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.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Eyes on the Prize


"An athlete competes in the bike portion of the IRONMAN 70.3 Women's World Championship on September 9, 2017 in Chattanooga, Tennessee."

Sometimes there is no explanation of how incredible athletes can be.

Having the opportunity to document the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship was certainly one of those moments.

Working in a team format, we documented both the men's and women's race which is half the distance of the the full-length IRONMAN.

This race is a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike, and a 13.1 mile run which equals the obvious 70.3. And did I mention, they're doing all of this is about four hours?

Unbelievable to say the least, as most non-athletes, or even the word's best, would probably be exhausted completing just one of those segments.

We had a lot of fun and it was a challenge finding clean, compelling backdrops. But in the end, told the story immaculately and we're looking forward to doing it again soon.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Are You Ready?

"Defensive tackle Terrell McClain #97 of the Washington Redskins takes the field for warmups before playing the against the Cincinnati Bengals in a preseason game at FedExField on August 27, 2017 in Landover, Maryland."

Revisiting the same venues can be a challenge visually.

How can we make this like new, fresh? That's what I am always thinking before I even get out of my car for a game.

Sometimes it comes naturally. A big play. A change in the weather. Shifting light. Something that organically happens and keeps all photographers testing their skills.

Yet most other times it comes from trying to find a new angle or moment. That is when an eye comes into play - not simply pressing the button when something happens in front of you.

In all my years at FedExField, getting from one side to the other isn't always the quickest when not on the field. So in trying to see if I could traverse underneath the stands, I found a new picture.

Now I just need to wait for the franchise player or bigger moment - which now makes the challenge even more fun.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Worlds Best

"Karsten Warholm of Norway and Kerron Clement of the United States react after crossing the finish line in the Men's 400 metres hurdles during day six of the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships London 2017 at The London Stadium on August 9, 2017 in London, United Kingdom."

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Anytime a sporting event includes the word 'championship' one knows it's going to be a good one.

I had the amazing opportunity to document yet another IAAF World Athletics Championships - this time in London.

Much like any major event, it couldn't be done without an amazing team at Getty Images. From the work before anyone arrives, to everyone pulling their weight during, and everything that happens when everyone is home and resting.

The collaboration helps everyone focus on the continual stream of compelling moments that make a package for our clients and viewers nothing short of stellar.

I always say if you're having fun then you're making good pictures. This event was proof of that for our entire team. It doesn't hurt when you walk away with some images that perfectly told the stories of the games for yourself, too.

Loving the world of athletics and always looking forward to the next meet.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Hosmer Almost Homers

"Eric Hosmer #35 of the Kansas City Royals runs the bases after hitting an RBI double against the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on July 31, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland."

Baseball is quickly nearing the end of the season - and that means a push to make the post season.

Performances on the diamond are becoming crucial with every swing and catch. These plays can make or break a chance to make it to the World Series.

On the last day in July, I found myself documenting the Kansas City Royals taking on the Baltimore Orioles.

Like the players, I wanted to elevate my game and try to be as different as possible. This meant taking early risks in the game to create a different image than those also documenting the game.

A slow shutter speed helped me achieve that as Eric Hosmer almost hit a home run as he hit an RBI double in the first inning.