Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Battle of the Birds

"David Lough #9 of the Baltimore Orioles celebrates as he hits the game-winning RBI single to score teammate Stephen Lombardozzi (not pictured) against the Toronto Blue Jays in the twelfth inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 12, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland."

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Nothing kicks off spring better than major league baseball being back in Baltimore.

Sitting in the photo-well next to photographer friends, on 65 degree nights, with a bag of sunflower seeds is what makes the cold months of winter vanish from our minds. Camden Yards always brings a positive recharge to everyone in Baltimore each April.

My first series of the year was shot for Getty Images as the Toronto Blue Jays came to town to take on the Baltimore Orioles.

A great battle, the Orioles would come up short, dropping two games in the three game series, but not without a fight.

On Saturday night, a low-scoring battle between good pitchers, turned into an extra-inning thriller. David Lough of the Baltimore Orioles would hit the game-winning RBI single to score a teammate in the twelfth inning.

Here are a few of my favorite images from the first of many series at Camden Yards this year.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Galactic Speed

"Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, leads Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Cartwheel Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Nationwide Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 4, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas."

The saying goes: Everything is bigger in Texas.

On Friday night, while the NCAA Final Four tournament was preparing for the weekend just up the road in Dallas, I was apart of the Getty Images team documenting all the stock car racing action at Texas Motor Speedway.

Upon arrival, everyone on the squad was given an amazing view - a view that illuminated the mile and a half track unlike any other track in the country, or world, at that.

That's because the speedway unveiled their new, Guinness World Records breaking television - Big Hoss. It's currently boasted as the largest high-definition LED screen and bigger than the screen at AT&T Stadium where the Final Four was taking place all weekend.

While I'm sure the latter feels bigger being inside the stadium, this screen was simply enormous and a lot of fun to look at - crystal clear no matter what time of day.

As the race took place Friday night, we all documented the screen at various angles. But what kept catching my eye was how its brightness reflected, lit up the back stretch of the track. I continually found myself working the above image.

While a fairly typical panning photo in motorsports, I loved the galactic feel as haulers and campers glowed a cool blue hue from gigantic screen as the tiny cars raced by.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Desperate Dive

"Patrick Wey #56 of the Washington Capitals dives and reaches for the puck in attempt to stop a goal by Patrice Bergeron #37 of the Boston Bruins in the third period during an NHL game at Verizon Center on March 29, 2014 in Washington, DC."

In the world of professional photography, it's easy to get caught up in the digital age of high-end cameras and their impressive specifications.

With these monster cameras shooting more than 10 frames a second and sensors reaching upwards and onwards of 20 megapixels, everyone wants the latest and greatest camera to help them capture the peak moment in a fast-paced world.

With that in mind, I recently covered for a friend, teammate serving as the team photographer for the Washington Capitals for a night. For the most part, everything was the same as if I covered the game for any other editorial client, so I wasn't too nervous.

However, one factor that was very different was shooting on strobes instead of available light. Rather than shooting 10 frames a second on action and emotional storytelling moments, I had to choose when to fire the camera with thought, patience and precision.

Shooting on lights meant shooting only one picture at a time - and every three to four seconds at that  - as the lights recycled. A millisecond before or after the peak action moment and you're left with sub-par imagery

In the end, it was very challenging, as it's something I haven't done in a couple years. Yet it was very rewarding as it makes you focus on the fundamental skill of timing.

In a period where I only shot 67 frames, I think the above is a perfect example of getting a decisive image with just one frame. When that's all you have to work with, it gives you even more respect for the team photographers that work on strobes all season. Their images are continually inspiring as they shoot them one click at a time.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sunday Red

"Tiger Woods plays a shot on the second hole during the final round of The Honda Classic at PGA National Resort and Spa on March 2, 2014 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida."

When a photographer shoots at a new venue - be it an arena, course or stadium - there is a breath of fresh air.

Most of the time, this new environment is wonderful only because their eyes haven't seen any of it before. As one can imagine, golf courses meet those descriptions, as they're beautiful landscapes that tend to be very graphic.

However, the thing is with golf is that it's a four day event. So as excited as one can be on the first morning, before a photographer knows it, they're shooting the same tee box time and time again doing their best to be consistent and compelling.

Tiger Woods had been making a small run and hit the course Sunday in his classic red. But with more photographers following him on the final round, the location I wanted to shoot from to try and photograph him from for a fresh perspective would mean getting in others background.

As he approached the tee box on the second hole the light was changing across the grass and I improvised. A familiar scene looked completely different - when there is light, there is color.

Sometimes all it takes is mother nature and the wind to move the clouds to make a familiar scene not so ordinary.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Second Round Tiger

"Tiger Woods puts on his sunglasses after playing a shot on the eighth hole during the second round of The Honda Classic at PGA National Resort and Spa on February 28, 2014 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida."

Waking up early is always difficult - but when one is excited it makes the rising before the sun easy.

In Florida, my new second home this year, I had the opportunity to edit, and shoot a little of, The Honda Classic in West Palm Beach.

Because I was editing the tournament for the team, there was no real direction for shooting in the mornings. So I decided to direct my attention toward some of the storyline golfers each morning for an hour or less.

I tried to look for some different angles and break away from the other photographers in the pack. And while I found some unique light and moments, the above simple shot of Tiger Woods stuck with me for some reason.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Return of the Three

"NASCAR fan Tony Wright wears a hat remembering the late Dale Earnhardt Sr., as he poses in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida."

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Had you asked two years ago what Speed Weeks was - I couldn't have answered the question.

However, fast forward to 2014 and I now know the inside and outs of the two week event in Daytona Beach, Florida.

When I got my initial layout of my annual schedule, I was humbled to be included on the 14 day assignment in Florida with Getty Images. Being teamed up with the best motorsports photographers, teammates in the world was nothing short of an honor.

It was a great time of year to escape the cold, snowy weather of Baltimore and get to the warmth and sun, but what I didn't know was how hard we'd work as a team. Over two weeks we covered endless practices, multiple qualifying sessions, driver appearances, fans having fun, seven races, and much more.

A rewarding time, I learned a lot - and walked even more. I stepped more than 175,000 times for a total of roughly 85 miles.

With that said, here is a very loose edit of my favorites from the time in Daytona. Be sure to check out the entire team's take on Getty Images site, too. So many compelling images that one must see.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Pray for Safety

"Reverend Dan Petfield of Racing With Jesus Ministries prays with Brennan Newberry, driver of the #24 Qore24 Chevrolet (L) and Daniel Suarez driver of the #6 Sunoco Racing Fuel Toyota (R) before the start of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East UNOH Battle at the Beach race at Daytona International Speedway on February 18, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida."

Finding quiet moments in auto-racing can sometimes prove to be challenging.

In a sport where most of the time athletes are shielded by a full-face helmet, a 700-horsepower machine, or a pit crew - documenting these type of moments isn't typical. When it does happen, it takes good access and patience.

After a driver wins the big-race they display to the world how happy they are. But leading up to the triumphant celebration, rarely do you see peaceful moments shine. This is only because the athletes spend a majority of their time behind the wheel - and it's near impossible to document how they feel when all a photographer can see is a race car speeding by.

But silent moments still exist when access is granted throughout the day - and these are usually found on my favorite part of the track - the grid.

Much like the other series, the access was great on the grid covering the NASCAR K&N Pro Series Battle at the Beach race at Daytona International Speedway. I found the assignment very rewarding as photographers had a bit more of a leash in terms of coverage.

When access is good, viewers get a glimpse at the world they seldom get to see from their seat in the grandstand or their couch at home.

At the end of the day, it was a nice juxtaposition to see how driver Daniel Suarez spent pre-race praying before he celebrated in victory lane post-race after winning the race.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The 500

"Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida."

Over the past two weeks, I had the incredible opportunity to document Speedweeks, and the Daytona 500, with Getty Images.

We worked hard and covered everything from the K&N Series, the return of the famous number 3 car, to the race boasted as the Super Bowl of NASCAR - the Daytona 500.

Every day was spent at the 2.5-mile super speedway working hard to deliver the best imagery in motorsports. Simply put, it was a humbling opportunity to be apart of the team, watching lots of inspiring images be shot by each and everyone on the squad. Another shout out the boys behind the screens, editing through endless images for two weeks, too.

In coming weeks I will try and recap some of my favorite images from the two weeks, but with a busy schedule, we'll see how that pans out.

Looking forward to some more racing this year - and couldn't have started it any better with a more talented team.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

O'Canada

"Braden Holtby #70 of the Washington Capitals has a moment to himself during the Canadian national anthem before playing the Winnipeg Jets in an NHL game at the Verizon Center on February 6, 2014 in Washington, DC."

It's no surprise that I love finding quiet moments in sports.

A lot of the time, these can be found just before the game or match begins from all vantage points. Whether in the locker room or from high atop the arena.

Covering the Washington Capitals taking on the Winnipeg Jets for Getty Images there was a special puck dropping ceremony that had many photographers at the game. With the help of another teammate, photographer who was on ice, I decided to get away from the pack.

I marched up the shy of a few rows of the top of the arena and waited for the said pre-game puck drop. But shortly after, instead of venturing back to ice level to my marked position for the game, I stayed atop and worked the player introductions.

While this isn't a new view for fans that sit in the 500 level, it's a reminder that as a photographer, even though the seats may cost less up there, that doesn't make it a bad view.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Sharp Shooter

"Charley Hoffman plays a shot on the 12th hole during the final round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale on February 2, 2014 in Scottsdale, Arizona."

As January came to an end, I had the amazing opportunity to not only edit for Getty Images, but to shoot some PGA Tour during the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale.

Each morning I was given the chance to venture the immaculately groomed course to find some art that helped contribute to the team's amazing overall set of pictures. As the afternoon hit, I jumped in front of the computer to edit the compelling work of the other photographers.

During my time shooting, I did my best to help out the team on the famed 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale. A polar opposite of what golf usually is, this hole encourages fans to cheer and celebrate the players without fear of being tossed from the tournament for being too loud. Very interesting to say the least.

As the sun rose, I found myself walking around with a wide angle lens most of the time I had to shoot and couldn't help but to see graphic images in front of my lens as I looked between cactus and steeped back for general views of natural landscapes.