Thursday, October 30, 2014

Faith, Family and Football

"Lead by interim head coach Paul Strus, the Cardinal O'Hara football team walks to a large cross to pray before playing Bonner Prendergast Catholic at Cardinal O'Hara High School on October 26, 2014 in Springfield, Pennsylvania."

I'm always seeking powerful stories and interesting people. These ideas for stories come from a range of things - from combining my own interests, to pitches from friends and those who contact myself, and everything in between.

This summer, I came across the story of Cardinal O'Hara beloved football head coach Danny Algeo. I found out about the story from a photojournalist friend closer to the story. Algeo, 49, died of a heart attack over summer and his death left the community in shock.

I quickly learned that coach lived by a motto of faith, family and football. He was one of those coaches that everyone wanted leading their team, as well as, guiding their young men into adulthood through football.

This instantly sparked my interests and I wanted to know more about his past, the team and the community in Springfield, Pennsylvania.

Working on a personal story of religion and sports for an extended period of time and I have been doing my best to document images I feel help tell that story. After talking to the interim head coach in detail, I knew I had to try and find time to get up to the field.

The school has a large cross near the field that was a project of Algeo, and has since served as a memory of the coach's legacy - not only to players and other coaches - but those in the community.

My schedule had been really busy, but I finally found a morning to go up to document this moment of grace. I appreciate the team for having me and I hope we cross paths again.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Royal Run

"Lorenzo Cain #6 of the Kansas City Royals falls to the ground at bat in the seventh inning against the Baltimore Orioles during Game Two of the American League Championship Series at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on October 11, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland."

The Major League Baseball playoffs are still happening and it was a fun ride while in lasted in the Baltimore/Washington metro region.

Covering the games for Getty Images, we teamed up and documented all the games at both Oriole Park at Camden Yards and Nationals Park.

Having the opportunity to document the intense, emotional play of any playoff game is always a lot of fun. Every swing and every pitch is important - and so is every picture.

Not sure why I liked this above frame of Lorenzo Cain of the Kansas City Royals, but it reminds me that anything is possible during the playoffs.

It will be an exciting finish at the Royals and Giants battle for the championship.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Facing Another Loss

"Free safety Ryan Clark #25 of the Washington Redskins sits on the sideline in the second quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at FedExField on October 6, 2014 in Landover, Maryland."

Any competitor will tell you they hate losing - whether it's by one or one hundred.

Being an athlete myself, I have certainly been in the games where it gets away and it's evident there is no coming back for the victory.

That doesn't stop oneself from pushing to do something great and possibly cutting the massive lead in half. There is no quit. But there is struggle without a doubt.

With a quick touchdown by the New York Giants against the Washington Redskins in the first quarter, and them marching down the field again, it was looking like a blowout shaping up. Eventually down by 17 points at the half, I was continually looking for an image that helped tell that story of defeat.

As I made my way down the sideline, I stopped as I saw Ryan Clark of the Redskins sitting there. One could only imagine what was going through his mind, but I was drawn in by the repetitious background, his body language and solidarity that isn't often seen on a crowded football sideline.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Out and onto Eighteen

"Wilson Ramos #40 of the Washington Nationals tags out Buster Posey #28 of the San Francisco Giants at home plate after Pablo Sandoval #48 of the San Francisco Giants hit a double to left field in the ninth inning during Game Two of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 4, 2014 in Washington, DC."

Spontaneity is a wonderful thing and going into anything with an open mind not knowing what to expect is the best way to approach life.

During Game Two of the National League Division Series a stellar game of pitching brought fans to their feet as a play at home just about decided the game in the ninth inning.

With the game tied at one a piece, Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants made a run to home plate, yet was tagged out.

An extra inning win was sure to bring this game to a close following the dramatic play at the plate. However, in incredible fashion, the game went into a post season record of 18 innings and the entire game clocked in at about six and a half hours.

Had Posey scored in the ninth, the game most likely would have ended, but fans and all in attendance got two games for the price of one.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Orange Towels

"Chris Tillman #30 of the Baltimore Orioles throws a pitch in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers during Game One of the American League Division Series at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on October 2, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland."

During regular season baseball in Baltimore - rarely does one see a full ballpark.

Fast-forward to the American League Division, and Championship, Series and there isn't an empty seat to found.

During the first inning, of the first game, of the playoff championship push for the Baltimore Orioles, I climbed as high as one could get in Oriole Park at Camden Yards for a general view.

While not the clearest day of the year, the overcast sky worked well with the orange towels that were continually waved by fans.

The Orioles are currently two games down to the Kansas City Royals where they need to win two in Kansas City to bring the series back to Baltimore with hopes of getting into the World Series.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

High Flyer

"An extreme dirt biker rider performs a stunt at Dover International Speedway on September 28, 2014 in Dover, Delaware."

The best part of being out shooting anything you never know what you might stumble upon.

During the stock car race in Delaware, I was walking back from a client assignment outside of the track when I noticed something soaring thorugh the air.

Having never photographed dirt bike stunt riders, I took a couple minutes to play with the light. Years ago, I had the chance to photograph the X-Games for one day - but never the motocross guys and girls.

This may have been the closest thing I've had the chance to photograph like it since, but it was a fun couple of minutes. I wish I would have had more time to play with the light and high-flying stunt riders.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Dodging Champagne Rain

"Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane, as his children Ella and Leo attempt to dodge the showers of beer, after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 28, 2014 in Dover, Delaware."

I often say I aim to please when it comes to assignments - I'll do whatever is asked without question - as any team player should do.

During the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway I was placed in victory lane for the celebration. This shot from straight on is normally not the most compelling image, but is necessary for historic and storytelling purposes.

However, in a change of plans, my editor told me to shoot from a lower position instead of my guaranteed marked spot from above. This wasn't the original plan, and he stressed that I'd have to work hard to keep my view clear, not be kicked out from that position and shoot with an extremely wide lens.

With this type of pressure, I wasn't sure if I'd be completely blocked or not. Fans, supporters and others rushed into the crammed victory lane area seconds before Jeff Gordon jumped from the cockpit to raise his arms.

Keeping my composure, I muscled for position and leaned forward and began shooting. To my surprise, Gordon's children had run toward my lens while clicking away, in an attempt to stay dry from the rain of champagne.

Everyone's reactions and the layering of the images has made it one of my favorite victory lane images to date.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Flipped Up

"Tight end Niles Paul #84 of the Washington Redskins is tackled by strong safety Antrel Rolle #26 of the New York Giants in the first half at FedExField on September 25, 2014 in Landover, Maryland."

Thursday Night Football is always a rush of adrenaline.

Each and every football game is always intense, but the special night games played on Monday, Thursday and the final prime time match-up on Sunday always add a bit of character.

All eyes are on the singular big game and it's time for everyone to shine.

Last Thursday, the New York Giants took on the Washington Redskins and dominated much of the game before taking the win.

As usual, the first half was filled with lots of action that presented some great pictures. At the end of the night this was one of my favorites as it told the story of the Redskins coming up short.

It has been an exciting season so far and hopefully the trend continues.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Porcelain Machines

"Stool Pigeon speeds past Golden Throne as they compete in the championship round during the Fifth Annual Toilet Bowl Race at Hampdenfest on September 20, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland."

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Being in-touch with the community you live often provides unique assignments.

On my phone, I keep a running list of events and stories I want to cover - whether now or in the future. Some of the ideas are hard-hitting and would make an impact on the community, some are sports related, and others are soft fun features.

Within that long list, some I've started working on, while others are ideas that I hope to pursue. While a majority of them I hope to pitch to my clients, the remainder are personal work.

For years, I've been hearing about toilet bowl racing in the eclectic neighborhood of Hampden in Baltimore, Maryland. Each year it has occurred, I've been either traveling or busy with other assignments.

This year, the event happened to take place a couple hours before a baseball game I was covering, so I combed the street for an hour or so to have fun. I tried to show the colorfulness of this Baltimore neighborhood, as well as, the action taking place.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Everyone Jump

"Third base umpire Ed Hickox #15 jumps into the air as Kelly Johnson #14 of the Baltimore Orioles slides safely into third base while third baseman Martin Prado #14 of the New York Yankees cannot control a throw in the eighth inning during game one of a doubleheader at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 12, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland."

Baseball is a game of silent emotions and they happen often, but quickly. The action is also great too, but in a game of good pitching, it can be sparse.

In a duel of good throwing, a steal made the action image of the game between the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles. Much like emotions, when action happens, it happens fast. Being able to anticipate and compose the frame before it happens is half the battle.

After the safe slide into third base, all the photographers looked to the back of their cameras to see what happened. A miss-thrown ball resulted in everyone jumping into the air.

Usually I'd clean up the frame by cropping in tight, but the umpire also jumping added another visual element I enjoyed.