Tuesday, March 23, 2021

In the Bubble

"Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals warms up before playing against the Boston Bruins at Capital One Arena on February 1, 2021 in Washington, DC."

With sports pretty much fully returned since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, not all is how it used to be.

For most professional and college sports, photographers are out into different tiers away from the field of play. This mostly means, the snappers are put into spectator seating far from the atheltes. 

However, some sports there has been no change. One of them is the hockey. While modified in that not all of the ice level cut out holes are available, photographers are close.

We've taken advantage of this and I've even pulled out the circular fisheye lens to try something different. A bubble view of the game if you will.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Surgical Start

"Arsenio Bustos looks on in his protective face covering worn due to the Covid-19 pandemic before he competes in the Men's 200 Meter IM during Day Four of the TYR Pro Swim Series at SwimRVA at the Collegiate School Aquatics Center on January 17, 2021 in Richmond, Virginia"

A clean background is most often your ticket to a compelling image.

During the TYR Pro Swim Series at SwimRVA, action is obviously the image we are seeking. But living in a pandemic, I have this deep interest in capturing how we are competing during this health crisis.

Masks are a clear historical visual reference. And like so many other sports, athletes wore them until it was time to dive off of the blocks.

Having a clean background with a color palate matched surgical masks was a perfect way to document this event. 

One day we'll look back at these images knowing how we all adapted to keep athletes in action.

Monday, March 08, 2021

Rise Up

 

"Michael Fisher Sr., lifts his son, Michael Fisher Jr., to dunk a basketball at the Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee statue on Monument Avenue on January 15, 2021 in Richmond, Virginia."

Being on the road can often mean spending time with no one except yourself.

In January while covering a multiple day swim meet, I found myself with excessive free time. Instead of sitting around all day waiting for action to resume, I decided to roam around Richmond.

Erected in 1890, and standing 60 feet high, Richmond's graffitied statue of Robert E. Lee now serves as reminder of last year's racial justice movement. Art work, graffiti and memorials call out racial equity and take stand for social injustice.

I found it powerful to spend some time there photographing what I saw. 

It's one thing to read and photograph everything displayed. But being able to connect a human element to this display really helped communicate what the community has done here and serve as real reminder when the statue is removed in the future.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Sanitizing for Safety

"Alexander Espinoza of V&G Cleaning Services uses an electromagnetic sanitizer with hospital-grade disinfectant to sterilize the George Mason Patriots basketball locker room against the novel coronavirus after their men's NCAA basketball game against the La Salle Explorers at Eagle Bank Arena on January 13, 2021 in Fairfax, Virginia."

One of most important images of sports during the Covid-19 pandemic is rarely seen. That is the image of leagues, teams and universities cleaning and sanitizing. 

George Mason University has been taking necessary precautions to mitigate risk amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Their efforts include reduced fan attendance, public health announcements, and continual disinfecting, cleaning to keep its players, coaches, staff, and visiting teams safe - among other policies.

We were able to shadow their efforts which help fans, players and those alike see what actually goes into keeping everyone safe day-to-day from illness.

With out efforts like these, the coronavirus pandemic that canceled seasons and tournaments worldwide in 2020, would continue to keep athletes from competing. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Tom

"Quarterback Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks on from the tunnel before playing against the Washington Football Team at FedExField on January 09, 2021 in Landover, Maryland."

I'm often asked what my favorite sport is to photograph. And the answer can go two different ways.

My first response is usually whatever season it's not. It's easy to become complacent when you're continually going to the same venue or photographing the same teams. I thrive for change and variety. So my answer usually relates to the excitement of photographing a new season.

But the real answer is I enjoy the players more than teams. The greats, the rookies and the interactions between everyone on the playing surface. 

These players make a good game which in turns makes a great images. 

One player that immediately comes to mind is Tom Brady - now of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There is no denying his greatness and is one of those iconic athletes I'll remember photographing when he's long retired.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Kneeling Together

"The referee and players of both the Columbus Crew and D.C. United kneel after the whistle to start the game during the first half at Audi Field on October 28, 2020 in Washington, DC. The MLS announced it would no longer play the U.S. National Anthem while they had no fans due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Players have continued to kneel to protest social injustice."

When sports returned from hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic - athletes took to the field to protest social injustice. 

With much controversy and division in the world, nearly every game had at least one player or entire teams take a kneel to make a statement.

That was no different during a Major League Soccer game between D.C. United and the Columbus Crew. 

The MLS announced it would no longer play the U.S. National Anthem while they had no fans due to the Covid-19 pandemic, so players have continued to kneel to protest social injustice prior to the start of their games.

A powerful picture, these types of images will live on forever to tell history visually.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Loving the Win

"Sei Young Kim of Korea hugs the trophy after winning the 2020 KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Aronimink Golf Club on October 11, 2020 in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania."

The story of the year in sports has been the postponement of seasons and then its return to play without fans.

The PGA of America announced that this major - 2020 KPMG Women's PGA Championship - would be played without spectators due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

 Nothing new, but always a challenge. And in the world of golf, it's not only learning to quieter, but moving discreetly when there are no fans to hide behind.

This major was very graphic with some incredible light on a beautiful course. In the end, it was this quiet moment of Sei Young Kim hugging her trophy after winning at Aronimink.

Friday, November 06, 2020

Board Fans









"Cardboard cutouts of fans are seen in the spectator seating in front of a security guard wearing a surgical face mask during the second half at FedExField on October 4, 2020 in Landover, Maryland. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Washington Football Team did not host fans during the game."

About five years ago, the story in Baltimore was centered around the protests over the death of Freddie Gray.

During this period, Major League Baseball announced it would play a game in front of no fans. It was historic - like the news events transpired - and something I never thought I'd witness again.

But much like life, nothing can be predicted. We can be sure in some events, but others it's nearly impossible. 

With sports leagues adapting and making an effort to keep everyone safe during the Covid-19 pandemic, we've revisited history.

Many stadiums and venues in the United States have filled their seats with cardboard cutouts of supporters as no fans continue to be permitted.

It's not only compelling images, it's the sign of the times, and hope we can all look back in years to come and know we all survived a volatile time.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Rough Tee Shot

"Jodi Ewart Shadoff of England plays her tee shot on the 15th hole during the final round of the LPGA Drive On Championship at Inverness Club on August 2, 2020 in Toledo, Ohio."

Shooting golf is always a matter of endurance.

On the course for up to a week - but typically four or five days - this amount of time makes the event a marathon and not a sprint. 

With only four days of competition, the prior days are about feeling out the course and making a plan on how to navigate.

But even after being on the course from sun up to sun down every day, you still stumble across images that work, even on the final round near the end of the tournament.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Photo Seats

"A sports photographer sits in empty spectator seats as the Toronto Blue Jays play the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 29, 2020 in Washington, DC. MLB has resumed its delayed season without fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic."

During the pandemic, I feel visually documenting the story on the field doesn't tell the full story.

One regular season game, and in this instance baseball, takes more than just those on the field to make it happen. 

There are lots of in-and-outs that makes the production of a sporting event. Many folks that make the operation run safely and smoothly.

One of those people who are allowed are photographers - whether to persevere history, reach clients or both. But like so many of us know, and have read here, ballparks and arenas are fan-less.

I always find imperative to turn around and look away from the field - even during 'regular' years - to make sure we all remember what each and every year looks like.