Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Super ball

"Baltimore Ravens fullback Le'Ron McClain (no.37) shows emotion after a play he was injured in during the first half against the Indianapolis Colts at M&T Bank Stadium, Sunday, Dec.9, 2007."

In 2007, I started covering the Baltimore Ravens weekly and loved every minute of it. So much that I thought of delaying my trip to Japan, so that I could shoot the last game of the season against the Pittsburgh Steelers. But I didn't, and believe me, I was thinking about it as I flew over Canada and the Pacific Ocean.

Of course, I missed them break their nine game losing streak, which would come after getting beat by the Miami Dolphins, who only beat the Ravens this season, and the still undefeated New England Patriots. I also missed the firing of coach Brian Billick on Dec. 31.

Although the Ravens shaped up to be one of the weakest teams in the NFL, the thrill of shooting the most popular sport in the United States at the highest level was incredible.

The speed, the size and the strength of the players had me amazed my first game. All the players look as they are no bigger than myself (standing in the red corner, weighing in at 165 pounds and a towering 5-feet-11...) when watching a game on television, but when on the sideline, their mass is overwhelming. One break through the hole and I would be crushed and never get up again, ha.

With that said, my first game shot was not nearly as good as my last, as the initial thrill of shooting the NFL had to wear off. But I've certainly gotten better and worse images covering Pee-Wee football.

Why? Because to the average viewer and reader, they see shooting the NFL as the best possible job. I heard it many times from friends and family.

“You are shooting the Ravens? That is probably the single handily coolest/best job in the world. You get to stand on the sideline and take pictures.”

For one, taking pictures is no easy job. But the underlying gem is at the end of the day. It doesn’t really matter what level of a sport you're covering.

If you approach any game, no matter the skill or age of players, with the same excitement and enthusiasm each week, you're sure to make telling photographs.

As mentioned, I can get portfolio images from a street ball game as easy as I could from an NBA game. It just depends on the players, their actions and my ability to capture these moments clearly to the readers.

Moving on, with the Super Bowl or “super ball” approaching, I still picture the Patriots losing in the final match to the Green Bay Packers. At that time, Brett Favre will retire, after upsetting one of the "best" teams in NFL history.


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