It's DANGEROUS on the sidelines

Discussion in 'Photojournalism & Sports Gallery' started by ac12, Nov 18, 2019.

  1. ac12

    ac12 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I have been a huge fan of college football for the past 20 years and this is the very first time I have seen a photographer knocked unconscious it looks like her camera might have been driven right into her eye socket area, and they were taking her to hospital for checking out her eye orbit and for a possible concussion it it looks like she took quite a blow To The Head, possibly from that players knee hitting either her or her camera
     
  3. ac12

    ac12 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I tell my students that some of the football players out-weight them by 50-100 pounds.
    Plus the players have all that hard padding, and you (the students) have NO protective padding.
    So in a collision, you (the students) LOOSE.

    upload_2019-11-18_19-51-29.png

    I saw a few errors that contributed to the situation
    • She (like several of the other photographers on the sideline) was kneeling.
      • Just how fast can you get up from a kneeling position and RUN away.
      • This is why I NEVER kneel along the sidelines. I takes me way too long just to get to my feet.
    • She was hemmed in on her immediate left and back, so her only escape route was to her right (behind the guy in the vertical yellow stripe vest). She was almost trapped.
    • She was in a "wall" of people.
      • With a "wall" of people (players, photographers, or other people), the player was going to crash into someone. The only question is WHO?
      • My guess is the runner saw "daylight" at chest level (not looking down), and ran towards that daylight. Then, once committed to that direction, maybe he thought he could hurdle over the kneeling photographer. But, she wasn't low enough, and he wasn't high enough.
    • She did not "get out of the way" when the play headed towards her.
      • Admittedly, that is easier said than done, when you are concentrating on shooting the game.
      • With a super zoom, like a 24-120 FF lens or 18-140 APS-C lens, if you are zoomed to the wide end, you may think the player is a lot further from you than he really is. So you delay your escape, till too late.
        • I have my students do an exercise. Set the APS-C lens to 18mm hold the camera in horizontal position, then walk towards another student till the other student fill the frame from the top of his head to mid-thigh. They are always amazed at how close they are. Too close to react and escape a collision.
    These are some of the "lessons learned" that I will be talking to the class about.

    I "tried" to implement a "body guard" procedure.
    The body guards job is to keep an eye on the game, and to physically PULL the photographer out of way of trouble.
    But teenagers being teens, they just ignored it, and shot as individuals.
     
  4. ronlane

    ronlane What's next? Supporting Member

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    After seeing that she was out before her head hit the ground. Not sure what she was thinking, as the camera was at her eye right up until the player's knee hit her.

    I don't have issues with kneeling or even sitting in the endzone. Sure kneeling is an added risk to an already potential hazardous situation. But that is for the person to decide for themselves. She is younger and only had one camera there, so she would be able to move much faster than this old guy with my two cameras.

    I've been rolled up and hurt worse when I was standing than when I have been kneeling or sitting.

    I hope that she makes a full recovery from this and that she got an amazing shot out of it. If so, she should print a big copy and get the guy to sign it for her.
     
  5. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I actually posted this a couple days ago. Best Be Aware Of What's Going On Around You I was watching the game when it happened.

    The young lady was a school intern, who (it was pointed out) was not wearing any reflective safety vest, kneeling down, hidden behind other people on the sideline. She was admitted to the hospital with a concussion and released on Sunday. The news said she would be recovering at home.

    Many years ago I shot basketball for a newspaper. I know this might ruffle a few feathers, but photographers are not essential to the game. They are for all practical purposes privileged spectators because of the proximity to the field/court. It is not the players responsibility to watch out for people on the sidelines. I'm 6', 220 lbs, the Running Back that collided with the young lady is over 6', 210 lb. Considering he's solid muscle covered with pads, I think it safe to say that he would have knocked me on my $$$, regardles of if I had been standing or kneeling in the same spot as the young lady.

    Over the last few years the sidelines seem to be more crowded. Something officials may need to address, as players become more proficient at working the outside. Frankly it may be time to establish a buffer zone for both photographer and player safety.
     
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  6. ronlane

    ronlane What's next? Supporting Member

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    @smoke665 on most fields in college that I have been to there is a buffer zone. Now some are bigger than others because of the space but in most, you can't be right on the edge of the field. Most are about 3 yards or so back.

    Unfortunately, you are correct that it is getting more and more crowded with people on the sidelines but honestly, if the school was more concerned about it, they would remove the privileged spectators that are just guests or "high $ donors" and alums from the sidelines to make it less crowded. There is a use/need for photographers at the game, maybe not as many but someone needs to be there to shoot where the rest can purchase from the wire services.

    Hope it doesn't come to that, as then it would effect my access working for a small local paper.

    For the record, I've been hurt worse at a high school softball game that I have been at all the football games that I have shot.
     
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  7. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    @ronlane I've seen very little buffer, on many games of late. One game this weekend there was confusion when the flagman couldn't see the ref and just kept walking, there were so many people on the line. Seen a lot of photographers really crowding the end zone, more like 3" from the line then 3 yards.

    I understand your thought process, I owned three local papers at one time, so it was important for my readership to get little Johnny's game winning layup, but from a game perspective not so much. As hard as it might be on some, it might be time to be more restrictive on sideline photographers.

    I wouldn't count on the big money donors getting tossed. I'm actually surprised the haven't started charging photographers fees for space on the field.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019
  8. ronlane

    ronlane What's next? Supporting Member

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    I totally understand what you mean. The video guy at the HS will step practically out on the field when the play is going the other way. If everyone would stay back where they should, I could get my shots with the 300 and being 5 yards or more back wouldn't hurt me a bit. (And if it did, I'd go to the 400mm)
     
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  9. ac12

    ac12 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    In my experience high school kids and their parents are one of problems that @smoke665 is talking about.

    Some think they are indestructible and will not get hit.
    I warned one kid who was laying on the basketball court floor, next to the end line, and his response was "I want the angle," then he ignored me.
    I gave up. One warning, and after that is is the kids responsibility.
    The wall just behind the end line has a thick foam padding for a reason.
    Here are two examples, of adults, who should know better.
    The flag and yellow line on the right is the sideline of the soccer field. So you can see how close he is.
    He is sitting on a chair, monopod between his legs, and with his legs out and crossed. Just how fast do you think he can get up on his feet, and out of the way of a group of player running towards him?
    I regularly have to dodge players. On a full run, they have enough speed that they are almost across the track before they stop.
    upload_2019-11-19_11-2-0.png

    This is another guy, at a lacrosse game.
    The blue line is the sideline.
    How fast can he get up, and out of the way of a group of players headed towards him?
    upload_2019-11-19_11-26-7.png

    Both of these guys are PLANTED. They could NOT get out of the way of a group of players running towards them, and they would get hit.
    Just as @smoke665 said, I tell my students that it is NOT the players responsibility to avoid them, it is THEIR responsibility to avoid getting hit by the players. That is the responsibility that comes with field and court floor access.

    As for buffer and crowding the field. Some kids seem to think they have super privilege, because they have a camera, and it is their home field.
    I've seen some of them walk into the field so that they can get the shot down the field, while the play is running.
    I have a shot of one gal, kneeling on both knees, inside the field, shooting video. I was surprised the ref did not stop the game and kick her off the field.
     
  10. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Sadly, it's not the just the kid in danger. Most of the HS games I shot at didn't have much room around the court especially under the goal. If you have a guy running flat out he needs every inch of that space to decelerate, and will still likely bounce off the bumpers. I can assure you the only thing that player has his eye on is the goal. Surprised the Ref allowed him to stay, but then again the Ref's got his eyes and concentration on the players and the game.
     
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  11. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    If you blink you miss it, the action moved into the sidelines and then into the photographer very fast. Even paying attention to the game that's a tiny window to see, realise, react and move. Even the other spectators watching (who were not hindered by the added blinker view of the camera and the added layer of thinking that clouds with it) were caught unawares. Though being standing and not in the direct line of motion were less at risk.

    The crouching certainly didn't help and you can see that he sort of aims in her direction to try and lose momentum so that he didn't plough into the standing people. However at the same time one of the big mantras in photography is to crouch to get a different viewing angle. Even when shooting equine stuff I might often crouch for a better angle than going at eye-height. Similarly some shots you can only get laying down or otherwise adopting a pose that won't let you leap up super fast if it all goes wrong. I don't think you can "stop" that but you can ensure that they are aware of the potential dangers and also how they can best take measures to make themselves safe. You just have to make the safety part sound serious without overdoing it so that it comes off "nanny state worrying"

    I'd say the only real protection in such a case is experience and knowing the flow of the game and judging when things do get too close and having the self confidence in their photography to be able, in the moment, to step back and go "no this is going back I move I don't need this shot". But that can only come through experience, you can't teach it (at least not easily). Heck I've had one or two places when I've asked about shooting the showjumping ask along the line if I want to go in the arena itself and I've refused on the grounds that I don't know enough of horses to predict motion well enough to be safe in a region where rider and horse are operating in their element. Even though the string line is no protection against horse and rider going the wrong way* its at least (for the rider) a clear dividing line between where they should and should not be and should guide their direction to their mount.



    Having a watcher can help and for safety in groups it might work out well; though if you're using students collect the watchers cameras. If they are watching they are watching; if they are shooting they are shooting. It's much the same as photography teachers and their own camera; they might bring it with them but they (ideally) are not shooting when they are teaching; they are observing and teaching their students. Teachers who bring the camera and start their own photography will get distracted and tempted - even more so for students who likely are coming to the match with the intention of shooting not "standing around doing nothing (because lets face it its going to be rare that they need to actually pull their companion back)".

    That said I fully agree that photographers should be taking a step back at events; you are there to record not get in the way. You keep to barriers; keep to where you're allowed; you ask organisers if you want to go anywhere not normal (and you ideally ask well in advance of the day not on the day because chances are the are fully busy with their own worries then); you move back if things move close and you let officials take care of matters. Essentially you've got to learn to be the polite fly on the wall (even if sometimes you've got to ask to push forward in the crowd)

    *Heck even most wooden fences are no protection if you're close to the fence and if the horse has a mind to go that way and no other way
     
  12. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Considering the number of college football games and the number of photographers and videographers this seems like a very isolated incident. I have seen a number of collisions over the years oh, but this is the first time I have ever seen where a photographer has been knocked out. the fact is she is a student photographer in her early twenties,from the University of Georgia, and as such I doubt she has very much game experience and she was as was stated above, crouched down and pretty close to the sidelines, and she was unable to get out of the way, in my opinion because she was number one crouchef down and two, inexperienced at college football coverage. Had she been standing ,she would have had at least a fair chance of getting out of the way, but her shooting position kneeled or crouched down, is one that is not conducive to getting out of the way quickly. I have shot high school and college sports for several newspapers, and I have always made sure to keep myself out of Harm's Way. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

    It is up to individual photographers to obey all stadium and field rules, and to exercise good judgment. it behooves us all to tell less-experienced shooters whenever they are committing basic safety or endangerment errors. I can't help but wonder why she was not wearing a hi-vis vest, which has become one of the most basic safety tools in many fields over the last decade.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019
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