Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Running of the Wieners, 2012 Edition...

The Rescue the Animals annual Dachshund races is one of the craziest and most fun events of the summer. Now in its fifth year hundreds of people come out to watch more than 100 dogs race to the title. It is really a pretty funny thing to watch. You never know where the dogs are going to go at the start of the race. Some take off and head straight to the finish line, others would just run at each other and hang out together at the starting line, one even decided to stop mid-race for a belly rub from fans.
My only minor complaint is that it has gotten so big that it makes it harder and harder to wade through the people to get photos, but that is still manageable. It's really funny to see how into the event people get. Watching ten people per racing screaming and cheering on their dog who only stands a couple inches off the ground running as hard as they can (or some not bothering to run at all), really makes the event. The dogs seem to have a pretty good time too.






Sunday, July 29, 2012

AJGA Golf...

I've said this plenty of times, I really enjoy shooting golf. I especially enjoy shooting golf when I have a couple of hours to spend shooting it. It gives me time to not only get the shots that I need, but also the ones I want to shoot. Spending a while on the course lets me find new places to shoot from and allows me to take a few chances and shoot from angles that may or may not work. But, when there isn't a time crunch I can afford for things not to work, allowing me another hole if I don't get the shot I want or it doesn't work out the way I want.
Last week I spent most of the afternoon covering the local kids at the Abilene stop for the Bob Estes AJGA junior at the Abilene Country Club's Fairway Oaks course. I did get kind of lucky with the guys that I was covering ending up in the sand a lot more than usual. Sand shots always make for decent photos. Then after that I was able to play around, let the golfers get ahead of me or shoot on the other sides of the trees etc. At the end of the three days I was happy with what I had and the slideshows I had produced. The only problem at the end was the lead group of guys didn't produce the winner since they all pretty much fell apart at the end of the round. Not a huge deal since none were local kids, if that was the biggest problem from the week I'll take it.







Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pint Sized Tracksters...

My first weekend back from vacation I got assigned to shoot the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation Region 8 track meet being held here in Abilene. It's kind of fun sometimes to see the kids on their ways up to becoming good or great athletes. It's also kind of fun to see the slightly unrefined way of doing things kids at this level are as opposed to even the high school levels. Such as leaping over the hurdles instead of gliding just over the top of them. Or, the 8 & under relay teams that haven't quite gotten down the running pass. It was a lot of fun to shoot and a nice change from shooting high level athletes for once, but still seeing the kids giving everything they've got.



Friday, July 20, 2012

Baseball Players of the Year...

For the baseball players of the year I actually had enough time to come up with a plan of what to shoot and decided to change things up and take the shots outside the studio. Having a couple days ahead of time to plan things I was able to find a baseball field to shoot on. The Hardin-Simmons baseball coach was nice enough to let me borrow their field for a couple of hours to use as a backdrop for the photos. I got there with, Joy Lewis, one of my awesome co-workers about an hour ahead of time to scout out ideas and places to shoot from as well as set up the lights. My first thought was to shoot the pitchers out on the pitcher's mound and then the batters from the dugout.
After a few test shots from the mound and then a couple where I was planning to shoot the batters from inside the dugout, I liked the dugout shots a lot better. The bright light on the mound plus a pretty strong wind that kept blowing over my softbox was becoming a real pain in the ass! So, I went ahead and shot everyone from the dugout. It made it easier to put the light on the players and balance the light with the outside light and the players weren't squinting from the sunlight. I was a lot happier with the final product this year than I have the last couple of times, having a nice field for the backdrop worked out nicer than the dark studio for a change.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

High School Rodeo Finals...

Somehow this year I didn't spend nearly as much time shooting the high school rodeo finals as I had in the past. I did get to shoot the Saturday night short round. This one is always fun because the top finishers in these events are the ones who make the national team and get to compete in Wyoming at the national finals rodeo. That's what makes shooting the Saturday night go-round so much fun, since there is so much emotion among the winners, plus since it's their last chance they're usually going for broke and leaving it all out there. Makes for good times and some decent images.







Monday, July 16, 2012

Welding Class...

We were doing a story on the high demand for welders in the area with the new oil boom. So, to illustrate the story I went out to shoot photos of Cisco College's welding classes. The students were practicing for their final exams. Luckily these classes were a lot more visual than the final exams I took. It made for some really fun photos... sparks always do.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

State Baseball Game 2....

So, I'm about as far behind as can be, so I'm going to try and catch up over the next couple days. Stamford was playing in unknown territory having made it to the state finals for the first time after coming up short in the team's two previous trips to the state tournament. So, for the third year in a row, they were either going to win it all or lose to the eventual state champion.
The game didn't turn out the way the players were hoping for though. They lost to Fayettville 10-0, getting mercy ruled in the fifth inning. It was kind of an odd game though. They finished the game without any of the players striking out and even got some runners on base, but they couldn't string together enough hits to score some runners. And, in the field they were making uncharacteristic errors. Plus Fayettville was getting hits of their own and those balls were falling. Obviously the ending wasn't what the team was hoping for, but the good news is 7 of the 9 starters are returning next year and the team's best hitter was hurt most of the season and when he did play, he could only DH. So, a team made up of almost all juniors and sophomores at least has a really bright future ahead of it.









Monday, July 9, 2012

State Baseball...

Stamford was making their third straight trip to the state baseball tournament in Round Rock. The first year they went they got beaten pretty bad. Last year they lost again in the first round to the eventual state champion. This year, they were going in as the top seed with only one loss. Their opponent was Dodd City, a solid team that plays great defense.
The crazy thing about this team, is even though it is made up of mostly juniors and sophomores most of them played in this game last year and a few of them were making their third trip. So, not only were they young but they were also hungry and experienced. After last year, the looks on their faces showed disappointment despite being the third best team in the state. So this year, losing in the first round wasn't an option. The first couple of innings were scoreless. Both teams were trying to feel each other out. Stamford was hitting the ball but making a few mental errors. But, at least they were hitting the ball early, unlike what they had done in the past. Plus the pitching was doing well and they weren't making mistakes in the field.
The nice thing about having been here a couple of times is I already know ahead of time what shooting positions work out well and which ones don't. Sort of like when a team has been here before. And Dell Diamond has some really cool places to shoot from. The left field home run porch is not only different from where I get to shoot from regularly, but it's also a nice elevated position and what made things even better was that when I went up to shoot from there Stamford started scoring. After making it a thriller there towards the end Stamford was able to hold off Dodd City's final push and make the championship game for the first time in their three trips to state.