Many times my photography shoots fall into only a few standardized categories.
Number one: weddings.
Number two: portraits.
Number three: more portraits.
Number four: freelance work.
That’s usually the normal job list. However, once upon a time I received an email from a high school baseball coach who asked him to photograph his baseball team, which was one of a few that was selected to play a baseball game at Miller Park in Milwaukee.
Obviously, it was an incredibly exciting moment for these high school kids to play a baseball game in the same location that their favorite professional athletes play baseball. I’m talking Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez and Jonathon Lucroy all play baseball every day in this same spot. (Or used to before Gomez and Lucroy were traded away from the team)
So, they were all incredibly excited and understandably so.
I was also super excited to take photographs at Miller Park. It wasn’t just a first for the high school kids, it was a first for me to work there as well.
The funny thing about working at a place like Miller Park is that it’s so immense that you literally have to show up a half hour early just to get where you need to be. I also, like I have during regular games, tried to get free parking, which meant I parked a 20-minute walk away from the stadium as well.
Eventually I got all the way down to the field where I met the team and the coach. He was looking for a variety of photos, not just action shots, but shots of everything: the team hanging out in the dugout, the starting lineups, the pitchers in the bullpen getting ready and then a team picture at the end of the day.
So, the first thing I ended up doing was following half the team from the dugout across the field and to the bullpen area, which lay beyond the wall in centerfield. I started snapping away, taking pictures of the kids pretending to catch a flyball at the centerfield wall and then just running across the grass and finally actually warming up in the bullpen.
After warmups, I followed them back to the dugout where they joined up with the rest of the team and I kept busy taking candids of everyone doing what they do until the Star Spangled Banner began and the entire team was called out on to the field.
Since, it was Miller Park, you go in there expecting a lot of rules about where you need to be and how you need to act, but this was definitely an exhibition game so there actually wasn’t anyone really telling me what to do and where to go.
I could pretty much go anywhere the team went and even stand out in the field, not the middle of the diamond of course, but no one was stopping me from going anywhere. It was a little confusing at first. I even went straight to the photographers pit to take photos until I decided it was too rigid of a shooting spot and then began to wander.
Once the game started I even started jumping back and forth between the visitors and the home team’s dugout in order to get better batting pitchers of the kids. Many of them bat right-handed, which means you need to be in front of them when they start hitting.
I really brought the heat when shooting the game. I have a history of sports photography, so I really went to town grabbing shots. I must have come back with easily more than 600 shots from the game.
By the time I edited through all the photos, I gave the coach 300 shots, which was important because he hoped to have at least one shot from each of his players. That was tricky, because a lot of times you aren’t going to get much action in a baseball game. One player can go the whole game without seeing the baseball at all.
Either way, I got a shot of everyone and had fun working at Miller Park for the first and hopefully not last time!