Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ten Billion Pictures

I browsed my Outlaw's photos and selected a few to post today for your enjoyment.  First, though, I'd like to talk a little about being a photographer these days. is a photo-sharing website.  Anyone who makes photos can get an account with and post your work there for anyone else to see.  Right now there are more than ten billion photographs on Photobucket.  That's billions.  A billion is a thousand million.  Unless you're talking about government spending, a billion is a big number. 

I believe Photobucket is the biggest photo-sharing site.   I think is most popular among serious photographers. It has five billion photos. has been around awhile and has 693 million photos as of 10:00 a.m. today.  There are many others. I use ( I don't know how many photos are stored there but I have about 5,000 and I'm just one not-very-serious photographer.

I'm not that good a photographer.  It would be cool if
I had planned this effect, sharp focus on the player in the
foreground, fuzzy on my friend Tiffany.  There  must be some
grand philosophical point, the vague threats we face that may
become pain and frustrate our goals.
Everyone who has a cell phone has a digital camera.  With digital photography, there's no downside to making pictures.  In the old days we had to buy film and pay for processing.  I used to shoot a couple hundred photos at Outlaws games and it cost around $100.  Now I shoot 700 photos and it doesn't cost a thing. 

When I started this hobby I envisioned gaining great wealth in an after-retirement career as a photographer.  I'd shoot great action sports photos and sell them to magazines, newspapers, fans, players.  

As it turns out, that wasn't a really good business plan. 

First, people aren't buying "prints" - photos printed on paper.  They're enjoying on-line viewing.  They have billions of photos to view in all those photo-sharing sites.  Most on-line photos are free to view, easy to download to your own computer, can be stored on IPhones.  Why buy prints?  I've sold a few prints but not enough to even recoup the cost of film and processing from my film-camera years. 

The second problem with my business plan, I'm not all that terrific a photographer.  I get some good shots.  If I shoot 700 pictures with a decent camera I'm bound to get "some" good ones.  Some good ones.  Fewer "great" ones.  Even these good to great aren't finding buyers. 

So instead of selling photos I browse my collection for my own enjoyment.  I use Photoshop Elements and zoom in, zoom out, crop and cut, make lighter, make darker.  Just enjoying the action on the field in freeze-frame, in detail, days, weeks, months later.  From all of this browsing I find photos I like.  And I'm posting some here on the chance you'll like them, too. 

Why do I like "these" photos?  Well, I'll explain how I selected the ones posted today. 

I like the photos in the first series for a couple reasons.  One is my friend Tiffany "Crash" James is in them.  She is my kinda player.  Intense.  I always like it when I capture her making the play.  She wears jersey number forty-one and red sleeves.  The red sleeves help me find her even when she is at the bottom of a pile of players. 

It is difficult to make truly elegant tackles in a football game.  I like the inelegant tackles.  Like when you grab an ankle and hold on.  I love players who do whatever it takes.  Tiffany is such a player.  As illustrated in the three-photo sequence that follows. 

Tiffany grabbing a leg because that's all she can reach..

Tiffany hangs on while teammates close in on the runner.
It is difficult to run dragging a 135 pound Outlaw.

Tiffany used to have a bad habit of allowing the runner
come down on top of her.  She avoided that in this case.

The three photos that follow illustrate two reasons certain photos make me smile.  One  is stopping action in mid-air.  In the first photo of the following photos, Outlaw's number one, Toni Fuller, makes a leaping tackle.  And I have captured her in flight.  Cool.

Flying through the air, grabbing the runner.  Note the people
on the sideline.  A camera lady is missing the shot - I'm getting
it.  Even photographers are competitive.  Notice the guy with
paper in his hand, smiling.  His runner is being tackled.
Why does that make him smile?

When Toni gets hold of you you're finished.

Toni completes the tackle bringing the runner to the turf.  Cool.  But there's something else I enjoyed in this photo and that's sideline reaction.  You can see it a little in the second photo but just for fun I used my photo editor to focus in on the sideline faces.  That's the photo below.

Football can be confusing sometimes.  There are all sorts of individual battles going on.  Sometimes it is difficult to determine exactly who is on first.

 I use photos like this to cull photos of individual players so when I want to profile a player I can quickly locate photos of her.  In this photo I have a good shot of #55, QT, doing battle with Mustang #60.  I have a sorta shot of #33, Tara Andrickson, but it would be better if she were already being engaged by the blockers.  The red sleeves tell me that's Tiffany right behind QT.  I can't get the number of the Outlaw far left.  I suspect somewhere there's a football in there somewhere, probably behind Mustang's #23 and #73.

Sometimes I point the camera to the stands and photograph fans.  When I see a fan carrying a camera I like to check out what kind of camera it is.  I'm a Nikon guy but there are lots of Canon people out there.  She has a Canon.

I wonder if she posts her photos on  I wonder if she just gives them away to the players, reducing my market.  Or is she a pro, selling photos for big bucks?  Does she have a business plan that is working?  Is she smarter than I am.  Nah, she's a girl, I'm a guy...

Can you see what it is like to be me?  Hundreds of photos, nay thousands.  Browsing, zooming, trying to capture a glorious instant from the game, pondering imponderables. 

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