Semisweet sucking

November 30, 2012 

Last Saturday was full of local disappointment as River View, Waitsburg-Prescott and Prosser all ended their seasons in semifinal showdowns at Lampson Stadium in Kennewick.

And while there is a certain allure to cover a playoff football triple-header, I ended the day in a similarly tired and dejected mood.

Armed with two of our new GoPros, I decided to try and shoot a time lapse of the day at Lampson. I set one up above the press box and had another on a tripod I moved around to mix up different angles in the final edit.

I showed up early to set up and catch the beginning of Royal vs. River View, which Royal was expected to win handily. River View put in a great effort and almost pulled off the upset before Royal quarterback Alex Myrick took over and put on quite the show. I hustled back to the office a few blocks away to get a jump on editing that game as Waitsburg-Prescott warmed up for its game against Lind-Ritzville/Sprague for the most-anticipated/punctuated game of the day.

And when I looked at what I had, I wasn't happy.

I blamed managing the GoPro on the tripod, since I was often distracted, checking at its spot to make sure it didn't get jacked. I was also trying to figure out cool angles to shoot with it, considering its ultra-wide angle view.

I decided to abandon that second camera for the second game, which Waitsburg-Prescott lost badly.

Prosser's game against Tumwater was pretty good, but ended the same for our local boys and I stayed late to let the stadium clear out for the end of the time lapse.

Little did I know that my eye (almost) in the sky had died hours earlier.


I thought battery life might be an issue, but also figured that little camera snapping a shot every 30 seconds couldn't possibly eat that much power. It didn't even make it through the first game. Here's a taste of what could have been:

Not great either. I didn't pick the best angles for the cameras I had and maybe I didn't even pick the right event for this. After all, three small-school match-ups wouldn't fill the stands at Lampson, losing some of the gee-whiz factor of seeing the crowd ebb and flow between games. Plus, I had planned on recording audio of Prosser's pep band, which didn't show up for some reason, and I would have been scrambling to find some appropriate royalty-free tune to add to the mix.

The bottom line is that I didn't have a good game plan or proper practice before to pull something like this off, so I'll just mark it down as a learning experience. Now I have a better idea of what this new equipment is capable of and can plan better for the next attempt.

As for my football coverage, I don't feel like I shot particularly well, not even getting that clichéd juxtaposition of jubilation and dejection. At least two of the games were within reach until the end, though, or they all could have fallen flat on emotion by the end like Waitsburg-Prescott, who trailed 21-0 until late in the game.

And while I don't relish in seeing our local kids cry after their seasons end earlier than they had hoped, I empathize with them from my high school sports days, and the emotion adds an interesting wrinkle to my take:

Had any of these teams won, it's unlikely I would have followed them to the Tacoma Dome for the state championship, so my football season would have ended either way. Too bad I had to end it on such a dour outing, falling flat in my goals as well.

It wasn't all bad football news, though...

As my Ducks bounced back from their overtime heartbreaker against Stanford and won the Civil War handily. The Oregonian did a cool feature, showing photos from their three shooters at the game side by side to give different perspectives (and sometimes scenes) from the same moments in time. On some of the action, there is clearly a better angle and shows how luck factors into covering action, even with experienced and skilled sports photographers working a game. We never staff games with more than one guy here, and there are plenty of times I snap some peak action from a less-than-optimal angle.

For a real war, Lens has an interesting Q&A with New York Times photographer Tyler Hicks about his coverage of last week's fighting in Gaza City. When the interviewer suggested that it might be good for him to forget some of the things he's seen, his reply was particularly powerful:

Well…. I don’t think that that would be fair. When you put yourself in somebody else’s space, you involve yourself in someone else’s world. I think that to try to turn off those experiences after the fact would be wrong. You have a responsibility both to yourself and to your subjects to remember them.

In more local tragic news, the Seattle Times' Jim Bates died of cancer on Sunday. I never had the opportunity to meet or work alongside him, but anybody who includes this shot in his staff portfolio is alright in my book.

And Petapixel has a couple of fun tales of camera theft. One would-be thief had his escapade captured via time-lapse on three cameras and was brought to justice after bragging about his adventure. The lioness that snatched a remote cam was not as forgiving, however.

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