… more than just a game.

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.

StateBBcollagedesat_2Earning 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…

http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2014/03/12/after-63-years-and-a-tragedy-canby-boys-make-it-to-state/

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.

One overtime….

Two overtimes…

Three overtimes…

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.

http://www.startribune.com/sports/blogs/250244231.html

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.

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Showdown at sundown: available light versus off camera flash…

A challenge/annoyance when working with back light is the blown-out sky that results from exposing for the subject. Blah, washed out results can make for a dull image. Off-camera flash to the rescue to add a little drama to the subject at hand.

Goplen-3373  A Boy and his Pickup

The above portrait is available light only.  Flash did not fire.  Sometimes the soft lens flare look is one I want, depending on the subject.  I wanted a strong, vibrant look for this situation so the  lighting above does not match my goals for this portrait.

Goplen-3404pophpcr_richsh2A Man and his Truck

For the portrait above I used 1 Canon Speedlight on ETTL triggered by Pocket Wizards about 6 feet or so from camera right and about 8 feet from subject. I had the flash on a light-weight light stand held by an assistant (Mom) and moved it when necessary for correct effects.  I was able to keep detail in the sky and rim lighting on subject is from the late day sun.
F11 at 1/200 ~ ISO 160 ~ 5D Mark 2 ~ Canon 70-200 IS L lens

I often like a shallow depth of field for portraits, but in this case I also wanted the truck in sharp focus.  High speed sync would have been something to consider to allow a wide open aperture, but this aperture seems to work fine for now.

Dramatic lighting ~ Off camera flash

The image below is an example of off camera flash during the day using a pocket wizard and 1 Canon Speedlight flash. The image was captured around 4:30 on a warm, sunny, summer afternoon on the shaded side of the building.  My lovely assistant (AKA his mom) holds the flash set at +2 about 8 feet to the left of the subject or camera right.

F8 at 1/200, ISO 100.  Canon 5d Mark 2.

8169tx1

It’s all about the energy

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.

Moyer-7598popdmvhpshcr2Long 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

VanD-6796wwdmvhpshcrBack light from the sun gives extra “spark” to the image as does the athletic pose of a volleyball player.  2.8 ~ 1/1000  ~ Canon 5d mark2 ~ 70-200 L lens