10 19 2008 - ST. PETERSBURG - The Rays win the pennant, defeating the Boston Red Sox 3-1 in Game 7 of the ALCS. BRIAN CASSELLA | Times sorry for the lack of updates... been a little busier than normal, games in something like eight states in the past month... but the rays won the pennant right here at home last night, so now i've seen everything. anyway, here's today's front page. will get through that "to blog" folder after the world series...
07 31 2008 - LAKE BUENA VISTA - Coach Jon Gruden blocks receiver Ike Hilliard (19) during morning practice at training camp on Thursday. BRIAN CASSELLA | Times
07 30 2008 - LAKE BUENA VISTA - Quarterback Jeff Garcia (7) warms up during morning practice at training camp on Wednesday. BRIAN CASSELLA | Times
07 29 2008 - LAKE BUENA VISTA - Bucs safety Sabby Piscitelli knocks the ball loose from receiver Michael Clayton (80) with a hand on his facemask during morning practice at training camp. BRIAN CASSELLA | Times
07 21 2008 - TAMPA - Friends watch a group of bikers play a game of polo inside a skate rink along Florida Avenue. BRIAN CASSELLA | Times
I liked how this photo contrasted so well with one from the exact spot nearly a year ago. What a difference a year makes for the number of Rays fans versus the out-of-town BoSox ones who used to pack the Trop.
01 31 2008 - TAMPA - Stewart Kitts, a longtime associate concertmaster of the Florida Orchestra who became addicted to crack and is now in recovery. BRIAN CASSELLA | Times
Spent two days at Bucs practice. This is exciting as it got. Just waiting til training camp...
06 08 2008 - TAMPA - Tampa firefighters battle a blaze that consumed the Tampa Bay Hardware store at 5511 N. Nebraska Ave. on Sunday. BRIAN CASSELLA | Times
06 02 2008 - BRANDON - Jordyn Coughlin, 5, (right) leaps with other participants in a kids fitness class Monday night at The Athletic Club in Brandon. BRIAN CASSELLA | Times There's all kinds of things wrong with this photo compositionally, but I still liked the anti-gravitational children.
Spent a few hours at the county jail for a quirky story about why so many people seem to smile for their booking mug shots. One of our reporters noticed that on a given day, about 12% of the people who showed up in the jail log had big grins on their face, which is not exactly what you'd expect on a group of people who had just been arrested. The booking area turned out to be nothing like I expected. Extremely laid back, with a steady stream of people arriving to be searched and fingerprinted, only a few of whom seemed at all upset to be there. The sheriff's deputies were equally relaxed, secure in an area where there seemed to be few flare-ups with inmates. They also recognized quite a few of the new arrivals, whom they called "frequent fliers" for their repeated trips through the familiar process. Turns out people smile for all kinds of reasons. Particularly if they've been there before, they know their photo will immediately appear on the police website where their friends can see it. There are also some tabloids out there where run "best of" galleries of funny mug shots, and people try to make it into there. I didn't stick around for the DUIs after midnight, but I heard they tend to be the most relaxed group...
06 02 2008 - BRANDON - Hillsborough Fire Rescue frees a 15-year-old boy trapped in the limbs of a tree at the intersection of Bloomindale and Kings avenues on Monday night. The teenager had slipped into a crevice between two limbs and had become stuck, leading to a 3-hour effort to chisel a wider hole and hoist him out. BRIAN CASSELLA | Times This was something I'd never seen before. Got a call at home at 9:30 that a child was stuck in a tree way out in the suburbs. Expecting it to be over before I got there, I was surprised to see a couple dozen firefighters and a park filled with spotlights. For the first hour, just his right hand was visible out the top and his feet dangled out the bottom. I shot a few pictures while the team cut away at the tree around him to widen the gap, and called into the office to let them know the pictures were decent and to expect a vertical shape. At 10:53 pm they finally squeezed him out the top. I already had my laptop out in front of me, transmitting some of the early photos because I had no idea how much longer it was going to take. After he popped out, I picked a file on the camera, copied just that one onto the computer and fired it back to St. Pete by 11 so they could re-make the local cover in time. Apparently the whole thing was broadcast live on the news, too... big news in the Fla.
05 30 2008 - ST. PETERSBURG - The Rays await Cliff Floyd at home plate after he hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to give Tampa Bay a 2-1 win over the Chicago White Sox. BRIAN CASSELLA | Times Some nights it all works out. This was a shot I'd seen before, and had had in the back of my mind for a year (which considering how little baseball I shoot, really isn't that long). When a player hits a walk-off home run to win a game at home, his entire team rushes out onto the field to await him at the plate. Shooting from the outside third base position, you have almost the same vantage point the runner does as he heads home. There's a risk here, though, in that the outside third base position isn't a great angle for a number of other things. Critically, if the game is won on a series of hits and a play at the plate, the scoring Ray has his back to you as he crosses the plate to win the game. So the first base side is considered a little safer in a late game situation, although you never know what could happen. With the game tied 1-1 in the ninth inning, I took a risk and went to the third base side. I figured if the White Sox scored in the top of the inning, I'd have a good angle facing the Rays catcher for a play there. Our main Rays shooter had made a number of nice images from game-winners that weren't walk-off home runs this year from that position as well, so I figured I'd see what happened. I shot the action with my 400mm, and kept my 200mm with it's dying battery on my lap with the plan to switch to it in case of a home run, otherwise I'd stick with the long glass. Cliff Floyd launched the second pitch deep to right, and I switched once I knew it was gone. I made sure to get a shot (that I didn't end up needing) of Floyd heading down toward third with a smile on his face as I saw the crowd gathering by the plate out of the corner of my eye. I switched back to the plate before Floyd got there, and as I looked through the camera, I thought "Whoa, that's nice..." Couldn't have lined up the players better myself, no skills needed here, just bang on the motor drive. It made a fun sequence as the players bounced, so I added it to our now daily photo gallery. It was cool to get some feedback from fans and the team today. Hope to see more games like it come October...?
05 19 2008 - TAMPA - Florida Mavericks members practice Monday night at the Lounge 7/14 in the GaYbor district for their upcoming gay line dancing competition. BRIAN CASSELLA | Times