Sometimes a Photo just Behooves a Specific Caption!

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I never quite know how photographing a football game is going to go exactly. Will I capture the winning play? Will my photos portray accurately the way the game played out?

Well, tonight I captured a photograph that told me exactly what the caption should be for this photo: “Brendan Kearns (7) and BJ Olaniyan (40) stack up the defense against Bethlehem Catholic in Brodheadsville on Friday, September 11, 2015.”

Defense is a team effort and this photo depicts two defenders making a combined tackle on an offensive player. Many times a defensive team needs to stack up together against an offense. And every once in a while, two defenders can stack up together on an opponent, as they did here!

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It was an exciting opener in Stroudsburg, that’s for sure! The Mounties hosted the Nazareth Eagles on a hot and muggy night as the opening high school football season got under way. An interception returned for a TD by Nazareth opened the scoring and then Stroudsburg immediately responded with a kickoff return in what would be a final score of 49-47.

It felt good to be on the field again as the season opened and these two teams put their best effort on the field. All the hard work of summer camp paid off splendidly. Big plays, speed, and grit & determination were displayed by both teams.

The new season has begun!

at  in Stroudsburg on Friday, September 4, 2015.

East Stroudsburg South Rolls Over Pocono Mountain East

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East Stroudsburg South racked up a huge game up on the mountain Friday night! They scored 42 unanswered points and never looked back. It was a game of excellent runs, passes, and interceptions.

This first photo is featured in the Pocono Record online edition. It shows running back Changa Hodge running East Stroudsburg South’s first offensive play of the game, which resulted in a 53-yard touchdown. And with that, a victorious night was ignited!

I still find the lighting at these high school night games a real challenge. There just is never enough light for us photographers. This second photo features quarterback Nicholas Boushell winding up for a throw down field.

You can view the full gallery of photos here.

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Undefeated!

East Stroudsburg South v. East Stroudsburg NorthEast Stroudsburg South is undefeated and are the Mountain Valley Conference champions for 2013! They rolled in their last game against rival East Stroudsburg North. The air was filled with anticipation well before kickoff. It was Senior Night for North, too.

East Stroudsburg South v. East Stroudsburg NorthNorth made it interesting early, responding to a 7-0 deficit by scoring a touchdown of their own. The extra point was missed, but the response was noted. Niko Petrone scored touchdown after touchdown and the undefeated season was secured.

East Stroudsburg South v. East Stroudsburg North

 

 

Football Players Fight for Pediatric Cancer

Lehighton v. Pocono Mountain West

Football players at the Lehighton v. Pocono Mountain West football game on Friday night took time to honor the fight against Pediatric Cancer. They also wore yellow socks to bring attention to this important cause. Yellow was everywhere!

Lehighton v. Pocono Mountain WestPlayers held yellow balloons and sported the yellow socks as they came to mid-field for the coin toss. A few important words were shared over the loudspeakers about Pediatric Cancer first. The balloons were released into the cool night air following the coin toss by the referee.

Lehighton v. Pocono Mountain WestThe National Anthem was sung as the players stood at attention, their minds filled with anticipation for the upcoming kickoff. Those yellow socks look good, don’t they?

Lehighton v. Pocono Mountain WestEven as the teams gathered before each play in their huddles, the yellow socks reminded fans of the fight against Pediatric Cancer. It was a well choreographed night to bring attention to a very important health issue.

Lehighton v. Pocono Mountain West

 

 

 

Latest Football Photo Gallery on the Pocono Record

Lehighton v. Pocono Mountain WestMy most recent gallery of photos from the high school football game this past Friday night is now available to view on the Pocono Record. These are just a few samples from the gallery, which can be viewed here.

Lehighton v. Pocono Mountain West

 

It was a special night on several levels, not the least of which was “Senior Night” and highlighting “Pediatric Cancer.” Here, at the coin toss before the game, players from both sides held yellow balloons to honor the occasion. The players also wore yellow socks to acknowledge the cause.

Lehighton v. Pocono Mountain WestI also enjoy trying to capture photos of the bands before the game and at halftime. I believe this helps to tell the full story of the football game, and there are some really captivating photos to be captured as well from these talented musicians!

Lehighton v. Pocono Mountain WestTo make the night even better, this game was a thriller and went down to the wire! It was a wild night for Lehighton and Pocono Mountain West! It was a great night on many levels and I was blessed to be there!

 

 

 

Today’s Published Photograph

Lehighton v. Pocono Mountain West

Last night I had the opportunity to photograph an incredibly exciting high school football game. I am not sure the game was billed to be such a thriller, but it sure was a wild game!

My newspaper deadline is typically before the game is over, so I have to be sure to capture photographs of both teams to cover the story. Sometimes this is easy and sometimes it is a challenge. As an example, sometimes the winning team is very easy to determine even early in the game. Lopsided games just aren’t as much fun to photograph. Last night’s game between Lehighton and Pocono Mountain West went back and forth all night long! Early on it looked like Lehighton was going to take control early, but the Panthers responded quickly with a touchdown of their own. Back and forth it went and the excitement continued to build with each successive drive!

The game was such a thriller that I stayed in position after my self-appointed cutoff time, which gives me more than ample time to cull through my photos and submit some before the newspaper’s deadline. I stayed alongside the field because the Panthers were driving again and I figured they might take the lead. Sure enough: they did!

I thought I had a few decent photographs to help tell the game story, so I left in a hurry and literally ran to my truck. This time I had to finish my submissions and get to another football game to pick up my teenagers from their Homecoming game. Time was a-wasting! I picked out four photos and then added captions. Then, I sent them over the wire as I drove to the other game, which was over by now. The photograph above was the one the editor published in today’s newspaper!

QBs & RBs

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Running backs and quarterbacks get a lot of action in a football game. They handle the ball a majority of the time and play after play have the opportunity to make the difference in a game.

Keeping an eye, or viewfinder rather, on the quarterback is fairly easy. Even tracking a handoff to the running back is pretty easy to follow. But you have to be ready for anything: fakes, pitches, throws, and reverses are just a few of the possibilities.

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The action can get pretty furious at times, which is all part of the excitement of sports photography. There is nothing like it! These athletes put their game on the field and we get the privilege of capturing the action with our cameras. We have to pay attention and be quick, too, with our cameras at least.

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I played football in high school–a receiver on offense (back in the day it was called “split end” and cornerback on D. I recall fondly the excitement of Friday night football in the pre-game warmups. There was absolutely nothing that came close to matching that feeling! Now, behind the viewfinder and along the sidelines or behind the endzone, I still have the opportunity to feel this feeling on Friday nights!

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Running backs take a lot of punishment on almost every carry. They seek the running lanes created by the lineman but typically meet face-to-face with linebackers and other defensive players waiting to lower the boom on them. Quarterbacks take some punishment, too, especially when they are sacked. These two positions are fun to watch and a thrill to photograph during a game!

 

 

One Friday Night Shoot Produces Five Published Photographs!

Stroudsburg v. Pocono Mountain East

Stroudsburg v. Pocono Mountain East

Stroudsburg v. Pocono Mountain East

Stroudsburg v. Pocono Mountain East

Stroudsburg v. Pocono Mountain EastFriday night I photographed the football game in Swiftwater, PA featuring Stroudsburg vs. Pocono Mountain East. It was a typical night for high school football and I was in my favorite place — right by the action with my camera!

I am getting better and progressing in my photographic skills in trying to capture the action at these Friday night games, but in no way was I prepared for what was about to happen after this game!

I went about my business as usual, trying to capture the action and tell the game story with my camera. I knew I had some decent shots, and maybe even a pretty good one, by halftime. I  transmitted several photos to my editor, then went home to create a photo gallery and sent that in, too. Typically, one photo runs in the newspaper the following day.

Well, later that night I saw two of my photos were published. The next morning I realized a third one was published in the next day’s paper. One more was published on Monday, and a fifth photo was published in Tuesday’s paper!

So how did five photographs from one Friday night football game get published? Well, the first two were of a touchdown with the running back dragging would-be tacklers into the endzone. These were pretty good shots telling the essence of the game with a touchdown being scored; not a bad start. The third photo was a group shot of five athletes being inducted into the Pocono Mountain East Hall of Fame, which was celebrated at halftime. Knowing this was going to happen, paying attention enough to capture some group shots, and capturing all five names helped to get this photo published. The fourth photo surprised me when I saw it in the newspaper, but it was in the “Fifth Quarter Notes,” a wrap-up of the weekend football action, so that made sense. It was actually one of my favorites because it showed a defensive back intercepting a pass in front of a receiver, both of whom were in the air at the time with the ball just being caught. Finally, the fifth photo from Friday night’s game was printed in today’s newspaper in a feature written about Stroudsburg’s running back, Gerald Douglas. I knew this was possibly going to happen because the writer asked if I captured any good photos of Douglas at the game. Fortunately, I did capture a few decent photos and one fit the bill for this article today.

You never know what might happen. I photographed Friday night’s game just like many other ones before, but this time five of my photos were deemed worthy for print in the Pocono Record! I was surprised by this but obviously pleased. Now I have an additional goal on my photo list: get six or more photos published from one shoot!

In the meantime, I will continue honing my photo skills and try to perfect my craft. The moment I rest on my laurels or feel satisfied with my results will be the day I fail. Nope; I have to keep getting better and I have to keep moving closer to meeting my many photographic goals. Each game provides plenty of opportunities to capture the exciting action and tell the game story! I am already looking forward to the next game!

 

The Coin Toss

Stroudsburg v. Pocono Mountain East

Before a high school football game, the referee flips a coin to determine who will first receive the ball to start the game. This happens just after the Friday night warmups in my area, so the gathering at midfield just before kickoff is merely ceremonial. The actual coin toss occurs even before the pre-game activities, including the marching band’s performance.

Inspired by Peter Read Miller’s book, On Sports Photography, (which really is a great sports photography book) I wanted to make an attempt at photographing the coin toss last Friday night. You’ve got to check out his coin toss photo in his book captured at the Dallas Cowboys’ Stadium!

As most of you know, lighting at these high school games is not typically very good nor very bright. However, this is not an action shot, so I thought I might get something decent even with the thin lighting.

The coin toss began with a few words from the referee and then the shaking of the hands of both teams. It is more like an amoeba conglomeration of people and I had to keep an eye on a videographer, too. This is the shot I ended up with during Friday night’s coin toss.

It is okay at best; certainly not stellar. The one good thing is the coin is in the with that dark blue sky and the referee is looking up at it. The main problem is the lack of any other faces being visible in the shot. The one almost face is obscured by the other official. I am thinking I should use a wider angle lens the next time and certainly get into a better position to capture the faces of the players. I am learning!