Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What Is This?

A self portrait? No, not really. I have been toying with using remotes for a while. Last year when the Globetrotters were in Anchorage I tried one with my Rebel Xt and got ok results, but this year, I have gone all out. As you can see with the above image, I have a high tech remote stand. A wheel barrow wheel from Wal-Mart, a Bogen ball head, my original 1D, and my 70-200 2.8.I am triggering it with a remote I got off of ebay. It is not the little remotes we use for strobes, but one that is really a cable release that comes with a little key chain FOB that will trigger it from about 100 feet away. Typically, I will set it up looking up at third base from behind home plate and prefocus on the area around home with a large DOF to get plays at the plate. In the above picture, I set it up to get batters at a coach pitch game so I could focus on the field action for some sportraits. It is not the best for getting hits, because, unlike Pocket Wizards, there is a major shutter release delay, but for action at the plate, when I see someone rounding third, I start mashing the shutter around the time they get half way to home. Seems to work pretty good for that. As you can see in the image below, the low angle really adds to the image.

Yes, that is me in the lower left of the image. I moved over to third base to photograph the pitcher, and did not realize I was in frame.

So, why a remote for little league? A remote is like having a second shooter with you at each game. While I am only shooting one game, and my real life second shooter is covering another game, this remote gives me the ability to capture images that just are not safe or practical for me to try to grab during the game. It also offers parents and players something that other photographers just are not least yet...

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Another Season Begins

Today was the official kick off for Little League Baseball in Eagle River with Knik Little League having their Opening Ceremonies followed by a lot of games. Every field had at least one game going on today, but more on that later.

The Opening Ceremonies were very well done. A sad moment came when I found out that Jeff, a Knik board member, coach, and umpire instructor will be moving mid season. He will be impossible to replace. The coolest thing from the Opening Ceremonies was the announcement that the Anchorage Glacier Pilots are teaming up with Anchorage area Little Leagues with fund raisers and free baseball camps. Growing up in Seattle, I got spoiled with the Seattle Mariners sponsoring both Little Leagues and Boy's and Girl's clubs, the Sonics setting up outdoor courts for the community, and so on. Coming up to Alaska, with the ABL, the ECHL and UAA, I was disappointed to see very little community outreach to the youth leagues beyond the Glacier Pilots Little League Day at the ball park. Hopefully this will push the Aces into a more active roll and when the Alaska Wild get their issues all sorted out, hopefully they will be a supporter of Pop Warner and high school football.

While I have a second shooter this year, she will only be helping me Monday through Thursday, so I was left to cover as much as I could by myself today. That was fine. The first games are usually a time for the players, managers/coaches and umpires to shake off the winter cobwebs, and it gave me a chance to get my baseball grove on. Starting next week, we will be working a specific shooting schedule that will ensure that we get each team at least twice during the season. We fully expect to photograph each team more than twice, but there are times that we may not be at the ball park. We will be floating with the T-Ballers and Coach Pitch, basically covering them off and on through out the season, but with Minors, Majors, Juniors, both baseball and softball, we will typically shoot at the minimum, 1/2 the game when we are there, unless there is not another game on another field. So, if the lower softball field has a game at the same time as the upper softball field, we will shoot 1/2 of both games. This will be the same for both baseball and softball. So, if you do not see a photographer at your game, do not worry, we will be there this season.

We also have something new this season. We can take most any action photo from this seasons games and turn it into a cut out photo on a heavy duty material that can be safely stuck to almost any wall, and moved or repositioned as many times as you want. See the main site at under the Knik LL tab for more information and ordering instructions for this awesome new product that will be a great memento for your 2007 Little League Season.

I look forward to seeing you all at the ball park this season.


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Gearing Up

Being in Alaska, we tend to be slower on some things than the rest of the US. On May 5th we start our Little League Baseball season. So I am starting to gear up for it. Not with camera gear though. Shooting for a league can really wear you out and getting yourself prepared for the upcoming games is important. Clothes, shoes, food, water, etc. They are almost as important, and in some cases more important than any camera gear.

Shoes. You want to be comfortable, but have shoes that will allow you to take off running to the next field if you have too. I like light weight shoes, and the best I have found, and have been wearing them for years (not the same pare), are of all things, soccer shoes. I really, really like the Adidas Samba Classic shoes. They are light, breath well, and while an indoor soccer shoe, give me the reliability on all but rain soaked grass.

Clothes. It is summer time. Shorts, tank tops, beach...of I will wear shorts to about 95% of the baseball games I shoot, but weather dictates what kind of shorts. Cool days with a breeze, I will probably go with a pair of cargo pants with the zip off legs. warmer days, any number of cargo shorts. Only cargo shorts. Those extra pockets are a necessity. Shirt wise, again, weather dictates what it will be. Normally just a tshirt, but on windy days, we might go for a long sleeve tshirt, and most definitely have a wind breaker with you just in case. And lastly, a hat. something lightweight that will protect your dome from the sun. Sitting out on a baseball field for 2 or 4 or 6 games can really burn you, so protecting your head and neck is important.

Speaking of sun... Suntan lotion or sun block. You will need it. Period.

Bugs. Do not want them at all. A good, deet free, bug spray. Deet will eat into the plastics of your camera, so steer clear of them. There are also some sun blocks with bug repellent added in. So you can kill to bugs with one lotion....

Food. Long days at the ball park can make you crave snack shack dogs, or something worse for you... I will usually have a small cooler in the trunk of my car with 3 or 4 power bars and maybe a sandwich to hold me over between games. Stay away from junk food. It will just bog you down.

Water. Lots of it. Especially on hot days. When it is hot, and you are sitting in that boiling hot sunlight, you are sweating a lot. You need to replenish the water you are loosing or you really risk your health. If you are shooting with a belt pack, like a Think Tank Speed Belt, have water in one of the pouches. It will be your best friend.

Besides this type of gear, taking care of your body in other ways is a good idea. Do not sit in the same place all day long. Move around. Stretch your legs. Take a 5 or 10 minute break. Also, something that is good for the body, or at least the butt, is a bleacher seat. Nicer than sitting on dirt for 5 hours straight, and keeps your pants relatively clean...

4 days and counting til my opening day.....