My New Sports Portfolio

I have taken a lot of sports action photographs in recent years. I thoroughly enjoy the challenge of trying to capture the excitement of the plays on the field! The challenge is obvious because many variables are involved. Will I click the shutter at just the right moment? Will the shot be in focus? Will the ball be frozen in the frame with the player?

Of course, there are some things the photographer can control. Watch the background to keep it as uncluttered as possible. Have your camera ready for action at all times. Keep batteries charged and memory cards ready. Position yourself in the best possible location.

Last night I spent some time going through many of the baseball photos I took this year. I wanted to create a portfolio of my best sports photographs. Then I posted the resulting portfolio to my website. You can see the Sports Portfolio for yourself. Take a look at these photos and let me know what you think of them. Do they capture the action? Do they tell a story? Are they any good?

Basketball

Tonight I photographed the Pleasant Valley basketball game. They played a good game against Northampton. In the end they came up a little short, but it was fun to try to capture the action on the court.

Indoor photography can be tricky at best. Working without a flash I had to bump up the ISO. My Nikon f/2.8 70-200mm got exclusive use and performed beautifully. Fast lenses are a necessity in situations like this. I turned my white balance to florescent which seemed to work very well and render colors correctly.

The action was fast and furious at times. I positioned myself on the baseline, hoping for the action to come straight at me. It did!

I did learn a few things that I need to remember for the next game I shoot:

1. Remember to follow the players as they jump. Sometimes they jumped out of the frame!
2. Keep shooting after the play is over. Players reactions are sometimes very photographic.
3. Bring knee pads along. They will save my knees from becoming so sore.

Overall, this was a fun shoot. I can’t wait for the next tip-off! I hope to have some of these photos posted on my website soon. www.bobshankphotography.com

Cowboys vs. Eagles

Last night my friend John invited me at attend the Sunday night football game in Philadelphia. I’ve been going to Eagles games with John since 1993. The atmosphere is always electric and prime time games are absolutely full of energy. Last night was a perfect example. The Cowboys and Eagles both came into the game with 5-2 records so this game was to determine who the sole leader of the NFC East would be now. Can you feel the energy?

Now a professional football game is chock full of dazzling sights and sounds. Fireworks, energetic cheerleaders, crazy fans, and superhuman football players just to name a few. But as I took my seat in the stands and looked down onto the field my attention was drawn to something different right away–the photographers on the sideline.

Yeah, I know, not your usual sight of interest for most guys my age, but I can’t help it. I just couldn’t resist studying the sideline photographers to see how they captured the game with their cameras. The first thing I noticed is that they all were wearing red vests. Not photographer’s vests either. These vests must have served either as a red badge of courage that these men and women totally deserved to be where they were or to help make them more obvious so they couldn’t hide from their environment. No camouflage here!

I also noticed that the photographers stayed pretty much in the same location. If they were on the visitor’s side of the field at the beginning of the game, that is where they stayed. If they were to the right of the player’s bench, that seemed to be their assigned location.

I did notice that they all some big glass and I mean big. This was no place to carry a point and shoot camera. Many of them also carried one or two additional cameras on their shoulders in addition to the camera mounted on their monopod. I am sure this was so they could capture the sports action in a moment’s notice.

Some photographers stood behind their camera while others kneeled behind theirs. But each and every one of them had a much better location from which to photograph the action on the field! I was jealous, too. I know I am now too old to dream of making it into the NFL. Besides, my time in the 40-yard dash is not up to what it used to be just a few short years ago. However, I do dream of making it to the big leagues with my camera.

Does anyone know where to get one of those nifty red vests and press passes so I can have the opportunity to join my heroes on the sidelines?

Baseball Photo Products

I enjoy working as the official photographer for the Lehigh Valley Baseball Academy. It keeps me involved in a game I love, allows me the challenge to capture the amazing plays that happen on the field, and introduces me to a lot of incredible players, parents, and coaches.

Besides the benefits I enjoy from this, I also like to share my work with others. Capturing a player putting a tag on a potential base stealer in the midst of his slide is but one example of the thrill of photographing baseball games. I photographed 19 baseball games this year–14 for LVBA and 5 for the high school team at Pleasant Valley. Each and every game is different and trying to reflect the flow and outcome of the game with my Nikon camera is an exciting challenge!

Sharing the photographs is the second part of my job. I do provide the LVBA with 7 framed action shots for them to hang on the wall of their facility. We are also in the design stage of creating unique calendars for each team. But here are a few more ways players and parents can enjoy my photographs.

Sticky Pix
These are similar to Fat Heads, if you know what they are. These photographs stick to the wall and can be moved over and over again without leaving a sticky residue on the wall. They can also be ordered as cut-outs and are available in three different sizes–11″ x 14″, 16″x 20″, or 20″ x 30″.

3-Photo Sports Collage
The collage features three different photos of the same player. The one in the middle of the collage is bigger and the other two are arranged in an attractive way around it.

Teamsakes
For goodness sakes, what in the world is a Teamsake? I’m glad you asked! A Teamsake is an 8″ x 10″ collage of 9 photos. The idea is to include a variety of photos from your team as a memory keeper of the season.

Buttons
Many parents are proud of their baseball players and mom’s especially like to wear a 3″ button featuring their favorite baseball star. The photo in the button can either be a portrait or an action shot.

Magnets
I don’t know about you, but our refrigerator is filled with all kinds of magnets. My favorite section is the rows of photo magnets depicting our kids in the various sports they have played. Each one brings back some special memories of that season and you can see your little man growing up right before your eyes!

Mugs
Do you drink coffee, tea, or hot cocoa in the morning? Well why not drink out of a mug that shows your favorite athlete on the side? While you’re at it, take it work to show all your co-workers. Action shots showing dust and dirt flying are guaranteed to stay on the outside of your mug and not ruin the taste of your favorite hot drink.

Large Prints
Prints have become a bit more rare with the advent of computers and digital frames. Still, there is nothing quite like a large print hanging on the wall. The details of a photograph are much easier to see and enjoy in the larger sizes.

This is just a sampling of the ways to enjoy your favorite photographs. For more information on these and more please see my website or go directly to this page or this page.

Baseball Photos

Baseball

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I believe photographs should tell a story. These three baseball photographs were captured during a game on the last weekend in September. I believe each one tells a little story inside the full story of the game.

Action photography is a great challenge that I thoroughly enjoy. I like to capture the ball in the frame which is not easy to do, but it sure helps to tell the story better.

What stories do your photographs tell?

Baseball

Well, the Major League Baseball post-season is in full swing and the league championships have already begun. This gets met thinking about sports photography. I especially like to photograph baseball games. While some people think they are boring, I find baseball games to be full of strategy, intrigue, and excitement. Capturing the action and great plays on the field with my camera is a wonderful challenge that I just love.

James’ team had their tournament canceled due to the snow and rain, but they will play next week. Tomorrow I will try to post a few photos from last week’s tournament.

Fall Baseball

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Today marked the beginning of the Lehigh Valley Baseball Academy’s fall baseball season. I photographed the first game of the 14u team in Birdsboro, PA. This team has only had five practices together and still put together a very respectable first game.

I really enjoy the opportunity to photograph sports. The challenge of capturing the action on the field keeps me on my toes. I surely miss a lot of the action. Sometimes the base ump is in my line of sight and sometimes I just cannot focus fast enough to capture the precise action in a play. But today I was able to get some pretty good action shots like this one. What doesn’t show on this photograph is the great throw made by the center fielder. He came up throwing and threw a strike to the catcher. Here, in this photo, you can see the catcher applying the tag. Not only does this shot catch the action of the tag out, but it also highlights the determined facial expression of the catcher as he is applying the tag.

Do you think I did a decent job of capturing the moment with this photograph?