Back At The Brawl House

I have been photographing roller derby longer than anything else. It really is the thing that got this whole thing moving much quicker than it would have any other way. Roller derby is one of the sports that is the most fun to cover for me. It is so unlike anything else that I cover. I know I say it a lot on here, but this team really does do it all. From the planning of the game to the training to the actual skating. This is their endeavor. It is pretty cool to be a small part of it even for just a couple of hours every now and then. This is the sixth year that I have been shooting for Lafayette, and the seventh year of shooting roller derby. What a ride that seven years has been. I did not get to have as much fun before the game as I normally do as I was coming from another job, but it was once I got there.

Up Close At The Game

A few times during the course of the night I used my 70-200mm lens to get a little closer to the skaters. I am using a shorter lens here than I have been for outdoor sports, but the access is so much better than I have at those sports during the action. I am able to get right in there to make some solid portraits of the team.

The Week In Photos

Last week was a fun sports week for me. My weekly collection of my favorite photos shows that. You can view my Exposure post with my favorite photos here. This is probably my favorite thing to do every week is to sit down and go through my images fro the week prior. It is a good way to see where you have been while you are planning where you are headed.


Notre Dame and Indiana Face Off At Victory Field

This is the fourth year in a row that I have covered this game, and the third time for Notre Dame. I love the backdrop of Victory Field for a college game. In a couple of weeks I will be back there again as Indiana State takes on Butler inside the confines on Victory Field. Hopefully I will be back inside sooner though as I would love to shoot a couple of the minor league games there this weekend. My schedule is pretty full though so it would take some doing to get there.

A Little History With The Two Schools

I have some history with these two schools. As I said a couple of days ago I was a huge Notre Dame fan growing up. In fact ten years ago I had Notre Dame baseball season tickets. Things have really changed since then, but it is nice to shoot for the school. A much lesser known fact is that I actually went to Indiana for a year. I wanted to be a writer so I planned on going through their journalism program. As you can tell by this blog I was not meant to be a writer so I ended up at Purdue. The rest is history, but for a short time I was a Hoosier. It is always pretty cool to see both of these teams play.

Setting The Scene

Games like this are fun to shoot because the action is nearly secondary. You want to show the setting of the game of a bit. A place like Victory Field allows you to do that very well. I carried more gear than I am used to with that in mind. The field is part of the story on a day like today. Sometimes you need to keep that in mind in this age where everyone wants everything cropped tighter.

The Gear In The Field

For the past couple of games I have just carried my 400mm on a full frame body and my 24-105 on a full frame body. With the venue being part of the show last night I changed things up a little. For most of the game my 400mm lens was attached to my Canon 1DX camera body. Then I had my 70-200mm lens attached to my Canon 7D Mark II body. What that does is effectively give me a lens that is 112mm-320mm. On my third body I had my trusty Canon 24-105mm v2 with my Canon 5D Mark IV. In my pouch on my belt system I had the 11-24mm lens ready to go for most of the game as well. Basically I had from 11-400mm covered, and if I wanted to I could have switched up the 7DII onto the 400mm lens to get something around 640mm. For some action in good light that is an option. If I carried all of this around every day it would probably put me in the hospital with all of the stairs that you do at a stadium like this. For a few games here and there though I like to bring it all out.

A Fun Filled Week

This game was the start of a very packed week for me. Tomorrow night I shoot Indiana State baseball again, but this time in my town. It will be nice to make a short trip over to Alexander Field to cover the Sycamores. From there the rest of the week is already a blur and it hasn’t even started yet. It will all be fun though as I try and fit as much as I can into a few days.

What A Difference A Year Makes

Last year I shot this game as part of a bad deal that I made just to get some money flowing in. This whole photography thing was really on the ropes. It was part of the reason I was coming up with my exit plan. It is hard to believe that I was thinking that a year ago. I love what I do, but nobody was calling for me to do it. Since then things have gone in a vastly different direction. At this time last year I had nothing on the schedule in the fall. This year I am already turning down jobs because I am already booked. That is a good problem to have, and just another reason to keep your head down and to keep going.

Indiana State Softball Plays Two At Purdue

Last night I was able to photograph Indiana State from my own backyard. I love it when a good plan comes together like that. The short commute means a little more time at home while still getting to see the Sycamores in action. On a day that finally felt like spring that was a good thing.

Getting In Tight

For part of the game I focused on getting some tight shots of the athletes. Two games back to back can lead you as a photographer into thinking that you have already made all of the photos. I decided to try and do something a little different with that time. Here I was extremely lucky as a foul ball behind the plate was hit right as I was making the image. The slight look up made this picture for me.

Breaking Out The Canon 7D Mark II

For some reason I like using my 70-200mm lens on my crop frame body for softball. I know that there is a debate about the ‘extra reach’ that you get, but I like that my frame has been cropped with all 20 some megapixels of this camera. It does a fine job with what I need it to do. I really liked using it along with my 400mm on the full frame body. Some of my favorite photos of the day were made with the 7DII including the home run celebration above.

More Multi-Exposures

Last night as things were winding down I was making some slow shutter speed images along with some multi-exposures. I had two cameras so in case something major happened I would be ready, but with my second body I was having some fun. Usually the softball windup does not lend itself to a multi-exposure, but this one seemed to quite well.

An Interesting Situation

I grew up a huge Notre Dame fan. Growing up an Irish Catholic kid about a half an hour from Notre Dame Stadium it just made sense. Even while attending Purdue I would still wear ‘The Shirt’ when Notre Dame came to town. Purdue would get my fandom every football game of the year but one. I still remember the moment when that all changed. I was in Notre Dame Stadium in 2012 rooting on Robert Marve to be the Irish. It felt weird at the time, but it just happened. I had moved away from the area, and I slowly but surely became a Purdue fan. Without a lot of articles and info to read about Notre Dame I started not knowing players. The teams felt foreign. Purdue on the other hand was a team that I knew well. I bring this up because I feel that it is happening again. I have spent so much time with the Indiana State athletics program this year that I really know the players and the teams well. I found myself during the games yesterday looking at Purdue players and not knowing who they were. I will always root for Purdue because that is where I went to school. Yesterday though I was rooting for another team. That is a weird feeling, but I guess that it makes sense. Next week when the baseball teams match up it will be even weirder.

Having Fun With What You Do

Shooting sports is fun. It should always be fun. Compared to what I used to do this is an amazing way to make a living. Moments like this make things even more fun. Part of the joy of covering this team the last couple of weekends is seeing how much fun they have on the field. I sometimes get caught up in what I am doing, but most of the time I have fun as well. If you can’t have fun doing this then something is wrong.

Nevada Storms Back Against Cincinnati To Move On In The NCAA Tournament

Before my game Sunday I went out and made a few photos of the game prior between Nevada and Cincinnati. To be honest I went back to the media room twelve minutes into the game to get my stuff ready and chill out because it wasn’t even a game. Late in the second half though I found myself back out on the court because it was such a good game. At the end Nevada finished off the big comeback to move on in the tournament. It was a heck of a game that I was glad to see in person.

Two Photos Tell A Story

Sports can be amazing, but they can also be cruel. The two photos above of Cincinnati guard Justin Jenifer tell that story. The first was made just before I made my exit in the first half. Cincinnati was rolling, and it didn’t look like Nevada could stop them. Justin was heading to the bench for the media timeout all smiles. He was a fun player to photograph as he always had some jubilation going. That is until the game was over. I made the bottom photo as Justin was walking off of the court after his team lost late in the game. From joy to despair in just an hour.

Wrapping Up The Season

This is likely my last game post of this season. Unless something amazing happens and I end up at the Final Four for either the men or the women I am done for the year. As I have said before this was an amazing season to cover basketball for me. I had a purpose which really did seem to make all of the difference. I am normally very ready to move on from basketball, but this year I was sad that it was over so soon. You can view some of my last basketball photos of the season along with some of my travel photography from last week here on my Exposure page. I am sure once things settle down a bit for me that I will come up with a couple more ‘best of’ posts from this basketball season. Until then though it is time to move on to some baseball.

One Last Basketball Game This Season

With the Xavier loss last night I shot what was probably my last basketball game of the year. For the first time in a long time I am actually sad to see basketball season go. I have said it throughout the year, but I had more fun this year than any year that I can remember. I think the big reason why is because I was busy with work during basketball season. For the past couple of seasons I would shoot some games early for pay, and then spend some time just shooting at the local school for fun. That is fun, but the kick is just not there. When you are not shooting for any particular reason it is hard to justify doing so. I would usually take a long break around winter break just to recharge my batteries. This year though a couple of schools let me help them out, and it made all the difference in the world. Having a couple of schools believe in me gave me a purpose during basketball season. Instead of making photos that nobody would see I was having fun putting stories together. I am actually looking forward to next season now.

The Story Of The Day

Being a travel day I was kicked out of my hotel fairly early in the day. I watched Purdue get their win from the lobby of my hotel, and then made my way over to the stadium. With time on my hands I followed the Xavier managers as they put the locker room together long before the team would arrive. The managers put in a lot of work, and they don’t get the credit that they deserve. A few photos isn’t very much, but it is something I can do to pay them back just a little.

The Emotion Of March

Man shooting basketball in March is fun! The emotion is cranked up to a level not seen during the regular season. I would have liked this journey to keep on going to Los Angeles just to see how much more it went up then. March is a fun time to shoot, but the emotion comes out because of the nature of the month. One bad game or set of plays and your season is over. Living on the edge is fun to shoot, but it can be over at any time.

The Week In Photos

This was another really fun week to shoot. A cool town with a lot to see coupled with two days of great tournament action makes for good photos. Now the switch to baseball is about to happen. You can see my fun week of travel and basketball on my Exposure page here.

Madness Comes To The Music City

Friday night was full of madness. I am talking about the tournament of course and not the hoard of zombie like hoard of intoxicated people leaving Broadway every night. Friday was a fun day full of great games. I left my hotel after watching much of the Purdue game on TV with the thought of shooting some of the 2nd half of the Cincinnati game against Georgia State. I went out for the start of the 2nd half, and stayed for a decent portion of that half. I was only going to shoot a bit of the Nevada and Texas game, but it ended up being so good I stayed for the entire game. That includes the overtime period that you knew would happen. I then shot my game for Xavier, and then went out for a very quick portion of the Missouri and Florida State game. At the end of that day I was actually tired of shooting sports which does not happen very often. Here is a look at some of the fun from the games not including my Xavier game. If you want to read about that game you can click back to yesterday’s post.

Cincinnati vs. Georgia State

For a minute I thought that I might be seeing another epic upset. A #15 over a #2 seed was the highest that had ever been done in the tournament at that time. Of course we all know that fact changed later that night at another site. Cincinnati is from the same town as Xavier, but I don’t think that there is much crossover with the fans. It does make it nice for the Enquirer the local paper as they could send both photographers to the same site to really cover the event. In the end Cincinnati was too much for Georgia State, and moved on.

Nevada vs. Texas

When I went back to the media room at the half of this game I thought that there was no way that Nevada would win this game. They just didn’t look that into it. They of course proved me wrong by winning the game in overtime. It was a great comeback full of the emotion that you would expect during March Madness.

Missouri vs. Florida State

This was a game that I was not too excited to shoot. I knew that it should be a good game, but I was not inspired to shoot it. I shot a little bit during the first half before packing it up and heading back to the hotel. At the end of the day it was not a competitive game anyway so I don’t think that I missed too much.

Seeing Cuonzo Martin Again

Part of the draw of shooting for a while was seeing Cuonzo Martin on the sideline again. He of course was a Boilermaker player and part of Matt Painter’s first coaching staff at Purdue. I have always rooted for him, and I want to see him do well. It is really amazing just what kind of a ride he has been on since leaving Purdue. I hope that he found a place to stay in Missouri.

Another Look At Kendall Stephens

Kendall was always a favorite of mine while at Purdue. He had a smooth style of play that photographed well. It was cool seeing him fill up the nets again. For a while I thought that I might be watching his last game in college, but the comeback made sure that I will see him play again today.

Xavier Advances To Play Florida State On Sunday

Xavier took care of business last night, and beat Texas Southern to advance in the NCAA Tournament. When I booked my hotel for the weekend I did so with the thought that Xavier would win the first game. A number one seed has never lost to a sixteen seed so that was a safe bet. Right? Of course we all now know that it is possible as Virginia became the answer to a future trivia question last night. A win in this tournament is never guaranteed so I will take last night. The game against Florida State on Sunday will not be as easy. It should be a good game though.

Never Take It For Granted

On my way to the stadium it hit me just how lucky that I am. As I was leaving the hotel I ran into a couple that were fans of Texas. They couldn’t believe that someone would pay for photos from the tournament. That really got me thinking about just how far I have come in a short span of time. In 2010 I was sneaking cameras into the tournament to photograph my team. I would get so nervous for Purdue that I would disappear into the camera. It is a weird thing, but making photos calms me down. In 2011 I was allowed to take my camera into the United Center to photograph the Purdue games, but I had to buy a scalped ticket to get into the lower bowl. Now I am being paid to photograph the games from the floor. I am a lucky man. Life is good.

Film For The Win

I have been making my pregame and postgame photos black and white for a while now. Something about the lighting in the rooms makes it almost necessary. This year though I wanted to show the blue off at Indiana State so I started experimenting. Early in the season I came up with a preset for the locker rooms there. I also made a black and white version that I rarely use. I tweaked a fake film preset to get a look that I like. Here it seemed to work perfectly. Maybe I will shoot the entire game in black and white Sunday.

Tournament Emotion

The best part about the tournament is the emotion. I shot parts of all four games yesterday. The emotion was amazing all day long. Even when the Xavier game was out of hand I still managed to find some here. Emotion is what makes this all worthwhile. You can chimp and see a good action shot and get excited. When you do the same and find a sweet emotion shot it really is great. As this tournament goes on the stakes will get higher meaning more emotion to capture.

I Second That

My role here in Nashville is simple. I am the second shooter. My job is to get angles and photos that the University photographer cannot get. Sometimes like in the locker room after the game I found myself heading somewhere and then seeing the other guy headed the same way. When that happens I just find another subject. This is a freeing concept because I don’t have to get all of the action. I am free to take some chances. I could get used to shooting this way.

Obligatory Bill Murray Section

It was fun to hear the buzz about Bill Murray at halftime in the media center. Seasoned pros were just finding out that he was a Xavier fan then. I have watched the sport long enough to know some things. One of them is that this time of year the cameras will find Bill Murray in the stands when they can. Bill was up and active when the game was close, but then with the game in hand he spent some time with his grandkid. As a kid I remember watching the old condensed Saturday Night Live shows. I still sing his words to the Star Wars theme when I hear it. I could name off his great movies, but I don’t have that kind of time. It is fun to get paid to make pictures of him.

Media Day For The NCAA Tournament

Media day is an interesting day. What other time would you be excited to photograph a press conference and a practice? When it is the day before the big dance starts it is something that is fun to photograph. I basically spent most of the time trying to find March Madness signage to put into my pictures. Tight action of the players is nice, but you can get that at any practice. This is the big stage so why not show it off?

Taking It Easy

This was a travel day for me so unlike my first year at the tournament I just shot my team today. Not a whole lot to be gained by shooting more than that. Today I plan on shooting at least parts of four games so why not take it easy on practice day? Sometimes by not focusing on the action so much you can find cool shots like this one above.

It’s All In The Details

In this age of social media I find that little detail shots like the one above can go a long way. They can be used for many different uses in addition to the photo gallery. I spent most of my day trying to find little things like this. Overall I don’t know why, but it seems like this arena was not as photogenic inside as I thought that it would be. They have hidden all of the banners in the ceiling making it kind of plain. I still may play around with some wide arena shots tomorrow. Why not?

My Favorite 18 Indiana State Basketball Photos From the 2017-2018 Season

This was really a tale of two seasons. The first half of the year was an interesting one in which the team really seemed to struggle. At the beginning of 2018 a coaching change was made, and this team really took off. That run at the end of the season was so much fun to cover. This team really started playing well, and that just makes for good photos. Here are my eighteen favorite images from the 2017-2018 season.

18. On senior day all of the seniors started the game. Freja Christensen got the nod on senior day, and seemed to be having some fun out on the floor. Here she dribbles through a screen looking to make a pass. It was fun seeing her get some minutes with her family in the stands.

17. Regan Wentland is a player that you never have to question her effort. She always gives her all, and is going to be a key player returning next season. Here she gets a shot up against Evansville to help give the team their first MVC win of the season.

16. I had to get one photo in here of Ashely O’Neal getting a three up. She was money during the season from behind the arc. When the team needed a big three they could count on Ashley to nail it.

15. This photo of Alexis Delgado was made during the final game that I shot for the team this year at Southern Illinois. It was basically a preview of a matchup that would happen one week later at Hoops In The Heartland. This team really battled back to finish fifth in the conference. From the way that the season started you would never have guess that it could have happened.

14. Ashley O’Neal has the nickname ‘Biggie’. I am sure that it has to do with her size, but you would never guess it to see her on the court. She is fearless in the way that she plays the game. Here the sophomore drives the lane against a much bigger opponent. It seemed like she would need stitches every game after going in the paint, but it never stopped her from doing so. She will be fun to watch grow over the next couple of years.  Continue reading “Top 18 Photos From the 2017-2018 Indiana State Women’s Basketball Season”