Pleasant Valley Graduation

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Pleasant Valley held their 2014 Graduation on Friday night. The weather was threatening and produced some heavy rain, so the Commencement was held indoors in the high school gym. Parents, grandparents, and friends gathered to watch the special event as the seniors graduated.

I was there on assignment as a stringer for the Pocono Record. It was special for me because I know a lot of these students. After all, I photographed many of them in their sporting events over the past years!

You can view more photos of PV’s Graduation here.

Pride and Prejudice Dress Rehearsal

Pleasant Valley High School Fall Play: Pride and PrejudiceTonight I had the opportunity to photograph the dress rehearsal of Pleasant Valley High School’s play, Pride and Prejudice. Believe me, these students did a phenomenal job preparing for this performance! The stage presence put on in this play is absolutely astounding!

Pleasant Valley High School Fall Play: Pride and PrejudiceYou owe it to yourself to attend one of the upcoming performances of Pride and Prejudice. Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 2:00 p.m. on Sunday at the high school in Brodheadsville, PA.

 

 

 

The Heisman Pose – Pleasant Valley High School Style

Pleasant Valley v. Lehighton

The classic pose of the Heisman Trophy is renowned among athletes and fans. It is an easily recognizable pose, which many tend to emulate in their own style. Quarterbacks, running backs, and receivers are known to strike the pose both for a photographer but also on game day out on the field in the heat of battle.

Such was the case this past Friday night on the high school field at Lehighton. Pleasant Valley traveled to face the Lehighton Indians, and both teams were 2-1 coming into the matchup. Austyn Borre gained 132 yards.  Brandon Leap carried for some yardage gains, too, and in this photo he is shielding himself from Lehighton’s Tyler Cann. Leap is running to the right and displaying that classic Heisman Trophy pose!

This photo and one of Borre appears in the Pocono Record today, Sept. 21, 2013. You can check it out here.

Got game? Brandon Leap and Austyn Borre did Friday night under the lights in Lehighton!

 

Sports Photograph needed for an Article

Lehighton v. Pocono Mountain East

The sports editor gave me an assignment to capture a few photos of a specific high school running back because they were doing an article on him this week. That was Friday. The problem was I only got the message after the game!

Fortunately, I took plenty of photographs and hoped I had some of this specific player. It turned out that I had six photos, which wasn’t bad. I learned my lesson though–check messages immediately before a game!

This sports photograph is not stellar but it does tell a story and is somewhat captivating. First, the good things about this photo: It shows the eyes of the running back, which really helps our eyes focus on him. The ball is visible in the photo. The player has good lean, which shows action. The blocking in the background by the linemen helps to add energy to the photo.

Now the bad things about this photo: I should have zoomed in closer. The subject is not isolated from the background enough. It would be better to have both of the subject’s feet in the air to reveal even more action. As you can see, I still have a way to go in improving my sports photography. I will keep trying and can’t wait to be out on the field this Friday night!

 

A Young Pleasant Valley Team Looks at the Positives

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A Young Pleasant Valley Team Looks at the Positives
by Bob Shank

A young Pleasant Valley football team took on a strong, well-played team in Nazareth as the high school football season opened up last Friday night. With the exception of three plays, PV’s defense played a solid game and put their offense in a position to win the game, according to Coach Terwilliger. He told the team after the game in the end zone, “This was the best our defense ever played in an opening night game.”

Terwillger was happy with the effort but not proud of the results in this opening game. He informed the offense that “we need to do a lot of work. We didn’t get it done tonight, and that’s an attitude.”

When asked how he thought quarterback Brandon Leap will respond after the loss, Terwilliger was nothing but positive. He said Leap works hard and will respond well in the preparation for the next game against Dieruff. He said they are looking forward to putting this game behind them but admitted this game was a good experience for them, even with the loss. PV is a young team and lacks experience, according to Terwilliger. “This game was a good experience builder and will help as we continue to build the experience necessary to compete in our league.” He continued, “There was no quit in this team tonight and I am very proud of them for that.”

PV faced an uphill battle in the first half as Nazareth scored first and followed up with another touchdown. This forced PV to play catch-up the entire night. The defense was stingy, however, and kept them in the game. After a second-half opening kickoff return by Nazareth to open up a big lead, PV could have turned over and given up. Instead they battled back and scored 9 points. With their strong defensive performance and building on the experience this young team lacks, Terwilliger is excited to move forward and continue competing against their future opponents. If experience is a lesson on the gridiron, PV will be set to battle even harder this week!

Pleasant Valley v. Nazareth, 8/30/2013

Cross Country Photos

Yesterday I had the opportunity to photograph the Pleasant Valley Cross Country Team as they hosted East Stroudsburg North, East Stroudsgburg South, and Stroudsburg. This was my first time photographing Cross Country. I arrived early to get the layout of the course and try to find a spot on the course and then get back to the finish line before the end of the race.

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I found my spot and took photos on the course and then had to scramble to get to the finish line before the race ended. Fortunately, my planning worked out and I did make it in time! I tried a couple spots at the finish line and having my 200-400mm Nikon lens was good to have on my camera. This allowed me to stay back away from the finish line far enough so as not to intrude on the runners, but still get most of the finishing stretch with my camera. Sweet!

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I found my favorite location by the time the girls were getting ready to finish. I really liked being on the first lane, far enough past the finish line so I was not in the way of anyone. This vantage point provided the cleanest backgrounds because I could avoid the fence on the left and the spectators and athletes in the infield.

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I found myself zooming all the way in as a runner rounded the last corner of the track before the homestretch. Then as the runner got closer, I zoomed out to keep her in the frame. Finally, as the runner got even closer, I would get some closeup shots at the finish.

CC130930-1169You can see the photo gallery of yesterday’s Cross Country Meet here.

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PV Bears Win Against Nazareth

Dan Hrbek recorded 10 Ks in a complete game against Nazareth

PV pitcher, Dan Hrbek, recorded 10 strikeouts in a complete game to propel PV to a 4-1 win over Nazareth.

Howie Stevens had 2 hits in a 4-1 vicotry over Nazareth

Howie Stevens, first baseman, had two of PV’s 6 hits.

Shortstop, Travis Van Houten, throws to 1B

Shortstop, Travis Van Houten, throws to 1B in the win over Nazareth. The early season victory shows PV has enough talent to compete against any team this season.

Howie Steves (1B) receives a pickoff throw from pitcher, Dan Hrbek

First baseman, Howie Stevens, receives a pick-off attempt from Dan Hrbek.

Stevens makes the tag to complete the pickoff and record the out

Stevens makes the tag on the pick-off to complete the play and record the out. PV featured solid defense behind Hrbek’s masterful presence on the mound.

Pcuts

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A “Director’s Cut” of a movie is the Director’s own preferred edit. “Dances With Wolves,” one of my all-time favorite movies, has a Director’s Cut. So this got me to thinking–since I am a still photographer why not create my own version of the “Director’s Cut” from my photo galleries?

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My creative thinking was based on two reasons. First, on any photo shoot, I have my personal favorite shots that I prefer for one reason or another. It might be the lighting, the composition, the expression on a face, or any other reason why I just like some of my photographs. Second, I create very large photo galleries after a photo shoot. For example, at the recent Pleasant Valley High School musical, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown!” I produced over 9,000 photos! Even once the photos are edited and the bad ones removed, this results in some extremely large galleries. So my second reason was to offer more manageable photo galleries for visitors on my website to view.

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I am calling these preferred photographs from a photo shoot “Pcuts.” They represent this photographer’s personal favorites for one reason or another.

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I just posted my newest Pcuts of the first performance of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown!” on my website. If you care to view these Pcuts (my personal favorites), you can view them here. The photographs you see here are just a few of the Pcuts from Friday’s performance.

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Baseball Season is Coming…. I Think!

Today we got three inches of snow on the mountain! I am beginning to wonder if that groundhog was just doing some wishful thinking! And still, even while shoveling the white stuff, my thoughts are turning more and more to the upcoming baseball season!

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I captured this moment on the day I realized my son was right–he was meant to be a catcher. I was not in favor of this position change because catchers get beat up. They have to block bad pitches, throw hard to the bases to stop basestealers, and  block the plate from incoming hard and vicious slides! Ouch! And yet, on the positive side, the catcher is literally involved in every pitch of the game. He calls for each pitch, learns to know a batter’s tendencies, and calls the plays as they unfold. He commands the game in a way like no other. James is indeed a catcher. He’s been a student of the game since he was little.

I remember the very first time I went out and bought him a bat, ball, and tee. It was one of those big, over-sized plastic sets that serve as the entry into the game of baseball for most little guys. Well, James hit two or three balls off the tee and then said proudly, “Daddy, pitch to me!” Now mind you, he was only three years old! I tried my best to use reason and convince him that a three-year-old needs to hit off the tee for more than two or three times before he could ever hope to hit a pitched ball thrown at him. I told him that even the great Cal Ripken, Jr., who was our mutual hero, hit off a tee at least a hundred times a day even as a big leaguer!

All of my fatherly wisdom and coaching rationale was not enough. So I succumbed and pitched the big plastic ball his way as this three-year-old stood proudly in the batter’s box. I think I threw over a hundred pitches to him that day and he hit maybe five of them. Each time he connected his bat with that ball, he would run around, touching every base, and declare he hit a homerun! I would try to tag him as he slid into homeplate, but he was always safe. And a love of the game was born for both father and son!

James is now seventeen years old and started eight games as a sophomore on his high school team last year. I still try to take my turns pitching to him, but now instead of hitting five out of a hundred, he connects on each and every one I throw anywhere near the strike zone. Then, I duck, hide behind my glove, and scream for my mommy as the baseball comes straight back at me!

James will be starting behind the plate this year as a Junior and he is looking forward to a good season. He’s been working hard in the off-season and can’t wait for the weather to break so he can get out on the diamond!

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I realized when James was 12 years old that I could no longer be his coach. He was developing a mind of his own, it was the proper time for  him to be coached by someone other than his dad, and he knew more about the game than I did! Admittedly, it was very hard for me to step down from coaching baseball, so I coached middle school football for three years, which I thoroughly enjoyed! But eventually, I had to give that up, too, to be available to get James where he needed to be as he continued developing his baseball quest. I do miss coaching but decided to take up a new spot–behind my camera. Now I’ve been photographing the Pleasant Valley High School Baseball Team for four years and I enjoy the challenge and opportunity to capture the action on the field.

Yep, it’s still February, and there is a lot of snow on the ground, but James and I are thinking BASEBALL! Aren’t you?

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The Ups and Downs of Coaching

All coaches, no matter what sport, know full-well the ups and downs involved in coaching. One moment might be an absolute high feeling of success and achievement, while the very next moment can be a feeling of emptiness and discouragement. Few people can truly appreciate the time, commitment, and widespread feelings coaches experience!

Coach Terwilliger and his coaching staff at Pleasant Valley know and live these ups and downs every day of the football season. The spotlight is obviously on them during games under the bright lights on Friday nights, but few can appreciate all that goes in to preparing for a game each week. Film is watched over and over, practices including calisthenics, drills, play execution,  and conditioning consume hour upon hour each day leading up to the big game. Coaching is not for the faint of heart! The reward is when all the hard work comes together as the team puts into practice all the effort, learning, and coaching of the previous week.

Teamwork among the coaching staff is critical. Each coach has his specialty on the team and in a combined and orchestrated effort, the coaching staff builds on one drill after another and one week after the next. Positive attitudes and a healthy degree of humility can go a long, long way as the coaching staff tries to implement its plan for the season. A sense of togetherness and give-and-take are both required throughout the season. When these elements break down it can be a long season for both the players and coaches. Even worse, one bad call by an official can not only threaten the outcome of a game but an entire season. Talk about pressure! Remaining calm and steady; not getting too high or too low, helps tremendously.

 

Sometimes it all comes together beautifully. Such was the case last Friday night when Pleasant Valley not only won an important game, but also witnessed their freshman running back break a school record! Austyn Borre broke the season rushing record and stands to add to this total in the upcoming weeks.

Coach Terwlliger and his coaching staff certainly experience the ups and downs of coaching, but they remain steady and confident as they play through this football season. It is fun to watch, especially because all the hard work is paying off in positive ways. Skills are increasing among the players, the team is growing closer together, and lessons learned on the football field will eventually be played out in the game of life. Coaches and their importance are often overlooked. We must remind ourselves that these guys are not only teaching boys how to play the game of football, but they are turning these boys into men both on and off the field.