My 14 Favorite Sports Photos of 2014

Last year was the year that I really took my sports photography work to another level. In 2013 I saw unprecedented access, and photos. In 2014 I built on that to try and get even closer to the action. My photos were not the shots where I was just happy to be there. I was trying to tell a story, or get close enough so that you could see what was happening. I thought that this would be the hardest category to narrow down to 14, but in the end it was not that hard. I knew the photos that I wanted to show here. Once again this might not be my most technically brilliant photos, but they were the photos that I liked the best. As we approach the new year I really don’t know where the sports side of my photography is going to go next year. Only time will tell with that. I expect that the list will look much different next year though.

14. The first photo on the countdown was a very early photo in the year for me. I shot a swim meet at Purdue in early January, and as the second shooter I could take a few risks at times. I knew that we had this event covered so I slowed my shutter down to add some motion to the photo. I really liked the effect. I made a folder to place the photos that I would consider for this countdown in, and this was the first photo of the year that I put in that folder.

Taken at the Gibson roller rink during the LBD @ Cornfed bout 2/16/14

13. This photo was made during my first roller derby game of the season. I only was able to shoot in the middle during the bout for a short time because we were the away team, and the team that the Brawlin’ Dolls were playing was not friendly to the opposing photographer. In the short time that I was in the middle I was able to make this photo which I liked immediately. I made some photos that I really like from the event that have appeared already on this blog during the best of countdown.

Brandon Jones and Mason Mitchell make contact in turn four on the last lap of the Herr's Chase the Taste 200 at Winchester Speedway. Jones would take the victory.

12. This year once again I shot the summer ARCA race at Winchester Speedway. I made this photo as the two leaders of the race were coming through turn four. The #98 car that is sideways is Mason Mitchell who would go on to win the 2014 ARCA title. He was moved out of the way in the turn by Brandon Jones who would go on to win the race.

11. This year we went back to the Supercross race at Lucas Oil Stadium. During the practice I had some fun with some really slow exposures. You do not get a lot of winners this way. The bikes are moving in two different directions which makes panning very hard. It was a fun challenge that helped me pass the time though, and I made this photo of Ryan Villopoto who would win the race and the championship.

10. Apparently 2014 was the year of the selfie for me. I made the first photo during an early swim meet at Purdue. After it was all over the girls posed for a photo. I had deja vu after Wisconsin won the Big Ten Soccer Tournament as the team did the exact same thing. I thought that both photos taken months apart should be on the countdown.

9. I made this photo just before shooting my first NCAA Tournament game. I was a little nervous shooting a big event like this, but when I saw the photo in my viewfinder I settled down a bit. I love these huddle photos, and this one told a story as well.

8. Senior day is a day full of emotion. I helped John Underwood the Purdue photographer cover the Purdue softball senior day last year. After a very formal group photo the underclassmen had a surprise for the seniors. The silly putty started flying, and I happened to be in a good spot. This was a fun moment that I was happy to be a part of.

7. On the first day of the Big Ten Track and Field Championships I battled a steady, cold rain. I had my shots during the last event under some terrible lighting, but I wanted something a little more. I slowed my shutter down a bit to get the rain a little more elongated. With a little time on my side I made this photo of Purdue star Matt McClintock running through the rain. I was ready to get out of the cold, and into some dry clothes, but I had a few more photos to make. This was one of my favorites of the three days that I shot.

6. Melvin Gordon was a blast to shoot. He came into the game at Purdue very highly touted, and he did not disappoint. I think that he had a shot at the Heisman until the Big Ten Title game. I do like this shot of him that I made with my new Canon 7D Mark II. I was still testing the camera out to see what it could do for me, but after the first weekend with it I knew that it was everything that was advertised.

5. This year I was lucky enough to cover my old high school play in their first ever state title game. For the little town of LaPorte, IN this was a huge event. The game did not go the way that everyone would have liked, but the journey was well worth it. I made this photo of LaPorte running back Charles Salary running free for the lone Slicer touchdown of the day. I loved his look up at the jumbotron to see how close the defenders were to him. I will have to get to some Slicer home games in the renovated stadium in 2015.

4. One of the highlights of the baseball season was shooting the Colt World Series. The final game between Puerto Rico and California was one of the best games that I have seen in a while. The emotion was great as you can see from this shot. The player had just hit a home run that gave Puerto Rico the lead. I moved to this location to get the California reaction after they recorded the final out. I wanted them charging out of the dugout. The Puerto Rico rally ruined that photo, but I was very happy with what I got instead.

3. During the Big Ten Soccer Tournament I had a number of shots that I was expected to deliver. When I had those in the can so to speak I would go for it and try some high risk shots. This was one of those. Normally you would not want a soccer player shown from the waist up as the play is at the feet. Here things worked out great for me to make this photo.

2. This was more of an accident than anything. Cody Strong taking an extra base left me holding my 300mm instead of the 70-200mm lens. I just focused on the base, and let him come to me. What I got was a tight shot of Cody that I really liked. The tag is being applied, but his hand is already on the bag. I love baseball because it is the perfect game. This is another example of why it is.

1. It is funny how things work. Literally since day one of this blog Danny Anthrop has been a part of it. He was the subject of the very first photo of the day here. A photo of Danny was the first of my photo 365 project, and it was the last of the project. I liked this photo of Danny scoring a touchdown because it was a bit of a gamble for me. Instead of throwing the 300mm down like I normally would I kept it on the player trying to get in a bit closer. The students and the band provided a good background in the bokeh as well.

 

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About Pinola Photo

I am a sports and lifestyle photographer based in West Lafayette, IN home of Purdue University. I cover sports for Big Ten teams as well as other colleges. You can follow me on twitter @pinolaphoto. You can also view my website at www.davewegielphoto.net

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