Saturday, May 13, 2017

Derby Dreaming

"The field enters turn one during the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 6, 2017 in Louisville, Kentucky."

There are many assignments photographers dream of documenting - and in the world of horse racing - there is only one Kentucky Derby.

Last week, I had to opportunity to photograph the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby with our team at Getty Images.

A wet week with lots of rain had everyone ready for even the tiniest bit of sunshine. And as Saturday rolled around, fans and photographers alike got what we wanted - even if brief - right before the big race.

The sun came out full blast, yet cloud cover made getting the light perfect very tricky on the handhelds.

For my turn one remote, I went for it, and underexposed hoping for sun and mud. Thankfully everything worked out, because right after their pass, the race finished in full shade.

Sometimes you have to set remote cameras up for what you know is a risk, but a reward for the team if all works out.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Protect the Net

"Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Pittsburgh Penguins makes a save as Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals players battle for the puck in the first period in Game One of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Verizon Center on April 27, 2017 in Washington, DC."

There isn't anything more exciting than the playoffs.

No matter what the sport - athletes dream of competing for the championship. But that doesn't come easy.

From making the team, to practice, to preseason, in the weight room, watching film, regular season, and every moment in between. It's no secret that it takes what is often said in sport, blood, sweat and tears.

With that, there is no better rivalry than the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Combine all the aforementioned with those two teams and fans are entertained the entire series.

During game one, there was no lack of excitement. A couple of close calls in front of the net made an overhead remote camera not only important, but it helped tell the story of the night - sacrifice.

As the Pens and Caps go into game six tonight, it will be a thrilling ride to the Stanley Cup, that's for sure.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

It Takes Four

"Mark Otieno Odhiambo of Kenya competes in the heat one of the Men's 4x200 Metres Relay during the IAAF/BTC World Relays Bahamas 2017 at Thomas Robinson Stadium on April 23, 2017 in Nassau, Bahamas."

Athletics can be one of the greatest challenges in sports photography. There is often so much going on at the same time that managing your time is very important.

However, the good thing about relays is that everything happens on the track and finishes in the same place. And most obvious, there are no overlapping events.

Last week, we documented the IAAF/BTC World Relays Bahamas 2017 at Thomas Robinson Stadium in Nassau, Bahamas.

Beautiful venue, amazing country and for the most part great weather. While most would enjoy clear skies, a little bit of rain helped make some compelling images during the championships.

An exciting couple of days, and a good warmup for a summer full of athletics championships, here is a condensed edit of the event.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Put Your Hands Up

"Tom Wilson #43 of the Washington Capitals celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs in overtime in Game One of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Verizon Center on April 13, 2017 in Washington, DC."

Photographing hockey can either be extremely clean or cluttered - rarely anything in-between.

What I mean is that remote cameras above the ice can help photographs be very symmetrical and on an attractive canvas. Conversely, at ice level, the boards are littered in advertisements. This can make a great picture distracting due to logos or even colors of them.

In addition, the crowd and railings on the steps can also take away from a great moment. But there are instances like the above where a simple crop can help communicate the story.

During Game One of the Eastern Conference First Round, Tom Wilson of the Washington Capitals rocketed the game-winning goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs in overtime.

Being across the ice, I was on the play, yet crossing players, the goal itself and my limited angle through the hole made the image a challenge to get perfect. But all worked out in the end as Wilson and fans threw their hands into the air in jubilation.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Opening Day

"Starting pitcher Kevin Gausman #39 of the Baltimore Orioles prays before playing the Toronto Blue Jays during their Opening Day game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 3, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland."

To many, Opening Day is a holy day.

Each year after 162 games for each team, plus a post-season, the baseball season comes to a end.  There are no fast balls, home runs or game seven for the long stretch that is winter. It's a long break for many, but when it's back, there are lots of excited fans.

I've heard stories of many people considering Opening Day a holiday and taking off of work. Start talking to anyone at the ballpark and there are fans who haven't missed an Opening Day in 20 some years.

Personally, I've always thought Opening Day, or the first game of the year for major league baseball, was also the start of spring. The days are longer, the temperature is rising and the world becomes green again.

In all my years shooting professionally, I've never once been to as a fan, nor photographed, an Opening Day. For whatever reason, be it travel or other assignments, it just never lined up.

Thankfully I got my first this year. It was an exciting one and I'll never forget it.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Hold Up

"Travis Konecny #11 of the Philadelphia Flyers and Josh Anderson #34 of the Columbus Blue Jackets push and shove as teammates hold one another during the second period at Wells Fargo Center on March 13, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania."

If there is one thing I love about hockey as a sport, it's that everyone on the ice constantly has their teammates back.

Sure in every sport teammates will stand up for their comrades. But always clearly obvious in ice hockey. When two players tempers flare and they start to push and shove, everyone typically gets involved.

Whether they're helping to break it up to cool everyone off or protect their star player - rarely is there a player on the ice not involved.

What will usually happen is what one can see in the above picture. A chain-like grappling of opposing players until the referees are able to break it up - and always a fun picture that illustrates the battle.

Without the comradery of a team - there is no team unity - and making that push toward the post season becomes even more difficult.

Looking forward to the playoffs as everything heats up on the ice.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Stick Versus Hand

"Luke Glendening #41 of the Detroit Red Wings pulls in a loose puck with his hand as he is defended by Andre Burakovsky #65 of the Washington Capitals during the first period at Verizon Center on February 9, 2017 in Washington, DC."

I love taking risks shooting sports and hockey is a classic sport for that.

With limited number of on ice positions for photographers, some of those spots mean only seeing a small percentage of the ice.

As the game goes into the final period, many photographers will leave their holes for a higher vantage so that the can document every play on the ice without missing a single play.

I've always stuck to my original game plan and stayed ice level. It's exciting to know that you'll either have the decisive moment no one else has or be burned. So in all the years documenting ice hockey, I've only shot handheld from an elevated position a few times.

However, the other night I thought I'd start from the 100 level instead of finishing there for a fresh vantage and something different than the competition.

Thankfully there was a lot of scoring and action which helped break me from my normal routine at a game.

Looking forward as the regular season begins to wind down and playoffs rev up.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Super Brady

"Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots takes the field prior to Super Bowl 51 against the Atlanta Falcons at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas."

There is no bigger game than the Super Bowl when in comes to football. And there is no bigger name than Tom Brady.

Each year, thousands travel to the host city to watch and millions tune in each year to see who will hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Much like the organizers of the actual game, we at Getty Images cannot cover the game alone. More than 30 of our staff - from editors, technicians, runners, and photographers themselves - work together to make the week leading up to, and the actual game, operate with zero hiccups.

And as the teams do, we load the field with our talent.

As sports photography goes, one can do their homework, be hungry, motivated, and prepared, yet as the saying goes, sometimes the ball doesn't bounce your way.

I played our team's part on the opposite end of most of the action this year. For those big moments that did happen in my view, at the end of the day, they ended up not being the storytelling moments because of the historic comeback by the New England Patriots.

But that's what makes the big game thrilling and I am perfectly content with that. Being a part of the team is what's important.

Knowing that I can put my faith in my teammates to visually document their areas of the field, just as they trust us to do it on our end, feels good. The end result, and our entire take, is what shows and I'm always grateful to be included on the squad.

And if this game teaches anyone anything, it's to never give up, even if things don't go smoothly at first.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Big Moments

"Safeties Coach Steve Belichick of the New England Patriots holds his daughter Blakely Rose Belichick as he enjoys the Patriots defeat over the Pittsburgh Steelers, 36-17, in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts."

One thing I always try to think about in sports is who the game is important to and why.

It's easy to point the camera toward players after a big win such as the AFC Championship Game. They're the ones on the field exerting energy and crossing the the line to score a touchdown.

In addition, fans are the ones we typically hear. So focusing on their actions comes natural, too.

But those in uniform adorning their name on the back didn't achieve those moments alone. Their coaches drew up the plays and helped coordinate when to use them. And I often think besides the head coach, others aren't typically seen visually.

In other words, coaches are very much apart of the team, too.

With a big team ourselves at Getty Images covering the championship, we each have our own roles. Yet when they end, we're left to search for other moments.

Being a father, and with my wife expecting our second child soon, I was instantly drawn to safeties coach Steve Belichick of the New England Patriots as he held his daughter while enjoying the Patriots defeat over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

For him, as a coach, this was a big moment. But being a father is better than any win. I can only imagine that has to be a great feeling to being able to enjoy both at once.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Incoming

"Marcin Gortat #13 of the Washington Wizards and Al-Farouq Aminu #8 of the Portland Trail Blazers battle for a rebound as Otto Porter Jr. #22 of the Washington Wizards falls to the court during the first half at Verizon Center on January 16, 2017 in Washington, DC."

One trap sport photography can often fall into is the lack of layers.

While guilty of it every day, a lot of the time great sports images often include only one player. This is something I've talked about before, yet is unavoidable in some sports where players are their own team; such as golf and tennis.

While you cannot take away from a great picture with only one person in it, I find my eye like to dance around a picture with more humans in it.

So with that, I am always trying to incorporate as many players into one picture as possible. Sport is about competition - the more, the better.

The other night as the Portland Trail Blazers played the Washington Wizards I decided to put a remote on the floor under the basket. This is something new and and positive about the Verizon Center.

Alas, this arena isn't great in terms of clean pictures with basketball. There aren't yet LED lights, so it's dark. The stands have distracting elements such as silver railings. And the house lights illuminate the crowd.

These three things make a clean picture a challenge, so to combat that, I try and fill the frame. This picture helps communicate all the aforementioned and draws a viewer in.