Saturday, December 3, 2011

Through the Lens - Freeze Frame Action

The game gets even more interesting when you stop the action
and zoom in a little.  Not sure who has the ball but I think
it is #34 of the Outlaws.  Dallas #59 is trying to tackle
Lily, a blocker.  Lily is getting abuse from two directions
and pretty soon the whole pile is going to tip over on top
of #59.  I love shots like this because I played in the line.
Football is a lot like a street brawl sometimes.
A few years ago I bought a Nikon D-40 camera with a 55-200mm zoom lens.  I've been awed at the quality of photos this camera produces.  Using my photo process software, Photoshop Elements, I zoom in on the action and notice facial expressions - amazing how often players close their eyes at impact with an opponent.  Or I crop extraneous elements in the photo.  Or just notice the individual battles going on in every play in a football game.

In today's post I'm sharing with you some of my favorite action from the Dallas game at the end of the 2011 season. 

Ski isn't going to make this tackle.  The runner has
changed direction and the blocker is in perfect
position to keep Ski at bay.  When I zoomed in on this
action I noticed the muscles in Ski's forearm - she is strong.
And the Outlaw behind who is in a better position to do a
quick reverse and catch the runner going around the blocker.

Tackling is difficult.  When you don't get a perfect angle
on the runner, grab what you can.  Monica has a shirt
in hand and that may be enough.  This was way across
the field from where I was standing.  My 200mm lens was
barely enough - someday I'll buy a 300mm.
I doubt you'd be able to see this from the stands - the Outlaw
is trying to steal the ball, which is perfectly legal if you can
do it.  Another thing about these zoom in shots is something
called depth-of-field.  Only so much of the scene is in perfect
focus.  Which I think is cool.  See #3 in the right background. 
Not in clear focus.  Good.  She's not the subject of the photo. 

Just when you think you have the runner in your grasp, she
makes a sudden left turn.  Your inertia won't let you respond
quickly enough.  I like the shoes.  I did a posting or two
about socks.  Considering doing one about shoes.

Annoying when the runner is just out of reach.  You've escaped the blocker but the speedy
runner is getting away.  And your arm just isn't long enough.  Once again notice
the way the camera leaves the background out of focus so we're not distracted.

Grab shirt, grab ball.  Runners don't have handles so you want to wrap your arms around
her but when that doesn't work you shift to plan B.  Runner's eyes are open, tackler's
eyes are closed.  I like Monica trying help.  Note the arm of a blocker trying to keep
Monica out of the play.

I've zoomed in tight on this one because I like Shadana's expression.  It looks like Monica
has secured the block and it is safe to proceed but Shadana didn't have enough faith and
did a quick change of direction looking for running space to the left.  I once did a posting
about eyes.  Three sets of eyes are intriguing in this close-up.

That's not the way to hold a football.  It looks like the Outlaw being blocked by #89
is trying to pop the ball loose.  A cool technique is have one tackler control the runner,
other tacklers try to get the ball.

This may be a continuation of the play above.  I like it because
the ball is clearly visible and the tackler continues to
fight for it.  From the stands or sidelines, the action is often
too fast for you to see the hand-to-hand combat.

Zooming in gives us the runner's facial expression as she is heading to the ground. 


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