Busy busy BUSY first day on the ground here in Los Angeles. Sports columnist Dave Reardon and I started with a nice human interest story about a gentleman with Hawaii roots who owns a restaurant near USC called “Jacks n Joe.” After hearing the remarkable story of how he went from being a baggage handler at the Hana airport in Maui, to an architect mogul in Beverly Hills, and finally, to serving down-home, comfort food to the likes of Troy Polemalu, Abe Markowitz, and Matt Barkley, I made a nice poignant portrait of him with the only visible item that hints that his establishment, and kuleana, are truly based around Hawaii.
After a busy morning chatting with Mark, we were off to Dodger Stadium to go pay local boys Shane Victorino and Brandon League a visit. Upon arriving at the pass gate, and after getting credentialed, I couldn’t help but feel awe as I walked up to the railing and looked out on one of the great ballparks in our nation.
After getting situated in the press area, I went down to the field level, where I met with Dodgers team photographer Jon SooHoo. At this time, the Dodgers were doing warmups and taking batting practice. Jon advised me that Shane and Brandon were aware that we were here for them, and was very helpful in me being able to grab a quick “fast food” portrait of Brandon League.
I used a 24-70 lens, one 580 flash handheld popped with a pocketwizard, and the wrong lens hood. Yup, that’s right, the WRONG lens hood. I slapped a 70-200 hood on my 24-70 to achieve the vignette effect. Aside from a color adjustment in camera RAW, everything here is a practical application!
Unfortunately, in the hustle and bustle of warmups and BP (there were a LOT of media doing interviews and milling about), I wasn’t able to get a portrait of Shane. But off to the first base photo well I went. Upon getting there, I noticed that the shooting areas were already taped off and marked with “AP,” “Getty,” “LA Times,” “Daily News,” “Reuters,” and “Dodgers.” Uh-oh. No space for the visiting island dude. Luckily, Jon SooHoo graciously allowed me the Dodgers spot–I would be shooting next to Hans Gutknecht of the LA Daily News, Stephen Dunn of Getty Images, and Mark Terrill of AP–a fun bunch of ace shooters. So I got situated and waited for the game to begin. Pregame festivities included a tribute to perhaps the greatest baseball announcer of all time–Vin Scully, and a rainbow over the right field wall.
So after settling in, I attached my 400 to one of my cameras, and was in the process of screwing it tight into the monopod–but alas–it kept freewheeling. Thread. Stripped. No. NO!!! I had to think of something fast. I wasn’t about to handhold this thing the whole game! Gaffers tape to the rescue! See my previous posts on equipment, and you’ll see that I “don’t leave home without it.” Gaffers tape, that is.
Since my coverage was weighted towards feature art for our local players, I won’t publish most of that on here until it publishes in the Star-Advertiser, but I did manage to get some great shots from that 1st base well. You’re so close to the action! Second base was a tight pan with the 400 2.8. And, when Dodgers GM Don Mattingly argued a call, it was literally RIGHT in front of us! You could hear them talking! So amazing!
Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay the whole game. The Warriors were due from their flight out to LA at the hotel in Manhattan Beach, and we needed to be there to greet them.
Around 11:15, the buses finally arrived at the Marriott Manhattan Beach. Coach Norm Chow and the team quickly disembarked and turned in for the night. After transmitting a couple of shots of the team arriving, I called it a night. Only a 16-hour day, nothing at all. But an EXCITING 16-hour day! Tune in for more soon!