Katie's Journal

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Da Browns!

by @ 2:28 pm on August 17, 2005.

Yesterday mom, dad, and I trekked up to Cleveland where we met up with dad’s brother George to go and watch the Cleveland Browns’ morning training camp practice. We headed to Cleveland on Monday afternoon, stopping at Big Dee’s tack shop on the way. I picked up some more supplements for the horses, and a couple new pairs of riding pants. Anyway, we then spent the night at George’s, and the next morning headed to Berea, where training camp is held. On the way, we stopped for breakfast at Bob Evans for breakfast, which was wonderful. I was the cow’s tail at breakfast, so we got to Berea around 8:45 (practice started at 8:30). In some ways this was just as well, because nothing really exciting started to happen till about 9 (most just stretching before that). On the down side, the part of the field that had the most action was already crowded. So apparently if you want a good spot over there, you have to show up early. The field was big, and while we moved around some, we mostly sat at a spot that ended up not seeing a lot of action. Still, it was fun to watch the practice. Dad has a much better eye for who’s who, and what’s really going on than I do. I mostly just took pictures of whoever it seemed I could get a decent shot of.

So speaking of pictures, let’s focus on that topic, shall we? For the first time I used my big lens, a Nikon 70–300mm ED. I got this lens back when I first got my camera (or rather, dad bought it, since I paid for the body, and he bought the lenses to go with the camera). I didn’t have a tripod at the time, so when I tried for pictures with it, they came out blurry, and I didn’t end up using it. My last trip to the camera store I picked up a mono-pod. Rather than tote my tripod with me to the practice, I decided to try the mono-pod. It really worked well for me. It was lightweight, so no pain at all to carry around. It provided plenty of stability, but still allowed me to maneuver well to get different angles of the field and such. Originally I set the mode to automatic. Yes, I know I said I wasn’t going to do that anymore, but I wanted to see how it went. I tried to keep a good eye on shutter speed, so see if it stayed in a good range (as I posted before, min. speed for the shutter at max zoom of 300mm would be 1/450 sec.). For the most part, it seemed to do well on auto with the shots of people milling around. The action shots did get a bit blurry, though, so I ended up setting the shutter speed to 1/1000. There was bright sunlight, which was good for the picture taking (allowing me to set such a high shutter speed). All in all, I was *extremely* impressed at how well my big lens performed. There were some blurry shots to be sure, but on the whole I walked away with a lot of amazing pictures in terms of color and sharpness. I certainly can’t say any of my photos are going to be on the cover of Sport’s Illustrated, but that’s more because of the content, which is my fault. This was my first go at football photography, and we didn’t move around like we should have if I’d really wanted to get the best action and close up shots. As I mentioned before, we happened to spend most of our time on benches where the least action was happening in front of us – you had to look across the field (and behind standing players and goal posts and such things) to watch the main action. But that’s just a matter of my learning. I think if we go again next year (which I believe we plan to do, since we had a great time visiting with George and his wife Chris, who unfortunately had to attend meetings and couldn’t go with us to watch the practice), I should do much better.

And finally, on to the pictures. As I mentioned, I had a number of pretty nice shots, so I had trouble picking just a few favorites to post here. All of my favorites can be found in my photo gallery, in the Cleveland Browns Camp album. Those photos have not been photoshopped in any way – only resized so they’re not so huge. These photos here are in the order they were taken. This first shot is just a nice one of an offensive lineup, with Charlie Frye in at QB, and William Green there behind him. If you look closely, you can see the ball has just been snapped. I like this one for the crispness of the colors (which were not photoshopped, but the way), and the sharpness of the players.

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The second photo is one of my better actions shots. That’s my man Braylon Edwards leaping for the ball. And that’s Dyshod Carter chasing after him. I’d like to see Carter just a little more in focus (he seems just a teensy bit blurry to me). I could like with that, but what really brings the picture down in my estimation is how busy the background is. I think if the other players hadn’t been standing there, it would’ve been further back to the crowd, so they wouldn’t have been in focus. As it is, Braylon doesn’t pop out of the photo in that really eye grabbing way that I’d like to see.

Browns2

Photo number three is of Michael Lehan in a nice leap for the ball. I can’t quite tell for sure who’s chasing him – 43? That would be James King. This is more the background I’d hoped for in the above picture. My complaint with this one is more the shadows. The colors don’t pop out like I wish they would. But that’s what happens when you try to take photos into the sun, instead of keeping it at your back.

Browns3

And finally, I just love the color/sharpness of this photo. The content isn’t perhaps the most exciting, but as far as the other aspects go, I think this one is my favorite.

Browns4

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