A Look Back at My Favorite Softball Photos in 2015

Yesterday the calendar rolled over into November and we set our clocks back an hour. No matter what we do now the end of the year is approaching fast. I thought that instead of cramming all of my best of posts back to back during the last week of the year I would space them out a little bit. With no games being played for the rest of the season it is very safe to say that my year is over as far as shooting softball is concerned. I had a great year shooting softball. I shot a few games for the Boilermakers here is West Lafayette in both the spring and the fall. I shot some here at Purdue just for fun as well. One of those games was the no-hitter thrown by Purdue pitcher Lily Fecho. It was the first no-hitter that I was able to see in person in any sport. This past spring I was hired by Kentucky to shoot their games in the NCAA Tournament at Notre Dame. Those three days were a lot of fun, and the emotion of the tournament made for some great photos. I think that I really improved my softball photography this past year, and I cannot wait to get out and shoot some more this coming spring. For now enjoy the fifteen photos that I liked the most from this past year.

15. The first photo on this countdown was a very lucky shot. I was shooting the Notre Dame game against Ball State when I happened to look straight down the bench. The configuration of the camera well allowed me to have a great view right down at the players. I loved the look on the players face along with the hat. This is just not a view that I see everyday so I put it in my countdown.

14. I both love and hate senior day. When you have watched players do their thing for their entire careers it is hard to see them go. On the other hand I love covering the day because it is full of emotion, and that is what makes good photos. This year I was lucky enough to cover the Purdue softball senior day for the university. The game produced a few moments some of which will appear on this countdown.

13. On the last game of the season I was just at the game for fun. I tried some angles around the stadium just to see what they looked like. The stadium was brand new so I took some time to learn it a little better. I went up to the suite level to get an overall shot, but while I was up there I made this photo of a bang bang play at second base. I loved the clean look of the photo from the second I saw it in the back of my camera. Had I been covering the game for Purdue it would not be very useful because you cannot see the Purdue players face, but because I was shooting for fun I could make the picture.

12. Here is a photo of Ashley Burkhardt digging hard for second base. One of the great things about the new softball field is the berm out in right and center field that you can shoot from. A shot like this is possible out on the hill. Ashley was a great player to photograph during her career. She played the game hard, and had fun doing it. Both of those lead to great photos.

11. Here is a shot that I like because of the whole. I love the senior day posters in the dugout as well as the coach sending the runner in front of the dugout. You can feel her urging the runner to go a little faster. So far from what I have seen Coach Schuette is guiding the Boilers in the right direction.

10. I think that I like the graphic nature of this photo more than the content. It is a good moment just before the ball enters the mitt. This is what I strive to do. The rest of the picture just kind of leads you to the player and the ball. This was another photo made after I was done shooting game one of a doubleheader for the university. I had a couple of minutes to kill so I stayed to make a few photos.

Ashley Burkhardt rounds second after hitting a two run home run for Purdue against Indiana State on April 29, 2015

9. This is what I meant above by Ashley Burkhardt giving you something great to photograph all of the time. Here she smiles back into the dugout as she rounds the bases on senior day after hitting a home run. That run would be the only one scored on the day, and it would prove to be very important.

8. This is a shot that I like because of the anticipation of the moment. You have the ball and the runner arriving at the base at the same time. You are left to wonder if the runner was safe or out. These moments just before the play is decided is where I try and get to. When you nail one it is a great thing.

7. Here is another anticipation shot from the NCAA Tournament at Notre Dame this past spring. You have the ball and the runner arriving at the same time. Can the catcher get the tag down in time? I also love the teammate in the on deck circle telling her to get down. There is a lot that I like about this image.

6. While shooting the NCAA Tournament in South Bend I made some shots of games that I was not hired to shoot. Here I was waiting for my photos to download so I decided to shoot a little while I waited. Of course the first batter for Ball State cranks a home run to start the game, and I was rewarded with a nice celebration at home plate. I loved the emotion here, but I would see a better celebration before the weekend was over.

5. Sometimes when you shoot for a team you make a photo that you really like, but it is not usable for the school. This is one of those photos. The Kentucky runner was clearly out here, but I liked the moment and the gesture. It was destined to end up in this countdown if not on the schools website.

4. I shot the tournament at Notre Dame for Kentucky. They came in as the #2 seed in the pod, but managed to leave the winners. Before I left I made one last picture of the team. They really were fantastic to work with all weekend long. They had no idea who I was early on, but they made me very comfortable, and put up with me. Here they showed just how much fun advancing is.

3. Sometimes I make a picture that I call the best available. When you are shooting for one team they may be doing something like routinely throwing the ball back into the infield. When I looked towards second I saw the runner digging towards the base. I made this image by just shooting something that I did not have to. With the sun at the angle that it was I knew that the dirt would be very visible, and It makes this photo.

2. Here is another home run celebration shot. I went to the outfield platforms twice during the weekend to make some shots. Both times Nikki Sagermann hit a home run. It seems like the celebration was aimed towards me both times. When I was in right field they played towards me. This was my favorite of the two shots though because you can see the emotion on the faces of Nikki’s teammates. I think in most years this would have been my favorite shot of the year. This year though I saw something pretty rare in person.

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

  1. This was going to be the top photo in this countdown from the moment that I made the picture. As Lily Fecho was entering the seventh inning of the final game of the season I saw the zeros on the scoreboard for Indiana State. I made my way to a location in the stadium where I could place Lily and the scoreboard. Because she is a lefty I knew that I would not have the best angle of her motion, but I could catch her early to show the scope of the pitch. This is very similar to what I did in 2013 as Purdue opened up their new baseball stadium. I made sure that the photo told the story of that first pitch. This was the first no-hitter that I have seen in person so I wanted to document that day. It is my favorite softball photo of 2015.
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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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