Wednesday, September 23, 2009

New Fields & Fall Sports

The new turf athletic field at Regis. Included in the project were new areas for track & field events, and a new softball field

Over the winter Regis College completely renovated their outdoor athletics fields. With a few million dollars and some significant construction work, the old fields were torn out, a few more acres of land were cleared, and the result are brand new athletics fields for our students. Due to problems with the old fields, several of our teams were forced to play home games at off campus sites. This kept the number of fans in attendance down, and was a mental hurdle our athletes had to overcome before each game. With the new facilities here on campus, the fans are turning out, and the athletes appear more relaxed and better focused.

The Regis women's soccer team finishes their first pre-game warm up on their new field

As the athletics photographer, I marked my calendar months in advance to make sure I would be available for the first games on the new turf field. Last Saturday that day had finally arrived and the Regis women's soccer team took on Salve Regina for the first of many contests to be had at the new complex. The team lost this game, but I'm sure they will start a home winning tradition very soon.

Regis goaltender Ashley Hibbard (on ground) puts herself in harms way to beat an attacker to the ball

The men's team was next and they looked comfortable on the turf field versus the natural grass they played on last year. The pace was quick and tempers flared a bit before cooler heads prevailed.

(Left)Ricky Guyette gets his head in the game as teammate Shawn McDonough looks on

(Right)Shawn McDonough (left) and Josh Fidalgo (right) squeeze out Salve Regina William Shaheen for a loose ball

One thing about turf fields is that they can be a nightmare for professional photographers. Sure, they lines are clean and there aren't any brown spots where the grass is gone, but they act like asphalt on a hot day, giving off heat and causing visual distortions picked up by long focal length lenses. This happens even on a relatively cool 70 degree day in Massachusetts in September. An example of the problem is to the right.

Regis sophomore goalie Andrew LaMacchia fields a low shot making the save look routine

Just a few days later I was back on the field for my first field hockey game. At that point my only experience with field hockey was watching a few minutes of it on ESPN2 at 3am. Being an ice hockey fan, and a new lacrosse fan, I had a rough idea of what I was in for but it still was a long day of shooting as I kept finding myself out of position. Live and learn as they say! I did manage to get some shots that I was happy with and more importantly, I learned a lot for the next field hockey match I'll be shooting.

Sophomore Meghan Robohm (white) cuts off a Salve Regina attacker and steals the ball

(Left) Defender Joanna McDonough gets to a loose ball to safely clear the Regis zone
(Right) Regis goalkeeper Sara Ankerud reflects back on the first half

With the school semester in full swing, I'll have frequent posts concerning Regis athletics, and some Hockey East including Boston University, Boston, College, Northeastern, & UMass so keep checking back in, and thanks for stopping by.

~ Brad

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New Hampshire Motor Speedway - Club Racing

The grandstand at New Hampshire Motor Spedway in Loudon, NH
This past Sunday I was invited to shoot a father-daughter racing team in Loundon, NH at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The Fisher Racing Team is part of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and competes in the Spec Miata (SM) and Showroom Spec Miata (SSM) classes. These classes are your typical stock car classes, minimal modifications allowed, and all the cars should run fairly equal leaving it up to driving skill and nerves to take the checkered flag.

Jody Fisher hangs tight in turn 1 during the SSM class qualifiers

Unfortunately the day went by too quickly and I didn't get to spend as much time with Doug & Jody off the track as I would have liked, but they were great people to be working with. The day reminded me a lot of being back in North Carolina, everyone had a smile on their face and a wave or a handshake for you. I love Massachusetts, but you don't see this type of friendly, laid back persona as often in the Greater Boston area.

Father Dougles Fisher & daughter Jody both race in their Spec Class Miata. Jody straps in and prepares to race

Douglas Fisher prepares to head back to the garage after a successful inspection

When it came down to racing, the competitors here may not be household names, but they were all there to win. We found a few great spots around the track and came up with some pretty good images for a 1st time shooting motorsports. I also learned a lot, like the fact that I need a good ND filter to get nice panning shots in bright sunlight, 1/4000 makes the cars look like they're parked in a parking lot. Oh well, lesson learned and I'll be ready next time. Thanks to Diane for setting this up for me and for the Fishers for having us out as part of their team.

A view of the SCCA racing garage

(Left) Spec Class Miatas lined up waiting for the racing to start
(Right) Fellow photographers Chris Wraight, Diane Hanlon, & Tom Lucia (back)

Jody Fisher drafts an opponent while waiting for the opportune moment to strike

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Revisiting the Classics at Nicholas

Driving by Nicholas restaurant in Natick last Sunday I saw a line up of American Classics: A Thunderbird, Bel Air, Mustang, Corvette Sting Ray... Well, you get the picture, as did I. I stopped in and got permission to take a few quick photos from the owners who were sitting on lawn chairs in the parking lot. Nicholas' has a sister restaurant called Nick's in Ashland which has a classic car night every week during the summer and I'm sure these guys are regulars.

Not much to say here, the backgrounds were a problem so I got low, but there was just too much going on. I gave out a few business cards and should get a chance to re-shoot a few of these in better suroundings. Images were then processed in either Photomatix or ColorFX Pro and finished in Photoshop CS4.

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