Photo Friday: Memorabilia in Context

I was inspired by the Lucky Photo Shoot of last week’s posting that I tried to take more outdoor photos. I was struggling a lot. It really seems that the camera angles were really working with me when I was in Ohio, but not so much on this particular day.

So, instead of taking photos in my lightbox in a soft afternoon Iowa light, I decided to pack up and head in. As I was packing up, I noticed my baseball in the grass. I have to share why I have a baseball when I never played the game.

When I was younger, the Houston Astros played in the Astrodome. There were days set aside for Girl Scouts to attend games at VERY affordable prices. Not so much anymore, but I digress. My parents took me to Astro games whenever the team had dollar games or they got coupons off of Rainbow bread packages. I loved keeping score in the program and I knew several of the players by name. Alan Ashby was my favorite player as my mother used to go to church with him. He was often a catcher for the famous Nolan Ryan.

Personal History Photography
Baseball in afternoon Iowa lighting

At the game I attended with my Girl Scout troop, the Astros were playing the San Diego Padres. I believe our seats were high up in the Mezzanine section of the Astrodome in the left outfield. We were seated close to the foul ball line (in the foul section, not fair). If my memory serves me correctly, the pitcher for the Padres came up to bat, hit and swung. The ball came barreling towards the left foul line. I was busy marking away in the program book the correct note for this type of hit (I’ve since forgotten). Little did I realize the ball was headed directly for our section. Soon I was doubled over with a pain in my stomach. To my surprise, it was this ball. I caught the ball square in my stomach without even trying. And boy did it hurt! I was taken to the First Aid office with my troop leader and a stadium usher. When I left, I had a certificate from the Astrodome, a ball, and an ice pack.

In any case, seeing the ball in the grass, my memories flooded back to me more so than if the ball was just ‘another object’ in my lightbox set up. I thought I would take a chance and take a photo of the ball in the grass. And it looked wonderful. I probably will never get back to the Houston Astrodome (and the awesome light display an even far distant memory). But, the ball in the grass tells a better story than a white or black backdrop.

Thankfully, before packing up, I noticed a blade of grass in the photo that was distracting me. So, I cut the blade and took another shot. Perfect.

Personal Memorabilia Photography
f/6.3, exp 1/24 sec, ISO 100, Center-Weighted Average Metering

It has just enough grass overlap on the ball to make the grass look real. Perhaps I’ll do a little more cropping, but I really, really like this photograph.

What I’ve learned is that sometimes, it’s best to capture a memento in context. If a family heirloom is still in the same home and position as it has always been, then your context will be easily defined. If however, your context is hard to access (i.e. a former professional baseball stadium), then perhaps you can come up with another context that would fit the subject (i.e. a ball in grass, or perhaps on a different baseball field).

Happy shooting.

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