Take Mistakes

Sometimes shots that aren’t perfect end up being my favorite.

Yesterday, I was shooting a soccer game at the college where I work. When you photograph ball sports, one of the rules its to make sure the ball is in the frame. Generally, you also try to include the whole player in your shot as well. Turns out, one of my favorite shots does neither.

Landmark College, grass, soccer
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Blades of grass glow in the evening sun after being kicked up by a player on Landmark College’s soccer team.

In this shot, a player had just kicked the ball clear out of the frame. The athlete was too close for my camera and lens combo (Canon 1D Mark IV plus 300mm 2.8), so the player happens to be headless too. Normally, one would delete this shot without giving it a second look, but I love it! In the absence of a ball, blades of grass fluttering through the air convey action, dislodged from their roots and made temporarily airborne by a strong kick. Warm sunlight, coming from the side, illuminates the grass against a shadowed background, literally highlighting its presence. The light also shows texture and movement in the players’ jersey, further emphasizing action. Together these two components – grass and light – make the image. Without either, it wouldn’t work at all.

I realize that this might not meet some tastes. The unusual composition, absence of the soccer ball, and dissection of the players’ body just won’t work for some. But I like this unusual shot. I like that its different. I like that its ambiguous – the player could be just about anybody from any team. It is interesting, and I want to keep looking at it.

That’s good enough for me.

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