Thursday, April 30, 2015

No Fans

"Left Fielder Alejandro De Aza #12 of the Baltimore Orioles makes a catch on a hit by Adam Eaton #0 of the Chicago White Sox in the sixth inning at an empty Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 29, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Due to unrest in relation to the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, the two teams played in a stadium closed to the public."

One never can predict the future. This includes a more than 45,000 seat major league stadium being empty during regular season play.

I've been on paternity leave for the past month and have been watching the unrest in my backyard of Baltimore City due to the arrest and death of Freddie Gray.

My first day back to work was on my birthday, and was related to the ongoing news, but in a different part of the city.

After having one game postponed due to rioting and protests, the Baltimore Orioles decided to host the Chicago White Sox with zero fans - a game closed to the public - for the first time ever in Major League Baseball history.

There isn't much to describe the feeling being one of the few members of media, photographers allowed in the stadium to document a very historic game.

The first word is fortunate that we at Getty Images were allowed inside to document. Second word would be sad, as the unrest in the city is nothing short of tragic. But more or less, if I could only choose one word, it would be surreal.

I'm finding it difficult to find a favorite image, but I kept coming back to this picture.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Click for History

"Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, looks at his cell phone as crews work on his car in the garage area during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series open test in preparation for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 8, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia."

Every day type of moments hold a lot of value to me as a photographer.

As chaotic of a day testing a race car on a track can be for seven hours straight, the moment the driver can get to decompress is important to telling the story of the day.

Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, needed to step away from the car and I loved the simplicity of the image. No need to remove his helmet or unzip his track suit to respond to a text, watch a video or do whatever he was on his cell phone.

To most viewers, this is another glimpse of a race car driver playing with his phone. To a photographer, it's part of history.

I always try to think how a picture will be viewed in years to come. In today's world, technology is rapidly changing. The devices we use every day such as cell phones will continue evolve, change.

It was also a bit symbolic to myself on a personal level, because all it took was a ring on my cell phone alerting me to come home and be present to watch my son come into the world on the very same day, just hours after this image.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Eight Scores Fifty

"Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals warms up before playing the Carolina Hurricanes at Verizon Center on March 31, 2015 in Washington, DC."

Much like the athletes I am photographing, I need to warm up before the game itself.

For the longest time, I've used the brief period of pregame to get my creative juices flowing. Some games I'll walk away with a picture I like. Other games it's more or less a fundamental exercise to clear the cobwebs and prepare for what most important - the game itself.

The other night before the Washington Capitals took on the Carolina Hurricanes was no different. The only change was that the game was anticipated to be historic if superstar Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals could score twice.

With one goal he would tie the franchise record for most goals scored, while at the same time, complete another 50 goal season. If he netted the puck twice, he'd break the aforementioned record.

Needless to say, all eyes were on number eight. So I decided I'd focus on Ovechkin before the game, yet go all the way up the nose bleed section for a change of view.

Once up there, everything lined up perfectly for this moment. Compelling or storytelling? Not so much. Yet different and graphic which helped me focus for the moments to come later during regulation that were important for history.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Fear the Beard

"James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets looks on after defeating the Washington Wizards, 99-91, at Verizon Center on March 29, 2015 in Washington, DC."

The other day, I was mentioning to a friend that there are so many people in the world that have distinct appearance traits that make them stand out and they rarely ever change.

Whether it's a hair style, a type of hat or style of glasses. These small visual cues help them stand out amongst others and help others remember something about them.

The world of sports is no different.

James Harden of the Houston Rockets is a beaming example of how something as simple as a beard can attract attention of fans. His facial hair is something of an iconic staple in the NBA - after all - fear the beard is a slogan that follows the hoops star.

These traits also attract the lens of photographers. Following the game between the Rockets and the Washington Wizards, while other photographers went to file their end of game pictures, I waited for Harden to be interviewed by television.

A mundane moment to others, I often use these instances to shoot portraits of superstars I normally wouldn't get the chance to do otherwise.

In this case, I waited for the moment I had preconceived to candidly unfold, worked with the light of the television camera and clicked the shutter.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Messi

"Lionel Messi #10 of Argentina looks on from the bench before playing El Salvador during an International Friendly at FedExField on March 28, 2015 in Landover, Maryland."

When the biggest name in soccer comes to the United States, everyone wants to witness the skill.

Lionel Messi made his way over to the nation's capital with his international club, Argentina, to take on El Salvador in an International Friendly.

The hype was pretty unbelievable, and so were the crowds. Unfortunately, due to an injury, Messi not only sat out of a practice the day before, but the game itself.

However, being in the right spot, images on him on the bench were able to be shot before kick-off. What seemed like only a couple seconds, I was able to work images of the superstar that not only told the story of him sitting, but also gave clients a up close view of Messi.

I don't get starstruck, but I would have enjoyed seeing what many call the best player in soccer take the field. Alas, I understand where his obligations are and creating a worse injury during a friendly match would not be great for his other club.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Pacing to a Win

"George Hill #3 of the Indiana Pacers reacts after defeating the Washington Wizards at Verizon Center on March 25, 2015 in Washington, DC."

With all eyes on the NCAA March Madness tournaments, one would think no one is paying attention to the professionals.

That couldn't be further from the truth.

Emotions are running just as high in the NBA with teams pushing to make the playoffs.

The other night in Washington, the Wizards let a game slip away from them as George Hill and the Indiana Pacers came from behind to help ruin chances the Wizards had to make the playoffs.

Some late heroics by George, scoring a layup with only second remaining, helped the Pacers show they won't end their season on a low point.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Feet Up Foul

"Beno Udrih #19 of the Memphis Grizzlies falls to the court after being fouled against the Washington Wizards in the first half at Verizon Center on March 12, 2015 in Washington, DC."

Recently I've been on the other side of the camera - actually - I haven't even had the camera in my hand.

This past week I spent a couple days remotely editing more than five college basketball games during March Madness.

I'll be the first to admit, I've never been the greatest basketball photographer. I would say that is mostly due to the fact that my time court side has been few and far between due to other assignments during hoops season.

So sitting behind a computer in my office, catching hundreds of amazing basketball images the past couple of days has not only gave me a new level of respect for editors, but also, has been a great opportunity to see how my co-workers document the sport.

As I approach basketball moving forward, I know it will be a lot more of a challenge as I try and one up my teammates and competition.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Flying Low

"Claude Giroux #28 of the Philadelphia Flyers walks to the locker room after losing to the Dallas Stars at Wells Fargo Center on March 10, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania."

There is nothing more telling than when an athlete lets their guard down. Win or lose, joy or sorrow, the minute they walk off the playing field is when real emotions come through.

Unfortunately, these type of solitude moments are hard to come by in professional sports. Getting access is often forbidden, and without it, photographers are left to tell the story of the night by documenting images on the playing surface.

In Philadelphia, the arena is setup a bit different than other hockey venues around. I recently found that the tunnel to and from the locker room was accessible without being obtrusive. A small cutout path between the exit of the door and the access to the bench made images possible.

After getting permission to shoot available light and remain behind the line, I tried to work the scene the best I could as players walked out for the game. To my dismay, it was rather dark and tough to document with the allowed angles due to staff blocking the open pathway.

At the end of the game, I took the risk to shoot again, knowing I could maybe lean out a bit further once the last player walked by. That extra lean, paired with the body language of the athlete and behind the scenes vantage, helped make a telling image of the night.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Get Loose

"Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Comcast Business Toyota, is involved in an incident on the track during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 8, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada."

Did you get it? That's often the question asked after any on track incident during motorsports.

In all fairness, it's a good question. With more than 40 cars speeding by at over 150mph, for more than 200 laps, it's easy to feel like every passing is the same - but they're not.

Each lap means that every time the drivers pilot by your perch, something storytelling could happen. Whether it's a pass, lead change, crash, or something completely different than the two.

As soon as the green flag waves, the adrenaline is flowing. Once the race gets going, that dissipates naturally, meaning one must focus even harder. Some tracks boast three and four cars wide the entire time - while others produce single car action. Getting creative, while shooting telling images, can be a challenge at any track which makes motorsports fun.

Wanting to combine the two aforementioned elements with really nice light patterns across the track, I worked hard at making sure I was alert and ready.

This one small incident could have completely changed the outcome of the race and without being ready and in the correct spot, would have been missed.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Steering to Victory

"Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida."

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There is no better place to be than Daytona Beach in February.

The Getty Images team spent every day at Daytona International Speedway documenting all the excitement of SpeedWeeks - the opening two weeks of the NASCAR season.

From setting up technology, to shooting portraits during media day, and covering the many practices, qualifying events, and races - each day was challenging, but rewarding.

Every day prepared the team for the Super Bowl of NASCAR - The Daytona 500 - where Joey Logano took home the checkered flag.

After it's all said and done, it's a reminder that hard-work pays off, and there really is no better team to be apart of. Everyone pulls their weight and puts forth everything they have each and every waking hour.

With lots of newsworthy story lines, from Jeff Gordon, big on track accidents, emotions, tensions, owners, fans, and Daytona truly is the epicenter of racing and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season.