After a whirlwind start to the football season of planning and shooting several season preview portraits, I missed all but a couple games of the regular season. Due to another schedule change, I'm back in the thick of local pigskin, just in time for the playoffs.
This made me nervous a couple weeks ago as I braced for a Friday triple-header. The games were spaced out, starting at 5, 7 and 8 p.m., but as I noted in that week's Back Page, as a photographer, you always fear that you're going to miss something cool when you have to bounce around between playoff games.
Those fears were unfounded, though, when my hectic evening was marred by three ugly shutouts with very few action highlights for me to shoot.
I did get a few snaps I liked away from the action, though, when Kennewick devoured Mount Spokane 27-0,
My three games the next week were split between Friday and Saturday, and I was pumped up having to only shoot Connell's game versus Freeman on Friday night. A light drizzle and some halftime disappointment added some drama to the 26-7 blowout on a chilly night:
And I managed to get some decent action when Connell's Kade Eppich intercepted a pass intended for Freeman's Derek Harter,
which was nice to run as our main photo since superstar running back Matt Hadley usually gets the attention and we hadn't photographed an Eagles game since their heartbreak at last year's state championship.
The first Saturday matchup between Kennewick and Southridge was an exciting chance to shoot a day game. The better light lets me use a longer lens to avoid the sideline hassles of playoff football. I went with our 300/2.8 lens with a 1.4x teleconverter on it, effectively giving me a 546mm lens after accounting for the camera’s 1.3x crop factor. The longer reach also lets you shoot from a head-on angle for more of the field, giving me plenty of action options:
And things lined up alright for this touchdown celebration,
as well as this quick wide-angle switch for Reggie Clinton's fingertip coverage on a pass intended for Southridge's Josh Richards:
After seeing Southridge's anxious and rowdy pre-game excitement,
I was hoping for an unexpectedly close game, but the calmer, more business-like pre-game Lions snuffed out the Suns 39-6:
At least the uninspiring game gave me time to shoot some feature photos for the news side of the paper, with Saban Ursua, right, and Prescott Davis performing a cymbal high-five with the Kennewick drum line,
and Aaron Prien, son of Kennewick offensive line coach Andry Prien, timed his pretend hike with the actual game:
We ran the first one with a great punny x-line of "A Cymbal of Victory" by Copy Editor Jake Dorsey.
As the seagulls descended on the stadium leftovers before Kamiakin took on Seattle Prep,
the light dipped and I switched to a 70-200/2.8 as my long lens, which kept a lot of mid-field play out of my reach. Here are a couple action shots I liked,
and this nifty interception by Kamiakin's Corey McLean was the dagger in Seattle Prep's late momentum surge in the Braves' 28-14 win:
It turned into a great game after Seattle Prep took an early 14-0 lead, though, which was a nice way to cap my first couple weeks back on the gridiron grind, and Coach Scott Biglin continued his record of open locker room access:
And I hope this shot of Sean Clausen, left, James Swinyard and T.J. Tolliver celebrating post-game with fans communicates the excitement and physical toll the game took — especially on Tolliver, who played hurt for much of the game that coincided with his 18th birthday:
A couple of other cool plays didn't quite translate into still photos, though, when the players happened to turn the other way:
But really, the only disappointment was with Kamiakin's student section. I don't know if there was some smallpox outbreak at the school we didn't hear about, but "The Tribe," as they like to be called, has been lifeless, a quiet contrast to the former reliably rowdy and costumed student fans:
These games set up a tantalizing rematch between Kamiakin and Kennewick this Saturday, and I'm cautiously excited about a day game that should be close. The superstitious side of me wants to go into this matchup with dread, since all the games I've been excited for lately have turned out to be blowouts and the only exciting match didn't turn into one until I had pretty much resigned myself to snapping another stinker.
The pressure of performing well this Saturday is elevated since I should be able to devote my full attention to the whole game, and I'm glad I'm not going cold into what might be the defining game of the season.
Speaking of defining...
That's what The Atlantic Wire is calling Joshua Trujillo's photo of 84-year-old Dorli Rainey shortly after getting pepper sprayed at Occupy Seattle. It's nice to see the P-I is still relevant after going online-only more than two years ago.
For shooters who are worried about unauthorized use of their work, check out this nifty tool that utilizes Google Image Search to sniff out photo kleptos. (via Denver-based photographer Leah Millis)
And just for fun, check out Irina Werning's "Back to the Future" series in which she recreates classic family photos years or decades later. There is some nudity, so viewer discretion is advised.