Thursday, April 17, 2008

Buggs, not bugs

"Towson University assistant men's lacrosse coach, Andrew "Buggs" Combs coordinates the offense during practice at Johnny Unitas Stadium Tuesday afternoon. Son of Gordy Combs, Towson head football coach, Buggs Combs returns for his sixth season as a member of the Tigers lacrosse coaching staff."

I learned something this week, never swing on the first pitch. But that has nothing to do with the two hours I wasted spent shooting baseball Tuesday afternoon.

That's right, it’s baseball season again, if you haven't noticed, and one the most dreaded sports assignment there is, well, to me anyways.

It's America's favorite past time and my least beloved now time. While I can't complain that the game is entertaining with an ice cold beer in your hand on a humid July evening, I just can't get myself into loving to shoot it.

Don't get me wrong, I'll shoot it any day of the week just to be working, but I struggle week in and week out to get something I am pleased with unless it's a remote camera stationed above home plate.

I am not going to sit here and rant why I dislike it, but I thought it would be nice to share where I spent my afternoon sitting on the hill Tuesday.

Seriously though, I watched nearly a hundred or more pitches (how many pitches does a pitcher throw a game on average?) and not once did anyone swing on the first pitch.

Granted, I never played baseball, but I would think that if anything, that would be the wisest pitch to swing at.

Fortunately, I got to shoot lacrosse practice, MY favorite American past time, beforehand.

My assignment was originally to shoot a portrait of Towson University assistant men's lacrosse coach, Buggs Combs, but I thought it would be better to shoot him during practice.

The story is basically how Combs, son of the football coach, has been a product of the university since he was young, yet he never attended the school. He went to University of Maryland where he played lacrosse, but later returned to be the assistant lax coach and offensive coordinator.

For the assignment, I brought along my wide angle, Pocket Wizards (radio salves) and a monopod to hopefully get a nice in-the-huddle pole cam image (For those unaware, this is when you basically stick your camera on a six-foot extension pole and raise it in the air for an extreme high angle). However, I also brought my 300mm for insurance.

Figures, not once during the 35 minutes I was there did the team get into a huddle.

A majority of the time I spent on the blazing hot field, I spend behind the, what I like to call, catch net. This prevents the missed shots on goal from not to sailing into the street. It also protects photogs from getting rocketed in the head with a rubber ball traveling 90 mph.

After making an image that could be used as a jump photo, I waited and wait until I got a nice layer frame of Buggs directing the team.

Between a friendly boxing match between teammates that fired up (and cracked up) the team and a close call on being decked by a shot, I finally did and called it quits before heading over to dreaded baseball.


I guess I can’t complain about baseball too much, as I am due to shoot the O's at some point during the summer. At least I'll get a couple free hot dogs out of it.

NOTE: I don't know whether or not I like the image in monochrome better, so here it is.


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