Monday, December 12, 2011

Best of 2011 | Sports

"Referee Pete Morelli #135 and other officials take the field before the start of the Washington Redskins taking on the Arizona Cardinals at FedEx Field on September 18, 2011 in Landover, Maryland."

Last year, I said it was hard to spit out the the words "Best of the Year" because I was sidelined from injury for about three months. Well, this year wasn't much better.

I spent more than half of the year recovering from a serious surgery. It wasn't until May when I found the energy and inspiration to attack my first assignment post-op.

And it wasn't easy. The Preakness Stakes was the last assignment I thought I'd get back into the game with as I lugged around a heavy 600mm chasing horses for 12 hours - but I survived.

From that point on, I spent the latter of the year photographing what I didn't think I would be able to handle after surgery: Sports.

Thanks to the amazingly talented group of editors at Getty Images, as well as some local and distant shooters, for giving me the boost and confidence I needed to overcome the pain I endured from: being unexpectedly laid-off in 2010, moving halfway across the country, and the physically, mentally challenging time spent in bed fully-recovering for months.

This year, I realized I that I'll never take my health for granted. Young, driven and talented means nothing when you cannot pick up a camera and do what you love.

I also learned to work light - in two ways. First, while I've always been a chaser of color and nice light, my goal for the short year was to exploit every opportunity I had to work the aforementioned. Last year, I found myself converting everything in post, not so much this year. And second, I learned to ditch the extra gear and work with the bare minimum.

With those in mind, my favorite sports picture of the year didn't even happen on the field. If you know me, I love to shoot features. I enjoy the challenge of working access and making pictures others don't see - whether another photographer or a reader.

This picture was made before a Washington Redskins game. I camped under the stands and waited. And waited. Then waited some more. While I was hoping for players, this image connected all the elements I look for: color, light, moment, composition, and being close.

I'm super eager and looking forward to a full-year of health, happiness and shooting in 2012 - sports related or not.

Feedback welcome. Enjoy.

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