Looking Back at My Baseball Photography in 2015
One good thing about getting older is that each year I can add one more photo to my year end lists. This makes it easier to include more photos that may not be the most technically pleasing, but have some sort of emotional element that I love. This year there is room for plenty of those. Watching this World Series took me back a bit to my childhood. The first two teams that I really watched win it all were the Kansas City Royals in 1985 and the New York Mets in 1986. That got me thinking back a bit which is always dangerous. Thirty years ago I really found baseball. I went to my first White Sox game, and the love of the sport has only grown from there. This year I kept thinking baseball finally found me. I was very lucky to shoot some events that seemed to just moving up in scale. I love shooting baseball at Alexander Field, and I was lucky enough to get to shoot a few games there this season. I also spent some time in Kokomo as the team photographer for the Kokomo Jackrabbits in their inaugural season. Kokomo is a wood bat summer league that was a blast to shoot. They really appreciated my work, and it made me work that much harder to give them a little more. Next summer Lafayette is getting a team in the same league, and I am very excited to see how that plays out. At the beginning of August I was lucky enough to get to shoot for the Charlotte Knights who are the Triple A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. At the same time two of the highest prospects in the Pirates organization were making their debuts for Indianapolis. I was able to shoot for both teams to give them what they wanted. This led to some fun working with the Indianapolis Indians at the end of the summer. Photographing their playoff games might have been the highlight of my year. I look forward to working with them a little more next summer. This really was a great year for me looking back at it. Here are fifteen photos that I liked from this baseball season.
15. When I posted this photo back in April I gave it a title in my head of “Upp Congratulates Upp.” This was a great moment in the lone Slicer baseball game that I covered this year where Slicer player Travis Upp hit a home run. It was a big homer for him, and nobody was prouder than his dad Scott Upp. Scott also happens to be the coach of the Slicers so he was the first one to congratulate him as he made his way around the bases. This was a fun game for me to cover. I used to help operate the old manual scoreboard as a kid so it was fun to come back and shoot a game. I will have to try and shoot a few more next season.
14. This year I had great seats for my first White Sox game of the year. I waited way too long to get to a game so I treated myself with seats right next to the camera well. If I can’t be in the camera well then this is the next best thing. One of my favorite players Adam Eaton hit a triple that sparked the club. Here he is seen looking back for the ball after sliding into third. He is a hustler who is always dirty. That is the kind of player that is fun to photograph.
13. Usually when the college baseball season is over that means that I only have a handful of baseball games left. This year it seems like the opposite was true. I shot more after the college season by far. Part of that was due to my work with the Kokomo Jackrabbits. This was their first year playing in the Prospect League, and they were an exciting team to watch. They could not have been nicer to me, and sometimes that is worth more than the paycheck. Here catcher C.J. Price walks off of the field. This was a quick grab, but a photo that I really like.
12. If you follow this blog then you know that I love capturing the different pitching motions. When Penn State brought in pitcher Jack Anderson I was very excited. I pepped up a bit, and set on capturing the motion to the best of my abilities. I wanted this photo from the front, and then one from the side. I was able to make this photo, but then he was taken out of the game before I could get my photo from the side. I still like this photo just for the uniqueness of the motion.
11. I attended many games at Coveleski Stadium in the past. I saw both the South Bend White Sox and the South Bend Silverhawks play there. The park is now called Four Winds Field, and the South Bend Cubs call it home. This past summer I was able to photograph a game there. At one point the light was amazing, and it allowed me to make some nice photos of the players. I liked this one of pitcher Eric Leal the best.
10. This past August I went to the White Sox game against the Red Sox with my dad. Thirty years earlier he took me to my first game. The night was about enjoying the game so I did not make many photos. This was one that happened right in front of me so I made the most of the opportunity.
9. Baseball is a game that is about fun. I think that is why I like this photo so much. Torii Hunter Jr looked very relaxed just before Notre Dame’s big game against Illinois in the NCAA Tournament this past spring. He only blew a couple of bubbles in this position so I was glad to be able to capture the moment. I had a great time covering the tournament for both Notre Dame and Ohio. This year I would love to cover some games for Purdue.
8. Speaking of Purdue here is a photo of Evan Warden. Evan is a Kokomo product who played for the Jackrabbits this past season. His normal position was infield, but he did pitch occasionally as well. I thought that his motion was perfect for a multi exposure so I tried it out. I was right, and this might be my favorite multi exposure of the season. Evan will be playing with the Boilers this spring so I will get to see a little more of him.
7. As I said earlier I covered Ohio University in the NCAA Regional that was played in Champaign earlier this year. This was one of the few photos that I was able to make during play Saturday. Just after this play the rains came and never really quit. The game was resumed the next day, and Ohio was knocked out of the tournament. I liked the great play by the middle infielder with the retired number of another great middle infielder in the background.
6. The same day that the above photo was made my family was in Chicago to see the Cubs play the Royals. That same rain washed out their game as well. The game was made up in September, and I was able to make it. It was a great game that went eleven innings with the Cubs walking it off on a Chris Denorfia home run. You could really see the excitement that the Cub fans had for their team, and I thought that this could be an early preview of the World Series. I was half right about that one.
5. This photo was a very happy accident. I was near right field at Alexander Field with the intent of photographing a future draft pick that was coming to the plate for Maryland. As the ball was hit to right field I tracked it, and made this photo of Jack Picchiotti. There are many things that I like here. The anticipation and the sun glare though make it for me. Add this to the list of great photos that Jack has helped me make. For some reason my camera likes him.
4. A few days before the above picture was made I made this one of Brandon Krieg. Brandon was a fun player to photograph for the Boilers. He played the game hard, and that looks great in photographs. Here is slides hard into second base and loses his helmet against Valparaiso. I had a blast photographing a baseball game at Valpo. I used to show up to games there with my kit lens and camera to make photos. It was nice to come back with my current gear to shoot a game right. Plays like this really helped me though.
3. Here is one time where I was out of position to make the image that I needed, but it worked out for me in another way. I was photographing the game for Notre Dame here. I should have been on the third base side to look right in on the catcher as he attempted to make the tag. Of course I was making an image of the pitcher when this happened so I was on the wrong side of the field. What is a failure for the game coverage is still a nice photo of the Wright State player getting a hand on the plate before the tag could be applied. I don’t think that the view from the third base well would have been as dynamic, and since the player was called safe here I don’t regret being in the wrong position.
2. Speaking of being in the right position here is a photo that might have garnered the most attention for me this past season. My first game shooting for Indianapolis was also the first game for Josh Bell and Tyler Glasnow with the Indians. Josh Bell won the game for Indy with a walk off hit in the 13th inning. The hit was his first Triple A base knock, but far from the last. He is a rising star for sure. I had some great photos of the celebration that I wanted to share right away. I needed to get up to the press box, but I stuck around for an extra minute. I had a feeling that the post game interview might be interesting. I was right. Catcher Elias Diaz came out with a full bucket of ice and dumped it on Josh. This photo was one of a few from the game that made the MiLB Photos of the Week. It also was nominated for the MiLB Photo of the Year. I never really thought that the photo would win as it was up against eleven very good photos, but somehow it did. You can read the write up on the photo from the MiLB website here.
1. This is by far my favorite baseball photo of the year. It might even be my favorite photo of the year. This past April when Notre Dame was playing at Victory Field I thought that it was my shot to shoot in the park. I had no idea what the rest of the year would bring so I wanted to make the most of my time in this beautiful park. Kyle Fiala helped make that day even more special with this at bat. I captured a few images of his triple, but this last one was my favorite. You get to see the face, the dirt, and the details as he slides into third. You also get the added bonus of seeing the third baseman catching the ball thanks to the highly reflective helmet that Notre Dame wears. All of that put together makes this my favorite baseball photo of 2015. Next year I have the tall task of topping this and all the other photos. It won’t be easy, but it will be fun to try.
As I said at the beginning this was a great year for me. I am very lucky to be doing what I am doing, and I don’t forget that. Trying to narrow down my photos to just 15 was not an easy task. As I look back now I can think of a few more that could have made the list. After each event I throw a few photos into a Lightroom folder that contains my best of the year. You can see all of those photos by clicking here.