Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Last Day of Hell Week...

I've always looked forward to this week every year, it s great opportunity to make great images, it's also a really long taxing week. And by the end of the week, I'm always looking forward to it being over and getting home to relax and see my wife and dogs. And one of those reasons is the last day of track. Usually by then I'm pretty sunburned and the last day I spend pretty much the whole time out in the sun. However, again, it's a great time to make some really nice photos as well. And we usually have a lot of kids participating, as well as winning.
This year was a little different in that we still had a lot of medalists, but not as many winners. Luckily though there were still some winners and some really great moments, as usual. And a few of those nice moments, I even got lucky enough to capture. The best race was one of the last ones. Munday, on of our area schools was tied with Collinsville going into the final race of the day, the winner would win the team title as well. Collinsville had a pretty big lead going to the final hand off when the anchor leg dropped the batron and slipped on the track! I was actually right on the hand off since I was waiting to shoot Munday's handoff, when I saw the two guys start to get tangled I just held the shutter down (top photo). By the time the Collinsville guy got the baton back and was running Munday had a lead and ended up winning the race. It was really a crazy ending and made for some nice celebrations at the end, not to mention the devastation of the other team.












Monday, May 30, 2011

Nearing the End of the Week, Finishing Golf, Starting Track...

The end of Hell week is the reason why it gets its name. Mostly because of the long days, it's the second day of Class 3A golf and the start of track. That's part of the problem, having both golf going on and track. And honestly, if our local golfers weren't in medal contention, I wouldn't have bothered with fighting the traffic to get out there and shoot them. Luckily there was a couple hour break in between so, I wasn't going to miss a whole lot.
The longest part about shooting track is spending the whole day, usually about 14 hours, mostly in the sun (great way to work on the farmer's tan). However, at the end of the day and with the high level of competition and some of the great images there to be made make it all worth it. Even the golf shots, despite the local kids falling out of contention, turned out really nice and made it worth fighting all the traffic to make it over there.











Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hell Week, Day 2...

So, day two always seems to be a little easier, well at least shorter than Monday is. Mostly because tennis is only one round. So, I pretty much reversed my schedule from the day before. Going to Lakeway first to shoot the championship tennis matches. We had four different tennis players and doubles teams in championship matches. It made for some really nice photos, however, I'm guessing the two teams that did win had expected to win since there wasn't a whole lot of celebration. The plan after that would be to shoot 2A golf, hopefully quickly, then heading out to 1A golf since we would most likely have two team state champions and two individual champs.
By the time I got to Roy Kizer Golf Course (which by the way may be the ugliest golf course on the planet) where the 2A tournament was being played I had to rush to the furthest part of the course. Luckily, Jim Ned golfer Ben Avery wears a very distinct hat and I was able to spot him from half way across the golf course. I hate having to rush, I usually end up with mediocre shots from that since I'm just trying to get quick photos and move on. I followed him two holes and was lucky enough to get a ride to the other side of the course. I grabbed a few shots of the girls on the last three holes as I was pretty much walking off the course and raced across town to the other golf course.
Here's where the problems come in. I look out on the course where the boys were supposed to be coming in and it was empty. SH!T! I quickly get to the girls green, there is Baird golfer Alex Neal putting. Then a crowd of Baird fans cheering. Damn, I missed her too. I knew I needed to get SOMETHING, so I go into semi-panic mode. I follow the Baird girls around. Luckily the scores haven't been posted yet. I pretty much trained my camera on the five Lady Bears golfers. I wasn't sure if I'd get anything, but when I heard them start talking about playing their final round of high school golf ever I knew there would be emotion soon. And when the score was posted, despite what pretty much everyone was expecting, there were some surprised looks as well as genuine happy emotions. And, after the rather disappointing tennis celebrations, this worked out really well. And, as a bonus, when they did the medal ceremony I got a nice shot of the Robert Lee boys going to get there medals too. I still hate that I wasn't able to get to shoot some of the action in time, but was still glad to have gotten something.







Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hell Week, Day 1...

One of our reporters came up with the name, at the start of the week every year I don't think too much of it. Heck, I usually look forward to it. This year though, I had already been in Austin since Thursday for another assignment. So, with having four days in Austin under my belt already it was both good and bad. The bad being the obvious, four days already away from home (plus the two days at the start of the week in Lubbock). The good, however, was I didn't have to get up at 3:30am and make a four hour drive before even starting to work. So at least I had that going for me.
I pretty much mapped out how I would go about shooting, starting with the Class A golf, since we have the largest number of participants, it also made it so I could hit the next course on the way to tennis, which was basically on the other side of city in Lakeway, more than 30 miles from golf. The only saving grace about that was Lakeway is NEVER on time. The second round matches are always scheduled to start around 2pm, and in the years I have been covering the state tennis tournament there "only" being 2-3 hours late is the norm and has come to be expected, not to mention the people running the place are a bunch of pretentious snobs who would you the tournament just not be there in the first place. At least that's they way they make you feel while you're there... unwelcome. OK, Lakeway rant over. At least knowing this I was able to use it to my advantage and was able to spend plenty of time at golf, shooting the whole round there, and still make it out to shoot all of the second round tennis matches.










Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Regional Track...

The beginning of May is one of the busiest and at the same time most fun parts of the year. There is so much going on sports-wise. It starts out with the regional track meets (golf and tennis were two weeks earlier) and then moves into the state meets for golf, tennis and track (more on that later). For the last couple of years I have been sent to Lubbock to cover the Region I-5A and I-3A track meets. Covering these is always nice it helps out in a couple of different ways. First I get a preview of who is going to the state track meet and second, it makes for a nice warm up for the big event in Austin.
With both of the big Abilene high schools being back in Class 5A and there being quite a bit of speed in the two schools, the 5A events were pretty busy, at least on the prelim days. Many of the local runners were out after the first day. The 3A event, however, was stacked with both local and area athletes. With every area school in our coverage area making up District 5-3A that meant there were going to be three entries in every race. And, quite a few of them ended up making the finals. The Big Spring girls relay teams were the biggest story winning the girls 800m relay by more than eight seconds and breaking the regional record.
The finals day was a little easier and not quite as long of a day. First, I didn't have to get up so early and drive to Lubbock (I did have to drive home at the end of the day though). But all the running events were run together with 3A, then 5A. That and the field events in the morning, made for some nice images.