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Stepping outside the box

By Rick Madonik, Staff Photographer

Familiarity, for a photographer, produces better pictures. This, I find, is especially true of sports'. Assign me to one or two season games to any particular sport, and I'll come back with "safe" pictures that feed the machine which churns out a newspaper everyday. Send me often, and not only will I produce the "required" photos to cover the action as it develops, but I might be inclined to try something different

Sports is like that because it helps if you know the game. This is especially true of baseball where a slight shift of the infield gives you an idea of where the ground ball is more likely to go. Watching Jose Bautista slug 3 home runs in 2 games also gives the advantage of knowing how he reacts when he makes solid contact, and what type of "jubilation" to expect. Today, and yesterday, (and now tomorrow) that was important as he is one dinger away from tying George Bell (47) for the franchise record in HRs hit in a single season.

So, whether it's trying a different lens, or a different shooting positon, or different composition, or simply knowing a player's habits, helps to breed a little new life into pictures that are shot over and over. This last week I got to 4 games in a row - something which hasn't happened in several years - and I found the pictures got more interesting as the days went on.

Here's a few which made it to files, but not to print.

 Fred Lewis can't come up with the ball as a runner turns on the Crawford triple. I can't recall ever getting the baserunner in the frame like this, so it was a nice surprise.


Jays 3rd baseman Jose Bautista must go high in order to save the throw as Carl Crawford slides into 3rd. This is creative cropping since most of Bautista is in the frame except his glove - which is wear the ball is.

Tampa's Desmond Jennings steals 2nd base as Yunel Escobar waits for the ball. I rarely like the 2nd base picture from the 3rd base side, but when it works it works well.

Jays SS Yunel Escobar fumbles the transfer to his throwing hand on a ground ball which allowed the runner to reach 1st. I was simply following the play as it developed and it went awry. 

   Yunel Escobar keeps his gaze at 1st as he watches the end of the double play as Rocco Baldelli slides underneath him. A standard 2nd base, double play scene but with an airborne player. 

Tampa Bay relief pitcher Rafael Soriano. The light was nice and going VERY tight with framing sometimes gives a fresher look to pitching. 

Vernon Wells fouls off a ball during an at bat. Simply keeping tabs on the batter when the ball ends up taking a different route out-of-play.

Tampa's left fielder Desmond Jennings fails to come up with a foul ball but you have to love the look on the spectators faces compared to his. 

 Home ump Mike Riley signals Vernon Wells is safe after pitcher Jeff Niemann tries to cover the plate on a passed ball and Wells sneaked home from 3rd. This was shot with a medium zoom lens, when normally I use a long lens at homeplate.

Shortstop Yunel Esocbar unloads under the sliding Carlos Pena but can't get the ball to pitcher Kevin Gregg who covers 1st base on a double play. I've never been able to sandwhich a double play ball like this before but the pitcher covering 1st had to reach back to the ball


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No pictures of Lind or Overbay? Lind had the walkoff-homer, for goodness sakes! :)

Great job and thanks for these. I absolutely love photography and wish there was a place to learn some of the finer points without having to enrol in a 4-year program. Familiar subjects are a challenge because how many different ways can you shoot the same person/thing? But you have given me some ideas and for that I am grateful.

Some very nice work.

I find it interesting that almost every player is wearing the long pant legs, to the extreme of Escobar's left pant leg being caught up in his spikes. I can't imagine this is the smartest way to wear baseball pants. Whatever happened to the good old days with the high stirrups?

As for the complaint from movers moving. I'm sure if you'd actually read and/or understood the article you'd understand why there are no shots of Lind or Overbay.

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