Thursday, June 07, 2018

Kiss The Bricks

"Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, celebrates as he kisses the bricks after winning the 102nd Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motorspeedway on May 27, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana."

Traditions in sports are everywhere - and some more iconic than others.

While great pictures can come from major events around the world, I always stress that it doesn't need to be a world class game or race to make that kind of image.

However, when you're able to combine a tradition, a world-renown sporting even and a special picture - it makes a photographer remember that history is important.

The aforementioned occurred when driver Will Power won the iconic Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motorspeedway - and then kissed the bricks.

Long standing moments like this will happen long after Power and everyone there that day - but being able to document the moment to help others realize it still exists is always special. 

Monday, May 28, 2018

Foggy Finish

"Justify #7 ridden by jockey Mike Smith wins the 143rd running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 19, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland."
Being able to predict anything in sports is usually near impossible. Anticipating the weather can also be a feat in itself - especially at Preakness.

For what seems like the past five years, if not longer, the weather has played many tricks and posed lots of twists. One of the most memorable Saturdays in May being a fantastic sunny afternoon which was followed a monsoon of rain as the horses entered the gate.

This year was no different as a heavy fog rolled in just around the start of the main race putting photographers to the test.

Aside from the above remote photograph, my head-on position was like shooting into dark. Visibility was challenge, but made for interesting pictures.

I always welcome weather that makes events different, and this foggy finish was one to remember.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Job Hazard

"Chris Kunitz #14 of the Tampa Bay Lightning gets kicked in the face against by Tom Wilson #43 of the Washington Capitals during the third period in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Capital One Arena on May 17, 2018 in Washington, DC."

It's crunch time in hockey as only two teams remain in the playoffs.

When the season began, no one can predict those teams would be vying for the Stanley Cup. Yet in the same breath, photographers can never imagine what might happen in front of their lens.

During Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals I shot from an elevated position for a change of pace and was shocked when Chris Kunitz of the Tampa Bay Lightning nearly lost his eye.

A rather minor collision resulted in an image that shows just why many players wear visors. Though in this instance, it almost wasn't enough.

A good example of why sports photography is about never letting your guard down.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Crossed Out

"Francisco Lindor #12 of the Cleveland Indians walks off of the field after popping out against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 23, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland."

Fashion is something that is rarely talked about in sports photography.

Nothing can set two athletes apart then how they makeup their hair, what shoes they wear or what they wear around their neck or wrists.

The simplest of images can draw a viewer in and make them want to know more. So that's why I am always continually searching for a trend or piece of hardware.

I was immediately drawn to Francisco Lindor of the Cleveland Indians during a game against the Orioles. His multiple necklaces continually bounced around as he ran the bases, on and off the diamond and when fielding.

It wasn't until he was very close after being called out that I thought made an interesting image.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Cub Clip

"Cub Swanson punches Frankie Edgar in their featherweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at the Boardwalk Hall on April 21, 2018 in Atlantic City, New Jersey."

There is a lot of excitement when documenting any style of human-to-human combat - and it's one of the most challenging sports to photograph.

When given the opportunity to be so close to something most have been brought up to avoid - fighting - it's a real adrenaline boost. Every punch, kick and choke in mixed martial arts feels like it  could end the fight.

That makes it a frustrating. One thinks any contact will be a great picture, and the reality is, it's a fundamental skill of timing the strike that makes the frame.

Every time I shoot any fight - be it boxing, UFC or even at a hockey game - I try to be extra patient. Take a lot of deep breaths and try to relax because I know I can easily overshoot every second of the fight.

This go round I was able to stay focused and calm and walk away with a few different yet classic images from a handful of UFC fights in Atlantic City.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Bacon Blur

"Dwayne Bacon #7 of the Charlotte Hornets shoots in front of Ian Mahinmi #28 of the Washington Wizards during the second half at Capital One Arena on March 31, 2018 in Washington, DC."

Every once in a while a photographer will think, "Why haven't I shot this image in the past?"

Sports photographers can go years shooting in the venues season after season. While there are variables that change those environments, for the most part they remain the same.

So when they decide to shoot differently, it becomes fresh.

But in that same moment, they can also ponder, "How can I make this image better?"

The above is a photograph I shoot at least once a game of recent. A slow shutter speed that tries to grab the strobe lights of other photographers shooting the same moment.

I'm always trying to better the already graphically compelling frame. Whether it's a slower shutter speed, working with different jersey colors, players, or moments.

Sooner than later it will become perfect for an instant, then I'll go back to trying to better it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Orange Sweep

"A member of the Baltimore Orioles grounds crew cleans an orange carpet before the Baltimore Orioles are introduced before they play against the Minnesota Twins in their Opening Day game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on March 29, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland."

Photography can often mean a lot of sitting around and waiting.

Whether it's in a holding room, sitting in a photo position or even standing on a concourse - it pays to be early.

The above was no different as photographers waiting for the Opening Day introductions of the Baltimore Orioles.

It's easy to simply chat among the competition or relax, but I always stay focused on the scene in front of my lens as you never know would could make an interesting picture.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Fast Glide

"Jordan Weal #40 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates with the puck as he is defended by John Carlson #74 of the Washington Capitals during the first period at Wells Fargo Center on March 18, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania."

Being in the same building and arena can look the same after many visits - and it's easy to feel as if your images are not compelling or different enough because of the aforementioned.

Not every game is going to be high-scoring affair or feature big hits or moments. But that's indicative of life. Not everything is going to be grand or the polar opposite.

There is a norm to even day-to-day sports. No milestones. No championships. Just regular season hockey in this instance.

But one can push through feeling of repetitive imagery by pushing to be creative or trying something that's not typically seen in that sport.

With such a small, narrow hole to shoot from through the glass, and many advertisements on the boards, ice hockey isn't always a cleanest or easiest sport to photograph.

But a slight change of shutter speed can create something beautiful, eye catching and change the mood of everything even for just one night.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Pick Me Up

"Will Leviton #4 of the Rhode Island Rams is held up by teammates Michael Tertsea #55 (L) and Eric Dadika #15 after a point against the Virginia Commonwealth Rams during the first half in the Quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 Basketball Tournament at Capital One Arena on March 9, 2018 in Washington, DC."

One of the best things about March is basketball.

With March Madness taking over the sports news cycle every year, the stories always inspire great competition.

And while that starts on the court, to me the best visuals always come from the bench.

Players are always showing their support for their teammates which is uplifting in it self - a pick me up if you will. Their actions and celebrations are always over the top.

During the Atlantic 10 Basketball Tournament the end of the Rhode Island Rams bench was nothing short of entertainment.

With every three-pointer, block, turn-over and dunk, they lit up in jubilation with eccentric routines.

Sadly for all with eyes on them, they didn't win the over all tournament because I don't doubt it would have been even crazier had they taken home the title.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Midstickmen

"Leo Komarov #47 of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Nicklas Backstrom #19 of the Washington Capitals battle for the puck during the third period in the Coors Light NHL Stadium Series at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on March 3, 2018 in Annapolis, Maryland."

Every once in a while an new opportunity within a fresh assignment occurs that helps make a different picture.

During the Coors Light NHL Stadium Series at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, a rare remote camera position was offered to us - this being the dasher camera.

This is a hole cutout along the bottom side of the boards. While few arenas have them, the outdoor rink is one that helps create this type of image.

While not anything ground breaking, what I did like about the above is that it incorporates lens flare from the stadium lighting. In addition, a cleaner background than a typical indoor venue.

Always fun to try something new and have it be a successful image.