My 15 Favorite Sports Photos of 2015

This has really been an amazing year for me when you take it as a whole. I have been given the opportunity to shoot some great athletes in some great venues. Fifteen photos is not nearly enough to scratch the surface of some of the fun that I had this year. I have tried to do the best that I can to get the photos down to fifteen that I liked. If you want to see all of the best of lists so far this year you can click here, or just click the Best of 2015 tag on the left side of the page.

15. The countdown starts off with this shot of Juan Pablo Montoya on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I wanted to make some different shots on the day, and this was one that I thought told a larger story. By including the sign on the walking bridge I gave this a little sense of place. This was an amazing shoot that I was happy to be a part of. This was my first time shooting Indy Cars as well so it holds a special place for me.

14. This year I shot Lacrosse for the first time. I shot two Purdue club games, and then was contracted by Towson Athletics to shoot their NCAA playoff game against Notre Dame. I am still learning the sport, but I love the athleticism shown by the players. Here you see a big hit by a Towson player on a Notre Dame player.

13. This year I only shot one bout, but my favorite roller derby photo comes from a photoshoot in the studio early in the year. This was actually an outtake, but it was my favorite shot of the night. You see a little of what is behind the player in this shot. 

12. One shot that I loved to make this year was this overhead shot at the Indy Fuel game. I have always wanted to try this, and I finally got my chance. Early on I got a little action in front of the net, and my shot was made. This is a position that I would like to try again in the future.

11. The Purdue volleyball squad had a great season this year. A great senior class led the way. Here they celebrate a big third set point against Indiana on the road. I think that I like this shot for all of the enemy signage in it along with the emotion of the players.

10. This shot may have been my most popular photo of the year. In early August I was lucky enough to be in Indy shooting the for the Charlotte Knights against the Indianapolis Indians. The day of the game I was asked to shoot a couple of new players debuting for Indy that night. One of those players was Josh Bell who won the game in the 13th inning with a single. He was doused during his postgame interview for his heroic hit. This photo was well travelled for the rest of the season, and eventually won the Minor League photo of the year on MiLB.com. A few breaks allowing me to be in the right place on the right day may have led to much more.

9. This year I had a blast shooting the NCAA Tournament games in South Bend for Kentucky. They were a great team to work for, and I enjoyed all three days of my assignment. Here you see some of that emotion as the team waits at home plate to welcome Nikki Sagermann for the second time that weekend after a home run.

8. This was a photo with a little bit of history behind it. Here you see Devynne Charlton and Savannah Carson battling it out in the 100 meter dash. Both players beat the previous school record for the 100 meter run, but Charlton won the race so she is the record holder. This was the only track and field meet that I covered this season, but it was a memorable one.

7. For the past two years I have been lucky enough to cover the Notre Dame volleyball team as they played in Mackey Arena against Purdue. It is usually a good crowd, and that helps translate to a lot of emotion. I really like the big picture aspect to this photo. You get the sense of place as well as the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

6. Here I was very thrilled to shoot for Purdue as they reclaimed the Golden Boot trophy from Indiana. The seniors on the team had not won the trophy yet so this was a big emotional day for them. I knew that it would make for a good photo so I travelled to Bloomington to document the day. It was a move that paid off big time with this photo.

5. Speaking of a Purdue team winning some hardware we have the Purdue club hockey team winning the season ending tournament here. I cover some games for my nephew which made this moment even more special. Here I zoomed in a bit after making my wide shot to capture some of the emotion of the moment. I love the look of joy on the faces of the players.

4. This season I sat behind the offense a few times to try and make a photo like this one. The way the current offenses work the players are looking back at the quarterback more often than not when they are catching the ball. The problem is that the catch is not always photogenic. Even if I picked the right player it might not look so great. Here everything came together in one photo. This was a great day to make photos, and one other photo from the day is still to come on the countdown.

3. A trend of this countdown seems to be celebrations after Purdue beats Indiana. I may have too many of those celebrations on this countdown, but that is a great problem to have. Here Raphael Davis celebrates with the fans after a big win against the Hoosiers in Mackey Arena. I love the emotion here, and this is one of my favorite photos of the year.

2. Here is yet another photo of a team playing Indiana. This one is of Notre Dame infielder Kyle Fiala sliding into third to complete his triple against the Hoosiers. I love the gesture of the player, but the shot is made for me by the reflection of the Indiana third baseman trying to apply the tag in Kyle’s helmet. This was my favorite baseball photo of the year. Everything seemed to come together for me here.

  1. The top photo of the year is this photo of Purdue receiver Danny Anthrop celebrating with the crowed after the first Big Ten home win for Darrell Hazell. The team was really excited about the win, and they wanted to celebrate with the fans on the field. A few people may have went into the stands as the game ended to see if they could make that happen. The fans didn’t come down though so the team went to them. I love the absolute joy in this photo. I would love to see a few more moments of joy like this one on the field next season.

This was an amazing year for me as far as my sports photography goes. When 2015 started I was still reeling a bit from the shift that left me out at Purdue. That really was my dream job, and it took a little while to get over the fact that it was gone. In that absence though came some great memories from this season. A lot of the highlights above were made shooting for other schools. My scope on what I wanted to do was very narrow at the time, but it has since become much broader. This year I was able to choose assignments that really interested me, and that made it a great year to shoot sports. With more free time in the spring I was able to do some work that ended with me getting some national recognition for my photography. This spring and summer baseball will again take the forefront as I try and top what I accomplished last year. In a very short time I have developed some great contacts that have become great clients. This year I go into the year with a much larger satisfaction with what I am doing. I am actually really looking forward to what lies ahead in the coming months. If you like baseball, then you will like what I have in store this year for you.

This will be the last of the ‘Best of” posts for last year. With that in mind I want to thank everyone who takes the time out of their schedule to read this blog. It would not be worth writing without the support of those of you who read it. Last year was a record setting year as far as viewership goes. With more eyes on the blog I have felt the need to supply better content. I have a few photography related resolutions for 2016, and taking my time to better write this blog is one of them. Thanks to those of you who have been here from the beginning, and thank you to all of those who have stopped by at some point along the way.

 

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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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