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07/30/2010

Bad day at the office

Rick Madonik, Staff Photographer

It was one of the "those" nights. Not much went right, some my own fault, some just the fault of fate. Usually, I'm not in the habit of detailing bad shoots, but the fact is we're all human and we all have those days. Tonight, was one of those for me.

Baseball is one sport I have a love/hate relationship with. It can be boring and uneventful. Other times I can be euphoric. There can be endless hours of not much happening, and then, the world seems to explode. Unless you keep your mind keenly in tune, its really easy to miss the one play, or two plays, which break open the game. Or, it could just be some bad luck by paying attention to a field position player and and the action happens elsewhere.

Tonight I had a lens which is great for the outfield plays, but a bit too tight for other positons. Players can easily leap out of the frame, or get cut off. Things seemed to collide on several fronts tonight and I was not a very happy camper.

So, just to show that everyday does not go as one would hope, here's some of what can happen. The worst example of things going wrong was Aaron Hill scoring the 2nd run with a play at the plate. The other thing that was disappointing was the Jose Bautista Grand Slam. Not only did I fail to have the ball in the frame when he swung his bat (too much lens), the one very small moment of a smile on Bautista was not visible from the 1st base shooting position. As I found out later, it was from the 1st base extension shooting position. CP photographer Nathan Denette had it, and I never saw it. All I saw was a guy round the bases pretty much expressionless. That, unfortunatley, was a choice I made by staying in that position. However, other days, things you can see from the position I occupied are blocked from the other position.

On the positive side, tomorrow is another day and a chance to redeem myself.

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The play at the plate starts well, with the runner in focus. 

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Then the autofocus begins to slip 

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As the catcher handles the ball, the image is a write-off

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Hill touches the plate, but the focus is lost 
 

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And then gets even worse and the ball is already loose from the catcher's mitt

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The ball is loose, but even out of focus its easy to see the faces were not visible either

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I can see all this happening in the viewfinder and have little recourse 

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Focus finally locks back on but the composition is now compromised

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A moment later, the ump steps in and signifies Hill is safe as Hill looks up to him, but now the ball is mostly lost behind the catcher's right arm 
 

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Now the ball is visible, but Hill's head has turned and the catcher is looking toward other players on the field  

 

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I really don't know how one can capture such incredible pictures one moment and than the entire focus is gone for whatever reasons. F-stops, lenses and whatevers if not keeny attuned can blow your day when you are a photographer. However as humans we have the ability to maintain our focus no matter the elements.

Boredom, laxity and complacency are the greatest enemies of our day. Can't do much about the mechanics and the machines of man, but there is no reason why we need to be held hostage to the same plights as they. P.S. I like your shoots, you create a picture many times even when there isn't one. Thanks.

Where was the Nikon 200mm-400mm? Perfect infield action lens. What were you using a Canon?

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