Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Golf Season Begins...

I've always enjoyed shooting golf. It's not the fastest sport out there and there are a lot of unwritten rules to follow (no shooting on the backswing, don't stand in the golfer's line of sight, etc.), but it's also really satisfying to get a nice frame from shooting golf. Plus on a nice day there are fewer places that are better to be than hanging out on the golf course shooting golf. Notice, I didn't say playing, mainly because I'm an incredibly awful golfer, I'd much rather prefer shooting players golfing... it's much less stressful for me. The one shot that I absolutely love to get are jube shots. It seems like the only time I ever get any real emotions from golfers if when they are upset or reacting negatively. So, when I get a nice shot of someone sinking a long putt with a fist pump and a scream I know I can leave pretty happy. The other thing I love about shooting the game is trying to find something other than the post drive "pose." Of course, I shoot that and probably use it more than I'd like. But, if I get time to work to get something else I'm a lot happier at the end of the round.



Monday, April 22, 2013

Getting Down and Dirty for Justice...

For the kickoff of Abilene Christian University's Justice Week the group organizing the event was having a tug-of-war competition. I'm not quite sure how the two fit together, but hey, I remember being in college and an event like this was sure to draw more people than a speaker of something like that. It was also a Monday, which meant it was a pretty slow day for photos, so I needed to go out and get something for the front page. The event was supposed to start at 5pm, but I guess they didn't realize that anyone would be there to cover the event, or we were given the wrong time by the whoever sent out the press release. Either way it didn't matter, I had to scramble to get photos. I was able to shoot a couple of the competitions and then everyone playing in the mud afterwards, which honestly made better photos anyway. The cleanup turned out to be the best images anyway, with the caked on mud on the participants legs. So, despite getting the wrong time, I was happy with what I had as I left.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Riding in Style to the Easter Egg Hunt...

This was a nice take on something that I've been shooting pretty much every year I've been here and was a nice twist to how Easter Egg hunts have been shot in the past. Earlier in the week we had gotten an email saying the Baird Easter Egg hunt would let kids ride on fire trucks to the park for the hunt. This may have been one of the few times I thought it might be cool to have grown up in a small town. I mean, what kid never wanted to ride on a fire truck? Especially when you're riding on a fire truck to a park to get free candy!!
When I got there I talked to some of the people organizing it and their explanation was even better. Instead of all the kids showing up at staggered times and them having to essentially herd cats from trying to start their egg hunt early, they all show up on the fire trucks and they start a few minutes after every one gets off the fire engines. Brilliant. The other great part about going to the area towns is how well-received you are by the people there. It's a nice feeling.





Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Clash of the Titans, (Almost)...

This was supposed to be one of the best baseball games of the year, a battle of two of the best 1A baseball teams in the state only separated by only about 15 miles. On paper it was going to be a great game when Stamford played Anson. The crowd was as big a crowd as I think I've ever seen for 1A teams in the regular season. The bleachers were jam-packed, people lined the first and third baseline fences in lawn chairs and after they filled the baselines, they started around the outfield. Then a few people even stood on top of the southeast end of the football bleachers which overlooked center field. I wasn't the only one expecting an epic regular season battle.
And, for the first 3 innings it was, then in the fourth inning Anson's wheels fell off. Stamford, like they've been doing the last couple of years started hitting the ball, slapping it through the infield, bloopers to the outfield, capitalizing on Anson mistakes, then a timely grand slam that blew the game open. After that Anson was frazzled and down big. in the fifth inning Stamford closed it out winning 11-1 by mercy rule. Stamford looked like the defending state runners up, and like they were hungry to finally get over the hump, and like no one was going to stop them. There will be another match up soon, I'm wondering how it will go.





Monday, April 15, 2013

Hanging with Legends and Outlaws...

The Outlaws & Legends music festival is probably the biggest music event of the year in the area. It's only been around for a few years and has grown so big they built a new venue for it this year. I ended up covering both days of the event. The first night was just an acoustic jam with a bunch of musicians going around on stage and essentially jamming together. So, I kind of focused all of my attention to the crowd and shooting pretty tight since the crowd wasn't expected to be as good on the first night.
When I went back on Saturday, the crowd, as expected, was pretty huge. The headliner for the event was Merle Haggard, who was going on too late and I wouldn't be able to stick around for. But, there was still a pretty good line up of bands and the huge crowd was having a great time. It also didn't hurt that the weather was almost perfect. The biggest problem of shooting the same event two days in a row is finding something different than the day before, plus the paper was expecting a photo package to go with the event. I stayed there for a couple of different artists to go on and walked around working the crowd as well as shooting the bands on the stage. When Gary P. Nunn took the stage the crowd really got into things and I was able to get some pretty nice shots. IT would've been nice to have a little more time to hang out and see what else I could get later in the night, but I had other assignments to shoot and deadlines.




Sunday, April 14, 2013

Water Water Anywhere?

It's a pretty common story here, the dwindling lake levels across the area. We don't get a whole lot of rain to replenish the lakes and the last couple of years haven't been kind, rain-wise. So, a couple of weeks ago I was sent out to do a lake level story. I shot some photos at Lake Fort Phantom Hill in Abilene and then down to Lake Brownwood and Lake O.H. Ivey. I chose these three lakes because Phantom was local and easy to get to, Brownwood is one of the most populated lakes in the area and Ivey is on of the main water sources for Abilene, San Angelo and Midland, it's also the biggest lake in the area.
I had been to Lake Brownwood a couple of years ago and got some really nice photos, the difference, however, was when I went two years ago it was on a weekend in the middle of the summer. This time I was going on a weekday in early March, big difference. Basically I was looking to show how dry the lake was and found some boats sitting on dry land with high weeds around them. Then when I went to Ivey it was obvious how low the lake was, it also kind of showed the story about how deep it was and how much water was still in it. I also was able to show some of the human element at one of the boat ramps and got a few shots of some boaters coming off the lake. The bonus was finding a pack of deer running through one of the parks by the lake.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Bulldogs in the Final 4...

I guess since I'm more than a month behind I really need to start catching up... All year long the Wylie boys had shown some real signs of greatness as a team and their run through the playoffs was really proving what the team had already knew. During the regional tournament they beat two really good teams, including Kennedale, who had been ranked #3 in the state. The Hirchi team they beat to qualify for the trip to Austin many said were even more talented than the higher ranked Kennedale team.
However, the team they would face in the state semifinals, Dallas Madison, was coming in looking and playing like world beaters. In the first quarter of the game Wylie was doing a real good job of playing their game and keeping it real close. At the end of the quarter, though, Madison hit a big three and in the second quarter they blew it wide open. Then, things didn't get any better in the third quarter. Madison ended up blowing out Wylie in a game that never even looked close. It was a sad ending to the season of the best Wylie team I've seen step on the court, they were just outmatched by a much more talented Madison team, there's no shame in that.
I've always felt if I were in a game like this I'd rather get beaten by 20 points than 2. When you lose by that much, you've lost to the better team, there's no question, when you lose close, you're always questioning yourself looking back at a few plays that could've gone either way trying to figure out what you could have done different. And two days later, Madison beat Houston Yates to win the championship, there's no shame in losing to the better team, especially when they're the best team in the state.