Every Monday, we present a gallery of recent pictures taken by our staff photojournalists and tell the story behind one of them. This week Inquirer staff David Maialetti talks about photographing at Phillies’ spring training.
While the Philadelphia region was getting a few of this winter’s rare days of actual cold, Inquirer staff photographer David Maialetti was with the Phillies and the sunshine and soft breezes of Clearwater, Fla.
He has learned a few things while covering spring training over the years : “I’ve learned from experience that SPF 50 and a hat might be the most important things to bring to spring training," he said . And he has learned “there’s a small window when the morning light is perfect.”
Maialetti has long tried to make interesting photos at spring training. In 2012 he used his iPhone and the Hipstamatic app as a visual reporting tool.
This year, Maialetti tried to find another unique perspective that took advantage of the light and shadow in the Sunshine State. “Ashburn Field in Clearwater is one of my favorite fields for this,” he said. There is a row of palm trees towering over the outfield fence and their shadows “cast a beautiful pattern across the field.”
Wanting the shadows to be bold, he slightly underexposed the image. “This would darken the shadows and help lead the viewer’s eye to Phillies’ Jake Arrieta.”
To capture that image, Maialetti needed to be behind the outfield fence. There was one problem, he said, “I’m short, and the fence is tall. I needed some elevation, but there wasn’t any.”
“Looking ridiculous to anyone who noticed me trying to make the photo" — he pressed up against the fence, stood on his toes, and stretched his arm just above the top. “I made about 30 images and only one of them had the right body language with Arrieta just at the tip of the shadow area with that Florida sun shining on him.”