A Journalistic Approach to Sports Photography

Coach Stacy Perryman’s chair before the game night in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Coach Stacy Perryman’s chair before the game night in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Sports photography is all about capturing the action. Fast shutter speeds, wide open lenses, and lickety split frames per second rule the day. My routine to get ready for a game is pretty routine and often the same. Tonight, however, my routine was anything but same old.

Stroudsburg vs. Pocono Mountain West in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Stroudsburg and Pocono Mountain West captains and coaches before Tip-Off in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Coach Stacy Perryman died of breast cancer this past Monday at the young age of 45. She has been the coach at Pocono Mountain West for 17 years! The team was allowed to grieve for the loss of their coach and the previous two games were postponed for this reason. Tonight they would take their place back on the court with heavy hearts.

Stroudsburg vs. Pocono Mountain West in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

The Pocono Mountain West players and Interim Head Coach share a moment just before the Star Spangled Banner in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Interim Head Coach, Chrissy Campos, is Coach Perryman’s sister and has been her assistant coach. She did an incredible job tonight getting the girls ready to play a competitive game against a very good Stroudsburg team. They put their emotions in check for 32 minutes and played their hearts out.

Interim Head Coach Chrissy Campos accepts a memorial gift in honor of her sister, Coach Stacy Perryman in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Interim Head Coach Chrissy Campos accepts a memorial gift in honor of her sister, Coach Stacy Perryman in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Before Tip-Off, Coach Campos was presented with a memorial gift in memory of her sister and the girls’ coach. The few moments at mid-court were somber and respectful. Then everyone was invited to pause for a moment of silence as we remembered Coach Perryman.

Stroudsburg vs. Pocono Mountain West in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Coach Campos receives a special gift in memory of her sister, Coach Perryman, at midcourt in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Sometimes I am asked to photograph Senior Day or a presentation of a student-athlete during halftime, but usually my job is simply to capture the game with my camera. I really enjoy this simple, straightforward task. One of my interests is setting up remote cameras, which I mentioned in my previous blog post last week. Tonight was different–totally different. How does one capture the heavy emotions and sadness in a tactful yet unintrusive way?

Interim Head Coach Chrissy Campos coaches the Panthers during the game in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Interim Head Coach Chrissy Campos coaches the Panthers during the game in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

As I began shooting the pre-game and then the game, my mind went back to my journalism training I received from Temple University many years ago. My professors were clear about the important job we had to do and getting into the right frame of mind to do it. Our job is to report the news, or in my case, report and re-tell the basketball game in its entirety with my camera.

Interim Coach Chrissy Campos greets Caroline Weirich during a timeout in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Interim Coach Chrissy Campos greets Caroline Weirich during a timeout in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

My mind also was swept up into what in the world these girls must have been thinking in their minds. How could they lace up their sneakers, take the home court, and play a basketball game with so much running through their minds but they really focus in sports like basketball or golf and as practice is important, using equipment as a home golf simulator could be really helpful to practice at home.

Samantha Columna is defended by Caroline Wierich in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Samantha Columna is defended by Caroline Wierich in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

They played in memory of Coach Perryman. Each moment was filled with effort and grit as they displayed all their coach had taught them over the years. It was incredible to watch and photograph. The heavy hearts did not bog them down on the court and they put up an awesome game!

Stroudsburg vs. Pocono Mountain West in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

A referee officiating at the Stroudsburg vs. Pocono Mountain West game, holds the ball during a timeout in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

The journalistic approach I am referring to here is trying to capture the story of the night, not just with the action on the court during the game, but specifically in the tiny moments that capture the whole essence of the night. In other words, trying to paint the picture of the wealth of emotions circling the gymnasium. Pink was the color of the night and that seemed a good place to start.

Stroudsburg vs. Pocono Mountain West in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Stroudsburg vs. Pocono Mountain West in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Some things happen during a timeout or during a break in the action. Sports photographers learn not to put the camera down too quickly after a shot or play but to follow the action and try to capture the emotion and celebrations. This was all in my mind tonight, too.

Stroudsburg vs. Pocono Mountain West in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Stroudsburg vs. Pocono Mountain West in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Try as they may, the game did not end the way Pocono Mountain West had hoped. They fought hard and kept things close even producing a nice run at the end of the game. Victory was not theirs tonight as they lost 50-40.

Stroudsburg vs. Pocono Mountain West in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Pocono Mountain West’s Interim Head Coach, Stacy Campos, looks downcourt during the game in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Cancer is an opponent that seems to win way too often, leaving its opponents to lick their wounds or say goodbye to their loved ones. It is not fair. It is not fair for a young, gifted, and inspirational coach to die at the age of 45 leaving behind a team she loved and who loved her. It is not fair for a sister and assistant coach to be thrown into a coaching position rift with heartfelt emotions swirling around like a tornado. It is not fair for a community to lose someone so incredibly giving and to be left with nothing but memories.

Pink shoes worn by a Panther player during a foul shot in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Pink shoes worn by a Panther player during a foul shot in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Every game has winners and losers. Cancer does, too. Some battle courageously and live to see a long life to come. Others battle courageously and find their lives cut way too short. Winners and losers. Basketball teams experience this as well. Two teams can practice just as hard and dedicate a great portion of their lives to the game but one ends up winning it all while the other team is left hanging their heads wondering what happened. Tonight, however, at this game, I do not believe there were really any losers. Every player and coach was a winner in a bigger sense of the game and in life. It was an emotional game and I was fortunate to be there with my camera. This is my journalistic approach to one emotional and incredible game.

 

 

Remote Cameras for Sports Photography – Thanks to the Summit Sports Photography Workshop

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When I attended the Summit Sports Photography Workshop in 2016, Mark Terrill taught us how to set up and use remote cameras. I was intrigued by this because I could see a variety of placements for remote cameras in my sports photography at the university where I shoot. When I returned home from the workshop I ordered the necessary equipment: PocketWizards, extra cameras, magic arms, cables, and rechargeable batteries. It took some time to acquire the equipment but once I did, I set out to put my learning into practice.

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My first attempt was at the university soccer game on a beautiful fall evening. The game went into sudden death and with my newly added remote camera I captured this photo of our goalie getting pumped up before the next overtime kick. I learned a lot in that first attempt at setting up remote cameras. For one, I learned that the cheaper PocketWizards were not working adequately for me so I returned them and purchased the MultiMax II version, which have worked incredibly and reliably well for me.

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Some sports lend themselves well to remote cameras; others not so much. My favorite sport for remote cameras is basketball and my favorite location for a remote camera is on the basket stanchion. The setup is fairly easy but, as I was taught, I always use cables to backup the remote setup. This way, if anything fails, the camera setup will not fall onto the court. This is critical and should never be forgotten or avoided to save time.

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Another thing I learned is the importance of focusing properly. I use manual focus and pre-adjust the proper focus when I am setting up the remote camera. I typically focus on the basket net or just beyond it to get the players’ faces in proper focus. I also use a slightly closed aperture to increase the depth of field. I am finding that f/4.5 – f/5.6 works pretty well for me. It is a balancing act because we need light to be able to stop the action with a faster shutter speed.

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I also set the camera mode to manual so I can adjust the right aperture and shutter speed to get a proper exposure. I am enjoying the challenge of setting up remote cameras and they provide some unique angles that I cannot get any other way. Remote cameras are another tool in the sports photographer’s arsenal and I am so glad I learned to incorporate them into my sports photography. I am grateful for all that the Summit Sports Photography Workshop taught me and for Mark Terrill who took the time to teach us about remote cameras. Thank you!!!

Wildlife Portfolio Updated

I just updated my wildlife portfolio. While I am very involved in sports photography, wildlife photography is another photographic passion of mine. There is no place like the mountains and whenever I can get there I enjoy photographing the wildlife. You can see my complete updated wildlife portfolio here.

Here are some examples:

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How to Capture Action in Sports

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Preparation, concentration, persistence, and a little luck are all that are required to capture the exciting action at a sporting event. This fall is turning out to be a great season for me behind the camera. Here is what I do to consistently capture the action.

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First, I get in the right mindset. Athletes and coaches prepare for a game and we photographers should, too. Preparation of the mind for me begins well before the game. I get my software, Photo Mechanic, ready by filling in the metadata ahead of time and preloading the rosters. Then, I listen to a pump up playlist on my drive to the game. I try to get there early so I am not rushed and have time to take some test shots, check the lighting, and get myself ready by putting on my kneepads and shoulder harness, which can hold two or three cameras.

Thomas Jack Stephens fights for yardage against the Cardinals in Swiftwater on Friday, September 27, 2019.

Second, I try to avoid distractions both during my preparation and especially during the game. Too many photographers talk to colleagues, watch the action like a fan, and just plain get lazy too much of the time during a game. I look like a loner on the sidelines because I am avoiding distractions. Concentration on each and every play is required.

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Third, I aim and try really hard to be in the right place at all times. Sometimes, if say a football game is back-and-forth with turnovers, this might require me to run to the opposite end of the field multiple times in a short stretch of time. Some of the cheerleaders think I look like Forest Gump running repeatedly past them! We absolutely must be in the right place on every play or else we run the risk of missing the action. I do not get this right on every play, but I do get it right on most plays. I am worn out after a game both mentally and physically because I aim to be at the right place at the right time. This takes a lot of effort and plain old hard work.

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Lastly, a little luck never hurts. I always enjoy editing photos after a game because once in a while I am surprised by a capture I made with a little luck. Preparation, careful planning, and concentration help luck happen more consistently and predictably. I am proud of my results most times because I am finding that I can consistently capture the action at each game. I believe my job is to capture the action and tell the story of the game with my camera, show the effort and emotion of the athletes, and bring the game to the fans in a unique and captivating way. It is working for me and it can work for you, too!

Dimitri Rojas is tripped up by Christian Sapp in Stroudsburg on Friday, September 13, 2019.

Dimitri Rojas is tripped up by Christian Sapp in Stroudsburg on Friday, September 13, 2019.

Cavaliers Battle Konkrete Kids

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East Stroudsburg South hosted Northampton in an important matchup on Friday night.

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The Cavaliers received the opening kickoff and manufactured a successful drive to score the first points of the game on their first possession.

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Ryan Clark crossed the goal line to put the Cavaliers on top.

in East Stroudsburg on Friday, September 28, 2018.

The extra point was good!

in East Stroudsburg on Friday, September 28, 2018.

The Kronkrete Kids responded with a touchdown of their own.

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Penalties mounted up against the Cavaliers and proved to be costly at times.

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The second half was more the same after the first half was only a seven point difference.

in East Stroudsburg on Friday, September 28, 2018.

Northampton was up 14-7 at halftime and came out strong in the second half.

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Ryan Clark had a big night as he gained yard after yard, sometimes at will.

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The battle was close with an outcome of 21-14. It was a great match. Let me know your thoughts on these images at https://foodlets.com if you have any feedback.

Bloomsburg Fair 2018

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Lydia and I attended the Bloomsburg Fair today and had a wonderful time! Here are some things we did at the Fair today:

  • ate a delicious breakfast
  • road the cable car
  • went up in a helicopter ride
  • ate supper
  • had a yummy chocolate peanut butter milkshake
  • saw Darci Lynne who won America’s Got Talent in 2017

Here are some photos of our delightful day to whet your appetite. If you haven’t been there, you owe it to yourself to go! Thank you, Lydia, for sharing such a great day with me at the Fair!

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ESU Football vs. Lock Haven

Devante Robinson catches a pass early in the first quarter against Lock Haven University on Saturday,

ESU went on the attack early on their first two drives and went ahead 14-0 to get the game started!

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Lock Haven responded and scored a touchdown of their own to keep the game close.

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The ESU defense had to make some plays late in the first half.

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Penalties on both sides became part of the game story as well.

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Both teams’ offensive squad was impressive and made some big plays.

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Rushing yards piled up one after the other.

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Jack Cirillo came into the game in the fourth quarter and put a series together to score a touchdown pass.

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ESU fell just a little short, losing the game 41-44.

 

 

 

ESU Soccer vs. Holy Family

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ESU Men’s Soccer faced Holy Family University Thursday night at 7pm under the lights.

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The Warriors attacked early in the first half.

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And kept the pressure on the Tigers.

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The Tigers battled back after the initial wave.

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But the Warriors struck first with a goal by Jordan Ellison (#19) midway through the first half.

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Holy Family tied the game with a goal of their own to even the match.

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The second half was more of the same with each team working for control.

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ESU scored a second goal to go ahead.

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They also had several near misses as they kept attacking the net.

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But they kept the opponent’s ball out the net and won by a score of 2-1.