Baseball is a wonderful game. It really is. Just sometimes, it’s boring as hell. Doesn’t matter if it’s MLB (Major League Baseball) or LL (Little Leaguers). As a photographer (and former player) I pay attention to the flow of a game, and anticipate good plays or game changing moments, and like to work to make these kind of images: Peak action. Sharp focus. Good light. Clean backgrounds and good composition. Having the ball and / or other players in the frame, like a collision, hard check or a hard foul in basketball is an additional bonus. Just can’t be asleep and miss plays like this. No talking to fans, coaches, etc. In a sense, all the factors of a good sports photograph have to come together to make an image like this one from yesterday at a relatively meaningless high school game. In fact, the only reason I was “sitting” on this kid playing shortstop was because my paper is doing a Sunday piece on him. I wasn’t too happy with the game images I’d made of him earlier in the game (at right), so I reminded myself to stick with it for another inning or so, and then everything just clicked when he dove for a routine ground ball up the middle. Basically, it’s the same setup I like to work with for outdoor sports: A fast motor-driven body, a fast 300mm f/2.8 lens or in this case, a 420mm (the 300mm + a 1.4 tele-extender), a rock solid mono-pod, and my trusty little folding camping stool. A prime shooting position just inside of first base, and no talking to the team’s assistant coach… ~cg.
Goshen shortstop Tyler Eisenbacher (#2) dives but is unable to stop a base hit by Burke batter Stephen Cushing during their Boys Varsity baseball game against Burke in Goshen, NY on Tuesday, May 14, 2013. CHET GORDON/Times Herald-Record
These two images (below) were made two years ago during a high school playoff game with the same setup, although I was seated a little further up the first base line. When the shortstop left his feet, you just sort of lay on the shutter and make sure you’re in focus… ~cg
(2) Livingston Manor shortstop Ken Fisk (#14) dives but can’t make the play on a ball hit by Tim Steffens (#9) of Smithtown Christian during the fourth inning of their New York State Class D regional final at Pine Bush High School in Pine Bush, NY on Tuesday, June 7, 2011. Livingston Manor defeated Smithtown Christian 5 -3. CHET GORDON/Times Herald-Record