Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Leaping Leach

"Full back Vonta Leach #44 of the Baltimore Ravens leaps over cornerback Morris Claiborne #24 of the Dallas Cowboys before being hit out of bounds in the fourth quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on October 14, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Baltimore Ravens won, 31-29."

Two weeks ago, plagued by injuries and fighting to the final whistle, the Baltimore Ravens held on late in the game to defeat the Dallas Cowboys.

With the win, the Ravens secured their fourth consecutive victory (before losing to the Texans last week) and their home winning streak is the longest current run in the NFL.

As the game progressed, the score became closer and closer. A sea-saw battle, as time ticked away in the fourth quarter, I wasn't quite sure where to position myself. But I was in the right spot as the Cowboys scored a touchdown to cut the Ravens lead by two. I was also in the correct position as they went for a two-point conversion, for the tie, but missed.

Thinking the game was over, I stashed my long glass on the sideline, and waited for the clock to run out. Yet the Cowboys had other ideas. I ran back down the field to get my lens and they then marched down the field and into field goal range - where they missed what would have been the game-winning touchdown.

Sports is all about putting yourself in the right position and anticipating the play, game. It's also about having images that tell the story of the game. This image certainly tells the story as the Ravens somehow dodged the Cowboys almost comeback.

But there is one spot on the field we call the "Ray Rice Zone" because he always marches there as he scores. While I thought this image was more telling of the game, I wasn't about to post another Ray Rice signature pose on here.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


"The St. Paul’s Crusaders pray before playing the John Carroll Patriots during an MIAA B Conference regular season game at St. Paul's School on October 12, 2012, in Brooklandville, Md. The St. Paul’s Crusaders beat the previously unbeaten John Carroll Patriots, 34-0."

When I was staffed at a newspaper in Utah, there was always talk of the living curse that was the pregame prayer.

One season, it seemed no matter who shot some sort of pregame paryer image, that team would lose. Ironically enough, it held out to be true for as long as I can remember.

Living out there, I became curious in religion on the field. I never saw much religious activity in Maryland sports before moving West. Then again, I could have been overlooking it for years.

Yet with the high percentage of those that practice religion in Utah, football certainly wasn't the only place I witnessed prayer at times I wasn't accustom to. Thinking back on it now, I'd probably have enough images to make a photo essay on it.

Alas, this team didn't fall the curse as they rolled over their opponent with no troubles.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Friday Night Light

"Dale Harris #2 of the St. Paul’s Crusaders rushes down the sideline as Devon Ruane #69 of the John Carroll Patriots tries to pull him down in the fourth quarter during an MIAA B Conference regular season game at St. Paul's School on October 12, 2012, in Brooklandville, Md."

I rarely cover high school football anymore - maybe a game or two a year. But I recently shot a game on assignment and had a blast.

There is nothing like covering high school sports. While the light isn't always great at night, the access is most of the time unrestricted and emotions run high.

It's funny, because I used to cover sports in a very generic way. But when I lived in Utah, all of my colleagues at other newspapers were always competing to get the unseen photos inside the locker room of pregame payers and images away from the action.

I grew to love covering sports that way. It made me see the games I was covering differently and made me excited to find that moment that was telling of the outcome, despite being before or after kick-off.

With that said, I love putting a wide angle to good use in sports - mainly speaking the action. It's usually a gamble, but without risks, you're left wondering what a play could have looked like without one.

Being able to get right on the sideline (unlike a couple yards back in college and pros), the wide makes sideline action more compelling. The image above ended up being telling (read cutline), and to boot, the light reminded me of that early season light in Utah.

The entire game between the St. Paul's Crusaders and the John Carroll Patriots I shot my way. I shot backlit the entire game, I shot weird features throughout and I shot very tight, loose. The end result was a nice package of telling images.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

We Were Penn State

"Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse after being sentenced in his child sex abuse case on October 9, 2012 in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. The 68-year-old Sandusky was sentenced to at least 30 years, and not more that 60 years, in prison for his conviction in June on 45 counts of child sexual abuse, including while he was the defensive coordinator for the Penn State college football team."

It has almost been a year since the news first broke that former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky had been arrested for child sex abuse and from that point turned worst scandal in the history of college sports.

Overheard on the television at a Redskins game in 2011, I remember filing images at halftime shocked that local Baltimore Ravens radio broadcaster Gerry Sandusky had been charged with such crimes. But once I followed up on the story after the game I realized it was the other Sandusky - the Penn State Jerry Sandusky.

From that point on, I documented the Penn State story as former football coach Joe Paterno ended his historic career marred in scandal in relation to Sandusky's crimes. Paterno was fired beside other high ranking men in power at Penn State for covering it all up according to a FBI report, later passing away, his statue then torn to the ground, and sanctions imposed on the university, among other events.

Last week, I was driving home after Sandusky's sentencing thinking, "Was that the end?" I don't think so, but visually for now, I think the story is at a standstill unless other news breaks.

To be honest, this assignment has been nowhere near what I thought it would be when I first ventured to Pennsylvania last year. But without warning, the story continued to unfold time and time again.

This has been without a doubt one of the biggest stories I've ever covered and for the longest amount of time and I honestly can say I am humbled at the work produced by the Getty Images team.

Echoing again, this story isn't over. But for now, I have to thank my editors at Getty Images for trusting me to document the story in Penn State and give credit to my Getty teammates for their amazing coverage, too.

While my heart goes out to the victims,  I hope my images have and will continue to resonate with viewers, as this was an important story in history, not just in the sports world.

Its been a sad story - and while I don't pray on the weakness or dark times of others - I do hope that I get the chance to cover a story with such stature again in my career.

Monday, October 15, 2012


"Quarterback Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins and quarterback Kirk Cousins #12 of the Washington Redskins take the field before playing the Atlanta Falcons at FedExField on October 7, 2012 in Landover, Maryland."

Sometimes you read and hear about rookies in sports non-stop. Even seeing them on television it opens up a strange curiosty to want to document them on the field. Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, otherwise known as RG3, was one of them.

Working in Washington proves a bit more of a challenge as the sidelines are much more crowded than other stadiums I've shot at. So in my mind, I wanted to make a strong graphic image of him in the tunnel or on the field before kick-off before the gaggle of us photographers were able to shoot him closely at the end of the game. I knew the tunnel has some crazy light and a red wall to boot. So I worked a couple frames in there.

The only problem was after shooting him on the field warming up, everyone in Washington wanted the same images, so my images were more about the media hype rather than getting a clean frame. While I did get two frames off, there were a little tighter than I had pictured in my head in attempt to crop out other photographers.

I brushed it off and looked more toward his performance on the field. The only problem was that he would leave the game with a mild concussion. So I didn't get to see much RG3 action. Maybe later in the season I'll get to document his thrilling style of play the entire game.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Franchise signature

"Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice #27 is introduced before playing the Cleveland Browns in an NFL football game at M&T Bank Stadium on September 27, 2012, in Baltimore, Maryland."

Sticking with the smoke theme here on the blog so it seems.

I've shot similar images of Ray Lewis being introduced before playing opponents at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. But I am usually really tight on him as he fills the frame.

Decided this game to go looser and snap away on the franchise player's signature gesture.

This wasn't a favorite - and fire and smoke never look as good when desaturated. But my cameras have been banding pretty bad at high-iso. So I decided to convert it to help take away from the bright orange horizontal lines in the frame.

It worked, and after taking a second look at it, I decided to post this frame. Still not sure what is drawing me to it.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Familiar stripes

"NFL referee Gene Steratore, a 10-year veteran, walks onto the field before the Cleveland Browns play the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on September 27, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland."

Usually there is a strong hate for the men in stripes. Boos, yelling and a lot of cursing - especially in Baltimore.

But following a three-month lockout of the league's regular officials, an agreement was met. All order was restored. Nothing but cheers echoed throughout the stadium before the Cleveland Browns took on the Baltimore Ravens.

As all of us photographers ran around trying to make features of the referees before kick-off, even camping outside the locker room door, this image just happened right in front of me.

And as it goes, it was a serendipitous moment that I liked the best. Almost an introduction for the refs if you will.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Up in smoke

"Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 30, 2012 in Dover, Delaware."

I do my best to keep my blog up to date weekly, and also in chronological order.

My blog has served many different purposes, but personally it has always been a visual diary of where I've been, what I've seen and what I've had the amazingly, humbling opportunity to witness behind the lens in my young career.

A day doesn't go by that I am not thankful for my clients, friends I've met in the industry and the endless amounts of good fortune - not to mention good health which is often overshadowed. It simply put has been an amazing ride thus far and I'm eagerly looking forward.

As a visual communicator, I humbly get to document, the good, the bad, the exciting, and the mundane, as the world unfolds in front of my lens. Without a doubt, it has made me see the world differently for the greater good and made me a better person because of it.

This past weekend I remembered how lucky I am. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series raced through Delaware for the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway. Shooting for Getty Images for NASCAR, I spent three days at "The Monster Mile" covering two of three races and shooting alongside an inspiring, great team of photographers that was full of hard-work and fun. I got to shoot from some important spots that allowed me to produce unique frames for the team.

I'm always working hard to better myself and my craft.

I'll always be continually seeking growth, guidance and I'll always be my own worst enemy, as everyday I do my best to enhance my talent, understanding of photojournalism.

Thank you for following. Thanks for reading. Thanks for the support.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Post preparation

"The Baltimore Orioles grounds crew tend the infield between innings as the Baltimore Orioles play the Toronto Blue Jays in their first game of a double header during an MLB American League baseball game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland, September 24, 2012."

There is a small window of time when Summer changes to Fall and the light gets perfect.

Although what we are really seeing is the sun setting much earlier compared to the long summer days, it does make for some spectacular light - which I need to see and take advantage of before the sun starts setting around 5 p.m. in the Winter.

Last week, the Baltimore Orioles played an afternoon game that went from nice to beautiful for a couple innings. A shaft of light slowly made it's way from third base line across the infield and eventually stopping just past first base.

I so badly wanted an action frame, aside from a pitcher or batter, in that shaft of light. But it was between innings when a the grounds crew gave me just want I was hoping for.

With that, I thought last week would be the last time I'd see "The Yard" this year, but the Baltimore Orioles are heading back to the postseason for the first time since 1997. The Orioles sealed at least an AL wild-card spot on Sunday night, meaning that even if they don't win the division, there is a good chance I could see at the minimum one more baseball game in Baltimore this week.