In my recent blog post “Failure is not an option” I wrote the following line. “My equipment is nice, but not professional. I have stood at events next to real, professional photographers, with my consumer level equipment, and tried to look the part. And my pictures have been nice, but part of me wonders ‘should I even be there?’”
Last night I was "there" again, standing on the sideline of a high school football game. It was a playoff game between Bishop Timon and St. Mary’s. I got there with just a couple of minutes left in the third quarter. I made my way to the field, and found myself standing next to Robert Kirkham from The Buffalo News. Robert is an excellent photographer, and I’ve known him for a few years as he has covered a few events I have been a part of as a public relations professional.
I pulled my camera out and adjusted my settings to be able sufficiently capture the nighttime action of the game. I mentioned this to Robert and he offered a couple of quick pieces of advice. He asked what kind of camera I had, and when I told him, he said that’s nice camera.
We bounced around the field taking pictures of the action, talked about shots we caught, and missed, and talked about photography as a hobby and profession. I was comforted at being welcomed alongside a real professional.
In going through my pictures after the game, I saw a few I liked. One was of a friend’s son running the ball through a hole the offensive line had established. It’s a nice shot, and I posted it to that friend’s Facebook wall.
I also saw a picture on Twitter that Robert took at last night’s game. I retweeted it and sent him the shot I mentioned. While it wasn’t as good as his, I was very pleased when he responded “Nice shot. I could have used it. My stuff was lame since I got there so late.”
Now he was very kind to me, and maybe a bit too harsh on himself, but I was flattered nonetheless.
Rewind to two weeks earlier. We had an event at Niagara University (my full time job), and Joe Cascio was on hand to serve as the photographer for one of our honorees. We had met a few times previously, and it didn’t take long for us to begin talking about photography (prompted by me I’m sure).
During the event I made an off-hand comment about my camera, and he said “that’s an excellent camera.” I continued with a comment about how it didn’t compare to the one in his hand, and he quickly downplayed my remark, and made a comment as to suggest that his was too bulky, and that he would rather carry around one like mine.
And rewind to 4 years earlier, when I bought my first dSLR. Since the first day of my venture into photography, my longtime colleague and friend Jim McCoy, a professional sports photographer with The Buffalo News, has offered advice and guidance whenever I’ve asked...and even when I haven’t asked, but that’s Jim.
The photography fraternity I have come across has been kind, gracious and helpful. And while I have wondered if I belonged next to any of these individuals, they have never once questioned it, and have welcomed me every step of the way.
So in no particular order, thank you to Jim McCoy, Joe Cascio, Robert Kirkham, Mark Mulville, John Hickey, Tom Wolf, Harry Scull, Bill Wippert, John McKeith, Dave Marino, and anyone else I may have missed. You should be proud of your work, and your professionalism. It is greatly appreciated by me.