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”

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Lafayette Roller Derby Skates To A Win

Saturday night I was back shooting roller derby. I was never planning on shooting this game as I had been booked on another gig out of state. When that fell through I was able to get out and shoot some derby. The Lafayette team has been good to me over the years, and it is fun to get back out there and see some familiar faces. It is even more fun when they are winning. They were winning for the entire bout Saturday night, and they were playing a team that they liked so the moments were great from the get go.

Why I Love Photographing Roller Derby

The photo above is one of the reason why I love photographing roller derby. The skaters really do love each other. This was a photo from before the game with two skaters on two separate teams warming up and hugging. This is what makes roller derby so much fun as the emotion always seems to be there.

A Familiar Face

The last time I had made roller derby photos I was saying goodbye to a LRD favorite. The good news in that situation was that she would be back for the next match as she was skating for South Shore. While I will admit that it was weird to see Roller Vortex in something other than LBD black and pink it was still great to see her interacting with her old teammates again. One of these days I need to make it up to the Hammond Civic Center to photograph the South Shore team as that looks like a cool venue.

Traveling Light

Normally I try all kinds of things during a roller derby game. This week I decided to just keep it simple. I took my 70-200mm and my 24-70mm to the bout to just focus on the action and not what lens to put on the camera at what time. I really have become used to using my 24-105mm everywhere, but I wanted the extra stop of light that the 24-70 would give me. I think this year I will be using that much more. It still is a great lens after all of these years.

The Week In Photos

This past week was an interesting one. It started off with me using the mirrorless and ended with me lugging the big stuff around again. Using a mirrorless camera for a while really can get you thinking. I put together some of my favorite photos from the week here on my Exposure page. Take a look.

More Photos From the Game

You can find my complete gallery from the game here. Sometimes I feel that I overshoot derby, but I want to try and get a few of each skater. When they are constantly in the middle of a pack you tend to burn through some frames.

Vote For My Photo In The MiLBY’s!

Once again a photo of mine is up for the photo of the year in the MiLBY’s. Looking through the photos this year it is just cool to be mentioned with some of these photographers. Two years ago thanks to all of you I was able to win. You can vote here this year for my photo of Yoan Moncada signing for the fans in Indy. Yoan was the #1 prospect in baseball at the time, and was on his way from the Charlotte Knights up to the Chicago White Sox. It is cool to be honored, but even cooler to have a photo of someone on your favorite team get honored.

Making Headshots With Lafayette Roller Derby

The name has changed, but the fun still remains. For most of the last few years I have had some fun making portraits of the local roller derby club. The team has now now changed their name to Lafayette Roller Derby, but they are the same great team. These shoots certainly do not make me rich, but they are very fun to do. I spend as much time laughing as I do making images. They are a fun bunch to be around, and the personalities are fun to photograph. This year was no exception.

A Studio Thanks To A Friend

I don’t make headshots very often. With that in mind it does not make much sense for me to have studio space. In a situation like this one the studio is a nice thing to have. Thanks to my friend John Underwood I was able to use his space to make the photos. He has a great loft that has a nice studio in it. It is a great space that I have always been envious of. When the team saw the beautiful brick wall on the side of his loft my worry about what backdrop to use was over.

Come Check Out Live Roller Derby

The Lafayette Roller Derby team will be back on the track on October 14th. If you have not seen roller derby yet then I suggest you come out and give it a try. It really is fun to watch. If you have been to a game they you know how much fun it is, and you need to come back out. These women really do everything from fund raising,  to the event planning, and even the skating. They spend quite a bit of their free time to make sure that you have some great weekend entertainment.

The Second Home Game For Lafayette Roller Derby

Saturday night I was back at the Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds to photograph some roller derby. In 2012 when I met my wife she told me that her sister was in roller derby. I was very interested in it from the get go. I had no idea what it was, but it sounded cool as can be. That year I made my photos from the stands as the Dolls played in the old venue. A lot of the current team it seems like were rookies then. The next year the team moved to the current venue at the fairgrounds, and I took on a bigger role with the team. Make no mistake about it this is a labor of love. I don’t get paid for what I do, but it is one of the most fun shoots I have each year. The emotion and fun are in abundance, and that is what I love to capture. The next game is in October, and that seems like a long time to wait to see the Dolls in action again.

Keeping It Simple

This was one of the easiest nights of derby that I have photographed. I brought two cameras and two lenses to the venue to use. I had my 70-200mm lens on my Canon 1DX, and my 17-40mm lens on my Canon 5D Mark IV. I wanted to have some fun with the images rather than worrying about what to have on my camera at what time. After a couple of weekends lugging around my 400mm all day it was nice to be much more mobile. That came in handy a couple of times as I made it to center track to capture a moment.

The Final Game For Roller Vortex

One thing that has happened over the years is that I have seen many skaters come and go. I started photographing the Brawlin’ Dolls in 2012, and more officially the following year. In that time I have seen many skaters come and go. When a veteran leaves though it is a big deal. I have photographed them for a few years, and you get to know them a bit. The good news in the case of Roller Vortex is that she is not going far. She will be skating for the South Shore Roller Girls, and will be back in town for the next game with them. One of the great roller derby moments I have been a part of so far was watching Vortex become lead jammer in her final jam with the Dolls. She made an apex jump, and the sheer joy in the arena was amazing. One of my photos is above, and will be a favorite derby photo for a while I would guess.

The Week In Photos

This past week was one filled with a lot to do, but not much of it stuff that I normally put out there for public consumption. I shot a lot, but mostly of my family. With summer break here that starts to become the norm unless I am on the road. It did manage to get out to photograph a few other sights and sounds during the week. My Exposure page with my favorite images can be found here. It is mostly shots from derby Saturday night, but why not check those out?

Finally Back to Shooting Roller Derby

This has been a weird year for me. I have not shot an ounce of derby yet this year until Saturday night. By that point of the year I would have at least shots headshots and a scrimmage or two. Roller derby has taught me so much about photography, and is also responsible for a lot of what I do. I still remember that long bus ride to southern Illinois when one of the skaters was asking if I liked photographing baseball. She explained that her boyfriend at the time was an SID for a baseball team. That chance conversation led to all of the great things that happened after it. I owe a lot to roller derby. The experience has helped me get ready for so much more. Unfortunately a lot of what has come my way gets in the way at times of shooting roller derby.

The Moments Between the Moments

I know I talk about this a lot, but I love to capture the little things that may go unnoticed. I don’t know what was being said here, but it was a cool moment from warm ups that became one of my favorite photos from the game. I love to get to events early to shoot warm ups. It is a great way to get some good photos in and get the confidence up before the game starts.

The Moments in Roller Derby

Roller derby can be hard to cover. You are in a dark gym shooting wide open most times trying to track a person through a pack. Sometimes you get a shot like the one above though when something kind of neat is happening. Both skates off of the ground and with her back to the direction she is supposed to be skating in. I even love the fans on the right in this photo. These are the little things that might not be my best work, but they are a unique moment in the game. Continue reading “The Lafayette Brawlin’ Dolls Open Their Home Season Against the Lansing Mitten Mavens”

My Favorite Sixteen Photos From 2016

Each year I get another year older, but I get to add a photo to my year end countdowns. It is hard enough to cut photos down to sixteen for my break out categories. To get a list of the sixteen photos that I like the most from 2016 overall is nearly impossible. I decided to go with the photos that I remembered the most, and had a special meaning for me. You can view more of my favorites from the year by clicking here to see my Exposure page. Below are sixteen photos that I believe tell a story about what a fun year this past year was.

16. The countdown starts with a photo before the LaPorte Slicers took on Michigan City for the Duneland Athletic Conference title. Many years ago I played for the Slicers, and it was fun to get back and photograph one of their games. It was even more fun to see them win the conference up close and personal.

Fireworks over Lafayette

15. This year on the Fourth of July I tried to get as high as I could over Lafayette to shoot the fireworks over the city. I set up my camera and listened to some good music as I waited for the fireworks to start. One thing that I like about this photo is the large amount of fireworks from other towns and people in the background. Next year I would like to take my drone up to see what I can do on the 4th.

14. One city that I have seen many pictures of is Austin, Texas. This year I was able to visit the city, but I spent most of my time at the Austin City Limits Music Festival. I did not have time to do the normal sightseeing. One photo that I was able to make that I think sums up the city right now is the one above. The city is growing rapidly. There are new buildings going up everywhere. Here was a view from the building I was staying in downtown.

13. Our trip to Boston this fall was one that let me cross a couple of items off of my long standing travel list. I have been wanting to visit the John F. Kennedy Presidential Museum for quite some time. I know that by reading this blog you know that I am obsessed with sports and photography. I also love learning about the Presidents of the United States. They all have a unique story, and they all end up holding the highest office in the land. Kennedy was one President that I heard a lot about growing up, and it was great to get to visit his library.

12. Speaking of crossing some items off of the bucket list this was a great moment for me. After photographing my first NASCAR race at the track where I watched my first race I was getting in position to photograph victory lane. I looked up and saw my two favorite drivers running side by side coming right at me. Both racers were competing in their last race at the Brickyard, and I was very lucky to get a chance to see them race. It is not the most technically brilliant photo that I made last year, but it was one of those moments that you are thankful for.

11. Each year I make portraits of the Lafayette Brawlin’ Dolls for their program. My job is very simple that day. I point the camera at them, and let their personalities come out. It is a highlight of the year for me as I can make some great photos. This was one of those moments that you would consider an outtake, but it becomes one of my favorites.  Continue reading “My 16 Top Photos of 2016”

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. Continue reading “Top 16 Sports Photos of 2016”

The Joy of Photographing Roller Derby

Last night I was back at the Brawl House to photograph the Lafayette Brawlin’ Dolls at home one last time this season. On the same day I most likely photographed my last roller derby bout and football game. We are hitting that time of year when the sports seasons are changing as well. I really enjoy photographing both sports, and I don’t get enough opportunities to photograph them in my opinion. It is moments like the one above that make photographing the sport so much fun.

The Joys of High ISO

Roller derby is played in venues with notorious bad light. I usually do not strobe derby as I feel it boxes me in as far as where I can shoot from. I like to be able to move around if I feel that I need to. The good news is that I have equipment that allows me to shoot at a high enough ISO to be able to make the pictures that I need. In reality the new LED lights at the Brawl House make it much easier to photograph there. Being able to move around allows me to capture moments like the one above without having to worry about changing my settings on the way over to it. I can just focus on finding the moments which is what is important. Continue reading “The Lafayette Brawlin’ Dolls vs. The Kokomo City of Fists”

Back at the Brawl House to Photograph the Lafayette Brawlin’ Dolls

Last Saturday I was back at the Brawl House to see the Lafayette Brawlin’ Dolls as they continue their 2016 season. As it seems is the norm lately I had a scheduling conflict that could possibly make me miss the bout. A three set sweep allowed me to finish a little early and head over to the Brawl House to see the second half of their bout. That was good news as I don’t get to photograph enough roller derby. It is a sport that many around here turn their noses up at, but the photos seem to make themselves. The subjects are great, and the sport is fun. When the second half ended I had a feeling that I should be shooting more. That did not happen though. I will have to wait until next time I guess.

More Photos From the Brawlin’ Dolls Bout

Here you can find some more photos from the bout. The photos are there to download for free for non-commercial purposes. My only request is that you credit back to me if you use them on social media. The best part about roller derby is that everything seems to photograph well. Even the award ceremonies can be fun to photograph. This post comes about a week after the bout. It is not because I don’t like roller derby, but more because of timing. During a volleyball tournament I find myself with some downtime to deal with. I have found that writing my posts for the next week is a good way to use that time. Except for one day this blog was scheduled out through today with posts. That makes it easy on me, but makes some of the items appear a little old.