ZZ Top Photo Blog…Extended Cut
I got about 15 Emails and Direct Messages yesterday asking me to post a second photo blog of the ZZ Top Tampa Bay Rays Concert last Saturday night, and of course I am more than willing to throw up another 18 photos from my small segment I shot that night. But along with it will come a small story about that night that I hope all of you enjoy.
Before the Rays season began, I was talking with someone up in the Rays Front Office about the possibility of maybe getting an up-close vantage point during the 2010 Rays/Hess Express Concert Series. With some great acts coming into Tropicana Field, I wanted to provide a bit of extra photos and concert review that might entice other Rays fans who had not seen one of these Concerts to come down to the ballpark for the remaining 8 Rays concert dates.
So I came up with the idea of maybe submitting my name into the Rays Communications Department as a Photographer for the Concert series in 2010. The idea did have some basic merit as I decided in 2010 to try and get the bulk of my photos and special shots myself instead of using the stock photos or daily photos submitted by the wire services. And I had a pretty fool-proof plan, or so I thought at the time. I did not want access to the field for pregame photo opportunities, or even position myself in one of the photos wells on each side of the dugouts.
So I submitted my name and credentials request to the right person and awaited a hopefully positive answer concerning my request. I got back an answer that did not rattle me, but showed that the road was not going to be bright and yellow, but I had to have a bit of luck on my side. For the Rays had to submit my name to the band’s management team and either I would be approved or denied a photo credential to take photographs of that band performance.
I actually thought in the beginning this might be a smart way to proceed because hundreds of fans would be on the Tropicana Field turf taking the same photos and videos without the band’s consent. I was banking on the fact I was being honest and upfront to be my entry into this special world.
So I submitted my request for the first concert when John Fogerty was going to play a week or so ago. I got a denial letter back from the Rays Communication Department and was a bit humbled by my idea going through 100 percent without a problem. But I also did not take it as a total slap in the face, but as a wake-up call to either get serious about this adventure, or forget it all and take photos from my seat with a telephoto lens.
I shot my photos of the Fogerty concert and was not totally impressed with them and knew that I had to again grind it out and hope to get access to the field to take photos of ZZ Top when they came into Tropicana Field. So again I submitted my email to the Rays Communication staff and was very anxious to see if it was “Strike Two” or if I might have actually cut the mustard and gotten a chance to show my stuff.
The minutes did feel like hours and I was constantly checking my email box every hour hoping that I would get a chance to give the Rays some confidence I was going to use this to do positive things and not use it as a tool to use or abuse my credentials. Finally an email came back from the Rays Communication Department, and I at first did not want to open it for fear of that second “X” high above my head. But I also had the confidence that someone in one of the ten band’s management teams might give me a shot in 2010 to do something special.
So I finally got the nerve to open the email and got the first glance at either success or failure in trying to get some exclusive photos in 2010. For some odd reason the words “granted permission” seemed to jump out at me from the page and instantly I did the infamous “crab dance” around the room. For I was finally going to get a chance to expand my blog postings again with photos taken within feet of the artists, and with a greater clarity than in my Rightfield seat.
I got my first green Rays photographer credentials the afternoon of the concert from the Media Table at Gate 4 and instantly could have gone to field level and enjoyed the pregame festivities, but I wanted to chill and just enjoy the game and after the contest take some great photos of the band. No agenda on my mind but taking post-game concert photos. But it was a special moment in my mind. Sure it will not guarantee or even get me anything in the way of priority from that moment on, but the thought that I finally achieved it and brought back some great shots is enough for me.
The night was incredible for me. Not only did I get a chance to provide some of my first photo credits of a concert date in 2010, but I had the time of my life reliving and revisiting every song that ZZ Top sang and played that night. And it was special to again get down on the field again and be a part of the Rays/Hess Express Saturday Night Concert experience.
Sometimes moments in your life just seem to come out of the blue that provide a different direction for you. On that night, on the floor of Tropicana Field, I again saw that I love doing my posts and taking photos for other to enjoy. I again got to remember and feel why I wanted to work for the media as a kid, and wanted to again feel that rush of accomplishment and knowing I provided some extra information to others that would never have been given if not for my photos or posts. I remembered why I loved to write again….And that is a scary thing.