A Journalistic Approach to Sports Photography

Coach Stacy Perryman’s chair before the game night in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Coach Stacy Perryman’s chair before the game night in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Sports photography is all about capturing the action. Fast shutter speeds, wide open lenses, and lickety split frames per second rule the day. My routine to get ready for a game is pretty routine and often the same. Tonight, however, my routine was anything but same old.

Stroudsburg vs. Pocono Mountain West in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Stroudsburg and Pocono Mountain West captains and coaches before Tip-Off in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Coach Stacy Perryman died of breast cancer this past Monday at the young age of 45. She has been the coach at Pocono Mountain West for 17 years! The team was allowed to grieve for the loss of their coach and the previous two games were postponed for this reason. Tonight they would take their place back on the court with heavy hearts.

Stroudsburg vs. Pocono Mountain West in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

The Pocono Mountain West players and Interim Head Coach share a moment just before the Star Spangled Banner in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Interim Head Coach, Chrissy Campos, is Coach Perryman’s sister and has been her assistant coach. She did an incredible job tonight getting the girls ready to play a competitive game against a very good Stroudsburg team. They put their emotions in check for 32 minutes and played their hearts out.

Interim Head Coach Chrissy Campos accepts a memorial gift in honor of her sister, Coach Stacy Perryman in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Interim Head Coach Chrissy Campos accepts a memorial gift in honor of her sister, Coach Stacy Perryman in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Before Tip-Off, Coach Campos was presented with a memorial gift in memory of her sister and the girls’ coach. The few moments at mid-court were somber and respectful. Then everyone was invited to pause for a moment of silence as we remembered Coach Perryman.

Stroudsburg vs. Pocono Mountain West in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Coach Campos receives a special gift in memory of her sister, Coach Perryman, at midcourt in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Sometimes I am asked to photograph Senior Day or a presentation of a student-athlete during halftime, but usually my job is simply to capture the game with my camera. I really enjoy this simple, straightforward task. One of my interests is setting up remote cameras, which I mentioned in my previous blog post last week. Tonight was different–totally different. How does one capture the heavy emotions and sadness in a tactful yet unintrusive way?

Interim Head Coach Chrissy Campos coaches the Panthers during the game in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Interim Head Coach Chrissy Campos coaches the Panthers during the game in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

As I began shooting the pre-game and then the game, my mind went back to my journalism training I received from Temple University many years ago. My professors were clear about the important job we had to do and getting into the right frame of mind to do it. Our job is to report the news, or in my case, report and re-tell the basketball game in its entirety with my camera.

Interim Coach Chrissy Campos greets Caroline Weirich during a timeout in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Interim Coach Chrissy Campos greets Caroline Weirich during a timeout in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

My mind also was swept up into what in the world these girls must have been thinking in their minds. How could they lace up their sneakers, take the home court, and play a basketball game with so much running through their minds. The referee threw the ball up for the Tip-Off and with that, the game began. And these girls played!

Samantha Columna is defended by Caroline Wierich in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Samantha Columna is defended by Caroline Wierich in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

They played in memory of Coach Perryman. Each moment was filled with effort and grit as they displayed all their coach had taught them over the years. It was incredible to watch and photograph. The heavy hearts did not bog them down on the court and they put up an awesome game!

Stroudsburg vs. Pocono Mountain West in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

A referee officiating at the Stroudsburg vs. Pocono Mountain West game, holds the ball during a timeout in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

The journalistic approach I am referring to here is trying to capture the story of the night, not just with the action on the court during the game, but specifically in the tiny moments that capture the whole essence of the night. In other words, trying to paint the picture of the wealth of emotions circling the gymnasium. Pink was the color of the night and that seemed a good place to start.

Stroudsburg vs. Pocono Mountain West in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Stroudsburg vs. Pocono Mountain West in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Some things happen during a timeout or during a break in the action. Sports photographers learn not to put the camera down too quickly after a shot or play but to follow the action and try to capture the emotion and celebrations. This was all in my mind tonight, too.

Stroudsburg vs. Pocono Mountain West in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Stroudsburg vs. Pocono Mountain West in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Try as they may, the game did not end the way Pocono Mountain West had hoped. They fought hard and kept things close even producing a nice run at the end of the game. Victory was not theirs tonight as they lost 50-40.

Stroudsburg vs. Pocono Mountain West in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Pocono Mountain West’s Interim Head Coach, Stacy Campos, looks downcourt during the game in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Cancer is an opponent that seems to win way too often, leaving its opponents to lick their wounds or say goodbye to their loved ones. It is not fair. It is not fair for a young, gifted, and inspirational coach to die at the age of 45 leaving behind a team she loved and who loved her. It is not fair for a sister and assistant coach to be thrown into a coaching position rift with heartfelt emotions swirling around like a tornado. It is not fair for a community to lose someone so incredibly giving and to be left with nothing but memories.

Pink shoes worn by a Panther player during a foul shot in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Pink shoes worn by a Panther player during a foul shot in Pocono Summit on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Every game has winners and losers. Cancer does, too. Some battle courageously and live to see a long life to come. Others battle courageously and find their lives cut way too short. Winners and losers. Basketball teams experience this as well. Two teams can practice just as hard and dedicate a great portion of their lives to the game but one ends up winning it all while the other team is left hanging their heads wondering what happened. Tonight, however, at this game, I do not believe there were really any losers. Every player and coach was a winner in a bigger sense of the game and in life. It was an emotional game and I was fortunate to be there with my camera. This is my journalistic approach to one emotional and incredible game.

 

 

East Stroudsburg South vs. Pocono Mountain West

in  on Saturday, September 1, 2018.

A Saturday afternoon matchup featured East Stroudsburg South at Pocono Mountain West. The first half was a close one. Each team was making successful offensive plays.

in  on Saturday, September 1, 2018.

East Stroudsburg South’s Nyree Ford-Cherry tripped up Kaleb Monaco to prevent a touchdown and the half ended with a one possession difference (21-14) in the score.

in  on Saturday, September 1, 2018.

East Stroudsburg South came out to play in the 3rd quarter and started manufacturing some impressive drives. They took control of the game.

in  on Saturday, September 1, 2018.

Pocono Mountain West did not give up. They kept playing hard. In the photo above, Adrian Salas-Viruet kept running after losing his helmet on an offensive play for positive yardage.

in  on Saturday, September 1, 2018.

The final score was South 49 – West 21.

Exciting Game to Photograph & Pocono Mountain West Wins!

I was asked to photograph the Pocono Mountain West PIAA Class 6A Tournament Game against Lower Merion. It was an opportunity I very much looked forward to because this time of year is always exciting in terms of basketball. Add to this a thrilling game and you are in for one incredible evening! The game started at 5:30pm and, of course, started with the tip off.

The teams came in evenly matched and everything was set for the thriller. The game started methodically, as each team began by testing the other and exchanging basket for basket at first. Then, Lower Merion scored and went ahead a little. It was still a back and forth game.

Then Lower Merion scored two 3-point shots in a row. They were on a roll and they appeared to know it. Pocono Mountain West did not appear to blink. They took the momentum shift in stride and went to the locker room at half-time down by six points. While the fans might not have sensed it at the time, the players seemed to exude a “we got this” attitude. Confidence is key in a big game and the second half would certainly dictate the outcome of this tournament game.

It did not take Pocono Mountain West long to erase the six-point deficit as the second half began. There was some more exchanges like two heavyweight boxers going toe-to-toe, but West was clearly gaining momentum and confidence in the game.

 

Watching this team work together on defense was one of the keys to the turnaround in the second half. Patience and persistence was paying off slowly but surely. Lower Merion was slowing the pace all game long. At fist, this seemed to frustrate the Panthers. The second half was a different story. They challenged the ball-handlers, forced some turnovers, and kept the opposing offense out of the paint. It was a strategy that worked to perfection.

The final score was 71-57 and showed how Pocono West not only weathered the storm but played confidently throughout the game and capped it with a strong finish. What a game and what a night for this talented basketball team! Congratulations, Pocono Mountain West!

Never Give Up! (The story behind my most recently published baseball photograph)

BB 2014-05-05-614

Today I had another sports photograph published in the Pocono Record, but the story behind this photograph is not about me.

http://www.poconorecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20140506/SPORTS/405060334

Dan Heckman, the batter in the photo, is an outfielder for the Pleasant Valley Bears. He hasn’t gotten much playing time this season, but Monday afternoon he did and he shined big time! Heckman hit a single in the last inning, producing 2 RBIs on the solid line drive. Earlier he hit a sacrifice fly for another RBI.

So here is a player who hasn’t seen much field time, but he did not give up! He is a team player and had the chance today to be out on the field. He definitely made it count!

Heckman’s lesson to all of us: never give up. Keep your head up, contribute to the team whenever and however you can, and be patient: your chance will come, and when it does, make the most of it. Heckman did!

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. They took some Kratom, Sacred Kratom, https://www.sacredkratom.com and their health issues went away.

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!

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!

 

 

Friday Night Football: Allen v. Pocono Mountain West

Allen v. Pocono Mountain West

This photograph was deemed worthy for publication in Saturday’s edition of the Pocono Record.

A few of my photographs from Friday night’s high school football game featuring Allen v. Pocono Mountain West appeared online today. You can see the short photo gallery here.

There isn’t quite anything like the atmosphere of Friday night in the fall. Get to a game and feel the excitement!

Panthers vs. Bears Basketball

The Panthers of Pocono Mountain West faced the Bears of Pleasant Valley for the Mountain Valley Conference Championship tonight in Stroudsburg.

The girls’ game was first and Pleasant Valley won in overtime. Then it was the boys’ turn. The Panther’s only loss this season was to Pleasant Valley, which was an upset. Tonight they were battling it out on the court again. The Panthers struck first and often. They ran off a big lead and never looked back. The Bears could not overcome the deficit and never led the game. It was a disappointing night for a team, which battled several injuries late in the season, including their all-star Nick Stanovick. The Panthers won big with a score of 82-49.

The Panthers looked strong off the glass, on rebounds, and on the floor. Their passes were crisp and sure, and their full-court press made for a difficult and frustrating night for the Bears. Both teams will play in Districts.