My Top Ten Favorite Softball Photos of 2014
I did not shoot much softball this past year. I basically shot the season ending series for Purdue against Minnesota, and one of the fall games this year. That is a shame because I really enjoy softball. It was one of those years where it seemed as if every baseball home game coincided with a softball game. Softball is a fast, fun sport to cover. It is much like volleyball where every pitch can have emotional moments as the teams will give some sort of yell. I did not cover much softball this season, but I had a great time when I did. I don’t know how much softball I will cover in the coming year. Hopefully it is more than I did this past season. There is a softball diamond just down the road from my house. I have no real excuse for not shooting more this season.
10. This may be my favorite fielding photo of the season. Softball is much different than baseball when it comes to approaching getting this kind of a shot. When I shoot a baseball game I rely on the coaches to see where they think the ball is going to go. In softball that does not happen as much. The ball gets there much quicker too so you have to react to what the player that you are sitting on does at the crack of the bat. Of course while you are doing all of this you are not watching the batter so the ball may be coming right at you.
9. I put this photo into the countdown because of what it took to get it. Next season the Purdue softball team will play in a new stadium. That may be a good thing because to get this angle in the old stadium I had to squeeze into a spot in between the bleachers and the Purdue dugout. There is barely enough room to hold the camera up to get the shot. In the new stadium I assume that I will have no trouble getting to this new spot as it should be seating. The location did give me a great shot of the first baseman making the play.
8. Purdue was an interesting team to shoot. Their top two pitchers threw with opposite hands. Sometimes I would want to move across the diamond quickly after a pitching change. When I couldn’t get to where I wanted to be I would have to stop to make the photo that I could. This was from the little niche on the first base side of the stadium. It was not quite as tough to get into as the one that I talked about above. I had a few more inches of room which made all the difference here. For some reason this is the part of Lilly Fecho’s motion that I liked the best.
7. The smaller diamond makes the already quick nature of plays that much quicker. A player stealing second has 30 less feet to run than in baseball. That means that you have to be focused on the base sometimes to get the shot. When you get it though it is worth it.
6. Here is a view that will be hard to get next season. At the old softball complex I had a platform out in centerfield to shoot from. If this stadium is anything like the new baseball stadium it will be in a location that I will probably not have access to. I spent some of the game this fall out in centerfield making images that I may not get to make again. Then again I do own a ladder.
5. The shot of Lexi Valone is one that I am proud of. At the crack of the bat I panned over to get to Lexi just as she was diving to catch this line drive. The ball was not in the air very long, but I managed to capture the moment just before it got to her. Things worked out perfectly here. If the ball had been a little farther away it would not have had as much impact. Had the ball been a little closer to Lexi it would have obscured part of her. This is the location that I strive for when shooting a shot like this one. I was lucky to get it here.
4. Andie Varsho was a player at Purdue that left a mark for sure. She set many program records, and may go down as the best hitter in program history. When I first saw her play I just knew her as Gary Varsho’s daughter. I watched Gary play when he was a member of the Cubs when I was a kid. By the time that I shot her for the last time as a senior I knew her as a great hitter. She will be missed this coming season for sure. It is hard to replace a hitter like her.
3. Sometimes even when you are shooting for one team you have to make a picture when it presents itself. As this Minnesota player was approaching the plate after a home run her team surrounded it. I thought that it might make a good photo so I waited for her to approach the plate. When she jumped up I pressed the shutter knowing that it was the moment. I love the excitement of softball. It really makes it a fun sport to cover. I hope that I captured some of that here.
2. Here is another shot of Andie Varsho at the plate. This was from my centerfield position. Before heading to a baseball game I made a few photos from the centerfield location just for fun. This is just a unique view that I did not normally see in the photo galleries. The best photos from out there have the ball where it is here with the catchers face in full view. A couple of reactions that you are not used to seeing.
1. Of course the number one photo in the countdown is not an action shot. Well it is not game action anyway. This year after the senior day festivities were over I kept my camera out. We had just shot the group photo of the team when the underclassmen decided to have some fun with the seniors. I love the emotion here, and it became an instant favorite of mine. These are the moments that make everything worthwhile.