Sunday, July 02, 2017

Track Fashion

"Tara Davis competes in the Women's Long Jump Final during Day 3 of the 2017 USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships at Hornet Stadium on June 24, 2017 in Sacramento, California."

Over the past couple of years I've been finding myself documenting more and more track & field events.

And to this day, I still find it to be one of the most challenging sports to photograph.

Time management is everything in the controlled chaos that is athletics. With multiple events occurring at the same time, I am thankful to always be a part of a team that helps us document everything successfully.

What I am often finding though is there are so many details in this sport. From hair, to nails, shoes and everything in between. Every athlete has a style that helps them stand out, yet be one of the United States team.

During the 2017 USA Track & Field Championships, I found a familiar face, or should I say hair, of young star Tara Davis. I had photographed her a couple years ago at the Youth Championships, and she was back again.

He talent helps her stand out amongst her competition, but it's her hair that often helps us photographers make an interesting image.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Gloves, Sticks Optional

"The Pittsburgh Penguins mob goalie Matt Murray #30 as they celebrate their, 2-0, win over the Nashville Predators to win the 2017 Stanley Cup in Game Six of the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Bridgestone Arena on June 11, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee."

As a photographer documenting the final game of the season, it's easy to think about the entire season leading up to this moment.

While caught up in thoughts of pictures of the final celebration before it happens, after 'The Cup' is hoisted, one must remember that preseason, regular season, the entire playoffs, and everything in-between are just as important as the final jubilation of the year.

Every game, every practice is an opportunity to fine tune skills and techniques. Studying the game and players to help anticipate what could happen in a moment like this. Without all the ups and downs of the regular season, there is no tension and no thrill.

The games prior to the finals build the narrative - and this is what photography is all about - telling the story.

And this year, the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrated by hoisting the Stanley Cup for the second straight year. An incredible moment and opportunity that I won't forget.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Blocks Away

"Classic Empire walks on the track past row homes located on West Belvedere Ave., during a training session for the upcoming Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 17, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland."

I love sports action images, but if I can communicate something more in my photographs, I lean toward features.

Each year, the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course is an important race, and often called the middle jewel, of the Triple Crown.

So every morning we photographers find ourselves looking to tell the story of the year - which is typically the Kentucky Derby winning horse training.

But this year there was a lot of talk if Pimlico Race Course was in its final year, or years, of hosting the Preakness.

According to Baltimore Police, a fatal shooting occurred just a block away from the track, days before the race, so I wanted to help anyone writing that story, a visual.

Monday, May 29, 2017

End of the Season

"Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals skates alone on the ice during a stop in play during the first period against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Verizon Center on May 10, 2017 in Washington, DC."

No matter how much you prepare, when your eliminated from the playoffs, your season ends.

A favorite to win the Stanley Cup, the Washington Capitals ended up losing in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Second Round to rivals the Pittsburgh Penguins.

While I still setup a second, tighter remote camera from the catwalks, I wanted to try and give readers a feel of the crowd and their excitement of the winning team moving onto the next round.

I was able to achieve this look using a much wider lens on a second remote. And while the seats were nearly empty as the Penguins celebrated their victory on away ice, there was one picture I liked better.

That image was of captain and star Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals. During a stop of play I caught him skating alone on the ice, which in the end, showed how lonely it can feel when your season comes to an end.

Excited for the Stanley Cup Finals where I may be able to possibly recreate a similar image, but with the cup.

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.