Ranking Some of My Favorite Photos From the Past School Year

This was a very interesting year for me. When the year started I thought that I would be doing one thing. I had to quickly come up with another plan. The plan was easy, but getting people to trust in me was another thing. Once the ball got rolling though I started to build up enough credit that by the second semester I was working large events for schools. For the better part of the last ten years my photography has focused on Purdue. With the change came a new role, and that was shooting for other schools often against Purdue. It was interesting to say the least, but at the end of the day you are making photos of a game. It is amazing what I have accomplished in a short period of time. This year has been amazing building relationships that I hope to keep going strong for many years to come. Being a free agent has allowed me to shoot many post season games that I would not normally have shot. What was once a huge negative has now become a big positive. While I was initially against photographing very often off campus I found out that I like the challenge of shooting in new venues. I was able to cross a few items off of my photography bucket list, and I would like to cross a few more off next year. The off season is short. August comes quickly, and with that comes a lot of new opportunities. I am blessed to already have some dates booked for the coming year. Here are my favorite photos from last season.

15. One of the best moments of the year for me was being in Indy to see the Purdue Hockey team win the season ending tournament. They are a great bunch of guys that I loved photographing. Seeing them win their last two games of the year to win it all was pretty cool. I had a wide shot of the whole team with the trophy, but I zoomed in here to get a tight shot around the trophy. I think that it is a bit more powerful.

Lilly Fecho delivers the final pitch of her no-hitter on April 29, 2015

14. This past school year I saw something for the first time. I have never seen no-hitter in person before. I have seen a lot of baseball and softball without ever seeing one. I have been close before, but never saw the pitcher seal the deal. Lilly Fecho did just that to close out the season. It was a great last game for the Boilers. The senior leader hit the home run that was the difference in the game. This was my favorite shot of the day because it tells the whole story.

Matt Hoy with the ball during the NCAA Lacrosse First Round game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Towson Tigers at Arlotta Stadium on May 9, 2015

13. This was the year that I found lacrosse. I had never even seen the sport played before attending my first Purdue lacrosse game. Fast forward a month and I am covering an NCAA Tournament game to Towson. During that game I made this photo of Notre Dame forward Matt Hoy with the ball. I love the details of the photo. I am still learning the sport, but it is a blast to photograph.

12. This year I covered NCAA Tournament games in four sports for six teams. It makes you feel good when you can make a good picture on the big stage. I really have helped fill my portfolio this past year with some images from the big stage. This was a good moment from the last NCAA Tournament game that I covered in Champaign this past year. I love how all of the elements come together here.

Greg Behning and Conner Murphy-Long fight for the ball during the men's lacrosse game between Purdue and Illinois on April 24, 2015

11. As I said above I found lacrosse this year. I made this image during my second lacrosse game of the season. I started to try some different things here which included shooting up the field. It is a bit more dangerous, but when the players are fighting for the ball it gives you a great look in to the action.

Rapheal Davis celebrates with the Paint Crew after the Boilers 83-67 win over the Hoosiers.

10. Here is a special two for one deal. Ray Davis is one of my favorite players to photograph. I wanted to pick a photograph that gives a good example of why I love to shoot Ray so much. I found two that I think show off why he is a good subject, but couldn’t decide. The good news is that I make the rules so I can post both of them. The top photo I think shows the fire with which Ray plays the game of basketball. He really loves to play the game, and it shows. In the second photo it shows him blocking a shot from one of the better players in the Big Ten last year. He was the Big Ten defensive player of the year, and I love how the sign above him happened to say defense at the time. This coming year will be his senior year, and I hope to have a lot more to choose from when that is all said and done.

9. I really enjoyed shooting the Big Ten Tournament at the end of this past soccer season. It accomplished a few things for me. The first was that I was able to shoot three days of soccer in great light. That allowed me to make some great photos for my portfolio. The second was that my work was seen by the people in charge of hiring photographers for many of the Big Ten teams. That never hurts. I was just trying to get this thing going at the time so I needed the exposure. The money was okay as well. The best part about shooting the tournament was that I was just shooting a web gallery for each team every game. Once I had the pictures for a gallery I could experiment a little. This photo was made during that time. I was at midfield with way too much lens, but with an idea. If I could capture a moment with the upper body it would be cool. Normally you have to include the feet in a photo, but I was determined to get something with the feet cropped out of the frame. A lucky bounce gave me the photo above.

8. During one of my off days from the Big Ten soccer tournament I shot the Wisconsin game at Purdue for a little fun. I wanted to get a shot of Melvin Gordon Jr who was one of the best backs that I saw this past season. I had some okay photos, but then I put the doubler on my lens to get in even closer. Melvin ran my way, and I was able to get the shot that I wanted when I made my way to the game. Sometimes you need luck as well as skill.

7. This past year Notre Dame really has helped me along the way when it came to going out on my own. Early on when I was scrambling they were one of the first to book me. Along the way they also helped me with jobs when opponents came to town. They stepped up in a way that I never really expected. I made this photo shooting a volleyball match up at Notre Dame this past fall. They were facing North Carolina, and I wanted to get a shot that I didn’t have yet. I tried a few locations before sitting just off the net courtside. The touch shot is one that is tough to see coming. Luckily I fired at the right time to make an interesting image. The hair flowing off to the side is what made this stand out to me.

6. The Big Ten soccer tournament was a lot of hard work over the course of three days. Shots like the one above make it all worth it though. I was originally lined up in front of these girls as they started to set this photo up. Just then the Wisconsin photographer came up beside me. We were basically shooting for the same people so why make the same shot. I ran around some of the fans and parents who came out onto the field to get a shot from the side. In the end I think that I made the right choice. I love how this shot turned out. I would have liked to have gotten a couple of feet off the right more, but the moment happened where I was.

5. While covering the NCAA Notre Dame Regional for Kentucky there were many good moments. This one here though was one that helped them have a chance to win the regional. Nikki Sagermann had just hit her second home run of the series, and here teammates were waiting for her at home plate. I love the emotion in softball. It really is a fun sport to cover for that reason. You get amazing photos like this one.

4. Speaking of emotion, here is some true emotion. Media day at the NCAA Tournament is full of canned responses and statements. Purdue came into the media room at the exact wrong time. Most of the national media was out in the arena to witness Kentucky take the floor. A big crowd was waiting for them, and that was the story of the day. The local Purdue media was in the locker room so when the student athletes came out for questions it was to a couple of photographers. A.J. Hammons could not help himself from laughing. The more he tried the harder of a time he had. He finally broke here. I love the moments of true emotion.

3. This blog will be forever linked with Danny Anthrop it seems. He was the subject of the first post ever here. He just happened to be the athlete at the high school game I attended who by far had the best game. I have been lucky enough to cover him during his time at Purdue as well. I love this tight shot of him scoring a touchdown early in the season. His season would be hampered by injury, but this was a moment where he was full strength.

Purdue wrestler Braden Atwood

2. Sometimes you need to look away from the action. I was photographing the story of the day at a Purdue wrestling match, and that was Purdue football player Gelen Robinson’s first home match. I heard someone yelling encouragement to him, and when I looked over I saw Braden Atwood fairly close to me. This was as far away as I could get with the 300mm lens on my Canon 7D Mark II, but it was perfect. I love how this shot just screams how tough these wrestlers are.

Kyle Fiala hits a triple during the Notre Dame baseball game against theIndiana Hoosiers at Victory Field on April 22, 2015

1. Number one has been making the rounds on this blog lately. This is my favorite baseball image of the year, and it makes sense that it is my favorite image of the school year. I was lucky enough to shoot a few Notre Dame baseball games for the University this year. They were great to me, and I was happy to give them some good images. Here third baseman Kyle Fiala slides into third for a triple during the Irish game at Victory Field. There are many things that I like about this photo, but the reflection in the helmet is something that I love. You can see the third baseman ready for the throw with the field behind him. The anticipation of the hand nearly on the bag along with the dirt flying is nice as well.

That wraps up the 2014-2015 school year for me. I started off a little slow, but in the end I made some photos that I love. More importantly I had a great time doing it. August is not that far away, and I can start making photos for the 2015-2016 school year. There are a lot of programs at Purdue poised to have a big season so it should be a great one here in West Lafayette.

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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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