Wednesday, February 28, 2007

AP Photo

OK, I don't know why it has taken me so long to announce this, but I have big news! I am now officially a stringer (aka freelancer) for the Associated Press, Chicago bureau. I will be covering primarily sports assignments for them, although if some breaking news ever occurs, I may fill in here and there. I shot my first assignment for them in the middle of December.

The reason this opportunity came about for me is that one of their sports photographers, Jeff Roberson, decided to pursue an opening in his hometown of St. Louis and transfered to that office. So while I am currently low on their call list, it is definitely a big step forward in my photo career. I am sure as time goes on and they begin to trust my work, I will be given more and more opportunities with them.

Anyways, as you'd expect, I've been covering mostly smaller events for AP: women's college basketball and D3 men's college basketball....

... but maybe their trust in me is growing as I've most recently covered an event where former Bears players cheered for their team in Super Bowl XLI and also a Blackhawks-Sharks game...

You can keep up with my work with AP (and Reuters, if they use me again) on Yahoo! News or click "My Photo Wire" on the right (NOTE: images more than 2-3 weeks old are not displayed).

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Blue Demons Basketball

Well, NFL season has come and gone (thank you Chicago Bears for a wonderful season!), and we're a month away from the MLB regular season. That leaves us right in the thick of basketball season: my least favorite time of the year.

It's not so much that I dislike basketball, it's just that I don't care for the sport at all. And from the photographer's side of things, I think all basketball photos kind of look the same. Yeah yeah, I know that sounds a bit silly because all sports photos do get a bit repetitive, but I think it's especially so when it comes to basketball.

On top of that, basketball arenas are pretty dark, so the images come out pretty noisy, and that's assuming the camera is able to find a good contrast point for the autofocus to lock onto!

Finally, I am ill-equipped to shoot a basketball game. Typically, sports photographers will bring at least two cameras to a basketball game. One camera will have a 70-200 for halfcourt action, the other camera will have a 300 for downcourt action. A 300 mm lens is the perfect focal length for everything beyond the halfcourt line. It's long enough that your frame gets filled up by the action pretty well, but short enough so that you still have a bit of peripheral vision to follow the action around. My problem is that I don't have a 300. Instead, I have a 400 mm lens.... great for most sports, but not for basketball. It's a bit too "tight" for downcourt action. When looking through the 400, the players downcourt fill up almost the entire frame, making it extraordinarily hard to follow and frame the action. However, shooting basketball with the 400 growing on me (it better be because I don't plan on getting a 300!). For one, it's easy to get a good isolation shots of the coaches, even if they're over on the far bench!

For two, it's making me very good at following the ball around. And for three, because everybody else is shooting downcourt with 300's, if you nail the shot with a 400, your images are more likely to be used because you have a tighter image, yet more pixels for editors to work with. They love that! Hooray!

Anyways, I don't shoot pro basketball since the company I do most of my work for does not cover them. However, I have been busy with NCAA basketball, mostly covering the DePaul Blue Demons and their opponents. Here are a few images from the past few DePaul games (all ended in victories for the Demons):