Somebody once scoffed at me when I mentioned how tough it is to shoot baseball.
Just shoot the pitcher and some batters and you're done...
That's one way to go about it, I guess, but for me snapping at every at-bat is seldom worth the headache. It's the only way to get dramatic bat demolition or beaned batters, but most of the time, I prefer to position myself for some fielding action. Robert Hanashiro of USA Today did something different to capture Barry Bonds' record-setting home run, but aside from milestones, most hits look like any other.
For me, a shot of the pitcher is about as CYA as it gets. If we're on a time crunch because multiple assignments are at the same time, we'll often warn the sports desk, "It's probably just going to be a pitcher shot."
Never miss a local story.
That was the case last Friday, as I swung by Richland High School for less than half an inning because I had to rush some video clips back to Eric Degerman for editing while I worked up photos from WSU Tri-Cities' Mariachi Festival before covering the Ams game that night.
Here's the video if you're interested:
After failing to get a cool, artsy, motion-blurred shot and mussing up some basic action because of a slower shutter speed,
I realized playing around wasn't in my best interest with such little time, so I went super simple and payed homage to Richland's strong baseball tradition:
Total shooting time: three minutes.
A few days before, I spent 1 1/2 hours at a close contest between Kennewick and Kamiakin. As always, I made sure to have snaps of the pitchers who took the mound:
And while I'll try to work in whatever elements I can to try and make it more interesting,
you can see how generic these shots look.
or shot from a sequence is more interesting:
Even a bad photo of a steal is usually better:
I went with this somewhat gritty steal by Kennewick's Trek Stemp:
It was the third of his four steals in Kennewick's 7-5 win in that first game of a doubleheader, and I like the dust, the close tag and the blood on Trek's arm. Of course, on a day where I was pretty happy with my take from a baseball game, we only had room for one photo.
I wish I could have said the same about Hanford's 13-1 five-inning-mercy-rules-are-for-spectators-too win over Southridge on Monday. Hanford was already well in control by the time I got there, and I positioned myself with the light in hopes of some good Falcons defense or some post-score team celebration.
A potentially cool moment didn't work out as Hanford's Cody Kowalski wasn't able to reach a foul ball over the fence,
but I wasn't in a good position and probably would have been blocked had he caught it anyway.
Aside from that, the Suns were doing all of the fielding as Hanford marched through its batting order in a didn't-that-guy-just-bat? manner. This shot of Southridge's Paul Hamada tagging out Hanford's Finn McMichael at second isn't that good and wouldn't have made sense to run anyway:
And while Southridge's Jared Newbry wasn't able to turn what looked to be a straightforward double play after getting Peter Hanson at second,
it doesn't really work for the game shot either. Hamada's bobbling of a grounder that allowed a relatively slow base runner to make it to second on what should have been a double play has the same shortfall:
I kept hoping for a cool Hanford outfield play since the walls were uncharacteristically barren of advertising. All I got was this snoozer of a fly ball easily handled by the Suns' Chat Bettinson:
On Hanford offense, this missed tag at home lacks any drama:
This shot featuring Hanford's Isaac Benard heading home while teammate A.J. Hoskins runs to third was my second photo offering,
as Colin Serkowski earned main-photo recognition for throwing a one-hitter:
In hindsight, I should have worked to get something more creative of him, but I kept hoping I'd catch a more impressive play. In this case, the pitcher photo made perfect sense to run, as Kevin Anthony led with his performance in the game story. It's always a little frustrating to shoot a game in good light and not have much to show for it after about an hour, but at least I got a decent post-game feature shot out of it:
As I settle into the night shift for the next few weeks, I'll have plenty more cracks at baseball, though. I still think it's one of the most difficult sports to cover around here, but at least it has an easy fallback option.
For an actual tough decision...
The LA Times published some controversial photos last Wednesday of American soldiers posing with bodies of dead Afghans. Maybe I just spaced it, but I didn't notice the story until this weekend or I would have linked to it last week. Or maybe the buzz and controversy just wasn't as loud or strong as the uproar over the AP's publishing of images showing Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Bernard after getting hit by a rocket-propelled grenade 2 1/2 years ago.
I wrote a little bit about a local photo controversy after that story came out. I still think it's an interesting topic of discussion, with some critics blaming the LA Times for the future deaths of American soldiers, but I don't buy that as a legitimate criticism. The job of the media isn't to serve as public relations agencies for the military. Obviously, bone-headed moves like Geraldo Rivera's infamous report about troop movements are a big no-no because they directly compromise military strategy, but I don't think using an attention-grabbing method to shed light on disturbing practices is even close to the same thing. Feel free to dispute that argument in the comments below.
Here's a fun look at what might be the worst wedding photos ever. Usually, you can say something snarky like, "you get what you pay for," in instances like this. The photographers should have to pay the couple for how bad those shots are.
And this nauseating video highlights a crazy new trend with Russian teens that brought to mind Yakov Smirnoff's voice squealing something about heights fearing you. If this is their version of Tebowing, I'm glad the Cold War didn't get too hot.
The Descriptive Camera is a funky exploration of how to improve the efficiency of cataloging massive numbers of digital photos. The basic, lackluster descriptions might trigger some nostalgia for old-school computer nerds who played MUDs.
Lens has some jaw-dropping underwater shots by David Doubilet that vastly transcend the inherent coolness of underwater photography.
And finally, this amazing time-lapse does a good job of capturing Portland while making me wonder how they got such dramatic fly-bys and panning work. A brief search only yielded unfulfilled promises of behind-the-scenes videos and photos, but I guess it's not that surprising that Uncaged Soul isn't too quick to share its secrets.