But bring the camera because there are ways to capture some nice images, even if you’re not wearing a press pass. Most of the examples below are from sporting events, but the same concepts work for many situations, from high school plays to concerts.
Take your eye off the ball
The photo above is from a high school softball game. I was too far away to catch much of the action at home plate. Then I noticed the intensity of the first baseman. She had a laser focus on every pitch, and fortunately, was close enough for me to get a nice shot that really showed that intensity as she waited for the next pitch. I shot several images, and this is my favorite.
What else is going on?
Sticking with photos from the diamond, this next image (left) came at Hadlock Field, home of our Portland Sea Dogs, a minor league affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. We had great seats for the game, but far enough away that capturing good action shots was difficult.
As fate would have it, the batters in the on deck circle were well within range, and I was able to snap off a couple of images of several players.
Remember the importance of warming-up
One of my favorite photos is of former Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas. On this particular day, our seats were in the balcony of Boston’s TD Garden, about seven stories above the ice, so anything other than a wide shot was unlikely. However, we went down to ice level to watch warm-ups, and I snagged this shot with my trusty point and shoot camera by prefocusing and waiting for Thomas to turn. Tip: to prefocus, point the camera at your subject and hold the shutter release button half-way down.
I have similar photos of other goalies, all captured in the same way. I focus my attention on the goalies because the other players move too quickly for a point and shoot to follow.
Hint: you can shoot hockey and other ice events through the protective glass. Try to find a clean spot, and hold the camera against the glass. The same holds true when shooting through a screen at baseball or softball games.
Look left, and then right
The shot on the left came at Boston’s annual Greek Independence Day Parade. I took hundreds of images of the parade, but this one, of a marcher prior to the event, is among my favorites. The shot came shortly after I arrived and was scoping out the parade route. I turned around, and there he was.
Note that the cloudy weather helped this photo, as a bright sun would have cast a shadow on his face, making it darker than the background.
In the world of photography, clouds can be helpful in the right circumstances.
Sounds like a good topic for a future blog.
Be the early bird
Finally, one of the best pieces of advice I picked up over the years is simple: get there early. Several years ago, the late Tim Russert was speaking at a conference I attended. Being a big fan of his, I wanted a good photo, but knew the hall would be packed with thousands.
Russert’s remarks were first thing in the morning, so I arrived early, scouted out the available best seat, and planted myself there. This image, taken with a basic point and shoot camera, served its purpose, and I came away with a photo of Russert that marks the day.