DC United 4 - LA Beckhams 1

As a photo assistant, I must say I've learned a few things about photography. Shooting at high noon...not such a good idea, as I shared as a guest blogger on What You Need If (shout out to James for the tip). But yesterday, I had no choice. The lighting was awful and raccoon eyes were in full effect. But it wasn't like I was shooting portraits so I couldn't just move the game to the shade or fast forward to the golden hour.

DC United played the L.A. Beckhams yesterday and it appears that some of the Beckhamania has died down since last year. But as usual, the British pied piper brings twice the fans when he visits MLS stadiums (36,000 yesterday...up from an average of 18,000). So I decided to show up a wee bit early, mate.

After filling the tank of the Jeep with $2/gallon gas, (just kidding $4.23...true story) I found out that I could park for free if I just flashed my media credential. A revelation much more appreciated at the start of the season rather than ten games and $120 into it. As I expected, there were as many Herbalife 23s as there were Volkswagen 99s...similar to when the Red Sox play the Orioles at Camden Yards.

Expected by the experts to be a shootout, I witnessed a 4-1 drubbing with the Beckhams being on the losing end. Enjoy.


DC United 3 - San Jose Earthquakes 1

Welcome to another chapter in the coverage of DC United's 2008 season. Untitled, Michael Starghill is a place where you won't find stats, game strategy or post games quotes, just pictures and the humble opinions and of a sideline photographer.

Yesterday marked the first Sunday game as well as the first day game of the season and luckily the 3 p.m. start fell on a day that the humidity decided to take a short break. Yesterday's opponent: San Jose Earthquakes. What kind of team name is the Earthquakes? Just announced: The MLS will be expanding further south in 2009 where they will unveil the New Orleans Hurricanes (I don't know if Miami or Carolina ever had it this bad).

Anyway...right before the game starts, the sprinkler system comes on. It just so happens that a sprinkler head is conveniently located in the midst of where all the photographers stand/sit to shoot the game. Although I'm far too quick to be caught by any sprinklers, a photographer who was on the other side of the field and unaware of the sprinkler situation was not so lucky. The thousands of dollars of equipment that he left behind to go shoot the pre-game activities was taking an impromptu shower. Oops.

After the game ended, two new sets of teams ran on the field. Little did I know, there was a scheduled double header with the second game pitting the Womens Professional Soccer League's Washington Freedom against the Richmond Kickers Destiny (again what kind of team name is Kickers Destiny). I guess none of the other fans knew either as the stands started to empty after the first game's final whistle.

Shout out to Emilio Luciano for scoring...again.


Ever Heard Of...

UPDATE: Pictures available here.
The Top 100 Camp? Yeah I know, me either, but oh the things we learn. The Top 100 Camp is a basketball camp organized by the NBA's Player Association (NBPA) for the nation's top 100 rising seniors and juniors. The campers play basketball games (duh), run through skill development and fundamental drills with current and former players, and attend classes that educate about personal and professional development, life skills, and money management (don't buy two Bentleys, just buy one). Pretty important stuff for these potential NBAers who quite possibly will be raking in millions in the near future.

Ron Bailey (of HoyaReport.com fame) and I arrived at John Paul Jones Arena on the campus of University of Virgina pretty early in the day. The kids were still in class and the media pass guy was MIA. So as I sat in the 100 level seats waiting for the action, I reminisced on my week as a camper way back in '93.

It wasn't the NBPA Top 100 Camp, but it was close. As a ten-year-old rising 5th grader, I attended Kenny Smith's Rocket Basketball camp (sponsored by an NBAer at least). And it wasn't in the plush facilities of a publicly funded state university. It was at the confines of a publicly under funded high school in Texas where we had to keep the doors open to "try to stay cool" in the smothering Houston humidity. I don't remember how I fared in the basketball competition but I'm sure I was a beast, as I am now. However, I do remember current Washington Mystics coach Tree Rollins lecturing us about the importance of tucking our shirts in because he had broken his finger by catching it in the jersey of a sloppily dressed Hakeem Olajuwon. I also remember having a slight resentment toward perennial assistant coach Bill Berry for working us out like we actually had contracts. All in all, I had a good experience and felt fully prepared to jump to the League after 6th grade, but I never got to meet Kenny the Jet.

Anyway, the Top 100 camp included a lot of local (DC, Maryland, Virginia) talent: Josh Selby, Kendall Marshall, and Rodney MacGruder. Why is it that the area produces so many good players, but I can never find anywhere to play around here. Any suggestions?

Shout out to Antonio Daniels.



You might not know him, but he's killing the mixtape scene in DC, Maryland and Virginia. Allow me to introduce you. DJ Anonymous came through the MTerrace offices via Broadway Miller and has become one of the premier nightclub/event DJs in the area. And on top of that the man has never met a pair of sneakers he didn't like (or that didn't match). So if you're looking for the hottest new mixtape or are in need of a DJ, shout out to DJ Anonymous. If you need a photographer, shout out to me.


Happy Father's Day

Since you're a faithful reader of the blog, you would know that I don't post on weekends. And because I will continue that trend, I'll post my Father's Day edition, today.

I called my dad Thursday evening just to say whassup and see how he was doing. Naturally he was in someone's 130 degree attic repairing the air conditioning for some poor soul in the Houston heat. My first job was working in these attics and I don't miss it at all. But I spent a lot of time in those cramped little spaces and learned a little about HVAC and a lot more about life. So thanks Dad and Happy Father's Day. Shout out to his Daddy and my Mama's Daddy. (I took the picture of him playing golf in the background).


Self Portrait

I like to photograph people but sometimes people aren't around to photograph. So I just shoot the person who is always around. Me, Myself and I. Self portraits are the most difficult thing to photograph, in my opinion, for a number of reasons. First and foremost, you can't see the moment it clicks. You don't know whats going on behind the camera when you're in front. Is it in focus, how's my composition, do I look like an idiot in this pose? Well I'm going to keep trying and it'll get better. You watch. Shout out to Cindy Sherman.


Central Liquor

I first happened upon this sign right before some friends of mine were to perform at a perpetual name changing night venue (it was Home in 2005) in DC. The sign was pretty unique on the block so I snapped a few pictures and a couple of minutes later...the light went out. Three years later, after shooting a Georgetown basketball game, I was walking to the Metro from the Verizon Center...and guess what I ran into (this time as a vertical). Old Central Liquor is still standing in all of its F St. glory.


Josh...and William

I posted earlier this month about a shoot that Josh and I did. Last Saturday I had the pleasure of photographing Josh and his little brother William (both FLY Youth). Again we went out to the MTerrace offices in Rockville where we ran into Thomas and Sabrey of GoodHood fame who just happened to be recording a song that day.

Thanks to a basketball hoop in the office (yep, a real basketball hoop) William was very involved in breaking my record of 29 straight baskets. He says he made 33, but I don't believe him because no one was watching and only he kept count. Officially, my record still stands. Sorry William...keep on pushin'. Shout out to Annie and Josh's and William's grandmother.


A Scorcher

Was able to shoot the Nationals game yesterday and yes it was hotter than a mug. Where a ten minute walk to the Metro equals a sweat soaked t-shirt and cold bottle of water turns, not room temp, but body temp in two minutes flat. But I digress.

Washington DC's baseball team, the Washington Nationals, apparently aren't doing that well either. So the stands were pretty empty for two reasons. Who wants to sit outside in the sweltering heat to endure a molasses-paced baseball game (besides me) and who wants to watch the Nationals? 30,224 attended, allegedly, but I didn't see them. Guess they were playing video games or eating at the Red Porch.



B.E is a hip hop artist out of Washington DC and a member of the hip hop group N.O.T.M.E. While I was shooting Josh, they showed up at the MTerrace offices in Rockville to record some new tracks in the studio engineered by my man Tom.

The first time I actually played with the color of the light by using gels. I liked the red because it matched the inside of his vest. Shout out to Kwaku Alston (picture of Xzibit).


When it rains...

It rains some more. Yesterday was another installment of my coverage of the 2008 DC United season and it was quite different from the other matches. A few constants: The drive down Florida Ave., "random hip hop artist" blasting in my Jeep CD player (nope still no ipod for me) and $12 for parking. Sure wish I had a VW. A few variables: Thuderstorms, tornado warnings, and torrential downpour throughout the Washington DC area.

When I left my apartment, there was a nice little early summer rain. The windshield wipers wiping every 3-5 seconds. You know, nothing I can't handle. I strapped the rain gear on myself and on my camera and prepared to get some cool shoots of soccer players playing in the rain (light rain). But instead I was greeted with a rain delay.

The game started about twenty minutes after the scheduled time with nothing falling from the clouds. Five minutes in a light drizzle started. Ten minutes in a steady downpour ensued. Fifteen minutes in, the game was stopped and the rain was coming down so hard I couldn't see the other side of the field. Twenty seconds after that I was sitting in the old Washington Nationals dugout in RFK Stadium with about six inches of water below my feet.

So I sat in the dugout for about an hour and a half hobnobbing with the other photographers and waiting to see if the players were coming back on the field. They never did. Game postponed and scheduled for a later date.


The Many Faces of...

Sabrey Smith. You've probably seen him on previous blog entries, if not, let me refresh your memory. You've also probably seen him on my website. If not, what the hell are you waiting fooooooooor (Encore - Jay Z).

One Saturday afternoon at this Chinese restaurant in Silver Spring, MD, Sabrey and I were talking (read: arguing, as we often do) about the relevancy of Lil' Wayne, the reality of the Boston Celtics, and insert topic here _______. And if you can't tell, Sabrey is always right.


FLY Exclusive

This is Josh. Josh was one of the first youth involved with the organization Facilitating Leadership in Youth (FLY) and has been since he was eight years old. Josh, who is now 16, found out that I am a photographer from my lovely girlfriend who works at FLY and decided he needed some pictures to put on his MySpace. "Mike, they gotta be exclusive son" is what he says to me. So this is what I came up with. Josh isn't a rapper (though he smiles like one), but since I had full artistic direction, I did what I wanted. And in the end, he surmised that they were indeed, pretty exclusive. Shout out to Jonathan Mannion who is the reason that I turned Josh into a rapper that day.


Baseball Classic

I spent all day Saturday shooting a high school baseball tournament at the new Nationals Park which inevitably took me down memory lane. From about the ages of 4 to 11, I was heavy into little league baseball. Then one year, in the 6th grade, the coaches were calling to see if I wanted to play that year. And somehow, I decided that I had better things to do that year. I told my mom to decline the invitation and there goes the end of my baseball career...oh what could have been.

Anyway, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty was there in all of his mayoral glory at the first annual Congressional Bank DC Baseball Classic, giving speeches, shaking hands, and throwing out first pitches (but sadly not from the mound).

If I continued my illustrious baseball career, I probably would have hit this pitch into the seats behind him.

In the middle of the Wilson vs. McKinley Tech game a thunderstorm including a torrential downpour of rain and about five minutes of hail halted the game and emptied the stadium.

So I wandered around the stadium and up to the press box to find this shattered but still in tact window looking down at the field and no doubt broken by a Major League foul ball (or a frustrated sports writer, but who knows).

After a called game and a shortened All Star game the championship went on as scheduled. The winners were these guys in red. Shout out to St. Alban's.