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.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Fear the Beard

"James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets looks on after defeating the Washington Wizards, 99-91, at Verizon Center on March 29, 2015 in Washington, DC."

The other day, I was mentioning to a friend that there are so many people in the world that have distinct appearance traits that make them stand out and they rarely ever change.

Whether it's a hair style, a type of hat or style of glasses. These small visual cues help them stand out amongst others and help others remember something about them.

The world of sports is no different.

James Harden of the Houston Rockets is a beaming example of how something as simple as a beard can attract attention of fans. His facial hair is something of an iconic staple in the NBA - after all - fear the beard is a slogan that follows the hoops star.

These traits also attract the lens of photographers. Following the game between the Rockets and the Washington Wizards, while other photographers went to file their end of game pictures, I waited for Harden to be interviewed by television.

A mundane moment to others, I often use these instances to shoot portraits of superstars I normally wouldn't get the chance to do otherwise.

In this case, I waited for the moment I had preconceived to candidly unfold, worked with the light of the television camera and clicked the shutter.