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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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.

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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!

 

 

Two Sports Photographs Published

Stroudsburg v. Pocono Mountain East

 

Stroudsburg v. Pocono Mountain East

Rain fell in Swiftwater as the Stroudsburg Marching Band played the pre-game ceremony. Once kickoff ensued, the action was fast and furious. Stroudsburg struck first, but Pocono Mountain East answered back in record time. The game was tied 7-7 late into the second quarter, but Pocono Mountain East was driving and knocking on the door.

The Cardinals punched it into the end zone with less than 30 seconds remaining in the first half. Stroudsburg received the kickoff but could not drive the ball before the half ended. The second half was a different game for Stroudsburg.

Rushing and throwing seemed to come a bit more naturally, but an early muffed punt resulted in a turnover and a quick touchdown. Stroudsburg scored another follow-up touchdown to make it 28-14.

The Cardinals made it interesting by scoring a touchdown very late in the game but their on-sides kick was recovered by the Mounties who hung on to win 28-21. These two photographs of #21 Gerald Douglas crossing the goal line with the go-ahead touchdown are online at the Pocono Record. You can view the article here.

Cropping

Pleasant Valley v. LehightonThis photograph of running back, Austyn Borre, was taken at a Friday night football game when the Bears traveled to Lehighton to take on the Indians. He is obviously running with the ball and his eyes are focused upfield. However, there is at least one distracting element in this photo–yep, the referee. His body is cut off weirdly and having him in the photograph really doesn’t add any good quality.

Cropping is a method of taking a photographing and removing unnecessary and distracting items in a photograph simply by downsizing or cutting the size of the photo. It is a tool used by many newspaper and magazine editors, and it is a tool you need to learn as well.

Cropping can be done in a variety of ways, but I prefer to maintain the proportions of the original image almost 100% of the time. Strange results can be produced when original proportions are not maintained.

Some argue that cropping should never be done no matter what. Well, this might be a good goal–to get it right in-camera, but sometimes in the heat of the moment, some distracting and competing elements are captured along with the main subject. Cropping can be very helpful when used wisely.

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The crop in this photograph removed the referee. I still do not like the two bright yellow vests appearing on both sides of this running back. They are distracting to me as well, but look at what happens when we crop even further while maintaining the same proportion.

Pleasant Valley v. LehightonNotice I switched the crop to a vertical format instead of landscape. This much tighter crop was needed to avoid cutting off limbs at improper places. The rule of thumb here is to never cut off a persons limb at a joint, like an elbow, write, shoulder, knee, or hip.

As you can see in these three images, cropping can have helpful and even sometimes dramatic effects. Used wisely, cropping can be your friend to make a good photograph even better. Learn how to crop and learn how to crop wisely!

 

 

Pre-Game Portrait

Allen v. Pocono Mountain WestAmir Blair sings his school’s Alma Mater in pre-game ceremonies this past Friday night as Pocono Mountain West hosted Allen in High School football.

The pre-game activities build to a crescendo as both teams prepare to do battle on the gridiron. Bands play fight songs, fans gather into the bleachers, and the players get wound up for battle! There is nothing quite like this pre-game experience!