Behind the Camera: Keeping it Interesting by Burt Granofsky

June 11, 2013  •  Leave a Comment
A player from Bytown Flatball Club pulls the disc at Mixed Easterns 2013. I wasted many frames before getting this shot, which was one of my favorites from the entire weekend.

I love playing ultimate. I love shooting ultimate, too, which is why I am willing to spend weekends kneeling down in the heat or the cold, watching dozens of games through a tiny viewfinder.

But shooting game after game after game--and then doing it again on Sunday--poses special challenges. It is hard to stay focused for hours on end. This is especially true at larger tourneys where I am jumping between fields every 20 minutes or so. The jerseys may change but the sport is generally played the same way: pull, swing, dump, swing, huck. Repeat.

As a photographer, I try to capture the big plays first and foremost (it always helps to have photographic evidence of that giant D you claimed to have made when bragging to friends about it afterwards). Layouts make for great pictures, as do any situations where the disc is being contested. Those are always my favorite shots. But during the later rounds on Saturday, I often start to feel like every shot I take is one that I have already taken. I find myself in a creative rut--not a good place to be when there are still many rounds to go before the Sunday finals. 

 

Tough marking on display at the 2013 USAU HS Northeastern Championships. I love the marker Tough marking on display at the 2013 USAU HS Northeastern Championships. I love the marker's face and body language; it screams competition, and you don't have to know anything about ultimate to appreciate how intense the sport can be.

When I fall into this funk, I try to change my perspective to make things interesting again. One way to switch things up is by shooting close, which allows me to focus more on the people who are competing, not just the plays they are making. Getting close allows me to pinpoint individual stories within the larger weekend. And there are lots of stories there, usually written on the faces of the people in front of me.

It's shots like these that really make me enjoy covering ultimate. Once I get some close-ups it's back to shooting the ebb and flow of the game; I start hunting for the layouts and big Ds again. But I come back to the game refreshed, having taken some time to shoot it from another perspective.

 

The Capitals celebrate a point during 2012 USAU Northeast Regionals. Many players were celebrating, but getting close makes the moment feel more intimate. The Capitals celebrate a point during 2012 USAU Northeast Regionals. Many players were celebrating, but getting close makes the moment feel more intimate.

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