It is that time again, when school starts, and the Annandale Atoms hit the field, the course, the court, the track, the mat, the stage, and hopefully the books. Here are a few photos to remind them of the experience.
My wife, Patty, mentioned that I take photos to an acquaintance whose daughter is on the James Madison High School varsity field hockey team. Their team had made it to the 2017 Virginia state quarterfinals, and the result of my wife’s conversation was that I was given an opportunity to give these kids some evidence showing that they can do great things.
2017 was the second season that I’ve shot photos for the Annandale High School (AHS) Girls Varsity Field Hockey team. It is always a challenge taking action photos in low light, but unlike lacrosse, where players have to keep their heads up, and the ball is rarely on the ground, field hockey forces the players to be looking downward most of the time when they have the ball. That puts shadows on their faces, which makes proper exposure even more difficult. But it is what it is. And a photographer can compensate somewhat by getting as low as possible for his shots. This season, I did what I had to do.
Sometimes you need to do things that are easy, things that will allow you to continue to develop your skills in an environment that is not overly challenging. So, I’m obviously not talking about running around carrying a stick on a field that is filled with other people running around carrying sticks, with everyone trying to smack a tiny ball through defenders and into a goal. That’s hard. That’s real hard! I’m talking about taking action photos in actual daylight. Due to scheduling, that’s not possible for the Annandale High School varsity field hockey team. They play at night, on a field that doesn’t have professional quality lighting. But the JV, they play during daylight! Sometimes they play in strong sun! My camera likes strong sun! The high contrast helps it focus much better. All those pixels fill up with photons without having to leave the shutter open so long that you can’t capture fast action without blurring.
So, because sometimes I need things that are easy. This season, I attempted to shoot the JV field hockey games.
In the early fall of 2016, I was asked by the Annandale High School (AHS) Girls Varsity Field Hockey coach whether I would be willing to take photos during their season. The season turned out to be pretty challenging competition-wise, but it was also challenging photographically, because almost every one of their games took place after dark. These low-light / fast action conditions end up being a trade-off, for a given minimum shutter speed, between the soft focus you may get with a wide open aperture, against the sensor noise you will get with a a more closed aperture.