My Favorite Sixteen Sports Photos of 2016

This year was a year where I had quite a few firsts. I shot my first final four and my first MLB game. The thought of going through all of my photos to find my favorite sixteen sports photos from the year made my head spin. I usually just end up with a few action shots with a lot of emotion anyway so I decided to just stick to the emotion on this list. It is really hard to boil down many favorite images to sixteen. I have shot a lot of events this past year, and there have been some cool moments during those. The good news is that every year I get to include one more photo on this countdown. Next year I will have one less cut to worry about. The bad news is that I will probably have more images to worry about cutting.

16. The countdown starts off with from what I have seen is a rare display of emotion in wrestling. The guys just go about their business, and rarely even have their heads up when their hand is raised as the winner. Luke Welch had just scored a huge upset though, and he let everyone know about it. It is one of my favorite wrestling pictures that I have made, and it keeps me going back to the mat to try and do it again.

15. Fun is what keeps me coming back to roller derby. I do not get paid to shoot the sport, but I shoot every game that I can. Here is one of those fun moments just after a game is over. As they pick the stars on offense and defense they usually have cool awards to give out. Here is one such award with a cool moment when it is put on.

14. During the cross country National Championships Michigan senior Erin Finn did not get the win that she thought she would. Her teammates knew that she would be upset so they decided to surround her with love when she came out of the chute. It picked her up, and also displayed what being a good teammate is.

13. This year I covered the Purdue baseball team for the first time since 2014. During the three game stretch that I shot I saw them win a 15 inning game on a walk off bunt. It was a great moment when the team went out to pile on Alec Olund who laid down the bunt that won the game. These are the moments that you live for when shooting baseball, and it was well worth staying to capture this moment.

12. As I said in the football post this simple moment between Brian Lankford-Johnson and Justin King is one of my favorite football images of the year. The run was a nice one, and I have good images of it. The emotion is so much more though. This was just one image from a very fun day in Champaign full of emotion.

11. Speaking of emotion you can’t get much better than this. Andreona Keys is a player that plays with a lot of emotion. After being fouled and making the basket she let out a battle cry. Luckily for me she did it right in front of my shooting position. This was one of my favorite women’s basketball photos of the year last year.

10. On my birthday I went down to Folk Field to see Purdue take on Cincinnati. It seems like every time that I head to Folk Field I make a good photo of Andrea Petrina. Here she celebrates a goal, and looks for teammates to celebrate with her. Lucky for me that the Purdue soccer banner was right behind her.

9. This year Purdue hosted the Big Ten Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships. It was a fun few days photographing the action, but this photo of the Purdue bench reacting to Marat Amaltdinov winning the Big Ten title was one of my favorites. This is a group that was hungry for a moment, and they reacted great when they received it. This year the women’s Big Ten championships will be held in West Lafayette, and hopefully I can get something like this again.

8. Purdue played like a team on a mission during the Stacey Clark Invitational to win it for her this year. In the process they took down #4 Kansas by flexing their muscles. Here was one of the more emotional moments from that match. This was a fun year to follow the Purdue volleyball team, and this was one of my favorite photos from the season.

7. Back to back volleyball photos tells you that I shot a lot of volleyball this year. This photo was made after all of my photos were sent to Xavier, and I had some downtime. My hobby when I am not being paid to make sports pictures is to make sports pictures so I went down to the court to make some photos of the game going on. I was shooting very tight and trying to pick the best subjects to capture. Here I got lucky, and made one of my favorite celebration shots of the year.

6. Emotion in sports is not always jubilant. Sometimes you need to document the sad times as well. Here on senior day for the Purdue baseball team a bunch of past and present Purdue baseball players came out to show Coach Schreiber just how much they loved him. Doug Schreiber was stepping down after many years at the helm of Purdue baseball, and this was a great moment. It was not a happy moment, but one with a lot of emotion in it.

5. The Purdue football team rallied around each other all season long. Here Boilermaker center Kirk Barron fires up the players prior to a late season game. This team never gave up, and they played hard all season long even with some turmoil in the coaching ranks during the season. This is just another example of that never give up attitude.

4. One of the highlights of the year was covering the MVC baseball tournament in Terre Haute. It was a fun few days of capturing some great baseball. Here Dallas Baptist celebrates a walk off win in extra innings. What makes the win so great is that the team was down big in the ninth before coming back to tie the game. Illinois State then took the lead in extras before the DBU catcher hit his third home run of the game to walk it off. That home run was also his third home run of the season. It was a special moment, and I ran out to capture it.

3. Another special moment in Terre Haute this year was when Indiana State won a first round game of the MVC soccer tournament after penalty kicks. The team rushed the field and mobbed their senior goalkeeper. I love the raw emotion here as the team lived to fight another day. This made the trip to Terre Haute well worth it.

2. This year I shot a large portion of the Colt World Series that is held in Lafayette every year. Teams from all over the world come here to compete for the title. There are photos to be made the entire week, but this one of Mexico clinching the title was one that I really liked. This is a photo that you always want to make as a baseball photographer. I hope to get out to the Colt World Series to watch a lot more of it this season. It will be fun to see who has this moment in 2017.

  1. This is my favorite emotional shot of the year by far. Indiana State pulled off a big upset at home against Butler in early December, and they celebrated with their fans on the court. I made some photos that I liked on the court, and maybe one of them would have made it on this list. One thing that I failed to clear prior to the game was locker room access after the game. As I was walking off of the court I saw my SID walking into the locker room so I called to him. He waved me in, and I made my favorite shot of the year. This is what sports should always be about. The is a group of players enjoying their moment. There is always a bit of luck involved in a good sports shot, and that luck was on my side here. I was able to make a photo that nobody else could, and it was fun seeing it cruise around the web that night. This will be a hard one to top next year.

If you cannot tell I like looking back at the past year or seasons to see how far my photography has grown. This year I took a different approach by spreading the posts out throughout the year a bit. I wanted to not just have the end of the year be reviews even though it ends up feeling that way anyway. I posted my favorite basketball shots in April just after the season ended. I plan on doing the same again this spring as the seasons end.

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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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