I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Capturing Reaction

Photo: Lee Warren
I’m a sportswriter who often has to take photos at sporting events. Not being a photographer puts me in some awkward situations.

Last year I covered a professional tennis event for a local magazine. The media relations representative led the photographers courtside where she told us to find a spot on the ground to shoot our photos. She said we had five minutes and then we had to leave our cushy spots on the ground. I looked down the row of long lenses pointed toward the court and knew I had little or no shot of getting a decent action photo with my non-SLR camera with a rather short lens. I was right. Every time I tried to get an action shot, all I got was a blur.

As I was browsing a friend’s Flickr account one day recently though, I had a revelation. She has an eye for sports photography. What I failed to really see until recently though was, many of her photos aren’t action shots – even though she has an SLR camera.

Instead, she does a fantastic job of capturing players, mascots and fans laughing, grimacing and in funny poses. Earlier this year, she took an adorable photo of a smiling little boy at a ballpark. Last year, she shot a photo of a member of the Powerade Power Team tying the mascot’s shoe. It was the epitome of minor league baseball. In fact, it was so good it would have made a great cover shot for the team’s media guide.

Photo: Minda Haas / Royal Blues

Photo: Minda Haas / Royal Blues
Her photos helped me realize I don’t need to worry about action shots. In fact, I’m not an action-shot sort of guy. I’m more of a capture-the-moment-between-action sort of guy. That fits my writing style much better anyway. I’m not an Xs and Os sort of sportswriter. I’m a feature writer who loves to dig for a great story from an athlete or fan.

I love talking to the journeyman athlete who can walk into Walmart unnoticed, and the truth is, he’ll never be noticed because he sees very little playing time, and therefore, nobody knows who he is, but he sticks with the game anyway. I love talking to a father who is sitting next to his 4-year-old son the first time he takes him to a game. And I love hearing how his dad did the same thing 30 years prior.

Now I’m finding I love to capture moments with my camera I otherwise ignored. The other day I was working at a minor league game and a player who recently had been sent down from the major league team was chatting with his minor league manger before the game. The player put his hand on his manager’s shoulder, making it look as if were offering some sort of consolation to his manager, rather than the other way around. I pointed my camera and snapped the photo you see above.

I still have a lot to learn about photography, but with a new philosophy, I think it can become something I really enjoy.


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