Saturday, December 31, 2011

Where's the Book?

Whatever authors are paid isn't enough.

I have advance copies of the book in hand.  But still imperfect.  Somehow going from a Word manuscript to a PDF with font embedded (I don't know what that means but the publisher requires it) caused pages to change.  My print-ready format got distorted and I didn't notice until I received the copies I ordered as proofs.  So tweaking is in process and then back to publisher.

One bit of good news here - all the hassle had me checking out other publishers.  One was recommended to me by other Print-on-demand authors.  I've uploaded my book this publisher and ordered proof copies.  I'll use this publisher instead of Lulu if the quality is comparable.  Because their prices are substantially lower.

Print on demand is understandably costly.  Anything I can do to reduce the price will make the book more attractive to Outlaw players and family. 

I should have my proof copies by Thursday and I'll update the book status then.  Until then, I'll just state here with zero modesty - it looks great!

Friday, December 30, 2011

"Little Giants" Movie, part 2, Competition

Hollywood's view of life -

The town little league football team is coached by Kevin, a former sensation playing in college.  Players have been playing football all their young lives and had to qualify for the team through tryouts.  They are superbly conditioned and coached and practiced.  They're the Cowboys, named after the Dallas professional team.

Another group of boys, and one girl - Becky, form up a team.  None of them, except Becky, has any skill or interest in football.  No conditioning.  No history of loving the game.  No working on skills.  They recruit a coach, Danny, who is a sweet guy but not an athlete.  Never played the game himself.  In the movie they're called the "Little Giants."

A challenge is issued - in two weeks the Cowboys will play the Little Giants for the right to represent the town in the recreation football league.  Who is going to win?  Duh!

Well, wait a minute.  The Cowboys aren't nice.  They're serious.  They're confident to the point of arrogant.  And worse, they've dissed Becky.  Wouldn't let her even try out for the team.  Even though she is good and really wants to play.  Boo!  Hiss. 

In contrast the Little Giants are nice.  Cute kids.  Coach is a sweet guy.  What they lack in practice, training, and skill they make up in niceness.  John Madden (yes, the John Madden of Oakland Raiders and television commentary fame) does a cameo in the show and gives the Little Giants a pep talk. 

And Becky is an extremely sympathetic character.  You have to love her and sympathize with her frustration as she is denied the opportunity to play the game she loves.  You agonize with her when she struggles with the popular notion that real girls are cheerleaders, not football players. 

So that's the setting - practice, training, and skill versus nice and sweet and lovable. 

Who will win? 

Before you answer remember this is a movie. 

Yep.  The Little Giants win.  They trail at the half by twenty-one points.  In the halftime break they are inspired by coach Danny's pep talk.  Out on the field they go and dominate the second half. 

Hollywood's view of life - nice trumps everything else. 

In the real world, nice is nice but success comes from taking raw talent and honing it through hard work.  Practice practice practice.  Work work work. 

The last post was about the movie, "The Little Giants."  And you've noticed this post is, too.  And probably the next. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

"Little Giants" movie - Slant on girls playing football, competition

This blog has been on vacation over the Christmas/New Year Holidays - but a movie on television demands attention here.  It isn't much of a movie and I'm not much of a movie watcher.  It was already started when I channel surfed and picked up the theme - a girl who is an excellent athlete is denied an opportunity to play on the boys football team.

Reminded me of my Outlaw friends so I settled down to be inspired and entertained.  The girl is Becky, niece to the coach of the boys team, Kevin, who is a legend in the small town because of his excellence in football.  He is portrayed as a despicable character because of his competitive drive and attitude toward girls.  He invites Becky to be a cheerleader, not a player.

In rebellion, Becky rounds up a bunch of little rascals type kids, kids who were never nearly good enough to make the boys team, and she forms a team of her own with her father, Danny, as coach.  Danny knows nothing about football, is not athletic.  And now the movie has two themes - can Becky compete against the boys?  Can a bunch of non-athletes compete against the highly practiced, highly skilled, highly gifted boys team? 

Then the movie takes a little twist.  Becky has feelings for one of the boys on her team, one of the only athletes aside from her.  But he is attracted to the cute little cheerleader.  He doesn't even see Becky as a "girl" but more like a pal.  Which causes Becky to doubt her choice to play football.  She's caught in a quandary - the boy or the game?  Can't have both.  Aside:  The boy is stooopid.  Becky is not only a gifted athlete but a lovely girl. 

She opts for the boy.  On the day of the big game, skilled vs ragtags, Becky appears in a cheerleader outfit.  Much to my dismay. 

At halftime, the ragtags trail 21-0 but are touched by an inspiring pep talk from the coach and remarkably turn the tide of the game in the second half.  But to do so, they need help.  And Becky puts down the pom-poms and puts on shoulder pads, charges out onto the field and helps with the unlikely upset.  WEARING HER CHEERLEADER SKIRT!  Shoulder pads and helmet on top, cute little skirt instead of football pants.

I find the Hollywood view of reality to be distorted at best.  This movie is typical of the way they see the world.  Why do they think that way?  Why can't Becky be totally a football player and totally a girl both?  How could it ever happen that a bunch of no-talent non-athletes with only two weeks of training under the guidance of a know-nothing coach (exception, John Madden made a cameo and inspired the team) possibly survive in a game against a real football team?  Why do they think gifted athletes are obnoxious evil people? 

There's enough here for more than one blog post so I'll return to the subject in a day or two (so much for a blog vacation).  I found myself angry with a B movie because of the silly message about girls, competition.

I'd love to hear from visitors to this blog - are you familiar with the movie?   Any thoughts to share?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Let's give the blog a rest for the Christmas Holiday. 

No more posts until Monday, December 26.  Merry Christmas everyone and thanks for your support.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What Kind of Woman Plays Football

This isn't really Shadana Hurd, is it? 

The girl they call Bo-Peep.  The one who, when I photographed her for my featured player article, couldn't do "serious".  If you met Shadana in the mall, you wouldn't guess she's a wonderful running back for a women's professional football team. 

If you met a lot of the Outlaws off the field, out of uniform, you wouldn't know.

What kind of woman plays football?  A few years ago I started doing a series of featured player articles for the Outlaws website.  I interviewed players and published their stories.  I kept looking for a common theme, something that would answer the question of what kind of woman.  I didn't find one. 

Outlaws come in various sizes, big, small, short, tall.  Various careers.  Various levels of education.  Various personality styles, serious, funny, quiet, noisy. 

This past week I was revisiting a few of my player profiles and thought I maybe had a theme.  If you read about Alex Allen, you saw a young woman who encountered some serious adversity in life and just got stronger because of it.  I recalled a few other players who had challenges and overcame.  Abusive spouses, family issues.  But the pattern didn't hold up because many others hadn't been so challenged.  I realized (again) that women who play football are hard to stereotype.  Check out these photos -

I'm going to do more player profiles.  You're smarter than I.  Maybe as you read the profiles you'll find the answer.

One thing I did find in common.  Football is a tough sport.  A lot of work.  Women who play football are doing something that is very difficult. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

All About the Book

Once again the book about the Outlaws is back in publication.  You can check it out a  Here's the Link

I've already reported on some of the problems with the book - first trouble getting the computer to compile the files, then convincing the publisher's computers to accept the PDF file.  Uploading took most of today.  Doing page layouts took most of this past week. 

It was worth it.  At least in my opinion.  The book is slick, looks like something you'd buy at Barnes and Noble.

The price seems high but that's because of the limited market.  Big publishers get economies of scale printing  thousands of copies of books they publish.  I think the book about the Outlaws will appeal very much to players and family but doubt there are enough of them to buy more than a hundred copies or so.  The only way I know to deal with a small market is the Print on Demand option. 

Right now I have the paperback version in the Lulu catalog.  I'm planning to add an ebook format soon.  Just ran out of energy today.

Soon we'll get back to talking about football on this blog.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Where Have I Been?

My last fun post to this blog was Wednesday.  I've been posting practically every day.  So why this big gap?

I've been working on the book.  If you saw my last post you know the sad story of the perils of blind trust in computers.  The book is a compilation of posts from this blog.  All I had to do was tell the blog computers which posts to include.  Right!

To err is human, to really screw things up you need a computer. 

After buying several copies of the book - hey, the publisher did a great job.  The books are beautiful.  Photos came through just great - but the internal parts were all scrambled and I had to rework the project.  For the past several days I've been editing and laying out pages and making certain everything is perfect.
And not blogging.

But I transmit the manuscript to the publisher this afternoon.  Tomorrow I'll get back to my blogging.  I've missed it.  I hope you've missed it too.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Book About the Outlaws - Status

Bottom line
This weekend a book titled "The Austin Outlaws, Women Who Play Football" will be available from the print-on-demand publisher,  It will be available for printing or for download as a PDF file.  It will be a little under 200 pages with lots of color photos.  Essentially it will be a compilation of the posts from this blog that are specifically about the Outlaws.  I am not including the random fan photos nor posts about sports other than football. 

You should be able to find it by just going to and searching "Women Who Play Football."  The print copy is expensive (in my opinion) because of the color photography and the print-on-demand format.  This is not a mass-production book because it is intended for a specific audience - Outlaw players and fans.  Your copy isn't printed until you buy it.  So that makes it expensive.

I don't know the price yet because I haven't sent the final copy to 

If you're into long stories, here's a little history behind the publication of the Outlaw's book. 

I have long believed the story of the Austin Outlaws was worthy of a book.  My interviews with players for the website "Featured Player" articles provided wonderful and interesting insights to the remarkable ladies who play full contact NFL rules tackle football.  But writing a book is a big project.  And getting published is extremely difficult in today's market.  No publisher would consider the book unless there was a realistic market demand for thousands of copies.  I doubted the book would sell more than a couple hundred copies.

This blog was started as a kind of marketing test.  How many people would be interested enough in the Outlaws to visit the blog regularly?  If there was a lot of interest in the blog, that interest might justify publication of a book. 

The blog has been fun and interest in it has been pretty good.  But not enough to impress a major publisher. 
I've kept on with the blog because it is fun and feedback I'm getting says you're enjoying it.  But I've thought the book idea wasn't going anywhere.

Until last week.

I noticed my blog host,, has a service called "blog-to-book."  It is what the name implies - for a small price will compile my blog posts into book format and deliver it to me as a PDF file.  The price was small enough that I immediately placed my order and within a few hours I had my book in hand!  And it looked good!  So good that I immediately connected with to get it published.  And within a few hours had my book published and ready to offer for sale.  Wow!  That was so easy. 

In my excitement at being a published author, I put the word out to a lot of friends and some of them put the word out to more friends.  And some people actually started buying.

One of those buyers ordered the PDF version and had trouble with the download.  I helped solve that problem but in the process discovered that there were problems with the book itself.  I had blindly trusted the blogger service to produce a perfect product.  I spot-checked but never went through the book page by page.  When I was working on the download problem I realized the pages weren't formatted correctly.  Copy didn't match pictures.  Posts on different topics were merged together. 


I took the book out of publication.  And set about editing.  I first tried using a PDF editor, which I had to purchase on line.  I couldn't figure out how to use it to edit so I changed to a Word document.  Couldn't edit it, either.  Managing the photos with text just didn't work.  I finally decided to start all over.  I obtained some page layout templates from and set about using copy and paste to reconstruct the book.  As I do this blog posting, I'm a little over halfway finished and I'm confident I'll be able to publish this weekend. 

Barring further technical issues. 

So stand by folks.  The book is coming.  The book is cool!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Player Profile - Alex Allen #77

What kind of woman plays football?  That was the question that started my series of featured player articles in the Outlaws website.  My player interviews introduced me to some fascinating people.  Alex was one of my early interviews and one of my most interesting.  

At 5'2' and 155 pounds, Alexis Allen is small for a lineman but that doesn't bother her.  She says "Maybe I think I'm bigger than I am, like a little dog thinks he's a big dog."  

 Mostly she plays offensive guard where quickness is as important size.  Guards often pull and lead the play, as Alex is doing in the photo below.  It takes some speed to get and stay in front of Shandana Hurd
Alex wasn't very interested in sports growing up in the New Mexico town of Las Vegas, about sixty miles east of Santa Fe.  Her parents  tried to get her interested in sports and even bought her a football uniform.  They were social workers and believed sports kept kids out  of trouble.  Alex says "I found trouble more interesting."    By high school age, she did get involved in softball and was good at it, playing with the seniors when she was still a freshman.  She took up other sports and played well, getting recognition, letters, awards.

Alex' parents bought her a football uniform.  Later when she joined the
Outlaws, her dad said, "Well see kid, it's in your blood."

Then her parents' divorce changed things for her. 

Her father moved to Virginia and invited Alex to join him, offering to sponsor her attendance at St. Anne's Belfield boarding school in Charlottesville, VA. She jumped at the opportunity.  Unfortunately the athletic talents she developed in New Mexico didn't transfer well to the new environment.  "They played sports I'd never heard of like Lacrosse and field hockey. I didn't seem to fit in as well so I didn't join any of them"

To replace sports in her life, she took up playing the guitar.  And she found a new interest in art.  Her talent in the visual realm proved to be her stronger suit. Her father, a sculptor himself, sponsored her art studies at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond Virginia, but Alex left school in her second year.

Without school and the financial support that came with it Alex was on her own.  She applied for work at a night club and earned a few dollars sweeping the floor.  She made a little more money selling her paintings to this and other establishments in the area.  The night club manager mentored her and after a three years she turned 21 and became a bar tender.  When that club went under, she obtained work bar tending and waitressing at a number of different places and saved enough money to go back to school.

The School of Communication Arts in Raleigh, NC accepted her in spite of her less than stellar academic background.  It was a small school at the time, about a hundred students, "but now they're big, taking up an entire city block." All they taught was computer 3-D animation.  In six months Alex earned what she characterizes as a Vocational Ed degree.  She had all she needed to get a much coveted job in the gaming industry.

Things were looking up until...

She found herself in the hospital.  She had had some mysterious symptoms, first around age 17.  "A loud noise in my head, a big pounding noise that encompasses everything."  After a few minutes it would go away.  She didn't realize it was something physical.  As a teenager she wasn't about to tell anyone she was "hearing loud noises in her head."  After a few months this went away but she had some recurrence at age 21, this time with a little numbness to the side of her face.  She didn't do anything about it because she recalled in the past it just went away on it's own.  And it did this time, too.  "Then at age 25 I got the big hit."  The noises came back and this time there was paralysis on the whole side of her body.  She was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with MS - Multiple Sclerosis.  It took a month in the hospital to get her health under control.

When she got out of the hospital Alex decided she better pay more attention to her health.  With this in mind she decided to get into health and fitness.  "If I'm going to do the health thing, I might as well do it all the way."  She started a strict diet regimen and an aggressive gym and exercise program and rediscovered her interest in sports dabbling in such things as boxing, weightlifting and rock climbing. She believed the change in lifestyle that cured her, or at least put this disease into remission." Today the MS symptoms have completely disappeared.

But her life style change hasn't disappeared.  Alex still works out faithfully.  She spent one year working out at Ann Wolfe's boxing gym.  Ann Wolfe is a top ranked female boxer, winner of seven different titles and ranked number two in her class behind Laila Ali (Mohammed Ali's daughter).  Alex praises Ann Wolfe as a trainer, saying "I sure learned a lot about how to work out..."

Alex moved to Austin to work at her career, creating 3D graphics for computer games.    She has a website,  where you can get details on her career in art. 

In Austin, she met one of the Austin Outlaws who told her all about the women's full contact football team.  Being new in town Alex thought it would be an excellent way to keep active and meet people.  She decided to try out.  At first it was rigorous physical exercise - no problem, she was in great shape.  Once they put on the pads it was running and hitting and lots of bruises and aches and pain.  A lot of hard work, three days a week practicing.  "I liked the challenge and exercise so I stuck with it but I wasn't entirely thrilled by the sport."  Until that first game.  It was against Dallas and Alex says "We won" even though Dallas scored more points...? 

Alex leading Shadana for a big gain.  Photo by
Jana Birchum of the Austin Chronicle for the photo 

"What an exhilarating experience!  I felt like a true warrior.  Never in all the sports I've played, in all my working out, in all I've overcome - nothing gave me that adrenaline rush.  No other sport has been so satisfying - maybe because football is so much more violent, risky, active - like going into battle.  I was so pumped up, so happy and everyone around me was happy.  Nothing has made me feel this good."  She was hooked.

Alex has had some problems with her knees.  She missed much of one season and wasn't able to play in the 2006 post season game in Chattanooga.  Eventually the knees and the demands of her career forced her out of football.  But she still shows up at lot of Outlaw game and remains an energetic supporter of the team. 

Alex with some of her art work

 Update about the MS.  Alex has recently learned the MS diagnosis was wrong. New research revealed that the symptoms Alexis experienced were in fact a treatable acute brain disfunction.  This has been treated and she is completely cured.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Book About the Austin Outlaws


This blog was created out of respect and admiration for the Austin Outlaws.  I've been following the team since around 2004 and gathered lots of stories and hundreds of photos which I've been sharing here.  The intent is to entertain blog visitors (that's you) and to promote the team., host of this blog, has a blog-to-book service.  Jump through a few hoops and they'll compile selected blog posts into a PDF file suitable for a book.  This past weekend I did the jumping and came up with a book composed of selected blog posts.  I included posts published through December 7, 2011.  I deleted the "Random Fan Photo" posts because I wasn't confident fans would want to be in my book.  And I deleted a couple non-football posts.  Aside from those deletions, the PDF file contained all my posts set up in ready-to-publish-book-form. 

I then went to Lulu, a print-on-demand publisher and had them use the PDF file to create books, titled "The Austin Outlaws, Women Who Play Football."  Lulu created two editions, one a paperback and the other an ebook in  PDF format.  

I haven't seen the paperback version yet and I'm a little concerned the photos won't be as brilliant as I would prefer.  And I had problems formatting the book to suit me.  The Lulu computer just took the document and set it up as a Lulu book.  So this isn't a work of art.  It isn't perfect.  But it is kind of cool.  I've ordered a few copies of the paperback edition to be delivered to me hopefully this week.  When I get them I'll let you know what I think of the reproduction quality. 

The paperback version is expensive.  It costs a lot extra to produce lots of color photos - and I did include lots of color photos.  It will sell for about $55.  The PDF costs $7.95 for a download to your computer.

I'm telling you this here because some of my friends with the Outlaws will be touting the book for me - I love 'em.  I want to be certain you know the story behind this, my first venture in to book writing and publishing.  And I suspect you'll see a volume 2 in the not too distant future.

You can check out the Lulu catalog for the books at these links:

Or go to and search "women who play football."

I'd love to get your feedback.  What do you think about books about the Outlaws?

Saturday, December 10, 2011


It's a guy thing.  In any group of guys we're all quietly assessing each other, making a mental list of which ones we'd be able to handle in a fight.  One guy I always knew I'd avoid was John.  He wasn't all that big - maybe 5' 9" and 165 pounds?  But solid.  All muscle.  Not gaudy muscle but the kind you see if you're paying attention, muscle rippling under the skin when he signs his name.  Quiet the way confident people can be quiet.  He had a tattoo back before tattoos were popular. 

There was an incident at an office party.  A young executive thought it would be good fun to toss John into the pool.  Bad idea.

Don was taller, over 6'.  Weight around 180.  In his mid-forties, younger than John by about ten years.  In good shape.  But not solid, not hard the way John was.  Don grabbed John.  Couldn't move him.  Tried harder.  Got frustrated.  Things got heated.  Could have gotten ugly but the top executive at the party told them to stop clowning around. 

I wasn't there.  When I heard about it I was amazed.  Every other guy on staff knew not to mess with John.  No one of us, probably no two of us, could get John to do anything John didn't want to do. 

John was at the bottom of my list.  If I had to select anyone in that staff group to fight, he'd be the last.  And if it came down to it, me versus John, I'd run. 

CheNell "Soho" Tillman-Brooks
Soho looks like an athlete even
when she's just waiting to get into the game.
I still do a little of this sizing up.  I'm past the age of fighting, past the age of running, too.  But I still notice who it is I would least like to meet under hostile conditions. 

Like in a football game?


She's quiet, friendly.  But there's something about her that tells me she could be trouble.  The fluid way she walks tells me she's an athlete.  The way she carries herself.  The first few years I knew her she was coaching.  Then in 2009 she suited up and played a season with the Outlaws.

This posting is a sample of Soho.  I've posted other shots of her in this blog, one making a devastating tackle on a Houston runner - you can see that one if you go back to the posts about tackling.  Someday I'll do an interview and post her profile.  Today's posting is just from one day, that scrimmage in Waco a couple years ago. 

Intimidating isn't she.  If you had the ball and saw Soho coming,
you'd be wise to run fast, or hand off.

Soho played defense.  She played in the line even though I had her pegged as defensive secondary.  She isn't very big.  But she says "I'm not a stickler for size.  Time and time again, I've seen women the size of Monty (Gauck, 135 pounds) knock the crap out of women the size of KJ.(Scheib, 220 pounds)"   For a few years she played for the Houston Energy, at offensive tackle.  She was "usually 75 pounds or more smaller than the defensive lineman."  That gave her an edge because the opponent thought she'd have an easy time against the smaller player.  Soho admitted to me she sometimes "found myself giggling as I stepped over the d-linemen that I knocked on her backside."  

There's power in that left arm.  Power in the right arm, too.
Like my friend John, Soho's muscle isn't gaudy but sometimes
you see it, as in this photo as she grabs the ball carrier.

If you have the ball, chances are pretty good you're going to
see Soho up close and personal.

Always around the ball, here Soho is diving to recover a fumble.  She often causes fumbles, as you'll see below.

The following is a sequence of photos showing excellence in action.   It starts with Soho being blocked out of the play.  Not.  The freeze frame doesn't show the force of the impact, doesn't show the way #3 is powering into and then off of the hapless blocker.  Then the path to the quarterback.  Remember in a previous post we talked about quarterbacks having three seconds to pass the ball or hand it off.  This quarterback didn't pass, which she intended to do.  Didn't hand off. 

The series of photos stops the action.  Actually the whole series took about four seconds.  There is about one-third of a second from one shot to the next.  Things are happening fast.  My camera just slows the action so you can see.  Well, let's look at the photos...

It looks like she's being blocked but looks are decieving.  Note the blocker
has a size advantage.  This isn't a stand-off.  It isa hit. 

One third of a second later, Soho discarding the blocker
getting a  bead on the quarterback.

One third of a second later, Quarterback in trouble. 
Note she, too, has a size advantage.
Or is that really an advantage? 

Quarterback still has the ball, still thinks she's going to throw  a pass.  Nope.

Soho has her.  Size difference apparent.  And irrelevant.

A third of a second later.  Collision!
Soho in the air.  Securing the tackle,
knocking the ball loose.

The ball is on the ground.  The quarterback is soon going to join it.

Not just tackling now, steering the quarterback's fall away
from the ball.

The play ends with Soho on top.  Not the first or last time in the scrimmage.  Nor the season.

Soho says size isn't what counts.  "The heart is the most powerful thing in sports." 

If I were playing football, I'd just as soon be facing someone else on the line.  Anyone else. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Through the Lens, Football Photography

Why are my best pictures near the end of each posting? 

Do you know how to design blog pages?  Will you teach me?

I don't know the finer points of blogging.  Page layout?  I don't like my page layout because all that stuff along the right side limits the space I have to post photos.  It is important stuff - labels, blog archive, links, "about me" - but it runs a long way down and uses up display space.  So photos I post near the top of the blog have to share space with the side notes.  So they have to be smaller than I might like.  So I save my favorite photos, the ones I want to display LARGE, until I've used enough vertical space that they'll display below the side notes. 

I'd really like to move all that side stuff to the top in fancy drop-down menu format.  But do I know how to do it?  Nope.  Do you?  Are you willing to teach me.

I like this because of the depth-of-field, or maybe
"shallow" of field.  Also the lack of official uniform.
Only the Outlaws wore game uniforms at Waco.
And I like the runner's eyes, her focus.
I have a Nikon D-40 camera with a 55-200mm zoom lens.  And I have Photoshop Elements photo editing software.  Neither of these is  top of the line but I'm still getting remarkable quality.  As I prepare a posting I browse my photos and look for shots that support a theme I have in mind (see posts on tackling, running, blocking). 

Sometimes browsing will suggest themes I haven't thought of yet.  Sometimes I'll just be fascinated by the images I gain by zooming in.  This posting is a collection of shots from a three-team scrimmage at Waco a couple years ago.  The Outlaws and two Dallas-area teams met and did some round-robin style scrimmage, taking turns facing different opponents.  It was a great photo-op.  (Another blog layout question - this paragraph was supposed to run beside the photo.  Somehow the blog software decided to put it under.  Why?)
I've talked a little about depth-of-field in photography.  The camera focuses sharply on the main subject.  Depth-of-field refers to how much foreground and background are also in focus.  With my Nikon D-40, the depth-of-field is really shallow when I'm using the sports setting.  I'll do more on this subject in a future post. 
For now, I want you to know some of my shots intrigue me just because of the way the background is not in sharp focus.  In short, I like the effect. 

As in the photo of the running back above.  Or this shot of Veronica Narvaez 

Vero, with background in very soft focus.  This is
cut from an action photo.  Lots of other players
were on the field and Vero was about to engage
a would-be tackler. 
But the real fun is capturing the action. The freeze frame image.  And that's most of today's post.  With my favorite two at the end.

I like this one because you can tell the defender is making the tackle but you can see exactly how.  I suspect she's making an illegal horse-collar tackle - you're not allowed to grab a runner's shoulder pads to drag
her down on her back.  Note:  I'm vertically below the side notes so posted this photo
in extra-large format.

Freeze frame action with tackler's feet both off the ground.
This is close to an illegal play depending on whether
she grabs the face mask or simply has her arm around it.
In our post about tackling we suggested it is best to
get low, grab legs.  But sometimes you do what works
at the time.  Looks effective to me.

Dikibo is #91 and an aggressive Outlaws
defender.  Her name gets called a lot during games as
she makes a lot of tackles.  I like this and the following
photo because up close it shows just how tough this
game is.  Note the two photos are from two separate
plays.  Apparently elbow to blocker face mask is
a technique the works for #91.

Second of two showing Dikibo being a blocker's worst nightmare. 

Just like this photo because it stops the action.  You can just
imagine the energy and counter energy as runner attempts
to escape the grasp of two tacklers.

The story behind the photo - the player on the ground in black jersey and white helmet was carrying the ball.  It
got away from her and is bouncing somewhere out of the frame to the left.  I  liked the way all the
white jersey players are looking at the ball.  Also notice the depth of field is deeper here.  All the players
are in pretty good focus.  So did my camera know?  I don't think so.  If I were a more sophisticated
photographer I could explain.  I'm not.  I can't.

My favorite of all the close-up shots posted today.  I love the energy being expressed in the
faces of tackler and Outlaws runner, Monic Gauck.  Monica is one of my favorite Outlaws
(see profile I did on her - find it using the side notes labels). 

Monday, December 5, 2011

You're on Candid Camera, Photography

Note the background isn't in perfect focus - which is just
the effect I want.  Don't know her name but she is
photogenetic isn't she.
The 200mm lens is often not enough for some of my action shots but it is almost always great for candid portraits.  If you've followed this blog for awhile you know I sometimes do a "Faces of Football" theme where I post photos of coaches and players at a game or practice.  Today's posting is a variation on that idea featuring beautiful people at the tryouts a couple weeks ago.  Most are candid - where the subject didn't know was taking the photo.  Some are from a distance - I used my photoshop softare to zoom in.  All are here because I like them.  Call it photographer's choice.
One observation on many of this shots is something I noted in my previous posting.  I'm shooting with my Nikon set for sports and action.  A cool effect that setting gives is to pin-point focus.  The main subject is in sharp focus, the background not.  Someday I'll do a posting just talking about that - it is called depth of field - and how it sometimes messes up good action photos by putting the main focus on the wrong part of the action.  For now, I'll just note it when it is apparent in a photo.

Okay, she knew I was shooting so this borders on
being posed.  I like the shot anyway. 

Coach Bobbie.  Always up, always happy.