Browns game!!

Last Friday night I got the opportunity of a lifetime, something that I have been dreaming of since a little girl. That opportunity is the chance to be on the field and photograph a professional football game. Football is one of my favorite sports and despite the Browns poor record, I am still a die-hard fan.

So, when I met the Browns beat reporter at training camp, he asked me if I was interested in shooting the game and of course my answer was heck yes! I talked to the photo editor and asked him if I could shoot it and he said I could but there would also be another photographer down there from the paper because they normally send two people down to shoot the games.

That day finally arrived when I was getting ready to shoot the game and as it turns out I was the only photographer from the paper shooting it because it was also the start of high school football and that is a huge thing for the paper. That is probably their biggest sport they cover just because high school football is a huge area sport for Northeast Ohio.

Anyway, first I had to get down to the game which was a story in itself because I was taking a couple of friends down to the game too who just happened to have seats they bought for themselves. Once we made it on the freeway, just my luck there was a major accident in the right hand lane so that slowed us down again. Even though the accident had been cleared for the most part, traffic was still slow because of people gawking at it and trying to find out what had happened.

Once I arrived at the game and got through the media gate, I got my official NFL photographer’s vest on and headed to the media room to drop my stuff off and grab some food. So, I got some food and then started talking to the other photographers there and I told them that I was taking this sports photography class this semester, which I am and I told him my teacher’s name. And the photographer said he’s here at the game. So I introduced myself to my new photo teacher while I was at the game. Not many people can say that sentence.

After introducing myself, I made my way onto the Browns field for the first time. That was an outerbody experience to me. It is such a strange feeling to finally be on that field, right where you belong. So, I started looking for feature shots the paper might like and began shooting away towards the crowd. Those types of shots pretty much mean child and parent, so found one right away and snapped away. Afterwards, I went over to the other side for the kickoff and learned a very important lesson about Browns games.

Because there are two cameras built into the stands on the ground level, you have to duck every time you walk past one of them. This is something that I did not know until it was pointed out to me. Oh well, we all make mistakes. The game itself was pretty uneventful. The first half was really where the most starters would play since it is preseason. At halftime, I went into the media work room to start editing my photos which I finished after the game was over.

However, during the second half I made a major mistake. It is important to note that most photographers carry two bodies with two different lenses on them when they are at these games for different reasons. We carry a long lens for action that is far away and a small lens for action that is up close and personal.

Well, I was primarily using my long lens, but then there was a touchdown right near me and I mean like I moved my head and there it was. I had both of my camera bodies on and focused and everything, but during the moment where I should’ve gotten the shot I had my other body around my neck and missed the shot! This is an important lesson for me to learn because that could have been the play of the game. If this was a real game and not a preseason game and that was the deciding play, my editor would not be happy with that result.

Fortunately, it was just a preseason game so it is not a big deal. Anyway, this is my last post as a News-Herald intern because I am back at school. But, I will still update this post whenever I can with details of my new job!! Thanks for following my adventures as an intern!

Vacation Photography

Hello to all of my readers out there. I am sorry I haven’t written lately but I was out on vacation with my family in Southern California. This was my first time in Los Angeles and second time in Cali total.

Anyway, there is something that I wanted to discuss that’s been on my mind and that is vacation photography. This term to me means capturing either wildlife or beautiful scenery or anything of that sort while on a vacation. It really bugs me when people take a lot of pictures and then they never do anything with those pictures besides let them take up space on their hard-drive.

That is why I have adopted a different type of shooting strategy when I am on vacation. I don’t want to take pictures just for the sake of taking pictures, I want to photograph. I want to really capture the feeling of a place and not just a bunch of candid shots. It is something that bothers me because then anyone could take a photo and call themselves a photographer but they are not. To be a photographer, you have to capture a moment and a place.

Some of the places we went to were pretty amazing though including Hearst Castle, home of famed billionaire William Randolph Hearst; a taping of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno; Santa Monica Pier and beach; Venice Beach, In & Out Burger, Griffith Observatory and the list goes on and on.

Here are some photographs of mine to help explain my concept of vacation photography.

Cleveland Browns Training Camp

On Wednesday, I got the chance to photography another Cleveland professional sports team: the Cleveland Browns. This was another thing that I have been dreaming of for awhile. See, when I was younger I would go to training camp with my family out in Berea. Actually, I used to hate it because it was so hot and I am not a fan of heat. Over time, I have gotten used to it, but that’s getting away from the point. I have seen the photographers and reporters and video crews before at training camps, so getting to be one of those people was something extremely awesome for me.

Before I get to training camp though, I want to explain a little something about getting there. I was a little bit nervous about going there even though I had a parking pass because I had absolutely no idea where the media parking was. I knew it had to be in front of the building, but i had no idea where that was. Fortunately, I realized that if I went down this one street I might be able to make it there and I did! I was finally at training camp as a member of the media.

The first thing I did when I got there was go to the media room and drop my stuff off. I had my laptop and all of my camera gear with me so I could send my images back from right there. I knew I wanted to get them in as soon as I could and knowing they have free wifi made that possible. After I put my stuff down, I waited for the reporter so I could know who I needed to get pictures of. There are a lot of Browns players, so it can be confusing if you don’t know who you are looking for.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t there yet. I went outside to see if maybe he was there and wandered around the entire area of training camp and I still couldn’t find home. So, I decided to go back to the media room to see if he was there and low and behold there he was. So, we finally took off for the camp together so I could get the shots he wanted. Once I got settled, I had to quickly unsettle though because all the way at the far end of the camp was team majority owner (for right now) Randy Lerner talking to president Mike Holmgren.

Lerner has only been spotted once before at camp, so this is kind of a big deal. I had to be on the move at all times to try and get a shot of him because he was moving quickly towards the door. Luckily, I was able to get a shot of him once I put my mono-pod leg down for a second. Then, I had to keep moving and running to be able to get a better shot of them.

After I got a shot of him, I moved around to the other side where all of the action was going on. If I had photographed from the other angle, then I wouldn’t have been able to get as clean a shot just because all the other players would be making a sort of “wall”. So, with that in mind I went to work taking pictures from all sorts of angles and all over the place. I still saw my parents and my sister there because they had just randomly decided to come to this practice too.

Then, it was all a matter of getting the best shots that I could get with the players availability. I tried to cover my butt as best as I could so I could for sure get the pictures that the reporter wanted. That happened to be Joe Haden that day. However, I also got a really nice shot of tight end Alex Smith that I liked a lot because he was outstretched and able to see all of him.

This is also my last post during my internship because this is my last day. I want to say thank you for all of you who followed me on my adventure. I will still be blogging about my experiences at school because I have a job there already lined up but not as an intern anymore!

P.S. I just photographed the new Browns owner, Jimmy Haslam so we will see what happens there!

A little bit of history

Today, I had two assignments. Both of them pretty quick, but also fun.

My first assignment had me out to the James A. Garfield National Historic Site. I had been there before for an immigration ceremony, but this was a little different. I was taking a portrait of an employee who had recently given a talk about the importance of the front porch.

Now, I am not a history buff really. I enjoy it a little bit and I have gone on some tours of historic sites with my parents when I was little, but that is as far as my knowledge about history goes.

So, after the photo shoot was done, I had a little bit of time to kill, so I asked the employee if he wouldn’t mind giving me a short tour of the house. I had never been in it before, so I figured why not?

It was interesting for me to look at, but at the same time not the most exciting historic site I have seen. My biggest question about all of these historic sites is I want to know exactly how much is real and how much has been restored. I think that the non-restored sites are a lot cooler than the ones that were restored. They just seem more like the real thing.

My other assignment was at the Lake Metroparks Penitentiary Glen Reservation where I took some shots of hummingbirds. The only eventful thing there was I got locked outside and had to call inside to have them let me in. Oh well, thank goodness for cell phones!

3-0 (Cleveland Indians Post 2)

On Thursday, I went to the Indians game for the third time this year and second to photograph the game. Even though I had already shot one game, I was a little bit nervous this time around because the weather forecast called for 70% chance of precipitation and that worried me. The last game I went to was on July 3rd and I didn’t leave there till midnight because of two rain delays.

So, when I got there and saw all of the clouds looming in the distance it made me a little bit nervous. Also, one of the photographers there from the associated press was a guy I knew because I interviewed him for a school project. I was glad to see him because I was apprehensive about the weather. He showed me around the press suites and I finally got a chance to meet the beat reporter for the Indians.

After meeting the reporter, I went to the dining area to get something to eat. However, because most of the food costs money, I just ate a sugar cookie. But, I took the time to talk to some of the other photographers that were there. Some of them I have been fans of for a long time because I think there is an art to being assigned day after day to one team and try to come up with something new and different every night. When we were in the dining area, I noticed something strange popping up on the horizon. The storm was coming quicker and then all of a sudden it was here.

I went back downstairs and started looking for a friend of mine who just happened to have tickets to this game. I didn’t have my phone on me because it was with all of my photo gear and went to where his seats were, but when I got there it was a big open space and the rain was pouring down in buckets and the wind was pushing all of the rain inside the park where I was. Fortunately, I had my camera on me and was able to snap a photo of all of the rain.

Eventually, I found my friend and said hi and then went back down to the photo-bay where the game got underway after a 25 minute delay. Now an important thing to know when you are shooting sports, especially baseball is there are certain types of shots that you have to get at every game. For example, a picture of the pitcher zoomed in with the background out of focus or the batter connecting on a ball. These are shots that I take just in case nothing else exciting happens.

At first, the game was exciting with each team getting a run apiece, but then the Tigers scored two more runs to make the score 3-1. After that, there was very little offense with the Indians and they just kept in a stalling pattern until the bottom of the seventh inning. Finally, in the bottom of the seventh inning, we got some excitement in the form of a four-run rally. Something unheard of for the Indians to be down 3-1 and then take the lead 5-3.

To top it off, the first two runs of the inning were back-to-back home runs from Carlos Santana and Travis “Pronk” Hafner. After the home runs, two more runs were scored courtesy of Jose Lopez and Shin Soo Choo. ***P.S. A side note about Choo, to anyone reading this, please don’t trade him because he is one of our best hitters. I’ve been hearing rumors about him going to Pittsburgh and I sincerely hope they are not true.***

And after that, the pitching of Joe Smith, Vinnie Pestano and Chris Perez were able to keep the Tigers at bay as they were able to hang on for the win. Another note about pitching, one of the major reasons why I wanted to shoot this game was Justin Verlander was going to be pitching for the Tigers and I was very curious to see him pitch in person. He actually walked right past me on his way to the dugout from the visitors bullpen! That was so the coolest moment of the game, besides the four-run rally.

This game was one of the best games I have ever been to and reminds me of why I love baseball. The feeling during the rally was just so electric and the smile on my face was as permanent as it could be. I love that feeling when they start to get some runs on the scoreboard after they were losing 3-1. It is an indescribable feeling and even as I write this, it makes me smile thinking about it. It was truly the game of the year and now I am 3-0 at the games I have attended!!

Summer Construction

Yesterday, I went out to NDCL high school for an assignment about construction. They are currently renovating the football field, gymnasium and auditorium for a total of 3.7 million dollars. While this number seems almost unfathomable to me, because it is a private school it is probably not a bad number at all.

The first thing I noticed when I got up there was how gorgeous the grounds were. I’ve done shoots before in Geauga County and I have been to private schools there like Hawken, but this one was way different. It almost appeared hidden in the mountains with all the trees surrounding it.

They also have several ponds on the property and it looks way more like a small college than a high school for sure. After talking for a little bit, me, the reporter and the president all went around the school where I could get some photos of the construction going on and stuff.

It was intense stuff to see for sure, because there was a lot of construction everywhere. They even had this giant drill that they are going to do either Thursday or Friday where they are going to go 15 feet down. I don’t know exactly why they are doing that, but oh well.

Another thing I noticed was the wind made the temperature feel bearable. It literally felt like I was in the middle of nowhere on a small college campus. I go to college and it is a small area, but not middle of nowhere small. This felt like middle of nowhere small.

On a personal note, I just wanted to offer my condolences to all the families and friends of the victims of the Colorado shooting.

Helper Puppies

About three weeks ago, I was looking on the photo schedule, something that I do every day to see if there are any particular assignments that might catch my eye and I want to shoot, and something on there caught my eye for sure. There was an assignment on there about puppies that are being raised to go off to training school where they will be trained to help blind people.

Here’s the thing about me and dogs. I am scared of them but I also love them. See when I was little and naive, I went up to my Aunt’s dog who was sleeping and tried to play with her. Unfortunately, she ended up biting me on my nose sending me to the emergency room in a different state. Fortunately, all I needed was stitches and I still have a tiny scar from it. The point of all of this is that I am very wary when dogs jump on me now because of this incident.

But, I have done other assignments about dogs. For example, I did a sights and sounds project for class at K-9 Kingdom, a doggie daycare center. You can see that project at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jg5DoNySn7A

This assignment about guiding eyes was a little different because I knew going into it that I wanted to do a slideshow and how I would approach it. The one thing I didn’t knew was exactly where it was. It is opening at a new location at The Goddard School in Concord, but the problem is there are two different areas and I got a little lost. Plus I was there early.

Oh well. Once the doggies got there, I was so excited to see them and they were just as excited to see me. One of the big German Shepherds, whose a little older, was very excited to get of her crate and play around. She’s not technically in the class because her raiser is one of the instructors. However, she was just another distraction for the dogs.

The biggest thing I learned about dogs from the class is you need to be confident when you are commanding them. They can tell immediately from your posture and tone of voice how confident you are with them. If you are confident and strict, they will act in a similar way.

However, the biggest way to test these types of dogs is to get them into social situations and see how they react. Since they are little puppies, people are naturally going to want to pet them and that is something a guide dog can’t be used to. They have to be ready to help out the blind who need them.

Now for those of you who are wondering, what exactly goes on in these classes. The easiest way to answer is it depends on their age group. They range from 10 weeks-16 months and depending on their age and maturity level, they will get the appropriate training. For the younger puppies, it is about knowing how to handle themselves when there are distractions and being able to check in with their raisers. I learned that a check in is when the dogs voluntarily look back at their handlers.

Another thing I learned is these puppies they raise are only certain breeds: yellow and black labrador retrievers, german shepherds and golden retrievers. I never knew that before, it was an interesting class to say the least. If you would like to see more information about Guiding Eyes for the Blind you can go to: http://gebcuyahoga.org/