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Let's hear it for youth and summertime

It's not a typical 'sports photo,' but it conveys the action just the same.

I admit that I am not a sports photographer. In my years of training, I never spent much time freezing high-action, fleeting moments. Instead, I gravitate toward capturing the scene and emotion of an event by blending into the background, waiting for the action to fill the frame.

So when I was sent on assignment to a summer baseball camp at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., I warned my colleagues that I might not come back with the best photos. I took hundreds of pictures of the kids playing baseball, rounding bases and swinging bats. I had no idea whether the ball made it into any of the frames, or if my shutter speed was fast enough to freeze the motion.

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In the end, the images turned out all right. But my favorite was this one of the kids stretching before the game. Even if you don't recognize what the kids are doing, the motion, combined with the baseballs and gloves, convey a story about the sport and about youth and summertime. The image doesn't highlight my practice of action photography, but it does exemplify what I've learned over the years: The best images are often captured before or after the actual assignment.


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