Thursday, April 19, 2007
While shooting a softball game today someone said something to me that made me stop and think. An umpire looking across to two other newspaper photographers shooting the same game from the opposite side of the field looked at me and said, “I guess you picked the wrong side to shoot from.”
Hold on there Chester, I am shooting from the wrong side? I can’t be on the wrong side if I am shooting from the right field side? I can’t be wrong, right? Exactly! Confused, let me explain.
Photographers are a predatory group. Just watch us at a news event and see how we gather like a pack of hungry wolves around our subject. But every now and then a wolf strays from the fold and tries to forage for himself. Now imagine how one stray photographer shooting apart from the crowd must look. What’s up with this lone wolf?
So to answer the question, was I shooting from the wrong side? Not at all. Half the battle of sports photography is putting yourself in position to record the photograph. So why did I choose the right side of the field?
First of all I budgeted myself a full hour to shoot the game. That means I can spend some time and not have to worry about cranking out three good action photos in 15 minutes. Shooting from the right field base line I take a position near the first base bag. This gives me lots of options.
On defense I can shoot the left-handed pitcher and get her face in the shot. I can get a clean photo of any play at second base a descent look at action at third base, a play at home plate and good views of the infielders with the exception of the first baseman. Fly ball action to right field and shallow centerfield is also good pickings from my spot.
On offense I can get face shots of right-handed batters, players sliding into third and any play at home plate. I can also get shots of players diving back to the first base bag on pick off attempts.
What did I sacrifice to shoot from the right field side? Any picture of the hometown player stealing or sliding into second base will be of their back. But from the right side I get a face shot of them at home plate instead of their backs if I was shooting from the third base line.
It is really a matter of what do I what to photograph. There is no right or wrong side to shoot from. The other two photographers probably got nice shots form their vantage point but I am happy with my shots.
Breaking free from the pack may look like the wrong move but I can still come up with the right pictures.