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.

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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”

Back At Bittinger Stadium

This spring I don’t think that I shot as much softball as I should have so it was nice to get a chance to photograph a little more before the calendar year moves on. Last night the Boilermakers played a doubleheader against Lakeland College. As nice as it was to shoot softball again it was especially nice to shoot for Purdue. They have a great stable of photographers so any time that I see my name along side of those guys is great.

Some Beautiful Light

For most of the first game I worked with the light. I knew that during the second game I would lose it so I pretty much stayed on the first base side of the field to have the light on my side. During the second game I moved around a bit change things up as the light had pretty much left the infield at that point. It was while out behind the centerfield wall that I noticed the sun nearly setting over the right fielders shoulder. I have a precarious perch to get over the centerfield wall, and I used it to make the photo above. The sun coming straight into my lens gave the photo a unique look. The white balance here is at daylight, but it looks so different. All I really did in post was to add some blacks to the photo to make it pop a little more. This is one of my favorite photos this year just because it is so different. It appears to have a filter on it, but it does not.

Bringing Out A New Lens

I usually don’t use my Canon 100-400mm lens for softball. At the last second I decided to take it to get in a little closer to the action. On my Canon 7D Mark II it is kind of like shooting with a 640mm lens. That allowed me to shoot across the diamond a couple of times to really get in there and see what was going on. The photo above is one of my favorites on the night, and would not have been possible without some long glass. I do like the bokeh that my 400mm f/2.8 gives me though so I don’t know how many more times I will try this. When the light is good though it is a great option to lighten my load and make me a bit more mobile.

Running And Gunning

This weekend will be a whirlwind. The two games last night were fun to shoot, but with an early call this morning I had to really hustle to get everything uploaded and backed up before going to bed. I never want to lose anything so that is a vital part of my gameplay. Today I have swimming and then football at Illinois State to cover. These kind of days are very tiring, but they are also great fun. Hopefully when my week in photos is uploaded Sunday I will have some great images to show you. I feel like I started off pretty good already this weekend with the softball games.

My Favorite 17 Softball Photos of 2017

Over the last few years I have really come to love photographing softball. The sport is fast, and it keeps you on your toes. There are obvious similarities to baseball which I love to photograph, but it really is much different to photograph. I always say that I need to get out and photograph the sport more, but that doesn’t always happen for me. I always come away with photos I really like from softball games.

17. The countdown starts off with a moment. That is why I do this. After a tough week for the Indiana State softball team they needed to have a fun game. A late game comeback against a very good Northern Iowa team was just that. Early in the comeback I loved this great moment after a run was scored. I love the look here as it really shows just how much fun sports can be.

16. I love hanging out on the field prior to the game. You can get little moments that you don’t have access to get during the game. Here the Purdue softball team is very loose just before a game early in the season. I love the way that the team plays loose. You can see some of that here. It is just a moment that I was happy to capture.

15. As I said in the opening there are ways that softball varies from baseball as far as photography goes. One way is that the behind the batter angle does not always work with every pitcher. Some motions though works very well. Here is one of those times. I love putting elements both in front and behind the pitcher out of focus.

14. This photo is here for a couple of reasons. It is not the best, most technically sound photo that I made all year. It was one with the interim Indiana State coach in it though. She did not like a call on the field, and was letting the umpire know about it. Her senior shortstop walking away covering her face as she laughed is what made the photo. Shortly after this photo was made the rains came and the game was called. The team was around me as I was sending the photos out, and they loved this one. That interaction seared the photo into my mind, and is the reason it is on the countdown.

13. With senior day rained out Indiana State did something very cool. They moved the senior ceremony indoors so that the seniors could get a proper send off. This year was a tough one for the team, and the staff did not want the seniors to get short changed. They were able to have the full senior day experience as the skies continued to pour down rain outside. The emotion was still there as you can see above. I say it a lot, but this is why I do this. To be able to capture these moments forever is an amazing thing.¬† Continue reading “Top 17 Softball Photos of 2017”

Purdue Softball Wins a Big Game on Senior Day

This year has gone by quickly, and it is hard to believe that Purdue softball is already done with their home schedule. The team went out on a high note though by sweeping Nebraska and heading into the Big Ten Tournament with a little momentum on their side. Right now this team seems to have it figured out. They are playing good softball right now and I will be watching them play in Ann Arbor from afar.

The Last College Softball Game of the Year?

The college softball season goes by so fast up north. It seems like the team was just coming home, and now the home season is over. Between Indiana State and Purdue this year I was able to photograph a decent amount of softball, but it never is quite enough. The season comes and goes so quickly that I always feel like I want to cover more.

Shooting the Other Team

On Sunday I pretty much covered the little bit of the game like I was covering Purdue. It is a habit that is hard to break. On Monday though I realized that I am there for fun so why not shoot things that look intestine to me. I wasn’t getting paid so why not have some fun? In that light the red jerseys of Nebraska looked great. I tried to shoot them a few ways, but backlit seemed to work the best. Shooting for the other team at times also gets me out of the way of the photographer being paid to shoot Purdue that day.¬† Continue reading “Purdue Softball Sweeps Nebraska on Senior Day”

Purdue Surges Ahead of Nebraska in the 6th Inning For the Big Ten Win

Yesterday was a beautiful day for some hardball. I went out to the athletic complex to watch the Purdue baseball and softball teams play. I will talk a little about the Purdue baseball game in another post, but I want to focus on the Purdue softball game here. I arrived late in the game, but I was amazed by the crowd. Later on I saw that it was a stadium record crowd. I can believe it. The stands were packed, and they were treated to a show. Purdue used three runs in the sixth inning to take the victory and head into senior day with a little momentum.

A Chamber of Commerce Day at Bittinger Stadium

Yesterday was just an absolutely beautiful day for baseball and softball. Not only did I get to photograph some great games I also was able to work on my tan. You can’t ask for much better weather to play in. Today looks to be more of the same so I look forward to shooting the game. The sun being out allows you to see the dust flying around the field. It makes it much easier to tell the story of the game because it gives your photos some motion.

When Worlds Collide

Softball is a game where things happen fast. I think that is why I love shooting it so much is that it is not easy to get peak action in the field. When you do it is very rewarding. The play above may not have been the peak of the action, but it was an interesting moment just after it. A looping liner just out of the infield comes down quickly. Two Boilers racing for the ball collide just after one of them caught the ball. Everyone was okay after the play, and it provided a photo a little different than the rest. Continue reading “Purdue Softball Scores Late to Beat Nebraska”

Flying my DJI Phantom 4 Pro Over Sports Venues

Part of the fun of having a drone is seeing things from a  different vantage point. I have photographed most of the stadiums that appear here many times over the years. Having a new way to see them is always welcome. I started trying to find ways to show the stadiums from the skies. In this post I will show a few straight down looks at some stadiums and sports venues that I see often.

It’s All In The Details

One thing that I have tended towards is finding the details of the stadium from above. I think the best example is above from the Indiana State track and field complex. I love the way that the track looks from above. The overall shot is nice and will appear below. I wanted to see some of the details of the stadium though so I came down a bit to highlight them. As this project moves on I hope that I will have some other shots like this to show you.




Continue reading “Stadiums From Above”

Purdue Softball Battles Wisconsin

Yesterday I was back out at Bittinger Stadium to photograph the Purdue Softball team. I was supposed to head over the softball complex after the drone championships yesterday, but rain Friday night pushed everything back. It was a beautiful day for softball though so why not have a game? Wisconsin took the game 3-1, but Purdue had them squirming in both the 6th and the 7th innings. Softball and baseball are both games of inches. A drive off the bat of Lexi Huffman in the sixth with the bases juiced landed just foul. Had it been fair my gallery would have been much different. That is just how it is sometimes though. This is a fun team to watch win or lose.

The Moments Between the Moments

Most of my favorite photos from the game come between the moments of action. It is impossible to get them all, but I try and get a few of them. Here was a fleeting moment when Stephanie Ramsey was letting her teammate know that she was warmed up prior to an inning. The smile and the thumbs up say it all. This is a game after all so why not have a little fun.

Easter Sunday is a Great Day For the Family at the Ballpark

Walking into the game yesterday I noticed a couple of pairs of bunny ears walking around the stadium. I knew that it would be a good photo op for Easter Sunday, but they just needed to be in the right place. Sitting right behind the plate is about as good as you can get. As I saw the scene I knew that done right it would be the cover of my Exposure page for the day. Continue reading “Purdue Softball Takes on Wisconsin on Easter Sunday”