Saturday, August 25, 2007

How to shoot a pitcher...

I don't claim to be the authority on shooting baseball. I think it's easily one of the most difficult sports to photograph well. Brad Mangin (an SI freelancer) and Mark Terrill of the AP bureau in Los Angeles are two guys who I idolize as far as baseball photography. I wish I could shoot the sport half as well as them.

Assignment here was to photograph pitcher Sean White of the Seattle Mariners as he made a recovery start for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, Seattle's farm team. It was a cover story for our tabloid sports section so it couldn't just be a standard photo from the baseline.

I decided to take the 600mm lens (anything but low-profile, weighing in at roughly 12 pounds and is about two feet long). I talked some fans into letting me squeeze into the middle of their row and shot a couple innings from that position.

Timing and positioning is everything with this image. A row higher and White's eyes are shielded by the brim of his hat. A row lower and you start seeing the advertising on the outfield wall. Either way left or right and you start seeing other infielders.

The one thing that bugs me is that little sliver of second base still visible behind him.


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