Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ups and downs

"Northwestern midfielder Danielle Spencer celebrates her second goal against Syracuse during the second half of the semifinal game of the NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championship at Johnny Unitas Stadium, Friday, May 23,2008. Northwestern won, 16-8, advancing them national championship match."

That's all folks. No more NCAA lacrosse this season.

Northwestern wrapped up the season with another championship, their fourth-straight on Sunday. Johns Hopkins, while pulling a huge upset over the high-powered Duke Blue Devils on Saturday, came up short in national title game against Syracuse on Memorial Day.

I didn't know if I'd be shooting lacrosse after the Towson men's team concluded their season a little over a month ago, but I got a chance to bounce back into it, and bounce back from a tough assignment.

A lot of assignments I write about are normally the better of two or three that day over a couple days work.

With what I call fun or interesting assignment comes those that still need to be shot for the non-dominant pages. I believe these smaller assignments are normally the hardest to shoot.

Last Friday, I had an afternoon assignment that left me feeling down after I leaving the store, but a latter assignment would put me back on a good beat.

My first assignment was to cover a local, small chained television store. My goal was to get images of customers shopping for televisions.

The story revolved around retailers having increased efforts to cater to consumers, especially during times when economic stimulus checks worth as much as $600 are showing up in bank accounts and mailboxes. I am still waiting for mine.

With some direction, I was promoted to head to The Big Screen Store in Towson around noon.

Now, I've never personally been in one of these stores, as I do most of my electronic shopping on the Internet. And if it's a big purchase, such as a TV, I'd probably scope one out at Best Buy or some store along those lines.

Now that doesn't go to say other retailers aren't as successful, but there weren't many customers in the store I had to shoot in at that designated time.

I spent an hour shooting waiting for customers to pour into the store. Luckily, I had the company of some fine leather reclining chairs, ESPN and two talkative, laid back salesmen to help pass the time between customers.

Over the hour, four customers came into the store shopping for a new big screen. The first gentlemen is where I got all my images from and he was there for maybe 15 minutes. To be safe, I stayed after to get some other angles and a variation of shoppers.

However, this was a double edged sword as the next couple folk that came in where either there for 25 seconds or didn't want to give their name.

At one point, no lie, I had a guy tell me he was a convict and couldn't and wouldn't give his name, while the other guy across the store was an undercover Baltimore County policemen and refused to give his name. Ah, the irony. Only if I could have introduced the two.

After I left the assignment, I wasn't very thrilled with my take. They worked, but I thought it was below my own standards. My later assignment would bounce me back into a good mood though.

A couple hours later, I found myself stationed on the sideline of NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championship semifinal game between Northwestern and Syracuse.

The sunsetting light was gorgeous to work with and many fellow, local shooters were there to help keep the spirit of the night alive. Many using the new Nikon D3, which I am eagerly waiting to open. I just need to sell my D2Xs now. (Anyone looking for A D2Xs, eh?)

I made some great images and was excited to see such great jubilation from the Northwestern squad. One of my favorite telling moments was "as good as your gonna get," Gene Sweeney Jr., of The Baltimore Sun, said.

Gene, along with anyone else shooting from the Wildcats' attacking end, also captured the image. It's the nature of the beast when there are a bunch of photographers covering an event.

Now, Gene's image was a little better then mine... if I have to be honest about it.

Mine caught her a fraction of second too early as her goggles covered her eyes, which also looked like they may be closed. Mine was also a little too tight. Although I like the hands coming into the frame and the teammate in background. And, hey, I stilled moved it.

Conversely, why I liked it better than then my end of the game celebration, I am sort of glad we ran the latter celebration image from the game, as The Sun ran Gene's described photo. He would have showed me up.

Anyways, it's these fun sports assignments or assignments that have a little more action that make being a photographer worth it after a tough assignment.


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