yard touchdown run. He ended the play by leaping into the end zone (top photo), which only makes a good photo if he's turned in the right direction. And, he was, but the best part was I ended up getting one of my co-workers in the shot... and he ended up taking the front page photo at the same time of the Abilene High student section going wild about the touchdown. It turned out really cool and made for a great story too.







Monday, September 20, 2010

The Swenson House...

One of the things I love about my job is how no two days are exactly alike and the variety of the assignments I often shoot. It's also one of the things I hate about it! On Saturday I had to shoot a football game and the 100th anniversary part of the Swenson House, a historical home here in Abilene. The problem is the Swenson House event was a formal event, and at the football game I'm running around up and down the field. It didn't help that it was hotter than hell and humid. So, after I left the game I figured I'd at least throw on a decent collared shirt so I could look semi-presentable at least. So, when I did show up there were plenty of people dressed up, as well as quite a few folks wearing period outfits. It kind of looked like a scene out of the Great Gatsby. I decided that the best photos were going to be of those who were dressed up. Many of the party goers were touring the house, so I decided to keep an eye on the staircase and after staking it out for a while I got the shot I was waiting on of some of the people who were dressed up walking down the stairs in the house. And, the good thing is there were quite a few people I knew from and after sharing the score of the game I was at was feeling a little better about my clothing choice, plus, I tend to hide out of sight while shooting anyway.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sneakin a Peek at the Fair...

Every year in the middle of September is the West Texas Fair & Rodeo. There are a few things significant about the fair. The first being, is it marks another year in Abilene for me, since my first year here in 1999 was the week of the fair. It's also usually a week of rain, or quite a bit of it and also when the hot summer weather starts to cool down. However, it all starts out the Thursday before the actual full week of the fair with Sneak A Peek. None of the exhibits are open, basically it a chance for people to go, try out the various artery-clogging fried goodness and ride the rides. For this one, I usually concentrate on the rides.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Saturday Football... on Sunday

My fifth game in four days was the opener of the college football season in Lubbock. Texas Tech was playing SMU. It's kind of cool, we have four local players starting for Texas Tech and two at SMU that get decent playing time. So, in addition to shooting the game I had to make sure to get file photos of all the local guys for future features. Plus it was coach Tommy Tuberville's first game as head coach since taking over for Mike Leach, so needed shot of him too.
The one drawback to this, but I guess also the reason I was here since the game got moved to Sunday, was because it was a TV game on ESPN it was being played at 2pm. Afternoon games in West Texas are still hotter than hell, and with Tech playing on artificial turf that didn't help either since it just sucks in the heat and holds it there with nowhere to go. Someone told me the temperature of the turf was 138 degrees during the game!
The start of the game looked like it could be a blowout, Tech went up 14-0 quick. Then they kind of stalled and opened things up for SMU to come back, by the fourth quarter it was looking like a pretty good game. Sadly though, photo-wise it just kind of sucked. There just wasn't much as far as spectacular photos. The one good thing going was wide receiver Lyle Leong, who is from Abilene, was going nut, he had over 100 yards receiving and three touchdowns. It was starting to look like deja vu, since Tech's quarterback Taylor Potts is also from Abilene. It's not all that hard to get shots of the local guys when they're having good games. On the other side of the ball, Will Ford, the starting cornerback and a Cooper High School grad, was making some nice plays, as well as safety Cody Davis, from Stephenville. I was also able to get a couple of shots of the SMU guys, which was good since this will probably be the only game I shoot of SMU this year. So, while I wasn't thrilled with what I got, it's always fun to shoot college football, despite the hate.





Saturday, September 11, 2010

Friday Night Football... on Saturday Afternoon...

As part of the Champions Classic in Abilene the Saturday game was Abilene High playing the first of three straight out of state opponents, Franklinton High School, from Louisiana. Franklinton, traveled 700 miles, by bus, for this game. And, I have to say I was really impressed I think they brought probably 1,500 fans with them and they certainly held their own. By contrast, Austin Westlake's crowd the night before wasn't near as big and they only had a four hour drive. Franklinton looked really good and has some great players, their quarterback is committed to LSU and another player on the team is also committed to play in the SEC. The game was close early, but Abilene High pulled away in the fourth quarter. It was a fun game to watch and day time football is ALWAYS a good thing!






Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Night Football...

Friday night's football was a home game between Cooper and Austin Westlake. Westlake came in ranked #10 in the state, Cooper was unranked but put up some big numbers the week before. The game started out looking like it could be a blowout, and not the one anybody expected. Cooper was ahead 14-0 at the end of the first quarter. But, by the end of the half it was starting to look like Cooper had fallen back to earth. The third quarter wasn't all that great, and the fourth quarter started out slow. Then the last five minutes of the game both teams came alive. Westlake pulled ahead, then Cooper came back to score. Then Westlake drove down the field again to score with only 2 minutes to go. Cooper got the ball back and drove down the field and scored with only 11 seconds left. This team played a lot different than most of the Cooper teams I've seen in the past, they never believed they were going to lose. In the past after Westlake scored to go ahead, they'd pretty much give up and accept the loss. This year, they never gave up. It may just be an interesting season for the Cougars.