Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Eighty-Eight

"NHL Hall of Famer and former Philadelphia Flyer Eric Lindros acknowledges the crowd during his Jersey Retirement Night ceremony before the Toronto Maple Leafs play the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on January 18, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania."

As a sports photographer, one never gets to photographer every athlete.

Eric Lindros was one of those athletes that I vividly remember watching and knowing about when I was kid.

He was a household name and that proves true with his NHL Hall of Fame induction.

His style of play was something that one certainly doesn't see in today's game and his leadership meant enough to the Philadelphia Flyers that they retired his iconic eighty-eight number.

Having access to the ice for the ceremony, I tried to make something a bit different than the rest, as literal images don't always draw a viewer in.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Wrong Bench

"Markieff Morris #5 of the Washington Wizards crashes into the stands against the Milwaukee Bucks during the first half at Capital One Arena on January 15, 2018 in Washington, DC."

I am always amazed how quickly basketball players can slam on the brakes.

What I am talking about is their ability to come to a quick stop before crashing into those seated so close the boundaries of the court.

Their control is remarkable. Each and every play is full speed and unlike most other sports - the fan base is right on top of them.

It's rare you see a player accidentally collide with the media or fans. But when it does happen, it another stroke of genius as everyone is able to protect themselves and come out unscathed.

In this case, it was convenient that there was an empty court side seat for Markieff Morris of the Washington Wizards to sit into when he couldn't brake in time. The only casualty were a couple of beers that splashed empty.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Flip Out

"Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals is tackled by cornerback Josh Norman #24 of the Washington Redskins during the first quarter at FedExField on December 17, 2017 in Landover, Maryland."

The running joke as a photographer is that the game is never won in the first half.

While true, that doesn't mean a compelling picture cannot occur in the first couple or minutes.

Thus was the case as the Arizona Cardinals and Larry Fitzgerald got their hands on the ball in one of their the first few drives of the game.

Something prior to the game told me to bring a different lens than normal. Something inside of me also had me sitting behind the line of scrimmage. Because of both, I was able to get the above image of Fitzgerald going airborne.

While not a stunning rectangle, it was an image that held up to be storytelling as the Cardinals fell short on a last minute drive in the fourth quarter - which resulted in a loss to the Washington Redskins.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Speed Skate

"Brady Skjei #76 of the New York Rangers and Alex Chiasson #39 of the Washington Capitals battle for the puck during the second period at Capital One Arena on December 08, 2017 in Washington, DC."

The end of the year is always hectic. So much happening and shaping in the world of sports, and a lot happening with the holidays.

It's easy to sit back and coast into the new year photographically. As the year comes to an end, most know what their favorite images are and one can get complacent.

I always continue to push. Just because it's the end of a calendar year doesn't mean there aren't pictures to be made.

With hockey in full-swing, I've been shooting lots of it. Shooting from the same position can feel like a grind until you try and break that habit.

The above is a perfect example of that. Looking forward to a fresh start, but as always, have to continue to engage viewers/ 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Free Shave

"Nicklas Backstrom #19 of the Washington Capitals crashes to the ice after colliding with Brad Richardson #15 of the Arizona Coyotes during the third period at Capital One Arena on November 6, 2017 in Washington, DC."

Documenting hockey at any level is always a lot of fun - but can be frustrating as well.

With more than ten athletes, including goalies, continually crossing paths and then adding some referees - the view can be obstructed a lot of the time.

Whether a player is shooting, celebrating or taking a big check, there is always hope that it will be a clear line of sight.

The other night as the Arizona Coyotes took on the Washington Capitals I was fortunate to never really be blocked too many times, which is rare.

In the third period, Nicklas Backstrom crashed to the ice after a collision. While unable to see the initial flying through the air, which may or may not have been a better image, I loved the odd moment of him getting a free face shave from the ice.

It's often this different moments that help draw a viewer in and want to see more of the storytelling images of the night.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Take Cover

"Fans look on as quarterback Kirk Cousins #8 of the Washington Redskins throws a pass against the Dallas Cowboys during the second half at FedExField on October 29, 2017 in Landover, Maryland."

There is some security from the elements documenting winter sports such as basketball and hockey.

What that means is that you're indoors and safe from the rain, snow and cold. But that's what makes new and interesting pictures. When it starts to rain, everyone's game plans change.

Thus was no different as the Dallas Cowboys played against the Washington Redskins in at times felt like a monsoon.

Always a challenge working through the storm as a photographer, yet always fun if you're able to stay dry and warm.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Smashed Bird

"Quarterback Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens is tackled by middle linebacker Kiko Alonso #47 of the Miami Dolphins during the second quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on October 26, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland."

When I was younger my father would always say 'you to see the field' when playing sports.

While it was a literal phrase, I always interpreted differently.

What he was trying to communicate is that you need to have your head up, know where your teammates are so that you can successfully work together.

But I always thought it was more of an internal, sixth sense type of notion. Being able to 'see the field' meant knowing your place and feeling, anticipating the actions of others - both the opposition and your teammates.

Today is no different when photographing sports. A photographer needs to be able to predict what could happen at any moment.

Thus the case when quarterback Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens rushed against the Miami Dolphins. Typcially when a quarterback slides, the play is dead, and it's not a picture.

But something told me to keep shooting the play as he was then tackled, hit in the head - which resulted in Flacco leaving the game.

One must always be aware of their surroundings, and not only see it, but feel it.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Nats Strike Out

"Fans react with 'K' strikeout signs as Anthony Rizzo #44 of the Chicago Cubs swings during the fourth inning against the Washington Nationals in game one of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 6, 2017 in Washington, DC."

The town of Washington, DC is said to have a 'curse' in advancing and winning in the playoffs - no matter what the sport.

The last time a DC sports team were champions was in 1992 - being the Washington Redskins winning Super Bowl XXVI.

Since then there has been a lot of heartbreak for sports fans.

Unfortunately, nothing changed this year as Nationals struck out, literally, during a full count in the bottom of the ninth inning to lose during game five of the National League Division Series.

Being unbiased, I do know when one of the teams in the district does win, it's going to resemble the Cubs finally winning the World Series.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Behind the Ropes

"Kevin Chappell (R) of the U.S. Team celebrates with caddie Joe Greiner after playing from the bunker for eagle on the second hole to go one up over Marc Leishman of Australia and the International Team during Sunday singles matches of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on October 1, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey."

Whenever I talk to friends, neighbors or even an emerging sports photographer they always envy the access.

What I mean is that they're in awe of the sideline vantage - be it kneeling on the sideline of an NFL game, sitting in the photo-well of a baseball game or being inside the ropes at a golf tournament.

But what they don't always see is that being away from that opportunistic access often leads to a unique image. A picture no one else has.

This past week I found myself mingling with spectators as I documented a fan's perspective of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club.

Having an assignment like this challenges photographers to see and document sports differently in a good way. More than 99 percent of the time I spent away from any other professional photographers. And the one percent I was next them, I was shooting at a contrasting focal length on purpose.

One of my favorites was during the Sunday singles matches. Far away from everyone, using a mid-range zoom lens resulted in a picture that not one other fan, nor professional photographer, had all week - which was also story telling and had a sense of place - cannot complain about any of that.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Anthem

"Ryan Anderson #52, Chris Carter #55 and Niles Paul #84 of the Washington Redskins lock arms as they kneel alongside standing coaching staff and teammates during the United States national anthem before playing against the Oakland Raiders at FedExField on September 24, 2017 in Landover, Maryland."

Documenting sports doesn't always mean strictly the action the field.

Sometimes it means photographing an on-going news story regarding: a player, a coach or even the stadium itself. And in this case, more or less, the league.

Prior to week three of the NFL regular season, U.S. President Donald Trump chastised the NFL and its players publicly on Twitter regarding those who kneel during the national anthem.

Because of that, more than 200 players league wide showed their solidarity by demonstrating in the form of kneeling, sitting or joining arms during the playing of the anthem.

This was a known situation going into the game and we had to prepare for shooting these images at every game to help tell the story.

Splitting the field with my teammate, I documented the Washington Redskins sideline - while he took the Oakland Raiders - as players, coaches, and even the team's owner, united by standing, kneeling or locking arms to show their disapproval of the President's comments.

Although the game was why we photographers were there, this protest is what the world was talking about and was the real story line for the night and maybe weeks to come.