Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Rammed Over

"Tight end Lance Kendricks #88 of the St. Louis Rams scores a third quarter touchdown past cornerback Jimmy Smith #22 of the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on November 22, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland."

When I shot one of my very first college football games many, many years ago, I remember a photographer friend say something along the lines of - you have all the time in the world once the play starts.

What he meant was that once the quarterback releases the ball, photographers have more than enough time to determine where the ball was going and what lens to use.

While true, it's not always easy.

Yet by remember that little phase, it helps keep yourself calm and collect during what could be a big play of the game.

Last week, in the second half, with the score tight, Lance Kendricks of the St. Louis Rams caught the ball and started barreling straight toward me stationed in the corner of the endzone.

While I had ample time to switch to a shorter lens, these type of close plays happen in an instant - and sometimes all you need to do is keep calm and focus, because if you get yourself overly excited, it could be the difference in nailing the shot and getting nailed yourself.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Flying Through Smoke

"Jeron Johnson #20 of the Washington Redskins and teammates are introduced before playing the New Orleans Saints at FedExField on November 15, 2015 in Landover, Maryland."

The best part about being apart of a team is leaning on one another to make great images.

The end result is always the same - what's presented to viewers as a team - not as a individual. So what holds true on the field for athletes is exactly the same for photographers.

There are days you feel like nothing came your way - or you didn't live up to your own goals to help the team. Whether that's passing for multiple touchdowns as a quarterback or capturing said touchdowns as a photographer.

But that's what teammates are for. To help motivate, inspire and carry one another along each and every week - good game or bad.

Recently the Washington Redskins have been coming out for player introductions as one team. No individual intros. And while the above is singular, I couldn't help not play with the light and smoke as they made their way onto the field.

Maybe next week I'll get more layers with a moment like this to tell that story of being one team.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Come Together

"Ryheem Malone #13 of the Southern Methodist Mustangs lifts his head toward the sky as he and teammates join hands with the Navy Midshipmen in prayer following an American Athletic Conference football game at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on November 14, 2015 in Annapolis, Maryland."

Everyone has two sides to themselves in some sense.

Whether you're acting one way to say, an elder, in comparison to a close friend or in some other form. This idea of having multiple personas is very evident in every day life - and in sports - too.

The clearest example would be the above of coming together.

Not saying players want to hurt one another, but it's clear that football is a contact sport. And these men go from running on the field full of adrenaline wanting to make a big tackle on a player to the converse at the end of the game - joining hands with said same opponent to pray.

With the deadly attacks in Paris, France hours before this football game - and whether these players were praying about others well-being or something else - it's amazing when two large group of men can set aside differences and join hands in peace.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

First and Shark

"A fan dressed as a shark cheers as the Maryland Terrapins play the Wisconsin Badgers during the first half at Byrd Stadium on November 7, 2015 in College Park, Maryland."

Looking to the crowd is always wise during sporting events.

With so much happening on the field and sidelines, it's easy to forget that there is a large gathering of fans watching the action from the bleachers.

Often it takes a lot of seeking to find a moment within the stands. Other times, television broadcast on the scoreboard display helps fish out the peculiar. And other times, it's a stark contrast of colors like seen above.

And the Wisconsin Badgers played the Maryland Terrapins, I looked up and couldn't not see the fan dressed as a shark.

It's these little moments that help tell a visual story at the end of any sporting event.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Chaotic Pass

"Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers makes a pass against the Baltimore Ravens during the first half at M&T Bank Stadium on November 1, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland."

There is something about a quarterback passing that always seems one-dimensional in photographs.

Most images one will see of a quarterback during a football game is of them passing with little pressure. The opposite frame would be an image of them being sacked by multiple defenders.

Yet both of those scenes tend to be flat.

This week during football, I wanted to try and tell the story of quarterbacks being rushed to make a pass. Rarely does a viewer see opposing lines battling to protect and sack the quarterback

The layers that surround a quarterback is chaotic - and it's always remarkable when they easily find an open receiver without being touched.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Turn Two Approach

"Cars race underneath an airplane on approach for landing during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CampingWorld.com 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 25, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama."

The last of anything is always bittersweet.

As the year slowly winds down, I shot my last motorsport race of the year. Thankfully it ended on a high note with great teammates, lots of action and fantastic weather.

Wrapping up the motorsport year at Talladega Superspeedway is always perfect.

One, if not, the fastest tracks on the circuit, photographers never know what to expect - much like a plane making its landing over speeding cars.

As the pack of cars raced near 200mph around turn two, this jet made its approach for landing. Probably much more stunning from ground level, I still can't help but wonder what each of their views looked like.

Looking forward to see who takes home the big trophy, championship in Miami. And though I won't be shooting, I'll certainly be watching.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

No Guard

"Jimmy Lange punches the mouthpiece out of the mouth of Mike Sawyer during their light heavyweights bout at EagleBank Arena on the campus of George Mason University on October 17, 2015 in Fairfax, Virginia."

Watching two humans punch one another during a boxing match has to be one of the most thrilling, yet, terrifying sports one can witness.

Being ringside always gets my adrenaline running. I always shoot way too much because of the blood pumping through my veins at intense rates. Not to mention, timing a punch is very challenging even with the best technology.

As always, I arrived early despite really only needing the main bout. Not only do the early matches help get a photographer into the rhythm before the big fight, you never know who on the fight card could go onto become the next great boxing sensation.

This moment was probably one of the most visually jarring that night, though another fighter currently is fighting for his life after an alleged illegal hit that had him getting an emergency surgery after his fight.

It's a dangerous sport and I commend all fighters for following their passion and chasing their dreams.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Watching the Replay

"Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals looks on from the bench after scoring a goal against the New Jersey Devils at Verizon Center on October 10, 2015 in Washington, DC."

If there is one thing I'm trying to achieve in sports photos - it's making the viewer feel as if they were there.

The best way to do that is to get close. Shooting with a wide angle lens is the easy way to achieve feeling like you're sitting or playing next to a superstar athlete.

Unfortunately, that's not always an easy task in the world of professional sports.

Some sports differ from others. With one you can almost touch the players, where as in with others, it still feels like there is a disconnect even for the media stationed on the sidelines.

Hockey is one of those sports everyone can feel close. A small environment, fans and photographers are only separated from players by a thin piece of plexiglass. It's easy to feel and hear the action despite the barrier.

In some arenas, the crash box for television exist - and photographers get the opportunity to get in there on occasion. It's the open air space between the two benches. Here there is no glass protection and it's an adrenaline rush.

This vantage always produces great imagery and it's pictures like the above that help viewers feel as if they helped celebrate a goal with Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Dripping Sweat

"Langston Galloway #2 of the New York Knicks has sweat drip from his eye as he sits on the bench during a timeout against the Washington Wizards in the first half at Verizon Center on October 9, 2015 in Washington, DC."

When shooting a sporting event - in the most basic sense - it comes down to the fundamentals of visual storytelling.

At its core, photographers are there for a historical purpose. To document the sporting event so that there is a visual record of what occurred. Those images need to tell the story - who won, who lost - and help those after us remember what players took to the field.

The images that are often remembered are the compelling emotional images - the game-winning or game-losing moment. Yet any sort of emotion draws viewers into the picture and helps them relive the play, make a connection from their own life or ask questions.

Other times it's another type of picture that helps a clients needs. Whether that's a stock picture of a single player or a wide scene setting picture to give a sense of place.

In other words, no single picture can meet the needs of every client. So I always try and stick to thinking about the fundamentals of photojournalism.

I want to shoot: a wide shot, a medium shot, a tight shot, a scene-setter, and even a detail rectangle in my take - all within the big action, emotional moments and stock pictures.

The other night, as the New York Knicks played the Washington Wizards during a preseason hoops game, I noticed the detail of sweat dripping from Langston Galloway of the Knicks - a quiet moment showing that he has been giving it all on the court.

I love these types of moments in sports. Anyone can relate. But without knowing to look for in terms of basics of photography, it can be overlooked by many shooters.

Thursday, October 08, 2015


"Dale Earnrhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Plenti Chevrolet, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on October 3, 2015 in Dover, Delaware."

Bad weather is never good thing for stock cars driving 200mph.

Unfortunately, rain put a hold on a lot on-track events prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway.

With exception of a pair of quick practices, there was no qualifying. Other series didn't even get a chance to practice, so when it was go time to race, it was some teams first time on the oval.

This was disappointing because I love the garage. A chaotic scene for those fresh to the sport, it's access and ability to be creative is endless.

Find big names in the sport, search for color and make art. It's always a blast and with only a few more races on my schedule, I'll be hoping to find more views like this one as the season winds down in the playoffs.