Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Swimming Through the Foggy Glass...

I enjoy shooting swimming, but there is one thing I really, really hate about it, the fog. It has nothing to do with the event itself, but more to do with the timing and time of year and the weather. And, that's where the fog comes in, between it being cold outside and so warm in the pool area coupled with the natural humidity from the water means me walking in from 40 degrees outside and really low humidity to 80+ degrees and 85%+ humidity it mean there's going to be a nice frost on my lens. And that means I'm waiting, at least 30 minutes for my camera gear to thaw out per se, and basically just defog. There is no amount of wiping lenses with clothes that really help either, the moment you wipe off a little condensation another film of it appears before I can get off a shot, it's just a hurry up and wait effort.
So, one my lenses finally defog, I can get to work, after having missed about 3-4 races. Oh well, such is life, make do with what I have all complaining will do is miss me more races. There were still plenty of races left including a couple of relays, which are always exciting. District 5-4A is basically Wylie High School and all of the Wichita Falls ISD schools. Over the last two years this has been the extent of swimming coverage that I've gotten to shoot. Luckily Wylie has a pretty decent swimming team. I'd prefer a championship meet a little high on the food chain though since some of these races only have three swimmers, and some even only have one... basically all they have to do is show up, not false start and swim the stroke correctly and you move on to regionals.
One of the great things about the Abilene YMCA where the swim meets are held is the big picture windows on the east side of the building. Depending on the time of the day (really early morning around sun up is best) you can get some really pretty light. I liked the photo above, partly because it was one of the first ones I show after my lens finally defogged, but also because I'm a sucker for silhouettes. This was the tail end of the really nice light coming in, so I took a little chance and metered on the bright light. Then, looking for something fun that shows that these are still goofy high school kids and are out there having fun is almost as fun for me to find. Overall, I was pretty happy with the overall results I got from probably the only swim meet I'll shoot this year.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Here's the Church, Here's the Steeple...

Every year, January seems to be a wasteland for stories, I think a lot of it has to do with the Christmas hangover. The papers in January are smaller and there just never seems to be a whole lot of news during the month. So, with the lack of news and even bigger lack of visual news, I seem to be doing a lot of feature cruising. So, on the days that an editor notices something that would make a nice standalone feature I jump at the chance. It was also nice that I had a pretty open afternoon and could hang out and work the scene for a while. I had even driven around the block trying to get this steeple and one down the street together, but the worker was on the wrong side of the steeple. However, as I was leaving I looked up through the tree and there was the opening in the branches after getting that shot, I liked it the best of what I had. And, as far as why they were working on the steeple in the first place, I went in and checked with the church office to have some cutline information. It turns out the steeple was damaged in the hailstorm that hit the city pretty hard last April and they were just now able to get roofers out available to repair it. I think half the roofs in the city got replaced from that storm.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Shooting Buckets...

Since I was a kid I've big fan of the Harlem Globetrotters. Ever since they'd make their guest appearances on the Scooby Doo cartoons. So, it was kind of cool when I was told I'd be shooting a portrait of one of them who was coming in to do an interview. In total we only had about 45 minutes total to do two interviews and shoot the photo. So, after both interviews, I was left with about 5 minutes to shoot the photo. The idea was to say he was in Abilene, so a studio shot was out. I had gone and looked around before he had gotten here to get an idea of where to shoot it. Since time was short we walked to the end of the block on the corner. I had him stand under a tree to get him in the shadow, set up a quick strobe on a light stand and had him spin the basketball on his finger. I have to say it was really impressive. I was able to get off about 3-4 shots while the ball was spinning. Most of the time when I try to get someone to do this we get maybe one and they're flailing their hands all around trying to keep the ball balanced. I guess, that's what makes Buckets a pro... well, that and some great on the court skills.

Monday, January 23, 2012

REHAB 2012...

One of the events I seem to end up shooting every year is the Rehab telethon. So, after 10+ tries finding something different isn't always the easiest thing in the world to do. The West Texas Rehabilitation Center's annual telethon is a really big deal and it brings in some pretty big stars and decent music acts every year. Last year was pretty cool, we ended up doing a behind the scenes look at the show and ended up getting to go hang out and shoot in the control truck. It was a lot of fun especially to see how the organized chaos happens and turns into a really well-done production. This year, we were doing another behind the scenes look, only from a little different perspective. So, six hours before the event even started I ended up showing up and shooting photos of local singer Twyla Foreman rehearsing with the orchestra. As usual all the folks who run the event were really cool and happy to have us there and pretty much gave me run of the place to go around and shoot. So, I figured since there were no cameras running I'd go out and shoot where I never had during the live show, on the stage. It was pretty cool, and I ended up with a nice shot that I liked and wouldn't get during the show for two reasons. Obviously I can't go out on stage during the live production, and since the lights weren't all in synch yet, I wasn't going to get the nice silhouette like I did. Hopefully next year will work out as well.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Friday Night Basketball...

Over the years I have seen my share of good basketball players and good games. But to have two really great players going against each other in a really great game has been rare. So, Friday night Wylie was playing THESA, the two-time defending home school national champions. It was really cool to see two of the best womens basketball players in the country going head to head. Wylie's Peyton Little, a Texas A&M signee, and THESA's Moriah Jefferson, a UConn signee, and both played a really great game.
Probably the best part was with both players on, it looked like their teammates were playing above their level too. That always make for a really fun game. When Wylie went down 12 in the second half I figured this game was going to get ugly. Then they started clawing their way back, playing good defense and taking good shots. They got back within two but just couldn't get over that last hump. It didn't hurt that both teams were getting the ball in the hands of their best players. Wylie ended up losing the game 62-60 but it was a good test for them. And, I don't always think looses are bad things. Winning too much tends to make for big heads. Close losses make you not want to lose again, plus in the district that Wylie is in, except for one team they are going to win pretty big and pretty easily so it's good to throw in a tough game during district play.
After the Wylie game I didn't have a whole lot of time, but I still had to run across town to shoot what was left of the Abilene High/Odessa High game. I got there in time to shoot the last 5 minutes of the second quarter, which as late as it was getting was going to be all I'd be able to shoot. The first couple minutes it was bad shots and turnovers and the few decent available shots were happening on the other side that I was on and I was blocked. I ended up getting a couple of decent shots in the last two minutes including the one below, which I liked.



Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Players of the Year...

This week was our annual installment of our All Big Country football players of the year. I was thinking I wanted to change things up, but the problem is with all these kids and the coach coming from all over the logistics of it make it kind of a pain to shoot in a location other than a studio setting. The other reason and one that I often preach to others is even though I've seen these style of photos before many of these kids haven't let alone been the subject of these images. I's kind of let that slip out of my head until I was shooting the photos and seen most of their faces and some of their parents' light up at how cool they looked in the photo when I showed it to them in the camera. After doing that, even though the shots looked similar to previous years I was happier with what I had.




Monday, January 16, 2012

Stock Shows, Week 2...

This week was the last of the tiny stock shows of just the individual schools to cover, next week things start to ramp up with the county stock shows which have a lot more competitors and last more than just a day. This week I shot Wylie and Merkel's shows.




Sunday, January 15, 2012

Weird Things Happening on Friday the 13th...

Friday night was kind of a weird night. I had to shoot the Cooper boys and girls basketball teams, both who were at or near the bottom of the standings in district. The girls were playing the first place team in district and I, like many, didn't think they had much of a chance of winning the game. They ended up winning the game by ten points and really looked better than I'd seen them play all year. Then in the boys game, the Midland High team they were playing wasn't all that great but Cooper was still looking for its first win in district. And, once again they ended up winning the game. I only got to shoot the first half of the game because it was going late, but again they looked good. Well, the only think I could think of was it was Friday the 13th.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

This Little Piggy Went to the Stock Show...

There are a couple things I can always count on in January. The first is horribly bad basketball within the city limits of Abilene. The other is stock shows. The first weekend starts out with the smaller ones and they grow bigger as the month goes on. This weekend I went to Trent. One of the cool things about these little shows is they are usually in really old, rather small barns with a lot of really cool light. One thing about shooting pis though, is they often don't have a particular direction they are going, they just sort of go where they want and especially the smaller kids will have a hard time pointing them in the right direction, that always make for fun photos.