The 2018 Indiana State Football Campaign Starts Now

Man it was good to be around football again. Football is so unlike any other sport that I cover in the way that it feels. The pads were on for the first time in 2018 yesterday, and the players were loving it. The temperature felt more like a late fall day, but with all of that equipment on it probably was not too bad for the players. Early on things are just about getting into the flow of practice and the plays again. The real fun begins when they go live with full pads on.

Photographing Practice

I have never been one who is big on photographing a practice. Things are so chaotic that I often cannot predict where I need to be to make the shot. A couple of practices a year though are nice to get some photos that can be used for the entire season for practices. The real fun will start in August a couple of days after my birthday when this team starts hitting against another opponent.

A Busy Day

Yesterday was a fun filled day for me. It started early at football practice on the campus of Rose-Hulman. Then it was off to photograph the Gibson Invitational. Normally photographing an entire track meet solo is enough to get you tired, but as soon as the final  race was ran I threw everything into my car and sped off to track. I made it to the game in the first inning, and covered the rest of that. At the end of the day on the drive home I was pretty tired, but it is all worth it when you look at all of the photos that I was able to make. I also covered three sports that I had not yet covered in 2018. Later tonight I will put out my Exposure page with my favorite photos of the week. You can bet that yesterday factors in pretty heavily into that will all of the weather cancellations earlier in the week.

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My 17 Favorite Stadium Shots of 2017

2017 was a fun year for me traveling around making sports photos in different venues. I travelled to nine states this year to make sports pictures. Many of those trips make their way into this list as they were memorable venues. This list has moments of action in it, but a lot of it represents my first few moments in a new stadium. I like to get there early and then find a way to show the venue that I am shooting in.

17. This year the Purdue softball stadium finally received a name. It was christened Bittinger Stadium. That seemed to coincide with me getting some time to fly my drone around. I went out to the stadium one day to make a photo of the stadium at sunset. I liked how this turned out. I was really looking forward to making many pictures in this stadium this year, but it just didn’t work out that way. Maybe the new year will bring a few more games here.

16. For the second straight year I helped cover the Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships. This time it was the women who made their way to West Lafayette. At the start of a race I had an idea to show off the aquatic center. I used my 8-15mm to get ultra wide to show off quite a bit of the venue.

15. I had a similar thought during the 2017 MVC Track and Field Championships in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Thirteen years prior I saw a spring football game in this venue when I lived in Iowa. It was cool to come back and shoot there for Indiana State. I wanted to show just how cool this building was so I broke out the 8-15mm lens again. It was a long distance race so I had plenty of time to change lenses and find my composition.

14. I like this photo for what it means in many ways. It is a blue hour photo of an Indiana State pitcher throwing to a Purdue batter. The top of the photo is blue and the bottom has the yellowish tint from the lights. I used to shoot for the gold team (Purdue), but now I shoot much more for the blue team (Indiana State). My past and my present all in one very cool looking picture.

13. Speaking of the past Purdue did a fantastic job of celebrating the 50th anniversary of Mackey Arena last year. They took the traditional opening and amped it up quite a bit. When the floor came to life and dropped away I was immediately blown away. Without any knowledge prior to the event I was caught off guard. I raced up to a higher position to make a few photos of the show. This one just at the end of introductions was my favorite. The basketball experience at Purdue has grown by leaps and bounds since I last sat in the stands. It is amazing just how far things have come in such a short time. Mackey will show up again on this countdown. Continue reading “Top 17 Stadium Shots of 2017”

My 17 Favorite Sports Photos of 2017

Today I shoot my first sporting event of 2018. After shooting 106 sporting events last year I have a lot to live up to this year. Last year I shot practices, regular season games, conference championships, NCAA Regional events, and NCAA Championships. It was an amazing year, and I don’t list those things off to brag. I list them off because a part of me still cannot believe that I am doing this for a living. This year I was paid to travel to nine states to make sports photos. Being paid to travel is cool, but when you are being paid to shoot a sporting event somewhere new it is even cooler. I love being on the road with the team. You get to know everyone much better, and you get to meet some great photographers along the way. Over the last two years I have met some great people who have helped me out a lot on these road trips. The is a hard list to put together. As I said before I shot 106 sporting events last year. Even making a top 106 would be tough as there would be multiple photos from one event that I would like. To boil that down to a top 17 is nearly impossible. I tried to go with the 17 moments or places that stuck out to me. I know that I am missing some for sure. The ISU track meet that they won after coach had just passed is one that seems like a glaring omission. Covering the Purdue baseball team on their return to the Big Ten Tournament is another. It is just hard to whittle it all down to seventeen moments. Here is my attempt at my favorite seventeen photos from last season.

17. I can’t think of many ways that a National Anthem shot would make this countdown. I see so many of them in a year that they start to all blend together for me. While photographing the Indiana State women’s basketball team at Illinois I noticed that the light was amazing. I went from the boring anthem shot that I had planned to this shot. It was not only an anthem shot that I liked, but it was one of my favorite sports shots of the year. This will be hard to top this year. I will scour every anthem during the year though to try and do just that.

16. I really did not cover much softball this season. During one game I knew that I was not shooting for anyone and the photos were just for me. It was then that I started playing around a little. I switched my camera to double exposure mode and started playing. Here I made the first exposure of the dark background and the Purdue P. I then would place a Boilermaker in the empty part of the frame. Maya Hughes seemed to know what I was doing and lean into the photo a bit for me here.

15. This year I covered two teams for Purdue that I had not since 2014. The first was Purdue baseball during a home game in April. I had not shot for the Boilers at home for a long time. I was glad that they won that night, and my gallery could include this shot of two of the players celebrating. This was an amazing year for the team as they exceeded expectations and made it to the Big Ten Tournament. Luckily it was close in Bloomington although I would have driven much farther than that to cover it. On these dark, cold winter days you can’t help but wish for a warm night shooting baseball. This season cannot get here fast enough.

14. Another year has gone by as the photographer for the Lafayette Brawlin’ Dolls. This is truly the thing that is the most fun to photograph. I was only able to make three of their four games this year as I had other events get in the way. The players are great to me, and you can’t beat the photos. Here two former teammates hug during warmups while skating around the track. What other sport can you make this shot in? Continue reading “Top 17 Sports Photographs of 2017”

My 17 Favorite Images From the 2017 Purdue Football Season

Today Purdue is going to do something that not many gave them a chance to do when the season started. They are going to play in their bowl game at the home of the San Francisco 49ers. I will even admit that after the last few years I have been conditioned to fear the worst when the season started. I was just hoping to see progress and a fun team to watch. From the get go at Lucas Oil Stadium this team showed that it would be an exciting team, and that they have a bright future ahead. This year more than ever I felt distanced from the team. I was out of town many times when they were playing. That doesn’t mean that I still don’t enjoy photographing a game in Ross Ade Stadium. I remember one game day waking up to the sound of a train in Virginia. My first thought was that it was game day. Next year hopefully the schedule works out so that I can photograph the Boilers a few more times. Before I can do that here are my seventeen favorite photos from this season.

17. Back during the spring game you knew that the season would rest on these two arms. You didn’t know who the starter would be, but you knew it would be a good player. Back during that spring game you just hoped to see some signs that things could turn around. It is really hard to come away with anything though as the games are usually very vanilla and against players everyone knows so well by that point. I like to look at those photos now though through the filter of knowing how the season played out. It is fun to see the people that stepped up to make the season the success that it was.

16. I have shot the run out of the team many ways in the past. So have many other photographers. I think that it is hard to shoot from a new angle anymore. Here I played around with using my wide angle to make the smoke look cool, and I kind of like how it turned out. In the process of using the wide angle though I saw great potential if only I had used a telephoto lens. I have one more thing to try next season.

15. DJ. Knox is fun to photograph. When he was just coming in to the program I had a lot of fun photographing him during the media day. He was cutting everyone up and making my job easy. Here he flexes during warm ups before the IU game. This was just a fleeting moment, but for some reason I was there to capture it.

14. Richard Worship will make a couple more appearances on this countdown. Here he makes his first as he scores in Lucas Oil Stadium to start the season. I love the expression and the gestures all around here. Shooting that game in Lucas Oil was great fun.  Continue reading “Top 17 Photos of the 2017 Purdue Football Season”

The Bucket Returns Home To Purdue

Yesterday was the most excited that I have been for a Purdue home game for a long time. In fact I turned down a paying job to shoot this game for free. Not the best idea in my situation, but I wanted to shoot the game. Saturdays are best spent at Ross Ade Stadium. Earlier this season I woke up in a hotel on the road and heard a train go by. Of course it was not the Boilermaker Special, but that is what I associate with gameday. I thought that it was pretty funny, but that is what it is. It was cool to be part of a big gameday on campus again. Of course winning makes it even better. Beating Indiana makes it much better. Being around the jubilant players hoisting the bucket makes it amazing, and seeing the signs about a return to a bowl makes for a great day on campus. It is really amazing just how far this team has come in a short time. They have exceeded even my optimistic expectations. I have seen people commenting on how the fans should not have rushed the field. I disagree. Purdue football needs a little fun around it. Right now it is fun. Why not celebrate with the fans. The players deserved that moment, and it was great that they got it.

Feeling Strong During Warmups

I talk about it too much here, but I love to shoot warm ups. It gives me a chance to get the juices flowing. For this game I hung out around the running backs for a while. As the drills were coming to a close DJ Knox flexed his muscles. I already had a good feeling about the game, but that was the moment when I realized that this crew would not be denied.

A Great Move

Purdue started the game with the ball and was forced to punt. I moved to a spot in the middle of the field next to the goal posts to make some defensive pictures since they would be so close to me. Purdue immediately picked the ball off. When they did I made a quick move to the edge of the field. Purdue scored right in front of me, and I was able to make the above photo of the celebration with my new 24-105mm lens. I love this photo, and I was glad that I made the right decision. It does not always work out so when it does it makes that much better.

Have A Day Markell!

Markell Jones is a great running back. We saw that last year. Yesterday he grinned out 217 yards on a day when he was needed. I realized that I really did not have a stellar photo of him yet in the 4th quarter so I moved over to the sideline with the hope that he would run right at me. After a couple of runs away from me Markell came right at me. I was able to make a photo that I liked.

It’s A Bird…It’s A Plane!

As the second quarter was winding down it looked like Purdue might attempt a Hail Mary pass. I ran to the side of the field to make that picture. Of course Purdue ran the ball, and DJ Knox had a lot of open ground in front of him. The non shooters on the side of the field like to lean out so I did not see him right away. When I did though I saw a defender coming up to tackle him. I did not expect DJ to try and go over him, but he did. I was a little close to the play, but I was able to get him at the apex of his jump.

The Joy Of Victory

I love these types of photos. I probably missed my chance at a good bucket shot by making this picture, but I am glad that I made it. It is one of those things that just happens, and you are thrilled when it does in front of you. This is a senior enjoying the moment as the fans rushed the field to celebrate with him.

More Photos From the Game

That was a fun game to photograph! You can view my full gallery of images from the game here on my website. I have already put out my top photos from the Indiana State football season, but I will gladly hold off on my Purdue post. Thanks to the win yesterday I have a little hope that my football season is not over. I don’t know how I will get in to shoot the game, but I will try and find a way.

My 17 Favorite Photos From the Indiana State Football 2017 Season

This was a fun year with the Indiana State football squad. It was the beginning of the Curt Mallory era, and with a coaching change always comes a renewed enthusiasm across the board. Early on in the season I knew that I would be traveling with the team on a few trips. I was really looking forward to the Tennessee trip. I had booked that one for over a year so it was really something that I was looking forward to. The season did not turn out like anyone thought that it would. With that said it still was a fun one to cover. This was a great group of young men that really were great to me. I am already looking forward to the 2018 season. Here are my favorite photos from the last year.

17. I thought that I would start off with a photo from warm ups. I am a huge proponent of shooting warm ups. You can get warmed up along with the players. You can make great photos of players who do not currently see time on the field as well. I love these up close shots that you really can’t get during the game.

16. This season started for me technically in the spring. I went out to the first practice of the Coach Mallory era. There were some cool moments that day, but I have always wanted to photograph the players tackling the donut. When I played I was the tackling dummy. I was glad to see players like me replaced with something else.

15. Here is a photo that I never thought that I would make. It is the kick holder and the tight end celebrating their touchdown connection. Late in the game at Liberty Jeremy Patterson took the snap in the field goal formation and rolled out to his right. He found Jacquet McClendon in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. It was a moment that I was not expecting, but I had my grab camera ready to capture this moment between the two after the play.

14. On senior day I wanted a good photo of Katrell Moss at his linebacker position. I love the eye black and the intense look that he gets on his face. Here with Western Illinois backed up against their own goal line I was able to get right in there.

13. One player that has been fun to cover these last few years is Lemonte Booker. It was a photo of Lemonte that was my first football photo in the local newspaper. I have made some interesting photos of him over the years. This is one of my favorites from this year. He really would do whatever it took to get yards for his team, and that translates into great photos.

12. I really loved the idea of the all white uniforms against the orange background at Tennessee. Here after a big fumble recovery the defense celebrates. This defense gave me some great photos this year as they were a very expressive group.

11. Here is another photo to illustrate my point. Against Illinois State Norvell McGlaun celebrates a big play for the defense. Norvell was a player that always gave me some great emotion. When I photographed his family on senior day I saw where that emotion came from. He is another player that I will miss photographing.  Continue reading “Top 17 Indiana State Football Photos Of 2017”

Indiana State Closes Their 2017 Home Season

It really does not seem like that long ago that I was in Memorial Stadium as fall camp opened. The enthusiasm was fresh, and the season seemed like a long time away. Saturday I shot my final game of the year for the Sycamores showing just how fast football season can fly by. This season was one that I have been hoping for over the last few years in one way. It was fun being in with the team and getting some access as they progressed through the season. This was not the results we were hoping for, but seeing these players up close helped me gain some great perspective on what they go through.

The Glue That Holds It All Together

One thing that I noticed early on was just how much the players lean on Whitney their equipment manager. I started the season showing Whitney applying helmet decals on gameday. I thought that we might as well end the season with a photo of her as well. The team has so many people behind the scenes that you can’t name them all. It was fun being behind the scenes a bit though to see the impact that they all had.

The Fun Of Senior Day

Senior day is a double edged sword. On one hand you have all of the smiles and emotion of senior day. Photos like the one above are great fun to make. On the other hand you are saying goodbye to some great student athletes. Some of them are tied to personal success that I have had. As I was making the senior day photos I had the thought that I hope that all of these young men find something that they love to do after this. Football is a fun sport to be a part of. That is what makes it so hard to walk away from. That will happen for most of these young men after they play at Northern Iowa on Saturday.

Photographing Warm Ups

I have had a couple of people this week asking me why I shoot warm ups. Do I get paid more to do it? Why do I do it if I don’t get paid to do it? I look at it as a great way to warm up myself. If you put yourself in some impossible positions during warm ups and start to succeed then I feel that I am ready for the game. Warm up are a great way to get some shots of people that do not make it into the game. I never post them as game photos, but they are a great way to get shots of most of the players for the post game gallery.

The Week In Photos

Last week was one that was a lot of fun for me. Great games and familiar locations will do that. I remember thinking on Wednesday night that I already had a good collection of photos, and the best was yet to come. The weekend did not disappoint. Take a look at my favorite images from last week here.

Pregame Fun

After I shot the basketball game Saturday afternoon I really didn’t have anywhere to go in between the games so I just walked over the football field to make some photos. At the time just a few Boilers were on the field, and after a while only Nebraska players were there. I saw a Cornhusker player blowing bubbles so of course I concentrated on him. I always wonder what a player thinks as I focus on him or her for a while while I wait for the moment. I am sure it is not comfortable to them. Then again they might not even know that I am doing it.

Feeling Like An Outsider

This has been a crazy year in a way for me. I had shot eight games in seven different stadiums before I finally made it to Ross Ade Stadium. That is far too long, but that is the way that it has worked out this year. Very quickly I realized that everything had changed during warm ups. My normal spot to start was in the middle of the Nebraska warm ups. The field was flipped, and like a newbie I was standing on the wrong end. It was then that I realized that in a way I was. Once the game started though it was back to normal as that never really changes.

For Joe

This was my first Purdue game since the passing of Coach Joe Tiller. Joe is the reason that I am the Purdue fan that I am today. His teams were so much fun to watch that I really became a Purdue fan as a student. It was bittersweet to see the tribute on the Purdue helmet alongside the tribute for Bob DeMoss. A great addition to the new south end zone project would be the Joe Tiller statue.

Racing Legends

It was really fun to finally see the Purdue legends race in between the first and second quarter. This was my first chance to photograph Leroy Keyes, Bob Griese, Drew Bree’s, and Rod Woodson battling it out. This is a fairly simple concept, but one that adds to the fan experience. This is one of those little things that added all together have really changed the Purdue gameday. The university has really stepped it up the last few years. I can’t wait for the future.

Worship The Man

Richie Worship had a heck of a game Saturday night. He is a beast that is not easy to take down. A lot of my favorite pictures from the game had Worship in them. He is fun to photograph, and over the last couple of years has given me some great moments to photograph. He ended up getting away from the defenders in the photo above to gain a few more yards.  Continue reading “Purdue Football Takes On Nebraska”

Indiana State Takes On Southern Illinois On Homecoming

It is hart to believe how fast time flies. It seems like just yesterday I was standing in Memorial Stadium thinking about how it would be late October until I was back there. That was in August. Here I was on the Sycamore turf once again. This was going to be a fun game I could tell as I drove up to the stadium. It was well over two hours before the game, and the lots were full of fans. Homecoming has a way of giving you the full stands that you want. In the first half it was a tremendously fun game to photograph as well.

Warming Up With the Team

After not having shot a lot of football lately I spent some extra time warming up with the team. Warming up gives me a chance to be ready when the game starts. It is something that I don’t have to do, but it serves two purposes. The first is that I can get some shots of players in action that don’t normally play. They deserve some credit and photos as well. The second is what I have preached for a while that it gives me a chance to be ready when the clock starts. That came in handy on Saturday.

Big Play Bob Pugh

Bob Pugh has changed how I cover Indiana State football. Spending time with the team in spring ball and then in fall camp I could see the tendency to run and throw the short pass. I spent the early part of the season slightly behind the offense to capture all of this. Then Bob Pugh started busting out the big play. After getting as burned as the defensive back twice as Liberty I started shooting from a position that would still allow me to capture the runs and short passes, but also get that deep ball. On the first drive of the game I was even with Bob as he hauled in the long bomb from Isaac Harker to give the Sycamores the 7-0 lead.

Check That Leg

One of the highlights of the day was the 90 yard punt by Sycamore punter Thomas Bouldin. I posted the photo above because it is probably the last time that the ball will ever be used after the beating that it took. The punt was a school and conference record as you would expect it to be. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. I am glad that I was able to make a few photos of the record setting punt.

Celebrate the Good Times

Part of the fun of covering Indiana State this year are all of the great moments that I have been able to capture. This one is one of those moments after a big recovery after a fumbled punt. I love capturing emotion, and this team plays with a lot of it. The wins have not come yet, but with the current coaches in place I am sure that they will.

The Week In Photos

As I have said all week last week was a fun week to put together my weekly collection of favorite photos. A lot of work went into making the photos during the week, but the results are always worth it. You can check out my weekly Exposure page here.

4 Games, 3 Days, 2 States, 1 Photographer

This game was the final game of a busy three day stretch for me. I am not complaining. Far from it. I love being busy as I think that I make better photos when that is the case. By Saturday I kept thinking how lucky I was getting, but at some point I had my camera in the right place at the right time a lot. The photo above was the first ever interception for Sycamore corner back Anthony Tucker. I was on him pre snap, but read his eyes to know that I should stay on him as well. Back when I played sports I always felt that I played better when I was ‘lathered up.’ Having the juices flowing a few days in a row helps me I think. Part of the reason I have been a little unhappy this fall was that I have not been as busy as I would have liked to have been. Weekends like this really help recharge the batteries.