Close to the Action
One of the great things about games at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton, CA and minor league baseball is being able to get very close to the action on the field. I took this picture from my third row seat behind home plate using a 50mm prime lens. Normally I would have used a zoom, probably my 18-135mm, but on this night I wanted to check out the lens I bought to replace the nifty-fifty I dropped and broke. I pointed my camera toward home plate just to see what kind of shot I could get from my third row seat. Being behind the netting wasn’t great, but it had protected the crowd from several foul balls on this evening. With a longer lens I would probably have been able to obscure it a little more, but it does give the image a sense of place and scale.
Stockton Ports 1st baseman, Max Muncy, was batting left handed and I knew I wouldn’t get his face. Not unless I walked around to the other side, which would probably mean missing the shot. Sports photographers will tell you, and I don’t disagree, get the face. That is where you see the real emotion, the power, the effort, in a sports photograph. But the “rules” don’t always apply, and sometimes a good photograph happens in spite of the “rules.” Besides, photography rules truly are meant to be broken. This is especially true when you capture the “decisive moment.”
Another thing that helps this image is the scale. Rather than crop down to just the batter, I chose to include the catcher and umpire behind the plate, as well as the 3rd baseman and outfielder in the background. This gives a good sense of scale to the photograph. Not using a wide angle lens did not allow me to include more, but the 50mm prime eliminates distortion that a wide angle would introduce.
The Ports are an affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. The Rawhide are affiliated with the Arizona Diamondbacks.