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). 

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