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!

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.

Pleasant Valley v. Lehighton

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!

 

 

Photo of the Month

Pleasant Valley v. Lehighton

September’s Photo of the Month was likely to be a football photograph. For one thing, this is the time of year for football. After all, is there any better season than fall, and is there any better season than football season? I think not! We are definitely in the midst of football season!

It is incredible to me, but I still find myself getting butterflies on Friday nights before the games. I certainly did when I played high school football back in the early ’80s, but even now, as I am preparing to photograph a game, I find myself pacing back and forth a little bit and fighting off those nervous butterflies that fly around inside my stomach. Will I capture the moment at the exact right time with my camera? Will the photo be in focus? Will the referee run between my camera and the play? Yep, butterflies are still there flying all around in my stomach. There isn’t a feeling in the world to match it!

Some of my goals for a good, quality football photograph include: 1) the face should be showing in the frame and hopefully the eyes will be visible, 2) the ball should appear in the frame, 3) a special moment or peak action should be captured. This photograph accomplishes all three of these goals. It was a special moment in time captured by a camera so it can be recorded for all time. This to me, is the goal of good, quality photography. It is a worthy pursuit and it keeps me coming back time after time to the field to try to capture another special moment.

The next day, this photo ran six columns wide in the sports section of the Pocono Record.

You can view this new Photo of the Month and previous ones here.

Friday Night Football’s Aerobatic Action

Lehighton v. Pocono Mountain East

This Friday night’s football game, featuring Lehighton at Pocono Mountain East, included some aerial attacks down field from the quarterbacks. Some amazing acrobatic action ensued!

Many fans enjoy and prefer the passing game. It’s exciting to see a quarterback drop back behind the line of scrimmage and toss a throw to a sprinting receiving. It’s even more awesome when the receiver makes an acrobatic catch! This night had it all: throws, incomplete passes, receptions, and interceptions. What is not to like about all this?

Capturing this in-the-air action with a camera is not always easy. I am sure I’ve missed plenty more than I got with my lens! However, I do believe I am getting more consistent, which is imperative when working as a freelance stringer for the local newspaper; in my case, the Pocono Record. It is crucial to get some action shots that might be deemed worthy of print by the editor. Football players jumping high into the air to catch a ball is one of the money shots. Get the ball in the shot as the players are in the air and you’ve got a chance. Oh wait, did you remember to get good focus? What about the composition of the photograph? Is your exposure right? These are hard enough to manage on a sunny day; now try to accomplish them at night under high school stadium lights! (I just have to get a new camera!!! In my case, I am dreaming about, hoping for, and trying to save my pennies for a Nikon D4! This camera is newer than mine and boasts some incredible high ISO shooting for these low-light conditions. Anyone willing to offer me a loan?)

I am passionate about sports photography and I live for this challenge to capture the action in the air!

My next game is tomorrow night and I can’t wait to have a crack at it again!

PV Wins a Big Game in the Bottom of the 7th!

Shortstop, Dan Hrbek, charges a slow roller to make an excellent play in the field as PV went on to win 3-2 in seven innings

Shortstop, Dan Hrbek, charges a slow roller to make an excellent play in the field as PV went on to win 3-2 in seven innings

It wasn’t easy and it was just what the doctor ordered after a tough loss in their last game. PV went up 1-0 on an RBI single by catcher, James Shank. But the fightin’ Indians came back heartily to go up 2-1 in the middle innings.

First baseman, Jordan Caffrey, flips to pitcher, Howie Stevens to record the out.

First baseman, Jordan Caffrey, flips to pitcher, Howie Stevens to record the out.

Howie Stevens pitched a great game, pitching out of trouble in several innings to keep the game close. Without his effort, this game would most likely have ended up much differently. As it was, he pitched 6 strong innings by mixing an effective curve ball in with his fastball to keep hitters off balance just about every time it was needed.

Pitcher, Dan Hrbek, flips to first baseman, Howie Stevens, to record an out in the 7th inning. Hrbek threw hard and recoded outs on all three batters he faced.

Pitcher, Dan Hrbek, flips to first baseman, Howie Stevens, to record an out in the 7th inning. Hrbek threw hard and recorded outs on all three batters he faced.

Dan Hrbek came in to pitch the 7th inning with the game hanging in the balance, tied up 2-2. He threw hard stuff and recorded 2 Ks. His fastball was arguably as fast as its been all season. He was hitting his spots and throwing hard, which resulted in 3 up and 3 down in the top of the 7th inning. Then it was time for the PV Bears to have last dibs!

James Shank went 3-4. He lead off the 7th inning with a double down the 3rd base line.

James Shank went 3-4. He led off the bottom of the 7th inning with a double down the 3rd base line.

The bottom of the last inning was started off by a line drive double down the 3rd base line by James Shank. He rolled into the second, representing the potential winning run if PV could get him across the plate. Howie Stevens earned a walk and Troy Van Houten also earned a base on balls to load the bases with one out. Nick Domenici hit a fly ball to right field, but Shank did not tag up at third base, so the bases remained loaded with two outs. That brought up third baseman, Austin Yoffredo, who hit a wickedly spinning ball down the first base line. Somehow it snuck through the legs of the Lehighton first baseman. Shank crossed home plate and the Bears snagged the much needed victory!

James Shank celebrates the PV victory after crossing home plate.

James Shank celebrates the PV victory after crossing home plate.