Friday, February 06, 2009

Wrestling light

"Sprawled out on the corner of the gym, four children find the wrestling showdown of the top two wrestling teams in the area boring as they fight to stay awake at Mt. St. Joseph High School, Jan. 30, 2009."

While versed in many styles of photography and having been shooting various editorial assignments since I began college I am still experiencing many "first" time things.

Case in point - wrestling.

Up until last weekend I had never seen a live wrestling match nor had snapped one frame of the intense sport. Which I still find surprising.

When I was in middle school I remember throwing a blank VHS tape into my parent's VCR so that I could record the final match of the Monday night on WWF before bed. I was obsessed with it. What can I say? They have good marketing toward teenagers.

Whether I was in my backyard using my 13-foot trampoline as a makeshift ring and tossing my friends around or pile driving another friend (I swear it was an accident) into a cement basement floor - I thought I was Hulk Hogan.

While this was just a phase, it did teach me how to be a good actor. Yeah, I thought it was real at the time. But who doesn't when they are young and naive?

Anyways, enough about my heavy weight champion of the world wannabe days. I was pumped when I got the assignment to cover the showdown of the top two prep wrestling teams in the area.

What I wasn't so pumped to hear was that it was at Mt. St. Joseph High School. To fill you in, this is by far one of the darkest prep gyms in Baltimore. I am talking 1/250 @ f/2.8 @ 6400 ASA. Yeah. Dark.

I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of what I would need to stop the action, but for some reason I opted to leave my lights in my car because from what my friends told me, keeping track of names and wrestlers is a challenge in and of itself. It didn't want to have to tear down and waste time.

As the night progressed, I was having a good time and shooting mostly from the top of the stands to get a nice clean background...and some faster shutter speeds.

But then it dawned on me as my deadline creeped closer and closer. Are my names going to match up with the book and images?

Luckily, I bumped in to Go, who is currently interning at Patuxent Publishing. He had been keeping better track of the matches. He gratefully let me shoot his handwriting to help match up with my photo notes and chicken-scratch.

Since both of our notes weren't perfect, I skipped out to my car to transmit a bit earlier than I normally would just so I could get things right. Go figure too, it was freezing cold and my gas light was on. Let's just say I should have moved my images from inside the gym.

While in the end I got everything correct on my own, I wasn't completly satisfied with my take, although the shot that ran told the story of Mt. St. Joe getting a last minute "lift" in the final match to take home the victory.

Alas I would get another go at wrestling. Stay tuned.


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