Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Food Portraits...

It's been a while since I've had to shoot a food illustration and I ended up having to shoot two on Friday. The first was a story that a reporter was doing on Mr. Mc's Peanut Brittle since the guy who runs the company and the recipe were both from Roby, one of our area towns. The problem was the company and its owner both live in Dallas and there was no way we could get someone there to shoot a photo to go with the story due to scheduling and time. So, I figured I could do something simple, go buy a bag of peanuts, put the brittle in there do a nice studio shot and go with it.
The second shot was for St. Patrick's Day. This was actually a secondary shot since I was also going to shoot Greg, the chef at Cypress Street Station also working on the Irish stew that the restaurant was serving for St. Paddy's day. The other thing I needed to get in was a green beer. Here's where I get on my soapbox and bitch about people's obsession with green beer on St. Patrick's day. IT'S FOOD COLORING!! Every year people drink some kind of garbage beer, like Bud Light or Miller Lite with green food coloring and want to say it's some kind of Irish tradition. Here's the problem... Real Irish beer is black or so dark that stupid green food coloring would do nothing to it. But, since green beer is synonymous with the day, I shot the green beer. To which I caught hell from Kevin, the cool bartender about ruining a perfectly good beer, I agreed and we both got a good laugh from it. While I was waiting for the food to get done, I made a few test shots of the beer trying to figure out how to show it green. I finally cam up with the idea to shoot the flash through the beer to light it up (again, something that could not be done with real Irish beer). Ok, I'll get off my soapbox now since a) I like the way the photo turned out and b) at least I got to use a decent beer — I used one of the local microbrews made at Cypress Street.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Rainy Day Baseball Again...

Last year I can't remember one weekend that any of my assignments got rained out. Hell, I can barely remember many days that we got any rain last year. This year, for the second week in a row the skies were filled with grey clouds. Last week, it was a full on rainy weekend and everything happening outdoors got cancelled. This week, there were clouds in the sky most of the week, but there was no rain, just a bunch of humidity. On Saturday it was drizzling as I was walking into the Cooper softball game. I ended up shooting the first half of the first inning and between innings there was a huge lightning bolt in the sky. By rule any time the teams are pulled off the field it the teams have to stay off the field for at least thirty minutes after the most recent lightning. So, I figured I'd go back to the office and put in the St. Patrick's Day parade pix I had shot in the morning.
I ended up going back to the field after about an hour and they had just gotten started again. I got there in time to shoot Cooper batting in their half of the second inning. There were hitting pretty decent and scored a few runs. Then the rain started coming down, not too hard but coming down. Then the rain starts getting a little harder, there was 2 outs in the inning so, my plan was to tough it out till the end of the inning, one more out and go shoot from one of the dugouts. Well, I guess the umpires were tired of the rain getting heavier and called the players off the field again. Well, that was it, I've been to this game twice and only gotten a grand total of five outs, I'm done here.
After that I went to shoot McMurry baseball and was hoping for a little better luck down the street. I got to the game and it looked like the players were warming up. Woohoo! I guess they were getting ready to play, finally I may get to shoot a get without it being stopped. I go in the press box and find out they were warming up, getting ready for the second game. As I'm walking out on the field it looking like the sun is peeking through the clouds, well, I guess one out of two ain't so bad. I made a few nice frames, but, I know I'm still a way away from having my baseball timing down, at least it's Spring, hopefully we'll have some nice days to shoot.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ho Hum, Yet Another State Title...

Wylie won its fifth straight state title in the Class 3A team tennis state this weekend. It was also the Bulldogs' 10th in 12 years. The only difference between this year and what they've done in years past is this year the team tennis tournament was held in Abilene. I thought it was kind of funny, probably the last thing the state's most dominant 3A tennis program needed was a home court advantage.
We've had really nice weather in the area the last couple of weeks, but of course this weekend with a baseball and tennis tournament scheduled it was cold and rainy. Not a great start for the first year the team tennis tournament was held in Abilene. Though it didn't really matter where it was held there was a black raincloud over the whole state this weekend, so even if it were held someplace else it would have been wet. Luckily there are a bunch of covered courts at the two local country clubs and at ACU. So, even in the rain they were able to get matches in, but instead of playing 19 matches they played nine, and they played pro sets (one 8-game set) instead of regular matches. Well, it wasn't ideal, but at least the teams got to play.
Wylie's run in the match was pretty much what was expected. They blew through all of the early matches and faced Lucas Lovejoy in the championship match. one thing about Lovejoy was they were at least expected to give them a decent match. And, a couple of them were. There were a couple good doubles matches and one good boys singles match, but again, Wylie ended up winning rather easily, only losing one match, out of the six played. Well, that was one more that they lost then last year, but still a pretty dominating performance and they won't be playing Lovejoy next year who will be moving up to 4A. Well, despite being the overwhelming favorite, there was still a nice celebration after the clinching win.






Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sweet Repeat...

This one was kind of anti-climactic, after Wylie's win over Kennedale last week, I didn't really have any doubt about their chances of repeating as state champions as long as they went in and played their game and didn't act like they had already won. Well, they didn't do that, however, in the championship game against Celina they faced a lot tougher competition than I thought they would.
The first half of the game was even. Wylie didn't look bad, but Celina was playing a lot better than I had thought they would be. The scored wold have been tied going into half if not for a pretty dumb foul by Celina with .2 seconds left that allowed Wylie to hit a pair of free throws. In the third quarter, as Wylie has pretty much been doing throughout the playoffs, the Lady Bulldogs came out and took over the game. Peyton Little again was doing a great job of passing the ball to open players and driving the lane to make contact. At the start of the fourth quarter Wylie opened it up and pretty much stuck a dagger in the hear of Celina hitting a big three-point shot to go up big and just cruised to the end from there.
There was little doubt who the best player on the team and on the court was, but the rest of Wylie's team was doing a great job playing the part of the "unseen" heroes, especially on the defensive end. Just like the Liberty Hill game a couple of days earlier, this game never had the feeling of Wylie not having the momentum to win the game, there wasn't ever a doubt in my head that they might not win, but Celina did a good job of keeping thinks close enough that it never looked like it would be a blowout either, which is always a good thing and makes for better celebrations after the game.













Tuesday, March 6, 2012

2A State Semifinals...

There aren't many things about getting up at 7am to shoot a basketball game that I like, I guess the one good thing is being completely done by 2pm. I've always liked Jim Ned, part of it is fans/parents always give me a warm welcome when I go out there to cover their games. The other reason is, in 2008 when the Jim Ned girls won the state championship, that was the first time in many trips to the state tournament that the team I was covering actually won it all. I'd seen plenty of state championship basketball games, but no one was ever able to get over the hump and win the final game of the season.
So, this year, in Jim Ned's first trip back to Austin since winning it all, they were playing Brock, the team that had won every title since Jim Ned's in 2008. It started out looking really well, neither team was shooting all that well, but I think that had a lot to do with both teams being so good on defense. The score stayed close the whole game and for an 8:30am game the crowd was really into it making it a fun game to shoot. One thing I've noticed about shooting the state tournament is the small schools always seems to have the best and loudest crowds, and this one was no exception.
Despite it being a pretty low-scoring game, I ended up getting a lot better photos than I had the day in Wylie's semifinal game. I guess the defensive play seemed to be a lot more intense and these were two really good teams battling each other on every possession. Jim Ned ended up losing the game 41-37, but it was a really great game to watch, and super close. Games like these, you never want to see anyone lose because a few breaks go the other way and the outcome would have been a lot different, but that's why they play the game.








Monday, March 5, 2012

3A State Semifinals...

While I realize I spend most of my time in December bitching about basketball on here, there is no question that this time of year I really come to love basketball. Mostly because at this time of year every team that I shoot is pretty good, which usually makes for good photos. And, the icing on the cake is going to Austin for the state basketball tournament. It's always fun to shoot for a bunch of different reasons.
The Erwin Center is a first class facility for college basketball, so needless to say when they play a high school game there it can't help but be great. Since these are the last games of the year there is no holding back, and I'm busting my rear to make the absolute best possible images that I can. That means using a remote, as well as mixing things up and shooting from somewhere other than just the baseline. Another great thing I like about it is the 3A semifinal games are in the middle of the afternoon. Having no deadline pressures is always a good thing.
Wylie was playing Liberty Hill, a team that they had beaten two years ago in their first trip to state on this run. However, after the game against Kennedale, I didn't see any way that they were going to be losing either of their two games in Austin. But, then again, there is no winning games on paper. After all that's why they play the games right? From the start it was obvious what Liberty Hill's strategy was, stop Peyton Little and make the other players win the game. Well, they did hold her scoreless through the first quarter, but the problem was the other half of the strategy wasn't working, all of the double-teams on Little were leaving someone else open on the court, and Little who was doing much of the ball-handling was finding the open players, who in turn were hitting the shots. Liberty Hill did a good job of staying in the game, but there was still never really any doubt of who was going to win the game and Wylie was on its way to the state championship game for the third year in a row, and trying to defend last year's championship.