Sports shorts

March 22, 2013 

It's common to work under tight time constraints in this gig, and last Wednesday brought an unexpected short sports doubleheader.

I showed up about 10 minutes early for a portrait session with the Fever's new starting quarterback Kasey Peters and picked a simple spot to start. We were scheduled to start 45 minutes before practice, so I figured I'd have 20 minutes or so to chat with him and work on creating a decent portrait that fit his personality.

I set up my lights and waited.

And waited.

Despite being reassured several times that they knew I was there, more and more players trickled onto the field and started warming up before Peters showed up. The game jersey Sports Editor Jeff Morrow had requested when he set up the shoot wasn't available, so I went with bare pads instead of practice scrubs and kept the pose and lighting in super-simple-CYA mode.

A few minor lighting tweaks, a couple simple poses and two minutes later, I was done with the shoot and packing up my stuff as practice started:

It's not a good portrait, but not too bad considering the circumstances. Still, I should have tried to eek a little more time with Peters and tried to coax out some of his personality. By the time we started shooting, though, I was a little annoyed to have been kept waiting for 50 minutes and didn't want to impact practice trying to piece together anything more out of a broken situation.

Having an assistant to fine-tune a more interesting lighting setup would have been a smart use of my waiting time and I should have pushed my luck on how much time I got instead of erring on the side of caution. With all the players milling around, I easily could have grabbed one to try out a more interesting background or concept.

Later that day, I headed out to Burbank for a softball game I showed up a few minutes early and snapped some warmup photos,

before realizing 30 minutes later that perhaps we had the game time wrong. My shift was ending soon and with staffing being short that week and money being tight always, I was told not to go over on my hours. That meant staying for just over an inning. This felt like it compounded my wasted time, shooting for such a short time after making the trip out to Burbank to photograph a team we seldom shoot.

I almost had to settle for a boring pitcher shot,

but snapped a steal at second for the paper,

along with a semi-fun feature of a dugout supply:

There's not much more in the photo gallery, either.

Unlike the portrait situation, I don't think there's a whole lot else I could have done to improve the situation. I positioned myself in high percentage angles and captured the main points of action. Maybe there wasn't anything else I could have done with the portrait situation, but it's disappointing that I didn't even try. Here's hoping I push myself more next time I'm pressed.

For real pressure...

Check out this video of the Gulf Photo Plus shootout in which three photographers have 20 minutes to conceive, shoot and post-produce a portrait of renowned portrait photographer Gregory Heisler in front of 350 people. It's an interesting look at how they approach the challenge and I wish there was a longer version to soak in.

The 10-year anniversary of the Iraq war meant renewed coverage. While I won't pretend to be any authority on all the work that was done and republished this last week, definitely check out the gallery over at Time's Lightbox if you haven't and read this interesting look at a defining moment of the war at the New York Times' Lens blog.

Also take a look at Satoki Nagata's surreal, starry photos made by unconventionally utilizing flash.

And see how improvements in CGI is starting to phase out product photography.

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