In and out of position


Stockton Ports’ Michael Richard is forced out at second by San Jose Giants’ Brian Bocock during a California League game at the Banner Island Ballpark in downtown Stockton (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 300m. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/4. ISO: 400).

On occasion I’ve been asked” “where’s the best spot to shoot sports?” The answer is: “It depends on what kind of shot you’re looking for.” In baseball, for instance, the dugout behind first base is a good place to get a defensive shot of a play at second base or, to a lesser extent, third. However, it’s not so good to get a shot of the runner as you will only get a picture of his backside as he slides into the base. It’s also a good spot to get a right-handed batter or of an offensive shot of a play at home.


Stockton Ports’ Michael Richard reaches for a late throw as Visalia Rawhide’s James Skelton slides safely into second during the last game of the season at the Banner Island Ballpark in downtown Stockton (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 300m. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 200).

To get a shot of a runner at second, a good spot is the bleachers in left field. You can get a shot of him sliding into the base. It’s also a place to get a shot of the catcher defending home plate or a left-handed batter. Some photographers who have a wealth of time and equipment can set up cameras aimed at every base and trigger them remotely via radio transmitters. I usually don’t have those resources at hand so I have to pick my positions on where I think the action may happen.These are just general guidelines, and there are times where there are exceptions to the rule.


San Jose Giants’  catcher Aaron Lowenstein, left,  collides with Stockton Ports’ Jermaine Mitchell at home plate during a California League game at the Banner Island Ballpark in downtown Stockton (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 300m. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/4. ISO: 400).

Several weeks ago, I shot the Stockton Ports as they played the San Jose Giants. The Ports were at bat and I set up in the left field bleachers in hopes of someone sliding into second. It’s one of those rules of thumb that when something happens, it’s going to happen where you’re not. A play at home happened with a big collision between the San Jose catcher and Ports baserunner. I knew I was out of position, but I shot a few frames anyway. And sure enough, their bodies slammed into each other, helmets sent flying, and it would have been a great shot, had I been on the first base side.


Stockton Ports’ Yusuf Carter slides safely as second beneath the tag of San Jose Giants’ Brian Bocock during a California League game at the Ball Island Ballpark in downtown Stockton (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 300m. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/4.5. ISO: 400).

A few plays later, I thought I had my shot. The Ports’ Yusuf Carter had gotten to first and was stealing second. I prepared to shoot, waiting for him to come sliding head first into the frame. Not only did he come feet first, which is fine, he also turned away from the camera, facing out to right field. Curses, foiled again! I managed to get a usable shot a few innings later, but for one inning — even though I was in position for one shot — I was actually out of position for two.

This entry was posted in Ports, Sports, Techniques and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Categories

  • Archives