JC Hutchins, starting goalie for the Bellarmine Knights commenting on the new team (photo provided by BU Athletics)
A new game is on the rise in the region. That brings the school students, the stores customers and me a job. I am a college photojournalist/sports reporter for Bellarmine University. Men's lacrosse is new to Bellarmine, the state of Kentucky and most of the region outside of the New England states. Along with the new sport, we, in only the second year of play and the first with division I competition, are building a state-of-the-art $4 million stadium. But I have found myself enjoying a new scene through the view-finder. I have enjoyed the fast-paced game and found it is a challenge to keep up with the movement of the small ball and quick players. There are a few tips I find useful when shooting pictures of lacrosse.
"I have a better shot at gettong people to read my sports pages if there are fascinating pictures on the pages to catch their eye before they turn the page," Rita Dixon, Sports Editor for the Concord said. First of all with any sport you shoot, you should be at least moderately aware of the rules of the game. It helps to know what the objective is to the game in order to determine which way the players may be going. For instance, know where the goal is, who can shoot and where from. Also who is on defense and when are they most likely to get the ball or action.
(photo by me)
Keep your eyes open. Both of them. It makes it much easier to follow the ball with all the movement away from and with the small white object. It is difficult at first, especially if you are using a zoom lens because it creates such a difference in the size of the players between your two eyes’ views. But it will help you see more of the field at once and follow the action if it is moving too fast for your camera to find or if there is action away from a specific shot you want. Basically, it just takes a little getting used to and a lot of zooming out to replace the ball in the frame. "I think the most important thing I have learned about getting the perfect shot is to NEVER STOP SHOOTING," Dixon suggested.
(photo by me)
Many outdoor field sports are similar in their shooting techniques. For example, soccer, field hockey and even ice hockey are very similar to shooting lacrosse in that there is an objective to shoot the ball at the net, the two teams are constantly intermingled together in play, they fields are set up alike and basically each team progresses toward the opponents goal for a good percentage of the game.
Therefore, the best places to take lacrosse or any of these shots would be as always as close as possible. In most cases, in order to get close and capture players faces, the best place to be is on the end line or the line behind each goal. However, it is very dangerous in lacrosse because the ball is so small and shot very hard, if it were to miss, which most teams do often, that ball would not feel good. So the sideline or a good distance away from the field behind the goal would be a safer choice. If there is ever any doubt where the dangerous spots on the field might be, one of the officials would be able to tell you exactly where you can and should stand. I traveled to the Bellarmine v. Duke lacrosse game earlier this spring and was told by the athletic director to stay out of the corners. That is where a lot of the missed shots taken from the side of the goal end up and I’m glad he told me that.
(photo by me)
Lastly, remember all of the previous tips for sports photography and any photography for that matter.
"Obviously you want to get great action shots. Sometimes the typical shot can be the good one, but it's fun to look for something a bit more surprising or unexpected," Dixon said. Interest is very important so the closer and more expression you get the better. Get the action moving into the picture. Rule of thirds helps any picture. And don’t forget about those lines on the field to help lead the viewer. "Photojournalism continues to become a more important aspect of print media so it's important that the photos tell an accurate amd intriguing story. Many times it is the only story told because people don't take the time to read the written version," Dixon said. Good luck with future sports endeavors and stay posted.