Friday, November 27, 2009

Riding The Storm Out

The rules of soccer are very simple, basically it is this: if it moves, kick it. If it doesn't move, kick it until it does. - Phil Woosnam, Welsh soccer player and manager

It's called Oregon sunshine and we see a lot of it here starting in November. Saturday the seventh was no exception. Forty degrees, gusty West winds, and plenty of . . . rain! Not drizzle, not mist, not even showers -- just a steady, soaking, stinking downpour! Normally this wouldn't matter, I'd just hide indoors, but today was different, shelter and warmth would have to wait.

Soccer is played despite the weather and newsphotographers must endure the same conditions as the players. Circling this date on the calendar weeks earlier, I had a hunch it might be wet but it was the weekend for my sports photography class field trip so we didn't have a choice. Ironically we were covering "The Storm".
The Chemeketa Community College men's soccer team, The Storm, has been in existance for only two seasons but they have fought their way to the NorthWest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAACC) Championships both years (finishing second in 2008, and third this year). Today's game was the regular season finale and The Storm splashed to a 9-1 victory over Pierce College and my Focus on Photography Series sports workshop class was there to record the match.

In the class I stress that you take what the game gives you. This time we were forced to work at 1600 ASA with shutter speeds ranging from 1/250th to 1/320th of a second mainly because most of us were using f4.5 lenses . . . with our cameras covered in plastic bags, no less! But that's no excuse for losing sight of why you're there.

Sports photography has four objectives--the decisive moment, peak action, jubilation, or dejection--and four deciding factors--timing, focus, composition, and knowledge(of the sport and its players)--and these points must remain the focus. Moreover, I remind the students to keep an eye out for detail images (e.g., a mud covered face, soggy shoes, etc.) as these are the photos that really tell the story.

Shooting sports in inclement weather can be challenging and uncomfortable, but great moments are there for the taking . . . it's just a matter of Riding The Storm Out!

(Note: Chemeketa Community College Winter 2010 term information and enrollment procedures for my courses -- The Focus on Photography Series and Newsphotography:Exposed -- can be found in the Community Education catalog available for download here:

Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do. -Pele'