Generals, Aces, Baseball & More

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Over the past three years I have become the (sort-of) team photographer for grandson Carter’s travel league baseball team. A couple of clarifications here, if I may;

Clarification #1:
Carter is Sheila’s daughter Shauna’s oldest. He is turning 15 in about a week, growing like a weed, and among his many attributes he is a very good ball player. Of course, having only met Sheila 3 years ago, Carter has none of my blood flowing through his veins (for which I am eternally grateful … no sense messing up a fantastically great kid with polluted Jersey contaminants), but none-the-less, he feels like my grandson.

Clarification #2:
I originally started taking pictures of Carter when I first moved to Georgia. Sheila had this beautiful Nikon D70S camera with several lenses just sort of sitting there, and I asked if I could mess with it when we went to Carter’s game. She said “Sure”, I started taking pics of Carter and some of the other players, and before you know it I was posting 40-50 pics per game of these young men.

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Clarification #2a:
I’m a decent photographer, but not a professional by any definition. The quality of the pics is a direct result of great equipment, tons of images to choose from, and more than just a little luck when taking the shots.

Clarification #3:
Travel ball teams are groups of players within a specific age category who, literally, travel regionally to play other teams like them. Carter plays for the West Cobb Aces based out of Acworth GA, and they will travel regionally throughout the South-East (GA, SC, AL, FL) most weekends in the Fall months as well as in the Spring.

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I have been blessed to be able to photo-document some of his playing time over the past few years, along with the guys on his team(s) … Carter played for the Kennesaw Generals before switching to the Aces last year … as they traveled and played their way through multiple tournaments, winning their fair share of them BTW.

 

As I did all of this picture taking, the other “baseball parents” started to look forward to the weekly FaceBook posts. In a way, it’s kind of amazing how much better sports-themed pictures look when you can use a long lens to get closer to the action, so the kids families began to see their sons up close in their element. Soon it was more or less expected that within a few hours of the game ending, new pics would be posted of the guys in action.

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Initially, my focus was primarily Carter, of course, but as I came to know these other kids it was fun to try to capture their personalities in the photographs. So week by week I became more focused (no pun intended) on being sure that there was adequate representation across the board of this impressive group of kids. There were so many times that I missed the “perfect shot” because I was pointing the camera in a different direction, or far too many times when I got caught up in the action of the game and was too busy rooting instead of taking pictures. (Hey, it’s hard not to cheer yourself hoarse when your grandkid just smacked a triple or home run) (sometimes you forget you’re the photographer).

This may be the last season of shooting Carter’s games. He has reached an age where his focus may be shifting towards the future and baseball may not fit into his schedule (BTW, this baseball travel league chews up a tremendous amount of time for both Carter and his family, it’s a heavy commitment on everyone’s part). I also have to consider that my recent heart health issues could become even more limiting than they already are. Since my heart failure occurred I have been far less mobile and not able to physically shoot like I used to in the early days. I have no idea what the future holds in that regard, so even if Carter decides to go another season or two, I might not be able to photo-document those efforts.

To the parents of all of the players I have been allowed to photograph, thank you for allowing me to take these pictures and share them with you all each week. I know there were times when it may have looked like more attention was paid to one player over another, but that was never intentional … you would be amazed at how many shots are unusable due to focus, composition, lighting, timing or any of a bunch of other things. In the long run, I think at turned out pretty even for most everyone. (Well, except for Carter, of course!)

Thanks also to Sheila, James and Shauna for introducing me to this wonderful world of sportsmanship, family, players, and respect. I continually find it amazing how well everyone treats each other. Everyone is friends with each other, in many cases very good friends. It’s clear that there have been some lifetime friendships that have developed from watching these great kids play ball together.

The pics in this blog post represent some of the ones I personally like the most. I hope you all enjoy revisiting them.

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Carter
 

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