May 15, 2009

The Waiting Game (San Francisco, California)

No I'm not bored at the airport. I'm still in the city. I just wanted to do a quick post on sports photography.

I didn't get to shoot any serious rugby while in Australia/New Zealand and I was a bit disappointed about that, but, I got to shoot some baseball here in San Francisco.

Baseball is the toughest sport to shoot. First you have to stay awake. (I'm kidding, it's not as boring as I use to think it was). Second, you have to make sure you're always focused, because the key play might happen on any given pitch. Third, you hope you don't miss THE play, because it might be the only one, if that.

And if THE play happens, maybe the ref will be in front of you, or it's the batter on-deck, the teammates celebrating... Maybe it just doesn't look good from your angle (Fred told me when I was just starting out and I showed him a picture I was particularly proud of: "yeah... would have been a good picture if you were on the other side of the court..." and that was the end of me being proud of it!). Maybe you were on the computer filing pictures, maybe you were pointing the camera elsewhere, maybe you weren't paying attention, maybe your frame is out of focus. You see there's a thousand reasons why you might miss what could be the only good picture of the game... don't let it be something that you can control.

So here's my story. I had a photo-pass for the day game on Wednesday (when I met the Sports Illustrated guy) and the night game on Thursday.

For the first game, I rented a lens that was longer than what I carried with me on the trip. It always helps to have the big lenses when shooting sport. But the one I rented turned out to be a piece of crap, and because of that, I was starting to make excuses about why I didn't have any good pictures.

Fred always told me about shooting sports: "Go big or go home". Now I couldn't go big, because I didn't have any of those cool huge lenses. I couldn't go home either, cause I'm in California. So here's what I did:

I wasn't working the game, I was just sitting there, enjoying the action (or lack thereof for 17 innings out of 18). The only difference with the other spectators was that I didn't have to pay, I was allowed to have my cameras and I had a better seat. I decided to pick a spot that you wouldn't usually shoot from, thinking to myself "so what if I miss the double play at second base, I'm not working". The other photographers did give me the look "what the hell are you doing in that spot", but I imagined a picture that, although very risky, would look cool from that angle, it wasn't too far from home plate, so I could manage with my shorter lens, I sat, and I waited.

The picture you see here happened in the very last inning. It could've just as well never happen (in which case, this blog entry would have probably be titled "Baseball Sucks"). But that's the beauty of it, you have to be patient, and, at some point, you get a keeper. And Bob, the San Francisco staffer for Reuters, will remember me as "the guy who came out of nowhere and gave me the great home plate picture".

(By the way, people are slacking comment-wise. I bashed the US, talked about a cute girl, posted some aerial pictures, introduced you to my korean homeless friend... Come on!)


  1. I'm not much of a baseball fan, but the pictures of the Homeless friend, and the aerial pictures were very cool :)

  2. on peut dire que le sport le plus plate après le curling t,aura appris quelque chose. Même si c'est crap (le baseball), t'as fait du bon travail. Lâche pas, tu continue de nous impressionner avec ces superbes images. voyager comme ça, (tu rencontre même des chinois-koreen-sans-abris-qui-te-donne-une-leçon-devie!!!)ça forge le caractère.............think big sti!!!

  3. je seconde ...
    think big osti!

  4. Justin stomate e unifier e penture tibia tente nivèlement asseoir erreur ie pourlécher urètre tenir stable erlenmeyer lentille s l ectoplasme terminer urbain s!

    Patagon panaméricain

  5. Welcome home! Can't wait to see a slide show of your travels. Give us a call when you get in. We will have a big thick steak and lots of Pepsi waiting.