It’s all out of focus


An easy skill, right?

Point a square-like contraption at the element of your choice, focus, hit a small button and you’ve captured an image frozen in time for all eternity.

Most of the time the print returns clear, crisp and ready for instatement in your most beloved keepsake box.

This weekend in Mississippi, however I found out how a different form of photography can baffle, irritate and send one into a state of pure frustration.

Sports photography.

The shots taken by “professional” photographers here at the Star are usually in focus and compare with any newspaper of similar size. How they do it I have no idea.

I used to yell at our photo staff and say things like, “Why don’t we have any more film of LeShon?” or “How come you didn’t get any shots of the defender streaking down the sidelines after he picked off Bart Geiser’s pass and destroyed the entire season?”

I will no longer ask these questions.

My photo bud, Don Forsell, allowed me to use his Nikon camera and 300 mm lens for last Saturday’s football game, and 108 frames in which to shoot for fun and said “good luck.”

God did I need it.

When I first arrived on the field my first thoughts were somewhere along the lines of “wow this is so cool. I’m so close to the action and should be able to take some awesome shots!”

Whatever, dude.

To illustrate what kind of skill this profession takes allow me to paint a picture for you.

I’m standing on the goal line when Ole‘ Miss had the ball at the NIU 30-yard line. With Don’s super-zoom lens of doom, I focus in on their quarterback, who drops back to pass and looks right into the camera!

Oh, excellent photo opportunity!

Here comes the receiver and Huskie defensive back Chad Smith on the coverage right towards me.

O.K. now … focus … pan back a little … wait, where did they go?!

Once I relocate them in the frame, my one shot comes in totally out of focus and unusable.

Another good possibility came once again while I was in the endzone and Ole’ Miss was on the prowl.

The quarterback fires … focus and ready … incomplete and … Click! … the wide out is crunched by an NIU defenseman.

Great picture Dietz. All of the players involved in the play don’t have heads and are completely out of focus.

My point is this: appreciate the sports photos you see in the paper.

After my experience, I do.