We are sitting in the work room as I write this, wrapping up the final day of SSA IX. It has been an incredible experience and I have met some wonderful and talented photographers over the last five days. I have had the priceless opportunity to work with and learn from some of the best sports shooters in the world. And I cannot say thank you enough to all of the people who have made this workshop happen, including but not limited to, Robert Hanashiro, Matt Brown, Shawn Cullen, Rafael Delgado, Christy Radecic, Wally Skalij, Rod Mar, Michael Goulding, Sean Haffey, Ian Ray at PocketWizard, Ron, Michael, and Sara of Nikon, and a number of other people I know I’m forgetting.
Let me quickly recap what happened yesterday before I get into today. I was scheduled to just shoot soccer with my good buddy Rod Mar who is the team photographer for the Seattle Seahawks football team and Sounders soccer team. I’ve worked alongside Rod at several UFC’s and always enjoy absorbing his knowledge. We headed over to UC Irvine for a 7-on-7 women’s soccer tournament featuring a number of current and former Division I NCAA athletes. The short fields made for lots of action. It was very hard to follow at first, so I ended up just sitting on goal keepers and waiting for shots. This proved a good strategy to get a feel for it. There were a number of diving saves. Eventually, I started feeling more comfortable and started straying a bit and following different players. I also mounted a couple different goal remotes, though I didn’t get any great shots from those.
After a while in the hot sun, the soccer started getting a bit stale so I walked over to the baseball stadium to catch the game between UC Irvine and UC Riverside. I’ve shot some baseball before, so I took a different approach than normal. I walked around various points of the park shooting with my 400mm lens, with and without the 1.4x teleconverter. Unfortunately, it was a very lackluster game and I was really exhausted, so I didn’t make the best shots.
After the conclusion of the baseball game, I headed over to the track meet to see if I could get anything good over there. I’ve never shot a track meet before, and can’t really say I’ve ever wanted to. After being exposed to it now though, I have a strong desire to go back and try again. The long jump produced the easiest pictures. We had a nice back light later in the day during the finals which gives you a really nice sand splash shot. Of course, everyone wants that shot, so it’s quite competitive fighting for a straight on position. I ended up leaving the men’s final in favor of the women to get a better position. I also attempted to shoot some pole vault and javelin, but couldn’t really find the light I was looking for. the sun was still a bit straight overhead and flat for my tastes. So then, I decided to head down to the water pit to setup a remote for the final event of the night, the steeplechase. Everyone raved about this event, so I had to see what was up. The remote shot didn’t do anything for me, but I did grab a couple of nice frames with a long lens. By the time we finished up there, it was after 7:00pm, so I dropped Rod off at his hotel and hurried back to the Crowne Plaza to get to the workroom and start editing. By the time I finished my edit and had food in my belly, it was nearly midnight. Below are a few shots from the day.
After falling asleep with my laptop in my lap, I got about 6 hours of sleep to prepare for the final day. Today, I just had baseball on the schedule. I went in with the plan to make pictures I have never made before. I strayed way out of my comfort zone for shooting baseball and I shot a lot of stuff very tight. I used a lot of different angles and tried to tell more of a story. Luckily the game had a lot of drama, ending with a walk-off hit in the 11th inning. I’ll post some pictures from that game tomorrow.
I’ll be hitting the road as soon as possible tonight or tomorrow morning to drive up and see my wife and kids for a few hours before hopping on a plane to New Jersey tomorrow night for UFC on FOX 3.
Here are my favorites from day 3 of SSA IX.