Loud Shooting

It’s easy to capture the pitcher-batter interaction.

It’s easy to capture the pitcher-batter interaction.

You would think that after all the trouble I had shooting a high school baseball night game a few weeks ago that I would shy away from repeating that futility again.

And you would be wrong.

Being the glutton for photographic punishment that I am, I once again grabbed my monopod and Nikon equipment and headed out to snap pics of our high school’s last regular-season softball game at our home field. The only other time I shot the team was three years ago at an away game (blessedly during the day).

The ball is ready to be hit.

The ball is ready to be hit.

Seeing the field as a photographer (I’ve watched games there as a fan) was a very unpleasant experience. Even though the nearby baseball field has lots of room along the fences, it looks like this one was shoehorned into a smaller space. Obviously, the designers didn’t consider my needs as a photographer. How rude!

The only decent, safe place to shoot? Behind home plate. That made for few faces, unfortunately, but potentially good action . . . when the fence wasn’t stealing my focal point or I couldn’t manually focus fast enough.

Bat on the ball!

Bat on the ball!

As the game progressed and darkness moved in, I continued to increase my ISO to keep my shutter speed high enough to capture the action. Eventually I reached 5000! I’m glad the Nikon D610′s sensor can handle that with just a little noise.

Safe!

Safe!

The worst part about shooting behind the plate? Being next to the extremely loud speaker that either spewed out music or announcements.

Note to self: Next time wear earplugs!

Bottle Football

The kick is up . . . .

The kick is up . . . .

As has been well-documented many times in this blog, the guys in my house will throw or kick anything. Especially if there’s a potential breakage possibility.

Sidebar: C.J. once said to me, “Why do you have frames out when you know I’m just going to break them?” Sigh!

Last weekend the Mister finished off a one-liter bottle of Diet Coke and decided to have some fun with it. So, naturally, he placed it on the carpet and kicked it.

Walking sticks apparently make good goal posts.

Walking sticks apparently make good goalposts; the bottle goes wide left.

His somewhat-willing field-goal target? Our younger son, who was standing in our entryway near the front door holding up makeshift uprights.

Of course, I had them stop the action so I could grab my Nikon dSLR. This was too good not to document.

First, the Mister got in his attempts, which were at times woeful. But occasionally he was able to boost the bottle over C.J.’s head (when he wasn’t hitting him or the surrounding walls with it).

Rearing back for a mighty blow

Rearing back for a mighty blow

Then C.J. took over. And he got to see how difficult it was to kick a plastic bottle field goal within the narrow confines of the front hallway.

Three points!

Three points!

But eventually he was able to split the uprights and put points on our invisible scoreboard. After that, the father-son field goal-kicking team kept trading spots until they tired of the sport.

This was fun!

This was fun!

I’m happy to report that no photo frames were harmed while the bottle was bouncing all over the family room.

This time.

One-Word Wednesday

Now that Jake has his new, expensive tooth, he’s all smiles.

Now that Jake has his new, expensive tooth, he’s all smiles.

Finally!

Saturday in the Park

Love the bright purple phlox.

Love the bright purple phlox.

Last Saturday was my kind of perfect day.

First, both boys came home for the weekend. That really would have been enough. Then Saturday morning, the Mister, Jake, and I enjoyed “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” even though it’s extremely violent with an ammunition budget that had to be about a million bucks. Talk about your literal overkill!

But the icing on the cake? Our friends Jessica and Eric asked if we would be available for a play date at Imperial Park. Absolutely! All we had to do was switch out Jake (who drove to Houston to be with our “third son,” Chase, and honorary son, Josh) for C.J.

A pennant dragonfly poses.

A pennant dragonfly poses.

Being out in nature on a gorgeous spring day meant snapping pics of nature, of course.

The putt heads towards the basket.

The putt heads towards the basket.

And, naturally, discs were a-flying courtesy of Eric . . .

Note the Mister pushing a stroller.

Note the Mister pushing a stroller.

. . . and C.J.

Jessica and Ted

Jessica and Ted

But the highlight for me was seeing three-month-old Ted. I was in desperate need of an adorable baby fix.

Awwwww!

Awwwww! Such a cute toothless grin.

And now I can last another, oh, week or so!

Batter Up!

Logan is ready to pull the trigger.

Logan is ready to pull the trigger in one of my few decent shots from a week ago. (Believe it or not, this is ISO 4000 with no noise reduction applied.)

You know how people say that something is just like riding a bicycle, meaning that you never forget how to do it? Photography doesn’t always fit nicely and neatly in that category.

Last Friday night I got the chance to shoot our high school’s varsity baseball team in what quickly seemed to be an exercise in futility. It had been three long years since I looked through my beloved Nikon 70-200mm lens at running, hitting, and catching, and I felt about as rusty as the Tin Man before Dorothy and the Scarecrow rescued him.

I’m not sure what the photographic equivalent of an oil can is (I still chuckle at the Scarecrow saying, “Oil can what?”), but it’s probably experience.

As well as a second chance.

Trevor connects for a hit.

Trevor connects for a hit.

Fortunately for me, the guys played again the next day at our rival high school, which is close by. More importantly? It was a day game. Give it up for ISO 200!

I took what I learned not to do the previous evening and improved in my quest to document the action. Thank goodness!

I mostly concentrated on taking good batting pics. When it comes to shooting baseball, photographers want to capture the batter and the ball. It’s easier than trying to snap fielding photos, because you always know where the ball is going—to home plate. Then it’s a matter of luck, timing, and perseverance to nail the perfect shot.

Ryan is ready.

Ryan is ready.

Fortunately, I managed to snap the shutter perfectly twice with Ryan, both times during the same at bat.

This was my favorite shot!

This was my favorite shot. And he did hit the ball!

It made me think that there may be hope for me yet . . . as long as I don’t wait several years again to take baseball photos!

One-Word Wednesday

I’ve never seen such a hefty bluebonnet before.

This was the first time I had seen such a hefty bluebonnet. It stood out among its skinny pals in our neighboring community’s patch of wildflowers.

Chubby!

And now I’ve seen two of them!

And now I’ve seen two of them!

Pretty Progress

Bluebonnets galore!

Bluebonnets galore!

It’s been almost seven weeks since I posted a photo of the first bluebonnet in my neighboring master-planned community.

A lot has happened in that time. As in a bountiful burst of blooming bluebonnets!

But that’s only part of the story.

This is the patch where the first bluebonnet bloomed.

This is the patch where the first bluebonnet blossomed.

Adding to the gorgeous bluish-purple hue that Texans love so much is an abundance of red and pink.

The pink, as in evening primrose, always joins the bluebonnets this time of year. But that fiery red?

A colorful display

A colorful display

For the first time since I’ve been jogging and walking in this area, Drummond phlox has inundated the scenery. In the past, there might be a half dozen or so of the crimson cuties dotting the landscape. But times have changed . . . at least for this wildflower season.

Plenty to see here

Plenty of purty posies

Welcome to the neighborhood!