Everything I’ll need to manage the photo staff today in one photograph.
A baby and a wedding have conspired to keep me out of the field for the next few days. Both photo editors are out of the office and I’m tasked with keeping everything running.
With all that goes on and all the characters involved, there’s an amazing reality TV show to be made with the photo department. Any photo department. For the photo editor, the questions and problems never stop coming. During an 8+ hour shift, there are very few moments where you can simply breathe and clear your mind.
I wrote this on the first day: “About a million things just happened in the last 75 minutes. A thousand questions and bunch of problems and a ton of maneuvering.”
Later I sat down and wrote, “It’s 4:33pm. Finally a moment to think.” And just as I finished those seven words, someone walked up to my desk with more questions that needed answers.
All photographers should spend time working the desk. You gain an invaluable view of the operation and how your own actions affect it.
After my first day as photo editor I leave the office and photograph a single mom. She’s very nice but is obviously a little uncomfortable being photographed for the story. As I leave she says, “I hope I never have to see you again, and I mean that in the best possible way.”
At the end of my second day as photo editor, someone forgot to put in an assignment to photograph a mountain bike trail. There’s no one able to do it so I simply shift my plans for the evening to mountain biking and sneak a few photographs as we enjoy a great trail.
On the morning of my third day as photo editor I find out that I was sent to the wrong bike trail. The photos can’t be used.
It never ends.
There is nothing that throws you off your shooting game like drama. And when you’re covering professional sports, the drama almost always concerns logistics. You run into problems with game day traffic, parking, credentials, where you’re allowed to shoot from, not having enough time, on and on. These problems put you in a mental place that makes it very hard to be creative.
I had a big logistical issue for tonight’s game. The problem was eventually fixed but not before I was left thoroughly frustrated. I decided to use that frustration to fuel the shoot. A great shoot would be the best cure.
Real Salt Lake’s Ned Grabavoy.
RSL fans react as Charleston celebrates an early 2-0 lead.
RSL’s Devon Sandoval heads in a goal.
RSL’s Joao Plata celebrates his second half goal.
Gear tonight, the 600mm and a 300/2.8. I mostly used the 600 to cover the field, but switched to the 300 for breakaways and set pieces at the near goal. Plus, I had the Fuji X100 on hand for any quick wide angle shots.
Most of the other photographers at RSL shoot with just one telephoto. A photographer seated in a comfortable camping chair looked over at me kneeling on the ground juggling the two large telephotos and asked, “You gonna shoot like that the whole game?”
I’m like, “Yeah.”
I’m a news photographer. I’m used to suffering.
Later I pull out my laptop to start editing and another guy says, “I didn’t know they ever gave you guys new laptops.”
I usually edit right on the field at halftime. There’s a nice work area up in the press box, with chairs, tables, drinks, and good people to talk to. I sacrifice those comforts so I don’t miss anything on the field. It pays off every time.