Historic records show that golf has been played in St Andrews, Scotland for more than 600 years, although many believe the game’s origins here date back to the 12th Century.
Sh-h-h-h-h… and stay out of their way!
We think of school and extra curricular activities as being all about the kids and the lessons they learn. Not always… We recently witnessed a true lesson for all from a group of high school kids who are the epitome of class.
Earning a trip to the state tournament was not an easy task as they come from a section filled with tough competition. Nail biting, last-minute wins, illness requiring surgery thus ending the season of a player, all added up to a season filled with drama. On top of that, a season dedicated to a memory…
Their first round game of the 2014 Minnesota State A Tournament was not meant to be easy and they knew it. The opposing team had averaged 92 points per game this season and were an offensive powerhouse. The moments seemed like hours as the plays unfolded and they found themselves down by 17. They had become known as the “Come Back Kids” so the spectators were not surprised when they erased their opponents lead and inched ahead. The scoreboard adjusted back and forth until time ran out. Tied game.
Cheers of elation and anguish mixed amongst the fans as we watched these young men play their hearts out with tremendous sportsmanship. Nervous tension filled the air as the players and coaches accepted their fate. They win as a team and lose as a team. The sad thing about first round tournament play is that one of the teams has to lose and that means you are done for this year. If you are a senior, it’s the end of the road for you.
The Tribune link above missed the real story here. Dignity and the true meaning of sportsmanship was demonstrated as the coach walked with his team over to the stands and the exhausted, disappointed and emotionally drained team gave their fans and community a standing ovation before going back to the locker room. They sure did us proud. The players on the bench also deserve a standing “O” for making the players on the court what they are today. The second string players have the thankless job of showing up at practice, ready to go full throttle to make the team a stronger unit.
It has been a life lesson to all of the family, friends and fans of this team: Life is fickle and you never know what’s in the cards at any point in your life. Work hard, never give up, it’s not over ’til it’s over, perseverance, patience and faith that it will be O.K. Hats off to the parents, coaches and teachers for instilling these values so that they could be demonstrated out on the court.
Upon reflection of the season, my husband turned to me and said, “If this is a glimpse of who will be running our world… it’s going to be O.K.” I think he’s right.
End of February brings March Madness as high school basketball tournament games ultimately determine the state champion. It truly screams, “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” Every team loses, at some point, except for one.
A loss ceases the opportunity for advancement and thus ends the season for some and an era for others. Juniors on down have next year to look forward to and work towards.
Seniors, on the other hand… well, this is the end of the road for most of you. I have a tender spot in my heart for those hard working seniors that would love these moments in life to just keep on going. It’s tough to be done…
As a spectator, the excitement of a close game is nerve wracking, at best, but always adds a deeper layer of empathy, encouragement and community pride. You love ’em when they’re up and you love ’em when they’re down. This is the beauty of a small town high school…
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As a photographer, it is necessary to analyze what is really going on below the surface and utilize lighting that communicates this mood, feeling or message.
These well-toned muscles are the result of many hours spent sweating and grunting in the humid, odorous high school weight room. Flat lighting would not do the subject justice since it would minimize the lines and curves of the muscle sets. Give credit where credit is due by adding a back light to accentuate the hard, strong look and portray a more dramatic image.
Canon 5D Mark 2, Canon 24-70 L lens, Alien Bee lights with umbrella bounced left of camera and through a softbox from behind subject and to the right of frame. Converted to black and white with bronze god Kubota Action added.
Is the image perfect? No. I am never totally satisfied with an image and always analyze to see what I could have done to improve it. I’d maybe add two back lights from each side and one front flash a little to one side. Or, add a little fill with a large reflector to bring a little definition to the torso. Hmmm…
We occasionally may get down because of things we can’t do rather than working with the things we can. This brother-sister team participated in the Mankato Marathon 2013 and were such an inspiration to view first hand. The brother, Mike, had encephalitis at 18 months and is unable to walk, let alone run a marathon. His sister, Niki, started running and pushing him so that he can experience the event and be involved.
The story behind the team may be found by clicking the link below:
We first see them at mile 16. The headwinds have to be challenging, but the pair just trudges on at a determined pace.
The cheers and applause become louder as the pair approaches.
Cameras snap away while spectators cheer wildly.
And Mike is beaming…
The energy of the mind is the essence of life. ~ Aristotle
I love life. Life is up… life is down… Images can reflect that emotion with a little planning.
Long beautiful hair lends itself to the movement of the image above as does the fun, playful personality of the subject. I focus on the subject, subject turns to the back, swings hair forward and just feel the fun. I played with the cropping until I decided that this was the most pleasing angle. Focus is tricky and the shutter was as fast as my flash sync would allow – 1/200. If using a darker background I back light the hair to show separation and depth. 5.6 ~ 1/200 ~ Canon 5d mark 2 ~ 70-200 L lens
~Quote by Dan Frisby
If you have kids involved with sports, you have probably found yourself photographically challenged from time to time. Gyms are so varied as far as lighting and white balance issues. Cameras have improved through the years which helps the outcome considerably. When I started taking basketball action shots I used a 35mm SLR with an on camera flash and 400 speed film. My first digital camera was a Canon G5 point and shoot that was extremely noisy above 400 ISO. Now I’m able to shoot a Canon 5D Mark 2 at a high ISO with tolerable noise, shoot raw and make adjustments in Lightroom.
Do the inferior images of previous years bother me? Absolutely not! The main thing is I have an image that caught a moment in time. Life is not perfect and it’s O.K. if your images are not of Sports Illustrated caliber. My journey was a learning process and still continues.
We all like to improve our photography skills so how can we increase our chances of catching a good action shot?
1. Prepare to use a high ISO. I often use 3200 to 6400 depending on the light in the gym. I try to use available light and avoid flash since I have had better results and on camera flash can be distracting during a game.
2. Use a fast shutter speed. 1/1000 is good but I found I would often need to go with 1/500 to have enough light even at high ISO’s and that yielded adequate results.
3. Experiment with angles. The best shots are often not from a seat in the stands. Try taking the pics from different ends and corners while staying out of the way of referrees and players. Try high and low angles.
4. A long lens helps. I use a Canon L, 70-200 IS lens. 300-400 would be great but I don’t own one.
5. Don’t spend too much time “chimping” (Checking your shots.) You will miss some good action shots if you are constantly looking at your images in the camera. I would do some practice shots to tweak my settings during warm ups and use time outs to check what I had and make adjustments, if necessary.
6. Try to take some of the images with your team’s fans in the background. You may want to zero in on the crowd and catch some fun shots.
7. Try using Al servo focus with continuous action to track moving subject. I would often use one shot focus with the center focus frame selected but, if the action is rapidly moving toward you, Al Servo focus is useful option. Check your manual to see how to access it on your camera.