Article Courtesy Scrapjazz.com: by Rachel Myerson
Baseball, our national pastime, is a fun game to play, a fun game to watch, and a challenging game to photograph. Games are often at night when the lighting is poor, the action is spaced out, and your seat is in the wrong place. Here are some suggestions to help you get some better photographs for your baseball-themed scrapbook pages.
For all baseball photographs, I recommend a fast camera, a lot of memory (or film), and the longest lens you can handle. For night games, you might want to consider bringing a tripod or other device to help hold the camera still. If your camera has an action or sports setting, you should use that. If you have manual control, make sure you use a fast shutter speed.
Batting is the easiest part of baseball to photograph. Ideally you want to position yourself in the direction the batter will face. For a right-handed batter, you want to position yourself on the first base side of the field; and for a left-handed batter, you want to position yourself on the third base side of the field. Focus on the batter and shoot as the pitch arrives and the batter swings. Just as the batter needs to anticipate the arrival of the pitch, the photographer needs to anticipate the timing of the swing. If your camera can take rapid series of photos, this is the time to use it. Unfortunately, the batter may swing and miss, but if you use this technique during each pitch, you should be able to get a nice picture of the ball in the air, leaving the bat.
Photographing the pitcher is also relatively straightforward. Ideally, you would position yourself on either side of home plate, so that you can see the pitcher’s face, not blocked by the backstop. Focus on the pitcher, and take photos as he goes through the process: concentrating, the wind-up, and the release. Like photographing the batter, a fast camera might be able to catch the ball in the air, assuming the pitcher doesn’t throw 90 miles an hour.
Fielding photos are very tough to take considering that many of the fielders will only handle the ball a couple of times during the game. Keep the camera focused on your fielder and start shooting if the ball seems to be going in his direction. Hopefully, the ball won’t go through his legs and you will get the action shot you need. Another opportunity for fielding shots is of the fielders warming up before the game.
At the Ballpark
If you are trying to photograph a high school or college player, or if you are at a professional stadium, the large ballpark and assigned seats add a new challenge to photographing baseball. On the plus side, the bright lights often make nighttime photographs possible. On the other hand, the assigned seats make it difficult to get the angle you want and people may be blocking your shot. Here are some suggestions for ballpark photographs:
- Arrive early, so you can walk down to the field. Take photos of the players warming up, or take posed photos of your group in front of the field.
- If something interesting happens and everyone is standing, hold your camera over your head and keep shooting. Hopefully you will be able to get the photo you want.
- Take a picture of the scoreboard. It’s a great way to document the action and it doesn’t move so it’s easy to get in focus.
Whether you are photographing your first t-ball game or a professional game, the games are long and the season is long. There will be many opportunities to get the perfect shot. Make sure you have lots of memory, bring a spare battery, and shoot away.