Monday, July 07, 2014

Tiger is Back

"Tiger Woods of the United States looks on during the second round of the Quicken Loans National at Congressional Country Club on June 27, 2014 in Bethesda, Maryland."

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Last week, I had the opportunity to document not only the Quicken Loans National at Congressional Country Club for Getty Images, but the return of Tiger Woods.

Earlier in the year, it didn't look like the man in red would be on roster as he underwent back surgery. But he recovered and made his debut after more than 100 days away from golf.

I haven't covered a full tournament in quite a while, and I quickly remembered how demanding it was roaming the course for everything we needed as a team.

Tiger did not make the cut, and it made for lighter weekend,  but we were still very busy.

On Sunday, I chased not only the leaders, but those leaders who possibly could have qualified for the The Open. Anyone who ever says golf is easy to shoot is far from right.

Despite my feet hurting a little bit on Monday, it was a blast to be back out on the peaceful golf course.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Rocket J. Squirrel

"Sam Daugherty, and his dog, Rocket J. Squirrel, pose for a portrait during the third round of the Quicken Loans National at Congressional Country Club on June 28, 2014 in Bethesda, Maryland."

When I first began shooting pictures, I was very shy and timid of strangers.

As I became more confident in my style, I found that I was passionate about finding more about others and building relationships with those in the community.

Those I passed, whether on assignment or not, made me see daily life in a new light. One might pass the same person in the street every day and know nothing about their character.

I remember waking one morning years ago and telling myself I'd never be afraid to talk to anyone or ask to make their picture - and at the same time - leave them with dignity and respect when posed.

War veteran Sam Daugherty, and his dog, Rocket J. Squirrel, are two of the many that caught my eye recently and gave me a couple seconds to help share their story visually.

This picture reminds me that people are willing to share their lives with others and continue to make my job incredibly special.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Number One Dad

"Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 15, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan."

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Last weekend, more than 40 drivers took the green flag at Michigan International Speedway with hopes of being named the next Sprint Cup Series race winner.

While all of the drivers were looking to be a winner amongst their team, others were also hoping to be in the spotlight with their family, as the number one Dad.

The Quicken Loans 400 raced on Father's Day and it was fun to document the drivers and their children in the garages and on the grid. These are the type of moments I am always looking for away from the action - as these iconic heroes behind the wheel display humility when with their young-ones.

At the end of the day, with risk comes reward, as Jimmie Johnson proved for this year's Father Day that he was the best - gaining his first ever Michigan win and putting smiles on his family's faces.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Left Light

"Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, leads the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on June 1, 2014 in Dover, Delaware."

The hardest part about being a photographer is seeing the same venues in a new light.

Of all the NASCAR tracks I've photographed in the past couple of years, Dover is one of those tracks I've seen the most only because of its vicinity to my home.

Ironically enough, even with three series of racing occurring in a single weekend there each time, I still haven't shot from every position.

I had fun seeing the track in a new light as I was able to do a little bit of roaming in turn one and two this time around.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Feeling the Win

"The Maryland Terrapins celebrate after defeating the Syracuse Orange in the NCAA Division I Women's Lacrosse Championship at Johnny Unitas Stadium on May 25, 2014 in Towson, Maryland."

Everyone loves a championship - from the fans, to players and teams, and of course, photographers as well.

Having grown up playing multiple sports, and still playing today, I continually compare my life to sports. I believe sports prepare those who play them for life's moments - the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, functioning with interpersonal relationships, practicing and performing a skill, working alongside others, and much more.

Documenting a championship is all of those things and more put on display - but in short is formulating a game plan to see who comes out on top one last time.

For the NCAA Division I Women's Lacrosse Championship, the Maryland Terrapins got to celebrate after defeating the Syracuse Orange.

To rise that trophy above their heads has to be a special moment - and it's apparent that they all wanted to feel the win by getting their hands on the iconic trophy they'd been chasing all season.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Bumper Hunting

"A deer head hangs out of the John Deere #265 car, driven by Shawn Bagnall of Millersville, Pa., during the Memorial Day Spring Crash At The Buck at Buck Motorsports Park on May 24, 2014 in Quarryville, Pennsylvania."

One of the best things I ever learned to do when I was first starting out was to find feature pictures.

No matter where I was working at the time, I was continually sent out to find something interesting in the community. Some days I only drove for a couple minutes before finding a compelling subject. Other days I stressed and feared of not finding anything before eventually stumbling across something.

Whether it was an easy hunt or not, it has been one of the most rewarding skills I ever developed - being able to find and make something of nothing.

To those that aren't in the business, it might sound easy, unless you're doing it multiple times a week. Ideas run out quickly and you're forced to be creative, talk to strangers and know what's happening in your town and surrounding communities - all in order to return with a candid, eye-catching moment.

Recently, driving through Pennsylvania, I stumbled across a demolition derby. Curious, and with time to spare, I introduced myself to the owners, who graciously allowed me to photograph the event.

I spent less than two hours playing around, including: talking to the drivers, working on my skills, and trying to find a interesting picture. It reminded me of past feature hunts and I left there refreshed remembering that even the small events can present interesting pictures.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Seeing the Win

"Starting pitcher Jordan Carr #7 of Archbishop Spalding wipes shaving cream from his face after being pied after his team defeated Calvert Hall in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference Championship on May 18, 2014 in Aberdeen, Maryland."

Every year, I still find myself at a handful of high school sporting events - mostly championships.

Documenting the passion that these youth athletes have is always a lot of fun. I'm not saying the professionals don't have the same drive, yet, these high school players typically go all out on every single play hoping to be noticed.

I had a lot of fun covering the Archbishop Spalding boy's baseball team defeat Calvert Hall. These games are always very low pressure and the access is always perfect.

Aside from an online gallery, I knew the main picture in the paper would be view of the jubilation, and focused on finding something a bit different than the typical piling onto the pitcher picture.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Double Crown

"The field enters the first turn during the 139th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 17, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland."

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There is something special about May in Baltimore - and returning every year to Pimlico Race Course for the Preakness Stakes has a lot to do with that.

It's always a challenge trying to see such a large event with a fresh view. While it's necessary to capture the same type of photographs year in and year out - to keep yourself and the team on their toes when something new does present itself - everyone is still always looking for the next best horse racing image.

Teamed up with Getty Images, as always, I roamed the stalls multiple mornings before, combed the grandstands for features on race day, and shot a dozen races throughout the weekend.

We changed up some shooting positions this year and I really enjoyed seeing the big race at a different angle.

And despite some technical difficulties, I had another fun year along the rail. It will be exciting to see if California Chrome can capture the Triple Crown with two wins already in the bag.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Incoming Shot

"Goalie Camerson Brosh #6 of the North Harford Hawks cannot make a save on Matt Lewis #3 of the Hereford Bulls as he scores in the second quarter during the MPSSAA 3A-2A North Regional Championship at Hereford High School on May 14, 2014 in Parkton, Maryland."

Every year photographers cover the same sports - and trying to find a new vantage point is something we're always seeking.

Sometimes they're ideas that no one has ever had and we keep the secret until the day of the game. Other times they're adapations of those that came before us.

Covering a handful of lacrosse games this year, I asked my fellow teammate if I could borrow his custom-made lacrosse goal box.

Having never played with one, I decided to give it a test run during a high school lacrosse game before placing inside of a goal during a major contest.

It was a bit nerve-racking as the box doesn't come with instructions. After configuring the way I thought would be best (it wasn't and I tweaked it the second and third go around), I went through the proper channels in getting it approved and making sure it was safe for the players, too.

After blessings from everyone involved, I found the cleanest background on the field, installed, focused, and hoped for the best.

Despite it getting vetoed minutes before face-off in other games following this, I think it's an awesome angle and boosted my confidence on trying this angle with other goal sports.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Team at Test: Sea Trials

"Members of the United States Naval Academy freshman class do sit-ups at the wet and sandy station during the annual Sea Trials training exercise at the U.S. Naval Academy on May 13, 2014 in Annapolis, Maryland. For 14 hours, the United States Naval Academy freshman class, also known as Plebes, worked as a team to complete many grueling physical and mental challenges that help prepare them for real-world experiences and reinforce leadership, bonds, trust, and teamwork."

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When most think of sport, they think of some sort of classic game including a ball. But at the core, sport by definition is more about teamwork, training and unity.

Beyond competitive physical activity, there is also a mental aspect to sport, which the freshman United States Naval Academy are familiar with. Also known as Plebes, the annual Sea Trials training exercise at the U.S. Naval Academy is a prime example that the freshman class are not only a team within their own company, but universally as midshipmen.

Covering the Sea Trials for Getty Images, I shot for a couple hours, of the 14 hours, that these midshipmen worked as together to complete many grueling competitive physical and mental challenges that help reinforce: leadership, bonds, trust, and teamwork. These governed challenges, which there is no score, or even winner determined, test their skills and help achieve a common goal that aims at improving their physical and cognitive abilities.

Their determination to be the best shines through as they try acheive greatness and standout from those that came before them. Of the challenges, they endured: a two-mile regimental run, ground fights, water tactics, aquatics challenges, and survival skills, amongst many others.

Pain, sweat and suffering only create bonds that at the end of the grueling day bring the plebes together as one team.