Ball in the Action

Some of my favorite sports photographs include the ball in the action!

It is exciting to pony up to the challenge of capturing these shots and while it might take a great deal of effort and good timing, the success is rewarding! I always believe that every game has a story to tell and part of our job as photographers is to capture and tell the story through our lenses. I will take this even one step further: each and every play also has a story to tell! Think about it… a quarterback drops back to attempt a pass, the line is fighting off the pass rush and maybe even a corner blitz, the receivers are running their routes, and the defensive backs are defending their territories. Isn’t there a fascinating storyline in here?

One of the best ways I find to tell the story of a play is to include the ball in the image. Not only does this help tell a specific detail about the play, but it adds action to the photograph like nothing else can accomplish. All eyes are on the ball–both in the field and in the image! Now this might sound easy, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Just try to capture a sharp image of a moving ball on a Friday night under the lights! The challenge is still worth the effort, however. That’s why you will see me along the sidelines week after week trying to get to capture the ball in the action!

A Big Night for Pleasant Valley Football’s #28 – Austyn Borre

It was a big night for #28, Austyn Borre, on Friday. Borre broke the Pleasant Valley rushing record for the season as he hit 1,083 yards by the end of the game against Allen. Rain fell on the field at times, but it certainly did not rain on Austyn’s parade!

The running back’s banner night started with some impressively strong runs. He put together one hard, fast run after another and found the end zone a total of four times! In addition to quick moves and strong runs, Borre found the seams made my his offensive linemen and quickly darted through them to add to his yardage. It was a clinic for running backs and propelled the Bears to huge victory to remain undefeated in the Mountain Valley Conference.

The run which broke the season record was an impressive 91 yard run where broke away from defenders in a flash going untouched into the end zone. The previous school season record was 1,081 held by Rob Getz who now plays at Widener. Borre is a freshman and brings with him a lot of running back power toward PV’s current season run for the MVC Championship. He also brings much promise for the next three years!

Pleasant Valley kept the pressure on Allen all evening and Borre kept running and adding up yard after yard. The final score was 42-0. He ran the ball 14 times for a total of 185 yards, which averaged 13.2 yards per carry. Not bad for a freshman who is definitely making an impact for the Bears when they face their opponents. Coach Terwilliger must be very happy to have such a weapon on his offense as the team comes down the final stretch for the MVC Championship. Two upcoming games against East Stroudsburg North and Stroudsburg will cap the season and determine the champion.

Photographing this game was a great experience for me as I tried to highlight the rushing record and tell the story of the game. Photographing a high school football game under the lights can be a real challenge to say the least. However, great subjects like Austyn Borre with his incredible running talent and Coach Terwilliger’s passion for football and his players makes it all so much easier by creating great subject matter!

Part of the problem with night games is the lack of light for our cameras. High ISOs and fast shutter speeds are the name of the game for sports photographers at these venues. The falling rain added to the challenge, but photographing the record-breaking run and the coach handing the game ball to Borre made this an historic game within the game! Fans were treated to a big win and a season high rushing record to boot! Now who wouldn’t want to photograph that?

To view all the photographs from this game, click here.

The Importance of Perspective?

This photograph provides some perspective. It shows where on the diamond this play is taking place: home plate. There is no doubt where this is happening and it clearly provides information to the view about exactly what is happening: the catcher is tagging out a base runner at the plate. Perspective helps in many ways.

Without perspective I cannot tell a lot about where a photograph is taken. In life, without some perspective, I could jump to wrong conclusions or make assumptions that in the end prove to be incorrect. Perspective keeps me grounded and provides an anchor of sorts to keep me from sailing into choppy and dangerously uncharted waters. Yes, I definitely want to have more than a little perspective! Don’t you?

In light of the news coming out of Penn State University, I think many reporters, talk show hosts, and sports fans have lost a little perspective. Do not misinterpret me here. I know how heinous and despicable these allegations are and they are absolutely awful. No doubt about it. If my child was violated in this way I would be beyond angry.

The question in my mind comes down to what exactly did Joe Paterno know? If he knew all the details and only passed word about it up the chain of command, then he should be held accountable morally. Time will reveal the truth. So far we do know, that as far as Pennsylvania authorities reported, they are not charging Paterno of any crime. The moral question is a different matter. What should have Paterno done? Remember, this was ten years ago, too. What would have you done? Are you convinced you would have acted this way? Do you ever look the other way? What if the violator was a close friend? What if he was in a position of authority over you? Would this ever make a difference?

At least a little perspective is always needed. Matt Millen was quoted as saying, “The last time I checked we live in America where we are innocent until proven guilty.” Not only are many talk show hosts, reporters, and sports pundits already crucifying Sandusky, but they are making Joe Paterno sounding as bad or worse! Is this the right perspective?

Perspective teaches us that there is a bigger picture than many of us realize most of the time. As a visual example, look at this photograph.

What is this? Okay, yeah, it’s an animal’s eye. What kind of eye? Whose eye? When we focus too closely on something or too long on something, we lose perspective. Lose perspective and we can’t see all the details clearly and we certainly cannot see the big picture.

Tonight, the Board of Trustees made the decision to fire both Coach Paterno and the president of the university. Did they listen to the media frenzy before making their decision? According to them, they did not. I wonder about this, but I can see this decision being based on good business sense for the university. Certainly responsibility and accountability need to be placed in the appropriate places. There is no doubt about this. However, what do we know? Do we have all the facts? Do we have enough facts? The Board of Trustees did not give a specific reason for the firing of Coach Paterno. I find this interesting even though I can understand their difficult position and their ultimate decisions.

Sandusky will be held accountable by a court of law. Coach Paterno appears to be held accountable to popular opinion and the Board of Trusteees.

This is a sad week in the world of sports. Sad for the victims who suffered these awful acts. Sad for those who their parents, too. Sad for a football team that had nothing to do with these allegations. Sad for students who look up to coaches and adults. Sad for a coach who left an indelible legacy and devoted his life to coaching college football. Yes, it’s a sad week for many, many reason.

What is your perspective?


One of the best times of the year

This is one of my favorite times of the year.

The college football championship was just decided — Roll Tide! And now the NFL playoffs are in full swing with two wildcard games completed today. College basketball is in full swing and the NHL is playing, too. Isn’t this a great time of year?

Photographically I will be shooting some upcoming basketball games and this week I will be in Chincoteague, Virginia to do some bird photography.

I love this time of year!