Anatomy of a Triple




James Shank, a high school sophomore, hit a bomb into right-center field today at the Navy Baseball Showcase Camp. He was facing an extremely good pitcher, who is showing excellent promise himself. This pitcher is a freshman at West Virginia University now and is hoping to transfer to Navy. From the looks of it, he will be a very nice addition to the team here. James worked a 2-2 count and got a fastball. He ripped it in the gap and the ball bounced to the fence. He easily rounded the bases with a standup triple.

I thought it would be fun to show the photos from his hit today and break it down so you can see the anatomy of a triple. The hardest part is hitting the baseball, of course, especially against a quality pitcher. The matchup between a pitcher and the hitter is always fun to watch. It’s a cat and mouse game. The pitcher trying to paint the corners of the plate and get ahead in the count; the hitter trying to work the count in his favor and earn a hitter’s pitch. 2-2 is about the same as 0-0, or is it? At the beginning of the at-bat, both the pitcher and hitter are even. They both have room to make a mistake and still live in this matchup. When the count goes to 2–2 the next pitch could be the end of the line for the hitter. Yes, they call this an even count, indicating neither the pitcher or the hitter has the edge, but it seems to me that the pressure is more solidly on the hitter because the next pitch could have him walking back to the bench. All the while, the hitter is working the count and trying to figure out what the pitcher might be throwing. Stay back, look for the fastball, and react to the curve. When the pitcher has a sidearm delivery, it ups the ante even more! Release point is different in this scenario and the hitter has to adjust. 2 balls, 2 strikes. What will the pitcher throw next? It’s a fastball and it’s a triple! The hitter was 1 for 2, batting .500 for the day, and the pitcher strikes out the next batter faced.

These photos do not show all the drama of a triple, but they do show some of the energy and excitement of a player hitting the ball and rounding the bases, who then cruises into third and shakes the hand of the third-base coach.

And that’s the anatomy of a triple.

Capturing the Fight

Capturing a classic battle like this with a camera often is frustrating to me. I never seem to be at the right place at the right time. Or the light is fading too quickly, or the fog is too thick for a good photograph. These fight scenes seem to be elusive to me, which can be very frustrating at times.

This photo captures some of the energy in this fight. It all started, as usual, with much posturing from each bull. This is typical and I could just tell that these two bulls were going to go at it. Then, in an instant, they ran toward each other and crashed their antlers together with an ear-piercing jolt! This is what the fall elk rut is all about!

I like the way these two bulls are working hard to dominate the other. I also really like the dirt flying in the air, both between their antlers and behind the right bull’s hind feet. This helps to portray the massive power and energy present in a real honest-to-goodness fight between two mature bulls. Many elk viewers think they are witnessing a fight when in reality they are simply witnessing what is called sparring, which is much tamer and mild compared to a full-blown fight. A lot of us think these fights last longer than they actually do, too. I went back and looked at the metadata from my photographs to determine the starting and ending time of this fight. It only lasted 2 minutes and 20 seconds. This might not seem long to us, but I’m guessing it seems like an eternity for these two bulls!

The one problem with photographing this bull-fight was that we were losing light in a hurry. I had to bump up the ISO to 800 on my D300. I am finding that I do get some decent photographs with this setting and the noise is at a reasonable level, which is good. Then use the noise reduction feature in Lightroom to clean it up. The newer cameras and software have come a long way in recent years in dealing with noise. I found out this week that I can get usable photographs even at an ISO setting of 1600.

This was the only real fight I witnessed this and it was a powerful one. I hope my photographs do a reasonably decent job of portraying the fierce energy present in these fights between two bulls. It sure is something to see!







I heard some photographers talking about and raving over 500px.

This unique website is incredible! Many people post tons of photographs on websites, Flickr, SmugMug, etc. The result is much like the overload we all experience with the internet. Posting so many photos is much better than hiding them away in an old shoebox and it is great for those wanting to have photos of an event or game. The problem is so many photos are posted that we do not see the best of the best. I do this myself. After a baseball or football game, I eagerly post many photographs of that event. I know players like to see themselves in action, so I try to post as many photos as possible attempting to include as many players and as much action as possible. Obviously not all of these photos are top grade. I do try to highlight my favorite shot of the month on my Perfect Game Photos website–posting my favorite photograph of the month.

500px is a website of top quality photographs from all over the world. Check it out at You will see incredible photos here and even some that will take your breath away! Photographers post only their best, top quality photos here because the high level of standards with this collection. Forcing oneself to limit posting only the very best photos is a good exercise and helps advance the level of any photographer.

I strongly encourage you to check out this website. 500px is a site to behold! Along the way, check out my photographs. You can let me know what you think of each one by hitting the “Like” or “Dislike” button and/or leaving a comment. You can see my page on 500px here: and you can see my portfolio there at this address:

Check out to see what I am talking about. This is one incredible site!






Just Updated My Sports Photography Portfolio

Is your portfolio up to date?

Mine was not. I shoot a lot of different sporting events: baseball, football, golf and even some soccer. I am confident in my ability and the work flow is easy since I use Lightroom. It does take time to sift through anywhere from 600 to over 1,000 photos after  a shoot and I am learning how to be efficient in this process. Lightroom does make it much more manageable!

Each month I post a “Photo of the Month” on my sports photography website: I typically choose my favorite photo of each month and either tell a short story on how I captured that photo or share a few thoughts pertaining to what is in the photograph. I was blessed to be a student at Temple University in the communications. We had to take the obligatory basic photography class and my life was never the same! My final project for the class was to shadow a newspaper photographer in my hometown for a day, culminating in the shooting of a high school baseball game. I could see that my final grade was definitely assisted by the photographs I was able to capture at that game for this final assignment. To this day, I thoroughly enjoy the challenge of photographing a sporting event. I believe as each game is played it tells a unique story. My job as a photographer is to tell this story with the photographs I capture with my camera. What is the plot of this particular game? What is the turning point or climax of this game? How are the players reacting? Photographs still tell these stories better than hundred of words!

Even with all the modern tools of digital photography and Lighroom, I am not good at keeping my portfolio up to date. So last night I decided it was time to update my sports photography portfolio. Motivation for this came to me because I want to use the updated portfolio as a reference point for a hopeful upcoming assignment. It was definitely time to gather my best work and put them on display. The portfolio will hopefully display my photographic skills, ability, and experience in sports photography.

One dilemma I confronted was just how I wanted to display my portfolio. Lightroom allows easy output to web galleries, but I wanted the photos to appear in a large format without having to click on a thumbnail. I also wasn’t pleased with the slow screen rate with some flash plug-ins. So I decided to create CSS HTML code to present my portfolio photos all in a row. I figured this display would be easy to navigate and get my photographs more easily in front of the eyes who wanted to see my best work.

A quick search on the internet helped me put wings to my dream. I found some CSS code that looked like it might work and with a few editorial alterations I knew I was in business. The power of the internet continues to amaze me! I spent most of the night last night tweaking the layout to display my portfolio after going through and assembling my sports portfolio. I still am not completely happy with the result due to the slow screen rate as photos are first loaded but it will work at least for now. How do you prefer to display your portfolio? What works best for you?

I will admit to the difficulty I encountered in narrowing down my number of photographs. There were some I was personally attached to for some reason, but I eventually realized some of these did not fit the high standards to be included in the portfolio. This editorial challenge forced me to critique each photograph in painstaking detail. It was a good exercise and I believe it will even help me on my upcoming photo shoots. We can learn a lot by going back over past work!

My updated sports photography portfolio can be viewed here.

And here are a few of the photos that made the cut.



Action at the Plate

Baseball is a game with a lot of what I call stop-n-go action. You can watch a game for a long time and nothing much seems to happen. But close your eyes or blink just at the wrong time and you can miss very exciting action!

There is nothing more exciting than a play at the plate. For non-baseball fans, this simply means a play at home plate when the catcher is trying to tag out a base runner. I suppose it doesn’t hurt that in our family our son, James, is a catcher. I know I’m just as proud as any other father, but James is a great catcher. He receives and blocks well, has a good arm to second base, is throwing out more and more base-stealers, and is not afraid to put his nose into the middle of a play at home plate with a sliding base runner crashing toward him.

Here is one photo I took of him last week. As you can see, the play is at the plate and he is attempting to tag the runner out. This is the action I mean when I say there is nothing more exciting in baseball than a play at the plate. Does this photograph exude action and excitement to you? Will the base runner be safe or will he be out? Will the tag be put on in time or with the player sliding into the plate avoid the tag? In the end, this play resulted in the umpire calling the runner out! James then tossed the ball to the pitcher’s mound and turned to go into his dugout to get ready to hit.

You gotta love the action at the plate! Don’t you think? (Click on the photo to see a larger sized image with more detail)

Best of May Photograph

Baseball has not only been on my mind for the past three months, but in front of my camera, too!

I confess to being a baseball junkie and, fortunately, I am able to fill my cravings by putting many baseball games at the good side of my telephoto lens. I am blessed to be able to photograph our local high school baseball games. Capturing the action of the season is one of my favorite springtime past times! This is not always as easy as it might sound. Rain delays, rescheduled games, and other obstacles got in the way this season. It sure was a cold and rainy spring in northeast Pennsylvania this year! By the end of the season I obtain enough quality photographs to share with the team at their banquet. It is always fun for the players to see their year-in-review, and it is fun for me to have the opportunity to share some of my photographic skills.

Here is a shot I captured at the Mountain Valley Conference Championship Game. It is one of my favorite shots of the season because it shows the action and intensity of these two opposing players. This photo accomplishes several of my sports photography goals:

  1. Capture exciting on-field action during a competitive game
  2. Show the players making a quality play on the field
  3. Be sharp-focused on the subject
  4. Tell some of the story of this particular game
  5. Freeze the exciting action for posterity

Take a look at this photo and see if you agree that this photo accomplishes most of these goals.

More Football

I photographed another football game last week but haven’t had time to include it here on my blog. The game hosted the 8th Grade teams of Stroudsburg and Pocono Mountain West. It was the last game of the season for these two teams and the last chance for off-season bragging rights! To add even more excitement to the game, Stroudsburg was vying for an undefeated season!

It was an exciting game to photograph! The game opened up with Pocono Mountain leading but Stroudsburg answered loudly and clearly. It was a game with hard-hitting, precision blocking, and great fundamental football. Both teams put it all out there on the field! It was a hard-fought game and in the end Stroudsburg prevailed with a solid win. Pocono Mountain made it interesting at the end, but it just wasn’t to be for them. Wow, what another exciting game!

Congratulations to Stroudsburg on their undefeated season!

An Added Bonus

A couple of weeks ago I was photographing a high school football game, which was the best high school game I’ve ever seen. But today my focus is not on the game, but on the band. That’s right! Before the game started the visiting team’s band took the field. They put on an impressive show, too!

This shot is of the one tuba player who I happen to know. He goes to our church, is a sophomore, has a variety of musical talents, is a Boy Scout, and is a great young man!

I liked this photo of him because it shows him putting all his effort into these notes. He body is in position to let it rip!

My First Soccer Game

As you all know, I enjoy photographing sports.

I mostly photograph baseball, which I’ve been doing for several years now. This year I started photographing football, too. I coached baseball and football for nine years, so I understand these games inside and out, which makes photographing them much easier than if I knew nothing about the game.

Soccer is another story. I’ve seen many soccer games over the years, but I never coached soccer or even played it that much. Last Saturday I had the opportunity to photograph a soccer game. I actually enjoyed it very much–more than I thought I might. The game was full of action and the girls played incredibly well!

Here are just a few photos I captured during this exciting game.

Some New Baseball Photos and Still More to Come

Late last night I posted some baseball photos from this past weekend’s ECTB Tournament. The Sunday games were rained out, but some great baseball was played on Saturday!

I photographed the 11u game first, then had the chance to photograph the two 15u games. The players were hitting and driving the ball, and the defense was solid. The 15u team won both of their games and they looked strong. It is always fun for me to photograph a baseball game but when the action on the field is played with confidence and precision, it makes it even more enjoyable!

You can see some of the photos from these three games here.

And I am posting a just a few photos here.