Category Archives: high school baseball

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!

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PWCs: Make Fences Disappear

A blurred fence doesn't make for a compelling photo.

Is this how your baseball or softball photos of your kids typically look? Read today’s advice for parents with cameras and learn how to make fences disappear.

Timing Is Everything

Bo is about to field the catcher’s throw too late to tag the runner, who has stolen third base.

Timing is everything in life. And photography! Especially action photography.

Recently I took my Nikon dSLR to our high school to knock the rust off my baseball-shooting skills, which have been dormant since I shot Little League last summer. Our sophomore team, consisting of freshmen and second-year players, was facing our rival high school. I opted to add my Nikon 1.4x teleconverter to my Nikon 70-200mm lens to give me more reach. Necessary because the field is so big, and I was shooting behind the fence.

Sidebar: If you have the chain-link fence in your photos, that’s a big, old bulls-eye that you’re an amateur. Here’s the trick to making that metal disappear: Put your lens on or close to the fence so that you’re shooting through one of the holes. It helps to have the lens hood on for protection. Do that, and you can take 10 steps up on everyone’s photog respect ladder! Just be sure to keep your focus point on the action and don’t let it stray back to the fence.

Nate rears back.

Fortunately, the opposing team’s pitcher, Nate, was left-handed. So he was facing where I was standing.

Nate at the top of his motion.

It’s makes for a more-compelling photo if you can see the pitcher’s face and full motion.

Nate delivers the pitch toward the plate.

As always, burst mode is your BFF for getting the pitched ball in the final photo.

First baseman Eric is ready for a pickoff play.

Our pitcher, Pablo, tried to keep the runners close to first base by making several pickoff attempts. I had seen him throw over before this photo was taken, and I wanted to be ready if he did it again.

Here comes the pickoff attempt!

I manually prefocused my lens on the base to keep the action in focus.

The tag is too late.

The runner was safe, and I was able to capture all of the dirt-in-the-face action, because of that prefocusing.

Chris slides into third base.

My favorite photos of the day were burst-mode series, like the pickoff attempt and this one involving our leftfielder, Chris. Would he beat Justin’s tag at third?

Justin is lost in Chris’ cloud of dust!

I love how the photo captures the amount of dirt and dust Chris kicked up! But we can’t tell yet if Chris was safe or out.

Justin shows that he has the ball.

The catcher seems to be signaling that Chris is out.

The ump makes the final decision.

But the ump has the final say-so: Chris is safe!

You can see in the photo that Chris has his head down and doesn’t see the call being made.

Yes, you're safe!

Yes, Chris, you were safe. Great timing!