Play at the Plate

in State College on Saturday, April 30, 2016.

In softball and baseball, there is nothing as exciting as a play at the plate! A run is at stake and the defense will do whatever is necessary to stop that score. The catcher, of course, is the one in harm’s way!

in State College on Saturday, April 30, 2016.

These images are of the most recent play at the plate I captured on Saturday, April 30th at Penn State University. Michigan was the visiting team and ranked #2 in the nation at the time. This play was the typical bang-bang kind of play that happened quickly. I was situated in the photo well beside the visiting team’s dugout down the third base side of the field. I was very aware of the situation and the locations of the base runners. I knew a play at the plate could happen but would it? Well, it did and I captured these photographs of the exciting action. You can see for yourself the result of the play by looking at the photos–especially the umpire in this last photo.

in State College on Saturday, April 30, 2016.

I have been fortunate to capture several of these exciting plays at the plate with my camera over the years. I recall one of Lafayette’s games against Navy in a baseball game. There were several others at Pleasant Valley and other local high school games in our area. But the one that I remember most fondly was one that happened with a Lehigh Valley Baseball Academy team. My son had just decided that year to make the switch to playing catcher. I was still not thrilled about his decision–after all, they don’t call the catcher’s equipment “tools of ignorance” for nothing! Well, I traveled to an LVBA game and watched my son behind the plate and in the very first inning there was a play at the plate. I knew I captured the play with my camera, but it was not until later when I saw the determined expression on his face that I knew I captured something special. I also realized then and there that James made the correct decision to be a catcher! There is nothing quite as exciting as a play at the plate. And if we sports photographers capture it correctly, quite a story it does tell!

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Behind the Scenes Photographs

US Womens Open 2013 Friday 1932

Another article in WomensGolf featured three of my sports photographs: https://www.womensgolf.com/lpga-television-broadcast/. The article was about the behind-the-scenes anatomy of broadcasting a golf tournament. Fortunately, I captured some photos that fit the bill for this article.

US Women's Open - Tuesday Practice round

I like to photograph more than just the obvious. Don’t get me wrong, the action is the main stage and certainly what I enjoy shooting the most. However, there are plenty of additional images to be captured at just about any event. Close-ups, equipment, game-used gear, fans, media personalities, and like for this article: a cameraman and television broadcaster, can all make for interesting subjects.

U.S. Women's Open

Michigan vs. Penn State Softball

in State College on Friday, April 29, 2016.

I spent the last two days photographing some incredible games on the softball field at State College. These women sure know how to put a game on the field and the action was incredible! The first half-inning ended with a failed attempted steal as shown in the photo above.

 

in State College on Friday, April 29, 2016.

Penn State face the two-seed, Michigan, in a matchup that was sure to be a test. Penn State matched up very nicely in this first game. This is exactly why the games need to be played. On paper, this matchup did not look like much, but the fist game was way more than some scribbled prediction on a flat piece of paper.

in State College on Friday, April 29, 2016.

Efforts like this make for some mighty long-lasting memories. Penn State should be proud of its softball team and players who played this weekend. It was a memorable experience for all of us fortunate enough to be there in person!

 

The Importance of Keywording

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I know, it’s a pain. You get finished with a long shoot and then completely edit the photos for submission. So who has the time or energy to sit there and enter keywords into all the photos?

I learned the importance of captioning photos through working as a freelance photographer with The Pocono Record. Editors need to know exactly who the players are in the photos and a brief description of what is happening. Captions are important!

Keywords are important, too!

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This past week I was asked to submit some sports photos I captured back in 2013 and 2009. They needed to be full resolution images, so I could not just send the images that were in my portfolio because they were not large enough. Fortunately, I have a strategy to keep the original names of my photos wherever I use them–galleries, portfolios, etc. This is extremely helpful when I have to backtrack and locate an image that someone saw on my website. As long as I have the original name, I can go into my database and locate the original file, make any necessary corrections, and then export the file in the size needed for my client.

Keywords can help locate photos more quickly. For example, if I had all my photos of Juli Inkster keyworded with her name, then I could find any photo of her in my database very quickly. My problem is, I get too busy and forget or ignore this necessary step. Then, like yesterday, I was forced to go through tons of photos to find the exact one I am looking to locate. Geez, I wish I added keywords when I added these photos to my database!

What about you? Can you quickly and efficiently locate photos on request? What strategies do you utilize to assist you? Do you realize the importance of adding keywords to your images?

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Women’s Golf Photos Getting Published!

US Women's Open - Tuesday Practice round

Some of my golf photographs will be seeing the light of day and getting more exposure! Thanks to an agreement with WomensGolf, some of my photos will be featured on their website. Just this morning, the first article to feature two of my photographs was published.

US Women's Open - Tuesday Practice round

You can view the article where these two photos were published here: https://www.womensgolf.com/lpga-rookies/

 

Portfolio Worthy Photographs



I capture plenty of photographs in the games that I shoot. However, only a select are worthy to be included in a sports photography portfolio. I believe showing action is an important aspect of a portfolio worthy photo. The photo above was the one that got me noticed by the newspaper I freelance for now over three years ago.

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Showing the emotion of an athlete is also important to me. Sports are full of emotions and our job as sports photographers is to show this emotion in our photographs. A photograph without emotion tends to be lifeless and boring. Bring emotion into a photograph and it just seems to come to life!

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I also learned that showing the face and eyes is critical for a photo to come close to being great. The eyes often reveal some of the intense emotion in an athlete. The old saying is “the eyes are windows to the soul.” Well, to me, the eyes are a key element in a great portfolio worthy photograph.

PV Baseball 2009-09-05-128

A great photograph tells a story. The action is this photograph shows the catcher putting the tag on the baserunner while the umpire is looking on before calling the out at the plate! What a story it tells! It also helps that some additional elements like emotion and eyes are included in this action shot.

I know that not every photo I capture will be portfolio worthy, but I am finding that the more I keep these key elements in mind while shooting a game, my success rate increases. I am capturing more quality, winning photographs these days. I attribute this to practice, practice, and more practice. I am not quite there yet, but someday I plan on having a perfect day from behind my camera!

Sports Photography Art & Goals

on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

Sometimes I never know which sports photographs are going to catch someone’s eye. I believe there are certain specific qualities that need to be present in a good photo. My sports photography goals aim to capture the special moments in a game, tell the game story, and bring the game to the fans in a unique and captivating way. I also am a photojournalist, so Photoshopping the heck out of an image is not ethical. I try very hard to capture quality photographs in camera. If I don’t, then I just missed that special moment.

on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

Nevertheless, there are artistic images to be captured during a game. Sports photography is an art even though we are tied to telling the story with photographs in an accurate and non-manipulated way. I enjoy this challenge immensely!

I never arrange photographs by staging players, balls, or equipment. Instead, I capture what I see on the field exactly as it is during a game. The photojournalist in me requires this standard. Portraits are something different entirely and there is definitely a unique art in that type of sports photography.

I prefer the challenge of reporting the game in photographs, capturing the story and essence of each game. There are many similarities in games, but each and every game unfolds in a different way. I feel my job is to capture each game story with my camera to help tell the story of each specific game. An example of one similarity is the scoreboard. Every game unfolds on the scoreboard, so each game has a scoreboard, However, the numbers are different as the game’s scoring unfolds. Each field has a different scoreboard, too. Photographing the scoreboard tells a unique aspect of each game.

on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

I hold myself to a high standard of sports photography. In fact, I take my motivation from a baseball concept: the perfect game. A perfect game in baseball is a rare feat, but one which every pitcher dreams of completing! A perfect games consists of no hits, no runs, no walks, no hit batters, and no errors. In short, it is perfect! So in my sports photography I aim for a perfect game, too. To me, a perfect sports photography game includes capturing every action shot of all the key plays during a game in perfect focus, telling the story of the game as it unfolds, capturing the emotions of the players both winners and losers, recording the coaches interaction with the players and their reactions with umpires, showing the fans’ as they cheer, and meet all my deadlines for the game. These high standards drive and motivate me to do my very best in sports photography. It is a challenge I enjoy with all my heart!

on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

Sequence Shots

The new Nikon D5 shoots 12 frames per second. It produces a very cool sound when you stand on the shutter and shoot away! Timing, however, is my preferred method for shooting sports. Even after watching a batter for a few times I can often tell when they are going to swing or not. I certainly take the situation and the count into consideration, but subtle twitches and slight movement are very telling. Sometimes, however, it is nice to lay on the shutter and shoot a sequence of shots to capture the play. These sequence shots were taken on Saturday, April 16 as Penn State Softball defeated Maryland. Third Baseman, Shelby Miller, knocked down a ball in front of her. She had to take a couple steps to pick up the ball and throw it to first. It was a bang-bang play and Miller threw out the baserunner by half a step. It was awesome! Here are the sequence of shots that I captured. I love Miller’s expression after the play was over. She was like, yeah, just another routine out!

on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

 

 

Penn State Softball Wins Against Maryland Again!

on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

The Penn State Softball Team continued their winning ways on a beautiful Saturday afternoon against Maryland. It was a sellout crowd, which smashed the attendance record for the most spectators watching Penn State Softball!

on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

This time they started out in front with a 2-run first inning. They never looked back and posted a 4-0 shutout victory.

on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

Alyssa VanDerveer socked a homerun for the teams fourth homerun in two days. There was no doubt about this one!

on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

The team is gaining momentum as they approach the final stretch of the season. This timing is perfect before the Big 10 Championships, which will be hosted at Penn State University for the first time!
on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

Penn State Softball Wins Over Maryland

on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

The Penn State Softball Team won 9-6 over Maryland last night in an exciting game featuring three homeruns! I had the privilege of shooting the game from the photo wells beside the dugouts.

on Friday, April 15, 2016.

The Lions had to come back from a 1-0 deficit but quickly matched the score and then broke out in rally fashion.

on Friday, April 15, 2016.

Three homeruns in one inning attributed to the amazing rally leading the Lions to their victory.

on Friday, April 15, 2016.

on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

on Saturday, April 16, 2016.