Thursday, August 6, 2009

Over The Line or Over the Top?

Welcome to the 56th Annual World Championship Over-The-Line (OTL) Tournament 2009. A San Diego original, OTL is a form of beach softball, with 1,200 three-member teams competing in almost 2,400 games leading up to the final match.

With free flowing beer, outrageous team names and bikini clad women some may ask if this is a sporting event or one huge beach party. Well, it's a combination of both satisfying players and gawkers. In addition, it was a good use of my Canon "L" lenses -- if I'm going to photograph anything why not beautiful women?

The World Championship Over-The-Line is held every year in July at Fiesta Island on Mission Bay in San Diego, California. It was on the beaches of San Diego where OTL was founded. Admission is free but the host organization, The Old Mission Bay Athletic Club (OMBAC), requires all guests abide by the "Five B Rules." No bottles, babies, bowsers (dogs), birds and Boa Constrictors.

OTL teams are comprised of three players on each side. Many teams wear outrageous uniforms, or skimpy bikinis, and sport adult theme team names that either leave you laughing or nauseated. Where OTL differs from softball is that the pitcher and batter are on the same team and there is no base running.

OTL requires more precision than power from the batter as their objective is to hit the ball into fair territory without the opposing team fielder catching the ball.

I have been photographing OTL for the past couple of years and I have found the best camera outfit to have is two camera bodies - one body with a wide angle zoom and other camera body with a telephoto lens. My Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS lens mounted on my Canon 50D provided the tight portrait action shots. I used both my Canon Powershot SX1 IS and a Canon 20D with a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II lens for my wide and medium range shots.

Its gets windy on the playing field and sand blows everywhere. I use a micro fiber cloth to wipe off the sand and shower caps (yes, one of the secrets of travel photography I learned is that shower caps from motel rooms come in handy to cover your SLR camera in the event of inclement weather) to protect my cameras from the sand. One sand grain lodged in your camera will put you in camera hell!

So it is Over-The-Line or over the top? Well one thing is for sure that The Over-The-Line Tournament provides over the top photo opportunities!

All photos and text copyright Sam Antonio Photography.

Be sure to view more photos from The Over The Line Tournament over at my Flickr site: