Monday, January 05, 2015

Outdoor Rink

"Fans cheer as the Chicago Blackhawks take on the Washington Capitals during the third period in the 2015 NHL Winter Classic at Nationals Park on January 1, 2015 in Washington, DC."

Typically as a freelancer, the year begins off slow.

Assignments come in gradually as everyone begins to plan out the new year. Fortunately, I was given the opportunity to start of the year working as I documented the Winter Classic outdoor hockey game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Washington Capitals for Getty Images.

As much as I wanted to be on the ice, the game is more about the environment. Only one game a year is played outdoors in a venue such as Nationals Park, so I had a lot of fun hustling around the upper deck of the stadium looking for different vantage points.

Near the end of the third period, I found three fans sitting next to one another with the same Capitals jerseys on. I quietly camped out behind them waiting hopefully for a game-winning goal that would cause some jubilation.

It paid off, as these two fans jumped up as the Blackhawks drew a penalty - which added a layer to the already great general view.

The best part of this photo was a couple days later, the gentlemen to the right, had seen this image and connected the dots and emailed thanking me for documenting this moment. He mentioned that he didn't even know the guy to his left and had no idea I was there.

I love when sports fans rally together when they don't even know one another - but I love it more when I can be there to document a scene without them even knowing I was there.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Best of 2014 | Sports

"German Meraz attempts to hit Rau'shee Warren in their bantamweights match at the DC Armory on January 25, 2014 in Washington, DC."

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As the year ends, I am proud and humbled by the opportunities presented in 2014.

Much like last year, the days, weeks and months I spent shooting once again revolved heavily around the world of sports. From local venues - and spanning across the country to California and Texas - and Florida more than six times - it has been an amazing journey.

It certainly hasn’t been easy, each assignment presents new challenges, but the inspiration I feed off of from each team I work with makes them exciting to tackle.

I cannot go without thanking all of my clients for keeping me moving each week to document compelling subjects in ideal locations. Each and every opportunity is cherished - and I thank everyone for allowing me to be their eyes by trusting my skills no matter what the story.

My clients trust my abilities to not only photograph athletes and the worlds they play and live in, but to also enjoy the often overlooked relationships of building deeper bonds with teammates I work alongside - both photographers and editors.

As always, a deep gratitude, and thank you, to everyone at Getty Images for keeping my vision looking for the extraordinary. It goes without saying they continually keep my cameras active for which I am forever indebted. Most, if not all, of the images in this gallery have been documented when apart of the Getty team.

Without mentioning each and everyone of you - thank you.

As always, I'm excited and looking forward to another full-year of health, happiness and shooting in 2015 - and wish each and everyone of you the same.

Monday, December 22, 2014

More Than Football

"Free safety Ryan Clark #25 of the Washington Redskins tears up during the national anthem before playing the Philadelphia Eagles at FedExField on December 20, 2014 in Landover, Maryland."

It's quite rare to see pregame emotions from superstar athlete.

Shooting for Getty Images, as the national anthem was starting to be sung, I worked my way down the sideline and found myself behind two Washington Redskins players before kick-off against the Philadelphia Eagles.

One of those players was free safety Ryan Clark. The two were just on the outside edge of the bench and I debated whether or not I'd be able to get closer and in front of them by stepping on the field, but I decided to play by the rules and stay behind the yellow lines.

I didn't really attempt to make any pictures at first because I could only see the back of the heads of the two players. But I grabbed my lens and pointed in the direction of Clark thinking in anything could happen in terms of pyrotechnics or something related.

As Clark turned near the end of the anthem, I could see a tear streaming down his face and a small grimace. It was obvious he was visuablly moved by something.

No one likes to document sadness, but it's our job as photographers to document what we witness. I still don't know what brought on emotion, and it could literally be about anything.

Yet it's always a positive reminder to myself and viewers that these superstar athletes are no different from ourselves and are indeed human.

Monday, December 15, 2014

On One Knee

"Wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., #89 of the Baltimore Ravens prays with teammates and players from the Jacksonville Jaguars after the conclusion of an NFL game at M&T Bank Stadium on December 14, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland."

As much as games stay the same, there is always something that makes each one different.

Week fifteen had come to an end in Baltimore, and when time expired, the Baltimore Ravens came out victorious over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Paired up with a teammate with Getty Images, we had small game plan for the post game scrum. It was a typical post game with lots of players congregating on the field.

When I started to make my way off the field, I saw Steve Smith Sr., of the Baltimore Ravens remove his helmet.  I instantly noticed a large cross with wings on the back of his neck.

Having photographed the combined team prayer time and time again, I had never noticed Smith's tattoo.

It was rare moment where I pictured an image in my head that then unfolded in front of my lens. It made for different picture of a routine image.

I'll certainly revisit this image next time I document a Ravens game.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Rammed Over

"Strong safety Phillip Thomas #41 of the Washington Redskins is stiff armed by wide receiver Stedman Bailey #12 of the St. Louis Rams in the third quarter of a game at FedExField on December 7, 2014 in Landover, Maryland."

In speaking to a handful of students recently, I made sure to tell them to never discredit the skill of being consistent.

We all want to document the biggest, flashest images that anyone has ever seen. We want to stand apart from the rest of the pack and have the most compelling pictures in our portfolio.

But the reality is that those pictures don't always present themselves. 

In planning to set yourself up for success, you need to make sure the daily images are on par each and every day. By doing so, you're preparing to be ready and focused for those incredible moments.

I'll be the first to say it's not always easy being consistent. Every day is challenging in its own right - whether directly related to the assignment or not. Yet remembering to focus on the fundamentals and be ready for anything can only be positive.

While this image certainly isn't anything ground breaking, it was solid for the day and told the story of the day.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Booted to the Teeth

"Strong safety Matt Elam #26 of the Baltimore Ravens is kicked by wide receiver Eddie Royal #11 of the San Diego Chargers as they collide in the first half at M&T Bank Stadium on November 30, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland."

Shooting through the play and making sure to review images in detail can always benefit a photographer.

Covering the game for Getty Images, as the San Diego Chargers took on the Baltimore Ravens early in the game, a rare moment happened.

As the quarterback released the ball, I panned up-field to a completion by wide receiver Eddie Royal of the San Diego Chargers. It was a quick pass and I was focusing on leveling out my camera as I was blocked by a referee for a split second.

Once I located the receiver, although not composed perfectly, I kept on the shutter as he bounced onto his back. I wanted to go vertical in the frame because I was way to tight for the vertical position of both players. As I kept shooting, Royal's cleat unintentionally found it's way to the face of strong safety Matt Elam of the Baltimore Ravens.

It wasn't until there was a break in play that I went through to review an tag images for the editor that I realized what had happen. A bad picture full frame, a moment in a portion of the frame made for a unique image.

Being diligent about being an in camera editor not only helps discover these types of moments, but also helps on and off site editors discover them, too.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Speeding into the Sunset

"A general view of racing during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida."

More than forty stock cars speed into the sunset - the final race of the season is here and gone.

Last week, I found myself covering each of the final series finales at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

As always, teamed up with the amazing Getty Images crew, everyone was excited to document and see which drivers would take home the championship from each series.

There is no other way to describe it other than long days and longer nights - yet it was all worth it.

As we packed up one last time for the year, it was a lot of fun to look back on the year. The crew of guys and girls certainly taught me a lot - and while I have never, and will never, considered myself a primarily a motorsport photographer, it's always an incredible opportunity to work alongside the best.

Each week presents it own set of challenges, and it's never easy, but I am continually proud to be apart of the Getty Images team and looking forward to next year.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Topping the Titans

"Cornerback Danny Gorrer #37 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates an interception against the Tennessee Titans in the fourth quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on November 9, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland."

Grabbing the right lens at the correct time is sometimes a gamble.

On any given play, I try to stick with the camera and lens combination that I'm shooting with. Instincts take over and you switch to either a wider or tighter shot.

Having not shot football action in about a month, I was feeling a bit rusty. I found myself trying the safe approach on many plays by switch too soon, or in some cases, too late to my second or third camera setup.

While I never missed anything important, I felt images would have been more dynamic had I just stuck it out with my original gear selection on any given play.

By the fourth quarter I was finding my rhythm again.

When the Tennessee Titans made their last drive, and it was picked off by cornerback Danny Gorrer of the Baltimore Ravens, it was an easy choice to stay wide to see his entire body language.

While not the play of the game, it was certainly story telling of the Ravens victory.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Faith, Family and Football

"Lead by interim head coach Paul Strus, the Cardinal O'Hara football team walks to a large cross to pray before playing Bonner Prendergast Catholic at Cardinal O'Hara High School on October 26, 2014 in Springfield, Pennsylvania."

I'm always seeking powerful stories and interesting people. These ideas for stories come from a range of things - from combining my own interests, to pitches from friends and those who contact myself, and everything in between.

This summer, I came across the story of Cardinal O'Hara beloved football head coach Danny Algeo. I found out about the story from a photojournalist friend closer to the story. Algeo, 49, died of a heart attack over summer and his death left the community in shock.

I quickly learned that coach lived by a motto of faith, family and football. He was one of those coaches that everyone wanted leading their team, as well as, guiding their young men into adulthood through football.

This instantly sparked my interests and I wanted to know more about his past, the team and the community in Springfield, Pennsylvania.

Working on a personal story of religion and sports for an extended period of time and I have been doing my best to document images I feel help tell that story. After talking to the interim head coach in detail, I knew I had to try and find time to get up to the field.

The school has a large cross near the field that was a project of Algeo, and has since served as a memory of the coach's legacy - not only to players and other coaches - but those in the community.

My schedule had been really busy, but I finally found a morning to go up to document this moment of grace. I appreciate the team for having me and I hope we cross paths again.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Royal Run

"Lorenzo Cain #6 of the Kansas City Royals falls to the ground at bat in the seventh inning against the Baltimore Orioles during Game Two of the American League Championship Series at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on October 11, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland."

The Major League Baseball playoffs are still happening and it was a fun ride while in lasted in the Baltimore/Washington metro region.

Covering the games for Getty Images, we teamed up and documented all the games at both Oriole Park at Camden Yards and Nationals Park.

Having the opportunity to document the intense, emotional play of any playoff game is always a lot of fun. Every swing and every pitch is important - and so is every picture.

Not sure why I liked this above frame of Lorenzo Cain of the Kansas City Royals, but it reminds me that anything is possible during the playoffs.

It will be an exciting finish at the Royals and Giants battle for the championship.