Photographers' Blog

When baseballs attack

By Darryl Webb

“I was really glad I saw it coming.”

I know that statement above sounds a little confusing so allow me to explain.

I don’t know how many professional sporting events I’ve covered in the last 20 years. Let’s just say it’s been a lot and in all that time I’ve never been hurt. There have been a couple of close calls here and there, but nothing serious until earlier this week.

Had I not seen this sphere coming toward me at a blistering speed, the end result could have been a lot worse. I’m not saying it would have been as bad as Sports Illustrated’s photographer John Iacono, who was hit by an overthrown ball in 1999, shattering his jaw which resulted in two titanium plates, some wire mess and something like 20 screws. But it definitely would have been worse than a headache, a bump on the head and two hours spent at Urgent Care.

As I stood in the first base photo well between innings, trying to figure another angle to shoot the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s Albert Pujols, I saw Angels’ third baseman Mark Trumbo make a throw to first – a throw he’s made a million times I’m sure. But this time the trajectory was off, it had some extra height to it, and unless Pujols was suddenly 10 feet-tall that ball was headed in my direction.

Instincts took over – DUCK AND COVER.

The problem was I didn’t have much time, maybe 2 or 3 seconds at the most and I was standing on a 4-foot tall platform holding thousands of dollars worth of camera gear so I couldn’t just duck that easily. Instead I turned my cameras around, turned my back to the field and hunched over as much as I could. And waited.

A couple of seconds passed and I thought, “Oh it must of passed or someone caught it.” Then Mr. Rawlings said a big, nasty hello to the back of my head. It hit about three inches behind my ear. My hand immediately went to see if there was blood (no blood thank goodness).

Boxing their own worst enemy

On some of my first trips around Sao Paulo after moving here, I caught glimpses of life under the city’s many highway viaducts, whether it was of people storing recyclable waste or even living under the bridges. I refer to my roaming excursions in this city as “trips,” because this massive city of nearly 20 million inhabitants is a world in itself.

The shadow of aspiring boxer Laercio is projected on a wall as he uses a discarded truck axle for weight training at a gymnasium under the Alcantara Machado viaduct in the Mooca neighborhood of Sao Paulo, March 28, 2011. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

One day, as I gradually widened my geographic range and knowledge of my new city, I spotted people practicing sports under one bridge. It was a brief view but long enough to register in my mind. So when I read soon after about a boxing school under a viaduct and went to search it out, I realized immediately it was the same one I had spotted that day.

Aspiring boxers train at a gymnasium under the Alcantara Machado viaduct as cars drive past in the Mooca neighborhood of Sao Paulo, March 28, 2011.  REUTERS/Nacho Doce

Aspiring boxer Laercio (R) trains with his coach Mauricio Cruz at a gymnasium under the Alcantara Machado viaduct in the Mooca neighborhood of Sao Paulo, March 14, 2011. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

Under the bridge I met former pro boxer Nilson Garrido, the founder and owner of the school. Six years ago Garrido started a project in which he created several boxing academies under the viaducts of Sao Paulo. His goal was to take the sport to the poor and marginalized population. In the meantime the project attracted other people who started to contribute a small monthly fee for the use of the gym.

Before a ball is bowled

Reuters Photographer Parivartan Sharma takes us to the town of Meerut, north of Delhi, where cricket balls are still being made the old-fashioned way – by hand. India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will co-host the 2011 Cricket World Cup starting on February 19.

The Making Of A Cricket Ball – Cricket World Cup Preview from Vivek Prakash on Vimeo.

from Russell Boyce:

Asia – A Week in Pictures 21 November 2010

As I write 29 men are trapped in a coal mine in New Zealand after a methane explosion at the Pike River coal mine. Sydney based photographer Tim Wimborne is at the scene. His picture of people hugging each other so tightly seems to sum up the growing despair as they cling to the hope that the men are still alive, the moment in the picture seems to go on an eternity.

tim mine hug

Family members of miners trapped underground in the Pike River coal mine comfort each other in Greymouth on New Zealand's west coast, after visiting the mine to see rescue preparations November 21, 2010. Efforts to rescue 29 men trapped in a New Zealand coal mine faced more agonizing delays on Sunday when authorities said they would drill a new shaft to test air quality because toxic gases made it too dangerous for rescue teams go in. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne

Two separate disasters in buildings over the last week took over a hundred lives with police taking action against the property owners in both cases. In Shanghai,  Ali Song shooting pictures that not only convey the drama of the fire but also show the scale of the blaze by showing figures dwarfed by the smoke and flames.  The silent upturned faces of onlookers striking a chill in the heart, a mood created by Aly exposing for the highlights allowing the shadow to fall into almost complete darkness.  

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…?

Snow. Looks good on those Christmas cards, doesn’t it? Fun for small children. Even nice for penguins in the zoo. But photographers covering soccer? Brrrrrrrrrr. Not really.

Let’s get one thing straight. We Brits go on about the weather like a stuck record, but when it comes to it, we can’t cope with it. That’s why we live in Britain.

We whinge when the mercury drops to -3 (26 degrees Fahrenheit). A colleague of mine in Canada will point out that’s not cold. Cold, proper cold, can’t feel your fingers, just walked into a fridge cold, is -25 (-13 degrees Fahrenheit).