Monday, April 6, 2009

Sports and Birds

Entry #1: Softball

Today I shot for the first time with the youth sports company that hired me. When i showed up I was all geared up, ready to take some nice action shots. Well, it turned out that we ended up doing team and individual shots first. I was a little terrified, just because i had never done that before, and wasnt sure that i could pull it off without any practice. There were 3 other photogs there, and i somehow managed to get put in charge of the individual shots. I was the only photog there that thought to bring a tripod, and im guessing that influenced the decision to put me in charge.

It actually went really well. It was fun having the kids go up and pose. After a few girls were out of the way, i got into a rhythm and went with it. We starting losing sunlight so i pulled out my trusty 580EX II flash, put an off-shoe cable on it and kept going. The flash shots looked even better than the natural light shots! Wow, i was really getting the hang of this! So, 4 teams later, i gave them my card to download all of my images, got my card back and was ready to shoot some action! I only had a little bit of time left at this point because it was already around 7:00pm and they wanted to be done by 7:30. The action shots i got were pretty good though, in my opinion, and they said the individual shots looked great.

Now that day 1 of this new venture is over, i no longer have my jitters. Tomorrow is more team pics for a couple of hours, then again on thursday. Pretty cool! Unfortunately, they keep all of the pics. I'm not allowed to use them for personal stuff, so i cant post any. But thats fine. They will probably be up on their website soon, and if they are ill post the link to them.

So that was part of my day.

This really should have been two posts, but whatever.

Entry #2: Birds

So lately, ive been really into bird photography. More specifically, large birds. I see hawks and vultures all the time when im not looking for them. I had Sunday off so Jill and I drove around to a few places where i knew i had seen some before. We ended up at River Legacy Park in North Arlington. I immediately saw the masses of vultures that common the area, and figured id try to get a few shots of them, even though they are ugly as all hell. What i was really on the lookout for were hawks. We drove through the parking lots, checking the sky for anything flying overhead. Then, just as we were about to leave i catch this guy flying over, very briefly.

I only managed a couple of shots of him before he was gone. Then i was left with the nasty turkey vultures. What the heck, might as well take some shots while they were flying low and close.

Boy, they are ugly.

I came home last night and posted on the Texas Photo Forum asking if anyone knew of any good birding spots around the DFW area. I got a few solid responses and had planned on going to one, the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge, early this morning to shoot. I figured since i had to be back in Mansfield for the softball games by 5:00ish, it might be a better idea to wait until i could go out there and spend as much time as i wanted, and not have to be checking the time constantly to see if i needed to go.

So insted I went back to River Legacy to see if i could find the Hawk that briefly showed his face yesterday before flying off. No such luck at all! Only the stupid Turkey Vultures. So we went back into the woods down the walking trails and i found this guy.

I think he's a Heron of some kind. Still waiting on an ID from some fellow photogs though.

It was about 3:00 so we headed back and down to mansfield to get some lunch and head to the fields. I wanted to get there early so i could just make sure i was prepared for the softball shoot. For some reason i was still a little nervous about the whole thing.

We ended up getting to the softball fields about an hour and a half before i needed to be there, and it just so happened they had a walking trail through some woods that were located where the fields were. I figured i'd walk around and see if i could get some robins or cardinals in the huge trees overhead.

I found a few robins and that was about it. We walked back through a smaller unpaved path and i kept hearing a sound that i couldnt identify. It sounded like it was around eye level so i figured whatever kind of bird it was i may be able to get a nice shot. I followed the sound until i came across this beauty!

I was stunned! He was sitting there about 30 feet away, just looking around. I thought it was fake for a good couple of minutes, maybe to scare other birds away. Then he moved his head around, and finally flew off.

I followed him all through the woods trying to get close again, but he stayed up higher. This is another good one i got of him.

Maybe i shouldnt go looking for birds anymore, and just come across them! It was really cool seeing him sitting right in front of me. He couldnt have cared less that i was walking around him and snapping away.

So, all together i'd say it was a pretty successful day. Im going to try to get to the fields early again tomorrow to see if i can find the hawk again before i shoot more softball.

As always, click the images for the full web-sized version.

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