Saturday, November 19, 2011

Game Day:
Is tailgating an art form?

It was about 11:30 a.m., and as I drove toward Blackstock Stadium on the campus of DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind., only three blocks or so from my parking spot at the north end of the stadium, I could sense that today would be unlike the two small-college football Game Day trips I'd made previously this fall.

This, Nov. 12, 2011, would be the 118th meeting of DePauw and Wabash College in the storied annual Monon Bell Classic, and I could hear the rhythm and beat of urban music coming from somewhere south of where I was parking. My parking spot was in a low area behind a recreational complex adjoining the stadium, so I couldn't see anything south. Not being up on my contemporary R&B, I wondered whether the music was live or being piped through an audio system. I was eager to find out; it had my anticipatory juices pumping. I knew that there would be something picture-worthy in that southerly direction; all I had to do was follow the music.

The tailgating at Hanover (Ind.) College, which I visited Oct. 22 for a decisive 58-7 win by the home school over Manchester (North Manchester, Ind.) College, had been modest and largely in one place -- a meadow immediately adjoining L.S. Ayres Field, where the Hanover Panthers play their home games. The activity was a bit more intense on Nov. 5, when I made my first-ever visit to Wabash in Crawfordsville, Ind., where the Little Giants clinched the North Coast Athletic Conference championship by defeating Wittenberg College, Springfield, Ohio, 28-17.

Tailgating at DePauw was an expanse -- an art form, even -- compared to what I'd seen at Hanover and Wabash. It sprawled over several parking lots, and there was even a healthy section roped off for Wabash supporters. But this was the day of the Monon Bell Classic, so it was to be expected. Picture opportunities throughout the lots were so voluminous, that I had very little time to save for exploring the DePauw campus. I did grab some shots when I forced myself to pull away, but I'll definitely need to made a second visit to do it justice.

Today's post is devoted largely to the aforementioned tailgating. It you've never done any pregame tailgating, hopefully it gives you a good feel about what you might expect -- and enjoy. The concluding photographs take you into Blackstock Stadium to show the DePauw pep band, the school's Tiger mascot, the two Wabash students who began the afternoon's long, non-stop ringing of the Monon Bell along the Little Giants' sideline and the on-field television camera setup behind the south end zone. Oh, to tidy up a tiny mystery I dangled at the beginning of this post -- the music, as it turned out, was not a live performance. It was piped over a very impressive sound system within the tailgate expanse.

The next post will be devoted to some of my campus shots at DePauw from last weekend's visit.   

Above: This is one picture I thought I ought to pause and offer an explanation. It's a high-dynamic range (HDR) rendering, the melding of multiple pictures of the same scene using different exposures with each of my three shots. I was curious to see if using HDR would pick up the football being tossed by these boys at multiple points in flight. As you can see, it did. I began the three-shot sequence with the boy farthest from camera in throwing motion, but still not releasing the ball. That's why you see only two balls in flight, and not three. What this image also tells you is the the Photomatix software I use to meld my HDR images does a pretty good job of reducing blur or motion when directed to do so, otherwise, you should have seen some blur in and around the arm of the smaller boy, the one who threw the ball.  

No comments:

Post a Comment