Friday, November 30, 2012

State Bound... Again...

Well, after being ranked #1 all season long Wylie was playing for its third straight trip to the state volleyball tournament. What makes it even more amazing is that Wylie has only been playing a varsity volleyball program for five years. So, if they won this match they will have gone to state more than they haven't in the team's history.
However, they were going to have to beat a pretty good Stephenville team, one who they had already beaten twice this season. This was going to both help and hurt the team. The more you play a team the more you learn their strengths and weaknesses. The problem, though, is it happens for both teams. Wylie came out and won the first game pretty easily and I was thinking even Stephenville had played them close both earlier meetings this one may not turn out that way. Then in the second game Wylie lost to tie it up at one game a piece and all of the sudden it was looking like a dog fight.
Half way through the third game it was still looking like a dogfight. But, then Wylie went on a 9-0 run. That pretty much sealed Stephenville's fate and the Lady Bulldogs capitalized on a lot of of mistakes in the fourth game to take the win and qualify for their third straight trip to the state tournament.





Thursday, November 29, 2012

Honoring Those Who Serve...

While I never served in the military I have a great respect for those who have. I guess having so many members of my family who currently or have served makes me realize how important members of the military are and how much they are appreciated for all they and all veterans have done for this country. So, despite my often complaining and cynicism as well as my hatred of shooting parades. I'm not going to complain about having to cover the annual Veteran's Day parade.
This year, shooting the Veteran's Day parade was especially humbling. while trying to get some shot of the Dyess airmen marching by while framing them around people waving flags and cheering as they marched by I got a nice shot of a lady and her family waving flags. After checking the LCD screen on the back of my camera I liked the photo and went to get names for my caption information. After talking with her I found out her son had been in the Army and was killed in Action in Iraq four years ago. She told me she was out there to both support the veterans as well as honor her son. Over 13 years here I've dealt with plenty of people, but there are a few that I won't soon forget and Aurora Fernandez is one of them. I couldn't imagine losing a child like that and she was out there with her family honoring him, it was touching.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Busy Day Evening Edition...

So, after finishing up at volleyball I needed to hop in my car and quickly make the 90 mile trip back to Abilene to shoot Wylie's final regular season football game of the season. They were playing Sweetwater in a game that probably wasn't going to be close so showing up last wasn't going to work. I ended up getting to the game about 15 minutes before kickoff which gave me just enough time to fight through the traffic and drop my computer off in the press box and be on the field for kickoff.
The game wasn't that bad, but it was obvious early on that Sweetwater was over matched. Wylie is just damn good this year. In the first half though Sweetwater had a good game plan and was keeping things from getting totally out of hand. But, in the second half the Bulldogs blew things wide open and left no doubt who was the district champions.





Monday, November 19, 2012

Busy Day, Morning Edition...

Last Friday was a busy day. It started out with me going to Snyder to cover Wylie's volleyball team playing Springtown in the semifinals of the region I-3A tournament. This was going to be one of their toughest tests of the playoffs so far. Springtown had some big hitters up front and had dropped down from Class 4A where they were a pretty good program. Plus, Wylie had been ranked #1 in Class 3A all season so, they had they've had a target on their back all season.
The match started out with Wylie jumping out to a quick lead and they ended up winning the first game pretty easily. The next two game Springtown played a lot better but Wylie's biggest strength during their last three years has been the lack of mistakes they've made and the great setting and passing they have. That was the difference between them and Springtown was the superior setting, putting the ball right where it needed to be and fooling the big blockers up front.
The Coliseum in Snyder is a really great place to shoot volleyball in comparison to some of these dark gyms I've been shooting in for most of the season. For one, it has really nice light, a big improvement over most high school gyms. The other thing I like is the stands are really high, looking down on the court. This makes for clean backgrounds and a fresh look on things from what I've shot most of the year. Another thing I really like about shooting in there is the east side of the court is draped from floor to ceiling with a black curtain. It make for just perfect black backgrounds. It's not often I can shoot a whole volleyball match, or any event, and be able to totally control my backgrounds. It's a nice change.






Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Football Friday...

It seems like it's becoming a trend this year that I'm getting a lot of players leaping and hurdling other players. That trend continued in Wylie's game against Snyder. The game started out pretty slow but really started to pick up after the first quarter. Bot teams spent most of the first quarter holding on to the ball, with only three total possessions between them. Then Wylie's offense really started to pick things up and their defense which has been tough all year just kept clamping down. In the second half things were broken wide open. One thing that was nice is I think this was the fastest game I may have ever shot. The game was finished in just over two hours. It was crazy walking off the field and not feeling like I had to rushed to make deadline.





Monday, November 12, 2012

Opening the Postseason...

Hardin-Simmons started what is going to be the first of many post-season volleyball matches I'll cover over the next couple of weeks with a match against East Texas Baptist in the quarterfinals of the American Southwest Conference tournament and then a couple days later with the finals against UT-Dallas. It was the first time in a few weeks that I got to see a competitive match. Lately I've been covering a lot of 3-game sweeps, so to see the team I was covering get pushed to four games was kind of welcome for once. It also left me with more opportunities for pictures.
The first match going four games happened on deadline and while I was glad for the extra time it did make me a little nervous about getting back, but I knew as long as they didn't got to a fifth game, I'd be back in plenty of time. It also gave me plenty of time to get an idea who the hitters and the best defensive players were since this was only the second time in the season I had gotten to shoot them.
For the Cowgirls championship match against UT-Dallas, I was kind of hoping for an extra game since I was getting to the match a little late after having to cover a football game that went to overtime. However, that didn't happen, the teams did stretch every game out about as far as they could though, with all three ending 25-23. I guess that was just as good, besides, I pretty much knew what my photo was going to be and it was going to happen at the end of the match. The great thing I have always like about volleyball is since they celebrate pretty much every point, I know at the end there will certainly be a good celebration there.






Sunday, November 11, 2012

Another Blowout...

I found lately that no matter which side of a blowout you shoot, there aren't a whole lot of great photos to be found beyond the second quarter. Mostly because the starters have already been pulled from the game and the guys that are in are just there to kill the clock. The crowd is usually bored, if they haven't gone home yet. So, I need to make sure I get everything I need in the first half if thing are looking lopsided, Cooper's game against Odessa Permian was just like that. I made a few decent frames, but am looking forward to the playoffs in a couple weeks for some closer, more competitive games.