Friday, May 29, 2015

Walk Off to Chocolateville

"Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals has chocolate sauce dumped on him by teammate Max Scherzer #31 after hitting a two run walk-off home run in the tenth inning against the New York Yankees at Nationals Park on May 19, 2015 in Washington, DC."

Walk-offs are so sweet in baseball - and even sweeter when you're a Washington National.

Let's face it, there is nothing better than celebrating a big win or heroic comeback. Whether it's pre or, post season, and even somewhere in the middle, it feels great to celebrate.

The classic way to do such a thing, is with a Gatorade bath. Always a popular staple in the world of sports.

However, said sports drink has seemed to gone missing in Washington, DC.

Now following any big performance, in this case, a walk-off home run to win the game, the new treat is chocolate sauce. All that is missing is a cherry on top.

It's a new twist to an old moment and I don't think anyone is complaining about it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Behind The Desk

"Victor R. Carrasco #3 jockey of Picko's Pride sits at a desk following being weighed in prior to The Maryland Sprint Handicap at Pimlico Race Course on May 16, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland."

Each and every year I'm typically in Baltimore covering the Preakness Stakes.

If I can think back correctly, this was probably my ninth or tenth I've covered, and my fifth in a row with Getty Images.

I've grown to really love horse racing. My grandfather was major supporter and fan and I think that keeps my interests peaked when on the rail.

The challenge thought is that the Preakness occurs at the same venue where the same events happen each year. It's an early morning with lots of preparation before the main event per say.

It's no different than driving to the same office building each day for work. You see the same things in passing and as hard as you search for something new to look at, you don't always see it.

So there are many factors that make Preakness different each year, yet finding a new, fresh image from the event can be a major challenge. Especially when one of my favorite images was shot behind the scenes there a couple years ago.

Nonetheless, we had an amazing team as always and tackled the event from every angle. While not nearly as telling as the main race, or a picture of the horse who will possibly become a triple crown winner, it was this moment behind the scenes, and behind the desk, that I thought was a new scene.

The image doesn't smack you in the face, but it makes you ask questions and look around the frame. To my eye, these types of images are often the most complex and visual at the end of the day even if they don't directly relate to the big picture.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Look Out

"Fans attempt to dodge the loose bat of Josh Donaldson #20 of the Toronto Blue Jays in the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 12, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. "

As photographers, we build up getting to the biggest events in the world.

But the reality is, and something I always share with students, that the best pictures often come from the daily assignments.

It's easy to downplay something like a regular season game early into the year, however, the biggest moment in sports history can occur during that match-up - one must be prepared.

The other night, the Toronto Blue Jays came into town to play the Baltimore Orioles. Aside from an early season win, there wasn't much on the line as playoffs are months away.

That didn't stop me from approaching the game as a big deal though.

In the first inning, a bat was broken. Not totally rare, but always interesting photographically. As the game progressed more rare things continued to happen. A bat was let go into the crowd. A fan fell onto the field. The ball got stuck in the catchers mask. Players made dramatic catches and tumbling over.

It was a magical game photographically thus proving every game is just exciting as the World Series and must be viewed that way.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Down, Up

"Kent Bazemore #24 of the Atlanta Hawks attempts to block Drew Gooden #90 of the Washington Wizards during the first half in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2015 NBA Playoffs at Verizon Center on May11, 2015 in Washington, DC."

As soon as basketball began, it ended in the district.

Just as playoffs began for the Washington Wizards, they were eliminated by the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

It was fun to get back into the rhythm of basketball after it went missing in my workflow. And much like any other sport, the playoffs take the atmosphere to another level. From the fans, to the players on the court, and on the bench - every second and play matters.

During Game Four, as the quarter was winding down, Kent Bazemore of the Hawks went to block Drew Gooden of the Wizards and miss judged the play. It sent him flying by and gave Gooden a clear path.

Always interesting when players leave their feet - either into the air or to the floor.

Up and downs of playoffs are always fun and I'm already looking forward to next season.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Preparation

"Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals powders his bat before playing against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park on May 10, 2015 in Washington, DC. "

Walk-off home runs are great and jubilation following is even better - but neither would be possible without proper preparation.

Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals has been on a hot streak - belting home run after home run last week before being named the National League Player of the Week.

Following a three home run game, I found myself documenting a pair of games after the milestone performance - and it was challenging not to focus on the superstar.

He ended up blasting a walk-off home run the day before this image and again had an all around standout day on Mother's Day.

While the rectangles of all these hits, catches and celebrations with teammates spoke volumes - it was images like this of quiet moments preparing in solitude that spoke louder.

One must prepare every day for success and Harper is no different than the rest of us.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Illuminated

"Goalie Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers is illuminated by the Washington Capitals logo as he stretches out before playing the Capitals in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Verizon Center on May 6, 2015 in Washington, DC."  

The problem with remote cameras is they're a gamble.

Some games nothing comes together. Other games there are multiple pictures. Yet even when they are lots of images to transmit, some just don't tell the story of the night.

This is one of those images that maybe didn't tell the story for the night, but I liked enough to share another overhead remote image from the same game.

Before the New York Rangers played the Washington Capitals in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs - superstar goalie Henrik Lundqvist stretched out and was illuminated by the Caps logo.

Going into Game Seven the goal tending will continue to be an import role in the series, Lundqvist just hopes he won't be in the wrong spotlight.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Push and Shove

"Goalie Braden Holtby #70 of the Washington Capitals makes a save against the New York Rangers as players scuffle during the second period in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Verizon Center on May 4, 2015 in Washington, DC."

It's May, and to most, baseball is season is in full swing by now.

However, in Washington, DC, the Capitals are hot pushing to advance once again in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

No matter what the sport, playoffs means tensions are running high and players are willing to do whatever it takes to move onto the next round.

The match-up between the New York Rangers and the Capitals has been nothing short of spectacular. Back and forth play, big hits and amazing goals.

Here is to hoping that hockey continues on in the city of politics before summer is here.

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.