The hardest part about covering semi-late season Pirates has nothing to do with the team's record, slump or anything having to do with the owners. It does have everything to do with the fact that I've photographed most of the of the National League and nearly all of the Pirates who will touch the diamond this year.
Covering double-digit loss after double-digit loss, sometimes you're left with exploring different types of photography as the most exciting offering each game can give. The problem with that is actually executing the exploratory ideas you have.
We talk about this stuff in the photo well all of the time. Looking at photographers you admire around the league, seeing some of what people are able to create, wanting to recreate some of those images in your own way.
I can't say how many times I, along with others, have tried to make the pretty "swirly" photos with Pirates pitchers. No matter how many guys are trotted to the mound, though, no Pirates pitcher I've tried it with has had the right delivery to make it work.
For the type of image you want from that, it's ideal for a pitcher's face to move along a flat plane so you can pan with his motion and keep as much of a visible face as possible while letting the arms, hat and ball leave streaks of motion around his body.
With the example up top, one I shot of Max Scherzer during his start here Thursday, I got lucky choosing a 1/5 second shutter speed and moved with his face well enough to freeze it enough to tell who he was while his jersey swirled behind it. (Shooting at that speed also gave me a realllly good look at how dusty my camera's sensor is. Those are the dots you see.)
After sharing that image during the game, a couple readers asked for more like it, but of Pirates players. So, I spent some time, again, trying to do just that. I got a couple that are ok, but nothing like Scherzer. I included one of Richard Rodriguez in the selection up there to show the difference. He doesn't move in a motion where you can get a still head since he turns it in his delivery.
Besides those, I've included several from the pair of Pirates games I was at this week, a sad Steven Brault / happy Steven Brault combo and a few from Steelers practice.