Thursday, July 21, 2016

Securing a Spot

 "Chrishuna Williams reacts after placing third in the Women's 800 Meter Final during the 2016 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on July 4, 2016 in Eugene, Oregon."

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For athletes, there is no greater destination than the Olympics - but first you must make it there.

It's no easy journey for the thousands of athletes that descend to a host city every four years to participate in the world's largest event in sports. As cliche as it sounds, it takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears.

For what many call one of the best track and field teams on the globe, you just don't show up and make secure a spot on the U.S. Track & Field roster.

Whether you're the face of the sport or a newcomer fresh out of high school - everyone is put on the same level on day one at the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

Having the opportunity to photograph athletes as they got the chance to make the squad is no easy task. It's no walk in the park for them nor the photographers.

It was an adrenaline rush documenting the men and women who have sacrificed so much for a chance not only to put on the jersey, but that may now get the humbling opportunity at bringing home a gold for the United States.

These images are the faces, moments and action of the trials in Tracktown.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Street Meet

"Ronnie Ash, Orlando Ortega, Aleec Harris, Spencer Adams, and Jason Richardson compete in the Mens 110 meter hurdle during day two of the Adidas Boost Boston Games on Charles Street between the Boston Common and Public Garden on June 18, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts."

Every so often, a great promoter thinks of a way to bring sports closer to fans.

Whether that's better access for spectators or putting a venue in a place it normally isn't, these things help those familiar, and also new to a sport, enjoy it on a new level.

With the Olympics getting closer, the Adidas Boost Boston Games took their event to the actual street. On Charles Street between the Boston Common and Public Garden, they built a track environment for their branded athletes to compete.

It was really awesome to document something unique like this for the first time despite it being a common type of event in Europe. I can only hope more events like it start popping up in the States.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Like grandfather, like grandson

"Motor racing legend Mario Andretti looks on at grandson Marco Andretti, driver of the #27 Snapple Andretti Autosport Honda, in his car during Star-Telegram Qualifying for the Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 10, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas."

There is nothing better than when everything lines up.

Recently while documenting the Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone 600 weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, I was assigned to cover a handful of cars during a session of qualifying.

This included drivers preparing, gearing up and getting into cars. The process can be lengthy, as IndyCar qualifying is one car at a time. So after grabbing images for your own assignment, you then have a lot of time to work pictures of other drivers, teams.

With a last name like Andretti, everyone with a camera is drawn to the Snapple Andretti Autosport Honda. I waited a couple minutes for the photographer crowd to calm down around him before venturing back over for a rather standard mirror shot.

As I squatted low to line the shot up, all while making sure I wasn't being seen in the mirror, I noticed racing legend Mario Andretti looking on at his grandson, Marco.

A simple moment that lined up now gives the rectangle a little more shelf life for clients.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Hanging On

"Aram Keshgegian #5 of St. Joesph (left) eludes Shane Demsey #2 of Arizona during Day 1 of the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championships at Talen Energy Stadium on June 4, 2016 in Chester, Pennsylvania."

Sometimes in sports it can feel like you're dragging a ton of weight around due to many different variables.

Whether it's weather related such as extreme heat or cold, bad backgrounds at a venue, or other life events unrelated to the game. These things and more can make a regular match feel like a major challenge whereas it might not otherwise.

Much like the image above for the collegiate rugby championships, you have to push on, keep running forward and work hard. By worrying about what might be dragging you down, you'll never be able to succeed visually.

With that said, photographers are often the first to complain about things like weather, yet we should remember this minor nuances are only temporary.

While that may seem difficult at the time - there is nothing worse than constant complaining. Prove not only to yourself that you can overcome the obstacles, but to your team, too.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Snapping Win

"Raymond Henley #2 of the New Mexico Vatos Snapchats on his phone with teammates under the grandstands after defeating St. Mary's College of Maryland, 31-7, in the NSCRO Final during Day 2 of the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championships at Talen Energy Stadium on June 5, 2016 in Chester, Pennsylvania."

There is nothing like winning the big championship - and then sharing it with the world.

For the second year in a row, I had the opportunity to document rugby sevens action for two days at the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championships in Chester, Pennsylvania.

Knowing the lay of the land this time around I tried to change my style of visual coverage for us at Getty Images. And one thing I wanted to look for was a big moment of jubilation or dejection away from the field.

After the New Mexico Vatos defeated St. Mary's College of Maryland in the NSCRO championship, I followed them under the grandstands to their makeshift locker room.

I didn't think anything of it because they weren't in a proper locker room - and as excited as they were - simply taking off their jerseys wasn't a picture. But something told me to stick around, and I am glad I did. 

Moments later, Raymond Henley lead the team in Snapchat showing the world what they've done.

It's this type of access, and these types of moments, that make sports special - and it would be possible without them allowing a total stranger into their world for a brief couple of minutes.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Salute

"Starting pitcher Tyler Wilson #63 of the Baltimore Orioles and teammates stand with members of the United States Armed Forces before playing against the Boston Red Sox at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 30, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland."

Every year the same holidays occur. It can be just another day at the stadium unless you visualize how to document them differently.

Some years you miss certain celebrations. Other years you photograph them and think how you could make it better. But having to wait an entire year to get the chance to shoot it again can easily make one forget what they wanted to do.

For Memorial Day, I knew that service members took the field with players at Oriole Park at Camden Yards - much like most other ballparks around the nation.

I totally forgot about that until when I walked to the field. It then hit me because I had forgotten my stool for the photo well.

So I risked standing in the well or take a chance and photograph the beginning of the game from the nose bleed section.

Glad I went up high because it gave the scene a very proud to be American feel, while also being graphic and clean.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Preakness at Pimlico

"Jockey Victor Carrasco poses for a portrait after jockeying Never Stop Looking in The 2nd Running of the Old Bay Race prior to the 141st running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 21, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland."

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There is nothing more challenging then covering the same event year after year.

I've covered the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course for six years in a row - and that doesn't count what I've documented not in succession.

Obviously, each year variables change. The weather may be good or bad. There may be a policy changes for fans. A horse could scratch from the race. And so much more.

But for the most part, the venue and purpose of the assignment are relativity unchanged. So trying to capture the week long of morning workouts and then the one day event in a new light is always fun, but a huge challenge.

This year, lots of rain already changed our game plan at Getty Images. That in turn changed how I approached and documented the week.

Not only did we walk away Saturday night with brilliant coverage as a team, I thought I had one of my best Preakness weeks to date, and that goes back to my teammates doing the same.

Monday, May 16, 2016

All Hands On Pit

"Ty Dillon, driver of the #3 Rheem Chevrolet, comes in for a pit stop during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ollie's Bargain Outlet 200 at Dover International Speedway on May 14, 2016 in Dover, Delaware."

Each and every venue has it's gems - yet it's finding them and knowing how to use them that makes it a challenge.

For motorsports, some tracks have different shooting positions that make routine documentation a bit more of a calculated risk.

As an example, at most race tracks, pit stop walls are solid concrete. And going over the wall with any part of your body and camera as a photographer is strictly prohibited.

However, at Dover International Speedway, the pit road wall is more of a guard rail with an opening below. This allows photographers to wedge their camera underneath the opening and spray frames blindly as cars come speeding in for tire changes.

Maybe it's because in all my years at Dover I was playing it safe when I covered pit stops. Whatever the reason being, I'm glad I went for something different this time around.

There is nothing better than getting multiple layers of action in one sports image.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

One to the Chin

"Lucian Bute of Canada (right) is punched by Badou Jack of Sweden in their WBC super middleweight championship bout at the DC Armory on May 1, 2016 in Washington, DC."

Timing is everything - and in boxing that's not always easy.

Learning  and adjusting to punching speeds is one of the most challenging things in documenting sports.

While not always necessary, I always show up to boxing matches early to get a my rhythm and timing down with the under card fights. Not to mention, a lot of the times these matches before the title fights are just as good, if not better, photographically.

With this being my third boxing night in a little over a month, I had a good night of connecting my clicks with connecting punches.

While one of the two title matches at the DC Armory ended in a majority draw, all the images that night showed the heart and hard-hitting action that boxing is known for.

As always, much respect to the fighters. There is nothing more vicious in sports than a night ringside.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Presidential Selfie

"Abraham Lincoln impersonator Ron Carley (left) takes a selfie picture with WBC Champion Badou Jack in front of the White House prior to Jack facing Lucian Bute (not pictured) in a super middleweight title fight, set for April 30, 2016 at the DC Armory, on April 27, 2016 in Washington, DC."

Reactions from the general public often make the most of assignments where a majority of the day are posed portraits.

A press tour helping promote a double-header headlined title fight had a group of photographers posing four professional boxers in front of iconic monuments in Washington, DC.

These clean portraits helped place international boxers from the fight card in the district - and were great for clients worldwide.

Yet it was another notable man that helped bring a candid moment to the otherwise set schedule day.

That man was Abraham Lincoln, well, an impersonator of the famous president with the top hat.

The best part was is that Abe sought out the selfie - making the moment even better.