I went down into the middle of Woodinville to try and get pictures of the smoke from the wildfires. I ended up walking alongside the playing fields that are usually so busy with various sports. At this time, they were empty. What I had never noticed when driving by is that they have a sculpture by the fields of a baseball mitt. This bronze sculpture has the mitt and a bunch of rabbits. I am not sure what the meaning of the rabbits is but maybe it is designed to appeal to kids that are at the park to play their sports.
Some colleagues arranged for us to buy some tickets for a baseball game while we were in Tokyo. The Giants were the home team playing another local team called the Swallows. The game was played inside Tokyo Dome, an inflatable structure and thankfully one with air conditioning! Here is a panorama of the interior of the dome during the game. Baseball games in Japan have some notable differences from those in the US, mainly relating to crowd behavior. That may get a separate post so I will leave it for now.
My brief trip to the UK was concluded by a flight back to Seattle from London. I ended up in a seat on the right side of the plane and, as we came across the city, I had a good view of the downtown. The seat was rather low compared to the window but LiveView came into its own and I could hold them camera above me pointing down and frame the shot using the rear screen. Technology is a wonderful thing. The Space Needle and the football and baseball stadiums both stand out from above.
I last saw Camden Yards over 20 years ago when I was living in Washington D.C. At the time, the trend for developing baseball stadiums back in downtown areas was only just getting going. Camden was a trendsetter. Now, many cities have gone down the same route and baseball stadiums are in the cities whether it is the majors or the minors. I was heading to get the train back to the airport at the end of my work visit and the route took me right through the middle of the complex. A game was due later in the day and some visitors were already taking tours while the vendor staff were just getting ready to serve the crowds that would come later. However, it was still nice and quiet as I passed through. It was also going to be a warm day so I imagine that the vendors were going to have a busy day keeping everyone refreshed.
To be fair, the lions are pretty flexible when it comes to affiliations. When the White Sox went to the World Series, they wore White Sox caps. Bears helmets and Blackhawks helmets don’t cause a problem since there is only one team for each sport in the city unlike supporting one or other of the baseball teams. However, the lions do appear to be fans of whichever team is winning! (For those of you not familiar with the lions, they flank the entrance to the Art Institute of Chicago and they get into the spirit if a team is doing well.) By now, of course, we know how it all worked out! Let’s go Cubbies!
A recent work trip took me to Indianapolis for a few days. A client was down there at a facility and I was meeting with them on a number of topics over a few days. Since we were all staying away from home, we had free time at the end of the day when we could go out and see what the local area had to offer. The first night I was there, the rest of the guys had already worked out what they wanted to do so I was happy to tag along.
Indianapolis has a minor league baseball team, the Indians. They are based at a nice ballpark close the the heart of downtown. For those that have been following this blog for a while, you will recall that Nancy and I had a weekend in Indianapolis last year when the baby elephant was first appearing in public at the zoo. The hotel we stayed in was very close to the ballpark and from one end of the building you got a great view of it from above.
This time I was going to get to see the inside of the park and enjoy an evening of baseball. It should be noted that I am not much of a baseball fan. I know some imports like me that are huge fans of the game but I have never really got into it. I used to think that it was something you had to grow up with but that is obviously not the case given the friends I have that have got into it. For me, it is another sport I am happy to watch but one that doesn’t get me passionate. As with many sports, though, seeing it in person is so much more fun than watching it on TV.
A trip to the ballpark is a social experience for me. You get to hang out in a (usually) good-natured crowd, watch some sport, eat some food that you wouldn’t normally bother with and drink some beer. On a warm evening, there really isn’t much to complain about with that. If you don’t know either of the teams, you tend to root for the home guys and, in this case, that worked out pretty well since they won convincingly.
I took my camera along because I knew that we were heading to the game before I left home. It was an evening game and the stand was blocking the sun from the west so light was always going to be an issue. As the game wore on, the ISO settings went higher and higher. Looking at the shots at full zoom, they really show the impact of the noise. However, since these are small versions of the shots, they shouldn’t look too bad. They were never intended for publication so it is far better to have clarity of the shot than to have a lot of blurry shots with low noise!
I was shooting with the 100-400 which is not a great low light lens at the best of times but it did reasonably well. I also took along the fisheye zoom since a sports stadium is an interesting shape for that type of lens. The park allowed you to walk all around the perimeter so I did take a stroll at one point to see what everything looked like from other parts of the ground. It was nice to see the different perspectives.
I did try shooting from directly behind the batter’s position as the pitcher faced me. The netting is a problem here, of course. A faster lens may have better allowed me to take the net out of focus but it was already pretty dark by then so I was fighting on a few fronts. It didn’t really matter of course. I was doing this for fun and if the shots are not quite Sports Illustrated standard, I am not going to lose too much sleep.