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”

Advertisements

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 Favorite 17 Soccer Photos From the 2017 Season

This was a crazy year as far as soccer goes for me. I really did not photograph a lot of soccer even though teams around me were having good seasons. I have photographed the Purdue alumni game with my niece playing for the last several years, but another job got in the way this year so I didn’t even photograph that. It seems like this soccer post is spent each year saying that I need to photograph more of it. It is a sport that I really enjoy photographing, but the demand just isn’t there. Next year I need to make sure the demand is there. Here are my favorite 17 images from this past soccer season.

17. This season started off on a high note as Purdue went up to Notre Dame and beat them in a friendly. After the game was over two of the freshman had a great moment that I was lucky to be near. You don’t expect that kind of emotion after an exhibition game, but I was happy to photograph it. These two would help Purdue have the best season since I have been around, and this was just the beginning of that.

16. The first men’s game that I covered this year was the Xavier exhibition game at Indiana. Sometimes you capture a moment that has nothing to do with your team. This one was a moment that could have been a Xavier moment, but quickly went the way of IU. It was a header shot that I liked so it made the countdown.

15. This year I only covered a couple of Indiana State soccer games. The lone game at Indiana State was the home opener against UIC. This was one moment from that game that I liked. I like that it is not the normal soccer photo. The gesture is a little different which always seems to catch my eye.

14. One thing that is fun is to make photos that look like they are from another sport. Here the ISU player looks like they are sliding into a base. It is great form, and caught my eye right away.

13. This is a photo with a lot going on in it. You have the Xavier player trying to kick the ball over the goalie who has fallen over his own player. You are left to wonder if the player scored or not.  Continue reading “Top 17 Soccer Photos Of The 2017 Season”

Xavier Wins The Best Soccer Match I Have Ever Seen

Wednesday night I was supposed to be in Champaign, Illinois watching the Foo Fighters. The tickets were bought and plans were made. Then Xavier called and asked if I wanted to photograph their Big East Tournament match in Indy. I love photographing any sort of tournament action. The emotion is amped up which makes for great photos. I thought that my soccer season was over, but I had one more chance to photograph is this year. This game did not disappoint. After a scoreless first half both teams scored two goals each in a short span that was amazing to watch. After neither could score in either overtime it went to penalty kicks. Xavier won there and set off a great celebration. Being out there photographing that action was better than any concert I could attend.

The Sellick Bowl

I have seen the Sellick Bowl many times while visiting Hinkle Fieldhouse. It is hard not to. This was my first time photographing an event there though. This is part of the unique campus where as you go down the hill you find more and more fields. My first ever paid photography gig was for Purdue baseball at the bottom of that hill. As I pulled up to the stadium the light was just right so I made a photo of the sign out front to get started.

Don’t Despair and Stay In The Game

This was a tight game that looked like the first goal would win it. When Xavier scored that goal I was screened so I had no shot at it. Then the celebration which was amazing went on the other side of the goal from me in a spot that I couldn’t photograph. If that was the goal that sent Xavier to the finals I had completely missed it. I used to get really upset about these things. I would dwell on the moment instead of staying in the game. Shortly after that Xavier scored again, and I got the complete celebration. Sports are messy to photograph. You can’t always capture everything. You still want to try, but when you miss something you have to stay in the game. Here I was rewarded for doing so.

My Last Soccer Match Of The Year?

Honestly I already thought my soccer season was over before this match. I really wanted to photograph the Purdue soccer match in Evanston in the Big Ten Tournament, but that was not meant to be. That is a very cool stadium that I have wanted to photograph in for quite some time. When Purdue lost there I thought my season was over. It was a short one for me as I was not able to photograph a lot of soccer this year. This was a great opportunity that if it was the last one was a memorable one.

Purdue Beats Maryland 2-0 To Clinch A Berth In The Big Ten Tournament

Wednesday night the Purdue soccer team did something that they have not yet done at Folk Field. They clinched a berth in the Big Ten soccer tournament. I went to the game with the thought of capturing the sunset. I did not take my big lens because there was already a photographer there, and I didn’t want to be tempted to just shoot a game for no real reason. With just some wide angles and a  slow 100-400mm I had a pretty easy time photographing. Just wait until something comes close to me in the good light. That is a fun little outing even if the temperatures were a little cold. After the game was over I spent a little time watching the Nebraska game against Minnesota. If Minnesota won then Purdue would play at Northwestern, and I have always wanted to shoot there. I love the complex on Lake Michigan. We will see if that is a possibility.

Build A New Trophy Case Maddy Williams

Before the game senior Maddy Williams was given three balls commemorating three career records set during the last away stretch. It was a cool moment that in one photo could show you just how much she has accomplished. Of course during the game Maddy scored the only two goals of the game. The first of those set a new Purdue single season goal record. More hardware to come for Maddy.

Extra Special Light

In the hour or so leading up to the game there was some amazing clouds in the sky. I thought that they could produce a great sunset so I made my way out to Folk Field. As I was driving there those clouds moved out quickly leaving a pretty blank sky. That is usually not good for sunset photography. I decided that since I was there I would wait for the sun to go down and then reassess my situation. There still was some nice light in the sky so I made a few photos. The new Purdue Extra Special made for a good foreground element here. Folk Field seems to always have the best sunsets on campus. This one was extra special.

Walking Over to the Xavier Soccer Complex

Thursday night after swimming was over I walked over to the Xavier Soccer Complex to catch the end of that game. It was not a long walk, but rather a short stroll across the parking lot. Originally this was supposed to be a longer shoot, but with swimming moved back an hour I was only able to catch the end of the game. It was an exciting finish though as Xavier clinched their first ever Big East tournament berth with the win. It was well worth the short walk to the game

Catching a Break

Walking into a game late you always wonder if you will miss anything trying to get into position. As I was walking down the sidelines I saw a position with a couple of huge Xavier banners in the background. After watching the video of the first goal during a break in the swim meet I saw that the team celebrates running away from their bench. I made a choice to stay in my position to put those backgrounds in any potential celebration shots. I would probably not get the shot of the goal, but this was my choice. As luck would have it the goal was scored, and they ran right in front of one of the backgrounds during their celebration. Sometimes a little gamble can pay off.

Indiana State Finally Comes To Me

So far this fall it really has been the fall for travel. It seems like every gig is two hours away. Terre Haute, Bloomington, South Bend, and LaPorte are all about the same distance. It was nice when one of my teams finally came to where I live. A quick commute down the road was all that it took to cover the game.

Changing Up The Plan

I usually have a small game plan when photographing a game. Early on you could see that Purdue was controlling the ball. I quickly moved towards midfield to get a little closer to the action. I rarely shoot from that position, but it let me get the shots that I needed. It actually worked out very well for me as I was able to get some good shots of the defenders and the goalie this way.

Photographing Purdue By Reflex

The weird thing about the day was not photographing Purdue. There were a couple of moments though when I reflexively pointed my camera at the Boilermakers. When I am at Folk Field I photograph Purdue. It was a little weird walking the other way to start the game. One thing that I have learned over the last couple of years though is that once the whistle blows you rarely think about what team you are photographing. Except for a couple of slip ups my camera was trained on ISU the entire game.

The Week In Photos

This game pretty much ended a fun week of making photos. It started off with the eclipse, and it ended with a weekend which saw me shoot four Indiana State games in three days. You can see some of my favorite photos from the week here.

Indiana State Opens Up Their Season With A Win

Last night Indiana State soccer kicked off the 2017-2018 sports season for the Sycamores with a big win. It was a great atmosphere for the first sporting event of the season for Indiana State. The football team showed up, and was a large vocal presence during the game. Reilly Teal scored two goals, and lifted her team to the win. When I arrived at the stadium I was thinking about the only other Sycamore soccer game that I have shot in the past. Indiana State took the win in a great shootout. I wondered how this game could top that one if it even could. The great atmosphere was one way that it really did. It was a fun game to shoot, and I am excited to photograph the team again.

A Lucky Break

Sometimes you catch a break that makes you look really good. Last night was one of those times. I was making some images of the stadium lights and the sunset on the end opposite where Indiana State was shooting. The sunset started to fizzle, and I knew I could get something from the other end so I moved back to the position that I normally would be. I had a thought of taking the drone up in the field next to the stadium. That was all erased as Reilly Teal scored her second goal of the night. As I came around the Indiana State bench the play started to unfold in front of me. My monopod hit the ground and I started shooting. I made the images of the goal and the celebration, and it was all due to a lot of luck that I decided to move when I did.

The First Game Under the New Lights at Memorial Stadium

The game also marked the first game under the new stadium lights at Memorial Stadium. Having a good set of lights there opens up new opportunities for the Sycamores to play more night games. Opening up under the lights last night is a good example. In less than two weeks the football team will open up under the lights as well. Things are changing at ISU, and it is fun to see in person. Continue reading “Indiana State Soccer Opens Up Their Season With a 2-0 Win”

Xavier Soccer Takes On IU at Bill Armstrong Stadium

How about that post title? I stayed up all night thinking of that one. When I post a nice landscape or other scene I usually try and come up with a witty title. Of course when it comes to sports the titles just seem a little boring. Maybe I can work on that tomorrow. For now I will talk about having a fun night photographing the Xavier men’s soccer team at Indiana. This year seems to be the year of soccer for me. The way things work out I usually can only photograph one or the other as they are almost always played at the same time. From what I have seen in bookings so far this year it looks like it is going to be a soccer year. It is a fun sport to photograph though as you really never know when that exciting moment is going to materialize.

Photographing at Bill Armstrong Stadium

This is my second time photographing at Bill Armstrong Stadium. The first was a great match a couple of years ago when the Purdue women’s team came in and reclaimed the Golden Boot. Last night  the game did not have quite the kick as a Purdue vs. IU rivalry. It was an exhibition match that was just to get prepared for the coming season. As the second half was starting though one thing that was serious was the sky. I basically sat ready with my 11-24mm lens for any action to come near me. Of course it never does when you want it to. With the lens at 11mm the action has to get pretty close to me to make an impact in the photo. This was as close as it got, but you can still see some of the great light that I had to work with. It was an amazing sunset, and I hope that I get many more of these this season.

Just Drive Two Hours and Stop

Lately it seems like all of my sports work is about two hours away. So far this fall season my work has been in South Bend, Terre Haute, and Bloomington. With the exception of one soccer game here in town that still seems to be the case for much of the year. Longer road trips to Knoxville and Lynchburg seem to be the exception. I would kind of like the exception to be in my town instead of many more miles away. I love photographing sports though, and two hours is not too far to travel to do so. On Friday night I have another two hour drive ahead of me to photograph the Indiana State soccer team as they open their season up at home under the lights. This year I already have a couple of more trips to Bloomington planned. I will photograph the Indiana State volleyball team in a tournament there at the end of the month, and in November I will finally get back to Assembly Hall to photograph the season opener as the Sycamores take on the Hoosiers. Hopefully somewhere in between I will get the chance to photograph something in my hometown. Although looking at the schedule through September I am only shooting an event at home one weekend in that time. That is a Purdue football game which is just for fun so that could even change. Speaking of that I had better start packing my bags.