I took my first overnight trip last week to shoot three of our local private schools in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) state tournament in San Antonio with of my paper's sports writers, Mitch Worthington. We took off Thursday since we had an 11:00 game Friday morning and we arrived back in Midland Sunday afternoon. The trip was pretty fun, although it was also very tiring, especially on Friday as I was either shooting, editing, transmitting or riding along to the next venue all day long. I shot in a total of four different gyms, which means four different lighting configurations to deal with. That also meant four different venue administrators who couldn't seem to agree on just where I could shoot from, as well as four different lighting setups with their own challenges. I really have gotten spoiled with just shooting in two or three local gyms frequently, with the Chap Dome and it's ceiling-mounted strobes being the main one. The light at three of the places was alright, but there was one that was a total cave. I ended up shooting at ISO 3200, and using PictureCode's Noise Ninja software to erase some of the noise I get at that level of sensitivity.
Two of our team's made it to their respective championship games Saturday, and the paper wanted photos for both the sports and news sections so I was kept pretty busy at those games shooting not only action, but the crowd and of course the reaction and trophy shots. The biggest challenge for me was often finding an outlet to plug in my laptop so I could edit and transmit, providing I could find a wireless connection. It never failed that my laptop battery would start to run out when I only had about five minutes of work left. It usually took me much longer than that to find a plug and get started again. Little things like this are small challenges that I wouldn't have been prepared for if I hadn't done freelance work and had to transmit to various paper's or offices when I was still in college. It's not hard at all, but it can be frustrating if you aren't used to it. My co-worker Reid Merritt and I have found that when it comes to transmitting if it can go wrong, it probably will, twice. I was pretty lucky this time, but we have some horror stories we tell at the office every time one of us is covering an out of town game just to make sure the other guy knows how bad a night he could have. It's just one of the little ways we look out for one another in the photo department.
The last thing I have to say about this weekend, is how cool it was to get back to the paper Sunday and see all my photos in the past two day's papers. It's not like seeing my work in print is anything new at this point, but seeing which photos made it and how they were used is fun and something I hope never stops being so for me.