Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Incoming

"Marcin Gortat #13 of the Washington Wizards and Al-Farouq Aminu #8 of the Portland Trail Blazers battle for a rebound as Otto Porter Jr. #22 of the Washington Wizards falls to the court during the first half at Verizon Center on January 16, 2017 in Washington, DC."

One trap sport photography can often fall into is the lack of layers.

While guilty of it every day, a lot of the time great sports images often include only one player. This is something I've talked about before, yet is unavoidable in some sports where players are their own team; such as golf and tennis.

While you cannot take away from a great picture with only one person in it, I find my eye like to dance around a picture with more humans in it.

So with that, I am always trying to incorporate as many players into one picture as possible. Sport is about competition - the more, the better.

The other night as the Portland Trail Blazers played the Washington Wizards I decided to put a remote on the floor under the basket. This is something new and and positive about the Verizon Center.

Alas, this arena isn't great in terms of clean pictures with basketball. There aren't yet LED lights, so it's dark. The stands have distracting elements such as silver railings. And the house lights illuminate the crowd.

These three things make a clean picture a challenge, so to combat that, I try and fill the frame. This picture helps communicate all the aforementioned and draws a viewer in.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Eyeing Up The Year

"Outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan #91 of the Washington Redskins walks onto the field prior to a game against the New York Giants at FedExField on January 1, 2017 in Landover, Maryland."

It's always electrifying to 'eye' up the new year.

While a clean slate isn't the best wording, it's more of a fresh breath, a new season. It's cliche, but it's always nice to look back your work the year before on the first of the year.

Those images are a reminder of what went well and what didn't. More importantly, it's also a visual record of what pushed, challenged you as a photographer and how that helped shape your craft and yourself personally.

Away from the rectangles, the year of 2016 was scary, sad and ugly at times. Yet also amazing, memorable and exciting all in the same breath. I'm humbled for the continual stream of opportunities presented by my employer of Getty Images.

As I echo ever year, I'm excited and looking forward to another full-year of health, happiness and shooting in 2017 - and wish each and everyone of you the same.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Quiet, please


"Cornerback Daryl Worley #26 of the Carolina Panthers takes a moment prior to a game against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on December 19, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. "

Sporting events is all about access.

Unfortunately, professional sports doesn't always lend itself to the best behind the scenes. While there are rare occasions, most of the time finding those moments requires a different type of access.

That means photographers must find moments happening from a far and then document them with long glass.

During the Carolina Panthers taking on the Washington Redskins game over a week ago was no different.

Typically football players will have a moment to themselves minutes before the game in the end zone - whether they're actually praying or just trying to find a moment to focus.

After witnessing it more times than I can remember, I thought that I could try and layer the Redskins band leaving the field with the aforementioned moment.

Just when cornerback Daryl Worley of the Carolina Panthers thought he'd have time to have a second alone, he had to share with a hundred or so band members.

Didn't seem to shake his team's focus, as the Panthers defeated the Redskins.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Cleared for Landing

"Running back Ryan Mathews #24 of the Philadelphia Eagles scores a two point conversion over top of defensive tackle Michael Pierce #78 and nose tackle Brandon Williams #98 of the Baltimore Ravens in the second quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland."

I love risk taking and that's always exciting when teams do the same in sports photography.

With no chance of making the playoffs, the Philadelphia Eagles took lots of calculated risks as they attempted to close the door on the Baltimore Ravens post season hopes.

A cold, windy game the Eagles put lots of pressure on the Ravens as they kept the game close all day on Sunday.

Two of those risks came in the form of going for two point conversions. The first resulted in scoring said two points as running back Ryan Mathews took off from the ground and soared over Ravens defenders before landing into the end zone.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, they came up short on their second attempt which would have won the game for them late in the fourth quarter.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Where is your eyeball?

"Ashley Yoder accidentally gouges the eye of Justine Kish in their women's strawweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at the Times Union Center on December 9, 2016 in Albany, New York."

Each and every assignment is learning lesson in some regard.

Having the opportunity to document some mixed martial arts fighting during the UFC Fight Night in Albany, New York was no different.

It has been quite some time since I've photographed this type of fighting and I was overly excited. Which is where my lesson was learned very early in the night.

Needing to document all the undercard fights before the main events - I was eager to get to work. That excitement laced with a touch of nervousness resulted in way too many images the very first fight.

Once the adrenaline rush vanished I was then able to relax for the remaining eleven fights.

While it's a challenge to stay calm when atheltes are literally punching and kicking one another, it small moments during bouts that gets your heart pumping again. When Ashley Yoder accidentally gouged the eye of Justine Kish in their women's strawweight bout I thought this sport is so tough.

After this fight I was right back to shooting heavy hoping to catch something even crazier. While I tend to stay level headed during assignments, it's sometimes good to be over excited because it keeps you alert for the next big moment.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Hungry For More

"Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs #55 of the Baltimore Ravens reacts after hitting quarterback Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Miami Dolphins (not pictured) in the third quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on December 4, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland."

As the year comes to a close, life gets a bit hectic. Yet photographers must stay focused, hungry because the best pictures can still happen as everyone become complacent.

For sports photographs, it's often the reaction to a play that is the most compelling.

As Terrell Suggs of the Baltimore Ravens rushed in to tackle Ryan Tannehill of the Miami Dolphin, he lost his helmet. The image of him making an almost tackle on Tannehill was different because players aren't always losing their helmets during play.

However, it was his celebration, licking his chops and walking around like a dog that made the image. Suggs was celebrating in his actions and showing that his confidence is still up as the season winds down.

He was focused, hungry just as we all should be year round.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Light Them Up

"James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets shoots in front of Bradley Beal #3 of the Washington Wizards during the second half at Verizon Center on November 7, 2016 in Washington, DC."

Every indoor arena in the United States for the most part uses strobes for still pictures.

These lights are mainly used by the team's team photographer, typically for basketball and hockey. To the naked eye, fans and athletes probably don't notice the continual flashing on white light.

While there are some athletes that train to play with the flashes, including Michael Jordan, photographers often have images ruined by others photographers flashes. The term is literally called 'strobed' when one is exposed properly, but catches the flash of another, and it washes out the image.

However, I often try to use it to my advantage. I'll set a custom exposure and try to catch the strobe to help freeze the action with a slow shutter speed.

The results vary and it's a risk, but when it works, it's a nice mix to daily coverage.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Power Tackle

"Cornerback Jerraud Powers #26 of the Baltimore Ravens attempts to sack quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fourth quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on November 6, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland."

Each and every week as a photographer you never know what you'll document.

No matter what the sport, when something unique happens, it occurs so fast sometimes that one cannot even process what occurred until the play ends.

Last week as the Baltimore Ravens played the Pittsburgh Steelers, I saw cornerback Jerraud Powers coming around the backside of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. As quickly as he was running for the sack, I wasn't sure if he'd actually make contact for the sack.

His speed was quicker than I anticipated, and Roethlisberger also predicted the pressure. Powers ended up going head over heels to eventually pull him down.

The power of the two players was something I've never seen as they battled to make a play - and the moment ended up making an interesting picture that was also telling of the game.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Eight Wins It

"Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal against the Winnipeg Jets during overtime at Verizon Center on November 3, 2016 in Washington, DC."

One of my favorite places to shoot hockey from is the crash box - this is the open seating box between the two team benches.

Players can literally crash into you non-stop throughout the game whether they're skating toward the goal or changing lines because there is no protective glass. Considering dangerous by many photographers - it's a huge rush.

Typical shooting positions can limit you view of the ice - both because of location and the small cutout hole in the glass. But from the crash box photographers see the entire ice at all times.

Thankfully I was in there in the third period when the Winnipeg Jets came into town to play the Washington Capitals.

An active period with lots of goals, the game went into overtime where Alex Ovechkin scored the game-winning goal and turned back toward the bench helping capture a telling image of the night.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Eyeing the Win

"Daniel Hemric, driver of the #19 DrawTite Ford, sits in his truck during practice for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series fred's 250 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 21, 2016 in Talladega, Alabama."

The greatest thing about sports photography is that the little things can make everything seem completely new.

For motorsports, while drivers always race at the same tracks, the drivers change, the sponsors are modified, and the outcome is always different.

So even when a photographer goes into an assignment maybe feeling things will be repetitive, there is one small moment that will make the job feel world's apart.

For Talladega, the most obvious change for this year's fall race was that there was no big one. No major on track incident that would shake up the playoff field. But during my assignments, it was a brief period of light on a driver that made an rather busy picture turn into a studio portrait shoot.

As I walked through the Camping World Truck Series garage shooting drivers waiting to take to the track, the light perfectly hitting driver Daniel Hemric in the eyes - caught my eye.

With the sun to his back, his crew opened his hood of his truck bouncing light back onto his face, helmet.

While this is a typical image in our line of work, the low angle through the net to get a clean white sky background made this loud, controlled chaotic scene feel more like a quiet peaceful studio session.