There have been a lot of things on my plate in the past couple weeks – like looking for a place to buy. Too much stress and simply not enough photography. I really needed to get out.
Thankfully, Boyd called me Saturday morning and suggested a roadtrip down to Eugene in his rig. While he was covering the Ducks game, I wandered around the Autzen parking lot shooting tailgaters. We (Boyd) left PDX so early, I had 7 hours to do my thing.
Back in the days when I shot for a paper, it was easier to do what I do. Someone question my program, I’d simply say, “I’m with The O.” End of story.
Being a freelancer today, there’s much more suspicion about my intentions and end use of images. It requires a lot more time and patience to explain that I’m still legit – and a pro – even though I’m on my own.
One photo op with insane light and photo shy folks turned a bit confrontational, then conversational, then completely under control and cool. I was simply looking to make a few good photos, not trying to make anyone look bad. That includes my favorite mascot EVER – The Duck – who lost an eyeball while showing off for the camera.
To no surprise, there is a bunch of drinking prior to the game. Eugene city ordinance says you can drink in the Autzen parking lot three hours prior to tipoff. Last call is the end of the game.
Again, I wasn’t looking to do anything other than document the environment. And if another photographer would have seen me in the parking lot, he’d have caught me having Jell-O shots and cheap beer between snaps. That’s definitely a plus shooting for myself. My boss doesn’t mind a drink or two while working.
When I shot games at Autzen, I’d be wheeling my gear to the stadium and wishing I had the time and energy to shoot features in the parking lot. All things equal, there are way more interesting things going on away from the field. But shooting games requires pacing yourself and saving your energy and making deadline. It’s a long day. A fun day, but a very long one.
It was nice to roam free for a change. And those cheap beers really helped me stay warm after the sun went down.