Risk vs Reward - The Benefits of Exclusive Access

August 02, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

I just completed a weekend of shooting the British Columbia U18A Women's Provincial Softball Championships, where, as the official tournament photographer, I had exclusive access on the field while shooting.  I call this a "risk-reward" situation in the heading above, because as you may know, there is not a lot of room between the foul lines and the fences on the infield of a softball diamond and often times I was shooting from just near 1st or 3rd base, or in other cases, along the fence halfway up the baselines, between the on-deck circles and the coaches box.

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Of course the risk in these positions is that the girls at this age can hit and throw hard and the danger of being hit by a foul ball or an overthrow is very real and as such, I had to be aware of that on every pitch.  I also wanted to be as inconspicuous as possible so as to not interfere with the game or the focus and concentration of players and coaches.

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The reward however is getting to capture images that you know nobody else has, even parents with cameras and gear that rivaled my 1D Mk IV and EF70-200 f 2.8L that I used for all of my shots.  I did not have to worry about trying to shoot through chain link fences, or over or around players in the dugouts, or being confined to one location, as I could move from side to side freely.

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As to the risk part, I managed to avoid being hit by any foul balls or any overthrows.  I suppose a large part of that was some good luck, but I think in that situation, you also pay closer attention to the tendencies of hitters, or how a play is developing and your "spidey-senses" kick in to make you aware that danger is approaching or is possible and you shoot accordingly and get ready to move a little bit quicker.

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And the reward? Well I've placed a few of my favourite images here in this post and I hope you will agree that being this close to the action certainly pays off in a big way.  Please visit the full tournament gallery (HERE) to see more.

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