A Newfound Sports Fan

Before this year, I rarely shot sports. I did some basketball coverage in high school with my trusty Canon Rebel XT and think I covered a soccer game and women’s basketball game last year, but that was about it.

Things have changed this year. For some reason, I am now hungry for sports. I love the emotion, the action, the feature shots and the fans. I kind of even like sports now, something I didn’t even think was possible. My family, composed of my personal-trainer mother, college-football-player father, captain-of –the-basketball-team sister and my other track-runner/record-breaker sister would not believe me if I admitted my newfound interest in sports (and not just sports photography), but it is true. I am finally a sports enthusiast.

I got the opportunity to shoot football again for the last time this year. The football team had a scrimmage, called the Black & Gold Game, at Faurot Field last Saturday. I couldn’t really root for a side (which I would never do, as a objective robot journalist) since both teams were Missouri, but it was still fun to watch. The game was pretty sloppy, as the seniors weren’t there and a lot of the players on the team were second- and third-string players, but it was a fun, relaxed atmosphere with no ESPN cameras around to get in my way.

My shooting was just about as bad as the third-string redshirt freshmen, however, and I missed so many pictures. I would like to blame it on my basketball mentality, since I’ve been shooting that so much lately, but I think I was just one of those days. I kept shooting into the sun, couldn’t figure out how to expose for the faces since it would overexpose everything else (the game was in the early afternoon) and became really frazzled by the end of the game. Looking back, I realize I should have stayed on one side of the field, so as to avoid shadows and not backlight the players, but I’ll just have to deal with what I shot because it’s over now.

While I love shooting basketball and football, I think my favorite

sport is softball/baseball. My adoration comes from many different reasons. First of all, yes, I actually played softball in high school. It may have been my freshman year and I may have been one of three JV players out of the 13 players on the team, but I understand the game because I’ve played it.

Also, softball and baseball are just more relaxed. There’s a ton of action, and then there’s a lull. There’s a formula to it – look to second base when there’s a runner on first, listen to the players to find out who is going to slide, etc. There’s also so much more time to shoot feature photography, since there are those innings where not much happens.

I shot baseball at Taylor Stadium on Sunday after a monsoon of a weekend. It had rained and rained and rained for the past three days, and it was still raining on Sunday, but the rain was just light enough to have a baseball game. I had to deal with my fogged-up lens, getting wet and freezing by buns off, but of course, with bad weather conditions come the flying mud, dirty baseball pants and just great pictures.

I know I’ve said this before, but I think I’m going to try to take a break from sports photography for a while. I’ve shot a lot of it this year – more than anything else – and need to focus more on people and everyday moments. I have a few projects in mind for the summer and am hoping that I can excel in these moments and improve in that area as much as I have in sports photography in the past year.