My 14 Favorite Sports Photos of 2014

Last year was the year that I really took my sports photography work to another level. In 2013 I saw unprecedented access, and photos. In 2014 I built on that to try and get even closer to the action. My photos were not the shots where I was just happy to be there. I was trying to tell a story, or get close enough so that you could see what was happening. I thought that this would be the hardest category to narrow down to 14, but in the end it was not that hard. I knew the photos that I wanted to show here. Once again this might not be my most technically brilliant photos, but they were the photos that I liked the best. As we approach the new year I really don’t know where the sports side of my photography is going to go next year. Only time will tell with that. I expect that the list will look much different next year though.

14. The first photo on the countdown was a very early photo in the year for me. I shot a swim meet at Purdue in early January, and as the second shooter I could take a few risks at times. I knew that we had this event covered so I slowed my shutter down to add some motion to the photo. I really liked the effect. I made a folder to place the photos that I would consider for this countdown in, and this was the first photo of the year that I put in that folder.

Taken at the Gibson roller rink during the LBD @ Cornfed bout 2/16/14

13. This photo was made during my first roller derby game of the season. I only was able to shoot in the middle during the bout for a short time because we were the away team, and the team that the Brawlin’ Dolls were playing was not friendly to the opposing photographer. In the short time that I was in the middle I was able to make this photo which I liked immediately. I made some photos that I really like from the event that have appeared already on this blog during the best of countdown.

Brandon Jones and Mason Mitchell make contact in turn four on the last lap of the Herr's Chase the Taste 200 at Winchester Speedway. Jones would take the victory.

12. This year once again I shot the summer ARCA race at Winchester Speedway. I made this photo as the two leaders of the race were coming through turn four. The #98 car that is sideways is Mason Mitchell who would go on to win the 2014 ARCA title. He was moved out of the way in the turn by Brandon Jones who would go on to win the race.

11. This year we went back to the Supercross race at Lucas Oil Stadium. During the practice I had some fun with some really slow exposures. You do not get a lot of winners this way. The bikes are moving in two different directions which makes panning very hard. It was a fun challenge that helped me pass the time though, and I made this photo of Ryan Villopoto who would win the race and the championship.

10. Apparently 2014 was the year of the selfie for me. I made the first photo during an early swim meet at Purdue. After it was all over the girls posed for a photo. I had deja vu after Wisconsin won the Big Ten Soccer Tournament as the team did the exact same thing. I thought that both photos taken months apart should be on the countdown.

9. I made this photo just before shooting my first NCAA Tournament game. I was a little nervous shooting a big event like this, but when I saw the photo in my viewfinder I settled down a bit. I love these huddle photos, and this one told a story as well.

8. Senior day is a day full of emotion. I helped John Underwood the Purdue photographer cover the Purdue softball senior day last year. After a very formal group photo the underclassmen had a surprise for the seniors. The silly putty started flying, and I happened to be in a good spot. This was a fun moment that I was happy to be a part of.

7. On the first day of the Big Ten Track and Field Championships I battled a steady, cold rain. I had my shots during the last event under some terrible lighting, but I wanted something a little more. I slowed my shutter down a bit to get the rain a little more elongated. With a little time on my side I made this photo of Purdue star Matt McClintock running through the rain. I was ready to get out of the cold, and into some dry clothes, but I had a few more photos to make. This was one of my favorites of the three days that I shot. Continue reading “Top 14 Sport Photos of 2014”

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My Favorite 14 Photos of People From 2014

The year is not quite over yet, but this is my way of recapping the year for myself while also letting the site go on autopilot for the last few days of the year. This year I was lucky enough to be around some very interesting people that allowed me to capture a moment. Some of the moments are happy while some are sad. I really like to capture a moment in time, and for these I think that I did that. Most of the time my photography is done with a long lens from a distance away. It is the moments up close though that I really love.

14. This photo should have been much higher, but it was not that great of a picture. I wish that I would have just brought a light to use on Joel during his Q&A session. It seemed as if he was standing in the darkest part of the room. Joel Sartore is one of the photographers that I really look up to. It was a pleasure meeting him, and it was one of the highlights of my year. I would list all of the ways that you can see Joel’s work, but the picture does a good job of that.

13. This past year I had the pleasure of working with longtime Purdue photographer John Underwood. He is a photographer with a lot of knowledge from his many years in the field. We went to the old Purdue power plant to document the final look of the building. Of course John being the portrait photographer that he is had to make a portrait before he left. I decided to document the moment on my own.

12. During the early roller derby bouts I would walk around before the bout started to make some photos of the fans, and the volunteers. I had my speed light on a TTL cable in my left hand, and the camera in my right. I would hold the speed light out as far as I could to get the light as far off of the camera as I could. I liked many of the photos, but this was one of my favorites just because of the layers.

11. This past fall I helped out at Purdue Football’s media day. Most of my work involved wrangling players for their group shots, but I was able to break away at the end to make a few portraits. I took my camera in case I could shoot, but I had no lights so I had to just go with what I had. I liked this photo of Purdue senior Sean Robinson. The former quarterback had completely changed his body for his role as a linebacker. This was one of my favorite shots from that day. Continue reading “Top 14 People Photos of 2014”

My Ten Favorite Roller Derby Photos of 2014

This last year it seems as if I have not shot as much roller derby as I usually do. Maybe it was the way that the season was split up that made me feel as if I was not around it as much as usual. This year I was not asked to do the portraits of the team so I don’t have those to post here. This will basically be the action that I captured during the limited bouts that I attended. Roller derby is a great sport that is very fun to photograph. As it grows in popularity across the country the action just keeps getting better and better. Here are ten images that I liked from this past year.

10. During one of the first bouts of the season I was playing around with my settings to try and combat the lights overhead. At one point I found a sweet spot where I could make the photos look how I want them to without adding any light to the Brawl House. Next year though I think that I will pick half of the track and just light it.

9. Part of the roller derby lifestyle is made up of doing things for your community. This past winter with the temperature well below freezing the team did just that. They participated in the Polar Plunge. Many members jumped into freezing cold water so that others could benefit. While this is not the typical derby photo, it still is important.

8. This past summer the team had a scrimmage in downtown Lafayette to bring awareness to the sport. It was kind of nice to photograph the team with the city behind them. I think that this could be something that could be a neat side project when the weather warms up. 

7. It seems like I am taking this type of photo too often. A member of the team leaves town, and has to quit the derby team. The last bout is always an emotional one that makes for great pictures, but also makes for a smaller team. New faces come in to take their place, but the group that I started photographing is dwindling. 

6. One thing that I tried this season was going in to the center of the track. It is a viewpoint that the fans do not have, and when it works it can be pretty cool. It is also very crowded in there so sometimes it does not work as well. Here was one time where it really worked for me. 

5. This season I seemed to like black and white for more of my images than ever before. I think that I view the sport as one that just looks better in black and white. It gives it a bit of a gritty edge that I really like. This was one that I think worked really well in black and white. 

4. Sometimes to combat the low light in the venue I will use second curtain synch to freeze the action at the end of my capture. It gives the photos a unique look that I like. The trick is to not use it too much. This was my favorite of the second curtain synch shots from the season.

3. During the same bout as the above photo I made this one of a lone skater near the line. I knew what I wanted to do with it right away. At this point of the bout it was just a matter of finishing the time on the clock as the score was out of hand so I started having some fun with my images. I was also shooting for fun as the Brawlin’ Dolls were the second bout of a doubleheader that night. Sometimes freedom can be fun.

Taken at the Gibson roller rink during the LBD @ Cornfed bout 2/16/142. This was my favorite action shot of the season. I was in the middle of the track at the first bout of the season which was an away bout. I did not stay in the center long, but I was able to make a few frames in there. One of my speed lights was in the shot when I made this, but I think that it just adds to the photo. 

Taken at the Gibson roller rink during the LBD @ Cornfed bout 2/16/141. This photo was made after the first bout was over. I had made too many images, but when I saw the room where the team was cooling down I knew that I had to make more. When Mad Eye was checking her phone after the bout the light from the screen just lit up her face. It provided all of the light that I needed to make a cool image. This is the type of behind the scenes image that I love to make. Right now roller derby is the place where I can make this type of image.

Photo of the Day

Yesterday was a very fun day making many pictures of the Lafayette Brawlin’ Dolls first bout of the season. It was also their first bout after being certified by the WFTDA. My day started with breakfast with the team in Lafayette, and ended as the team left the skating rink. As I said before I took many pictures on the day, but this one was my last. In fact my camera was packed up for what I thought was the night. I was going to leave it in my truck with all of my other gear, but I decided to take it back inside. I am glad that I did. I saw this picture from across the room. Of course as a fleeting moment goes it was gone before I could get over there. Thankfully though I was able to re-create what made me get my camera out for one last photo. I loved the way that this room looked in this roller rink built in the 1940’s. When I saw that the skater’s cell phone would provide the light for a portrait I knew that I had something here. This has nothing to do with the bout, but it is a quick portrait that I love.

Documenting the Bout

I have been slowly adding to my page for this bout on the Exposure.so website. You can find it here. There is something about the way that the site lets you tell a story in a way that Facebook or even this blog does not. I could set something up like that on here, but I like the way that it has its own address. I may do something similar for the first home bout of the season for the Brawlin’ Dolls. They do so much outside of the bout that I would be starting next weekend for a bout that will be the second weekend of March. I think that could be interesting.