I am a professional broadcast sports television camera operator. That is what pays the bills and I enjoy it. Most of the time.
I am about 80 percent television technology guru and 20 percent sports fan at the moment. I love using the top of the line high definition camera equipment that costs more than my house. I get pulled deeper into the job when a newer camera is given to me or I see a Phantom high-speed or 3D camera entering the game. Sports is a breeding ground for new television tech and I am on the top of the wave. The problem is, I’m shooting the wrong subject matter! I want to be 50 percent television technology and 50 percent natural history documentary creator.
I’m not complaining, but I’m defiantly not living my dream!
I work atop the left field roof at Fenway Park covering the Boston Red Sox. The perch is on the fifth level and it is the most exposed position in the entire ball park. I track a mating pair of red tailed hawks as they search for food and build a nest. I watch storms move in from the West. I am the first to see lightning and the first to run from the roof when I witness the buildings around me getting struck. That part is fun.
But I am at Fenway to cover a baseball game, not in Africa waiting for an animal to appear at a water hole.
I am one of 10 cameras inside the ballpark that bring the action into your living room and we are documenting sports history. I am paid to track the ball through the play and lock onto players in the dugout or on the field as the announcers talk about them. I have shot nearly 800 games.
Take a look at this ten minute video blog I shot over the summer of 2009 from the $100,000 Sony HDC-910 broadcast HDTV camera with 75x Canon telephoto zoom lens. You will understand why I often stand behind the camera at the ball park wishing I were covering wildlife in the middle of nowhere… with the same camera.
My director, Mike, gives me a lot of freedom as a camera operator as I shoot the game. I must thank him for letting me try new things and shoot stuff other than what is happening on the field.
Video footage courtesy of New England Sports Network.