New Sports Photography Slideshow

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I have a photo website dedicated exclusively to sports photography. It is called Perfect Game Photos and you can view the site here: http://www.perfectgamephotos.com/

One of the new features I added to this sports photography website is a slideshow of my published photos. Initially, I created the slideshow in Adobe InDesign and then exported it as a Flash slideshow. This worked well but had some serious limits. For example, those of you who use a tablet or smart phone were probably not able to view this slideshow.

So, since it was another stormy day in the Poconos on Labor Day, I labored just a little in front of my laptop to create a new version of this slideshow. I wanted to use Javascript so the slideshow can be viewed on just about any device. After some prep and planning, I started working out the script. It did take some time, but I ended up with just about what I was hoping to produce. You can view the end result here: http://www.perfectgamephotos.com/Slideshow.html

This slideshow features my sports photographs that were published in the Pocono Record. I am still amazed that more and more of my work is being found worthy of publication, which was a long-time dream of mine. I continue to learn all the time! I hope the trend continues but I realize that I must keep my personal expectations high. I must also keep working hard.

Sports photography is demanding at times and capturing the winning shot is not always easy. Lousy lighting at Friday night football games and nasty backgrounds at other sporting events are just two of the dilemmas that present problems for sports shooters. Keeping alert and always being ready is absolutely necessary. Nothing beats good preparation and knowing the game. Combining these skills and being the recipient of some good luck isn’t a bad combination either!

I hope to keep adding to my published portfolio. Sports photography is my passion and capturing the exciting action on the field to make lasting memories is my goal. I hope my photographs tell a sports story. More important, I hope they evoke emotion!

 

My First Photograph Published in the Pocono Record

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I have a strong passion and interest in sports photography. When I was finishing up my first photography class at Temple University, my final project was on sports photography. I did okay in the class, but my photographs for this project helped my final grade immensely! I shadowed a photographer at a weekly newspaper for a day and one of the assignments was to photograph a Donegal High School baseball game. I remember that event and the excitement of trying to capture the action on the field. I was hooked!

Now, many years later, I can think of few things I’d rather do in my spare time than photograph a sporting event. I like sports to begin with and I believe every game has a unique story that unfolds as the players put their game on the field. Our job as sports photographers is to record the unique storyline of the game and capture the exciting action of the players!

Over the past five years I’ve enjoyed photographing the baseball games for Pleasant Valley High School. I photograph as many games as possible each season and then show a presentation of my best photos for their end-of-year banquet. I also create collages for the seniors each year as a special remembrance of their final season. Previously, I was the photographer for the Lehigh Valley Baseball Academy in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Recently, I signed on with the Pocono Record to be one of their freelance photographers. I just had my first photograph published with them today! You can see my photograph here:

http://www.poconorecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130515/SPORTS/305150331/-1/SPORTS

I am very excited to share my photography passion in this way. I am at the games already and can provide some special coverage of the games with my camera. I hope to grow in my photographic abilities as I share my game-day art with others!

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.

PV Baseball Team Goes 11-2

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Pleasant Valley’s baseball team was propelled by James Shank as he went 2-3 at the plate and recorded 2 RBIs. Howie Stevens and Jordan Caffrey contributed well-placed hits in the line-up to score 6 runs in six innings.

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Dylan Pasnak, pitched a masterful 1-hitter to secure a solid defensive game and record the shut-out.

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In the above photo, #3 Adam Raseley is running to first base. PV’s record is now 11-2 for the season!

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Here, shortstop, Dan Hrbek, turns a self-assisted double-play as #13 Zack Werner slides into the second base for East Stroudsburg South.

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.

PV Baseball @ Northampton

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A cold and blustery day was the setting for Pleasant Valley’s second baseball games of the season. It seemed more like fall football weather instead of spring! In the photo above, Adam Raseley is tossing his bat toward the dugout after he walked at his at-bat.

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The weather did not stop the players from putting their game on the field. Here, Adam Raseley is throwing a ball he gobbled up on a grounder to record an out. Jordan Caffrey is playing first base. The PV infield was strong all through this game!

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Here, Travis Van Houten is eying up a pitch coming into his zone. PV strung together some good hits and capitalized on some costly errors made by Northampton. PV stayed on top to earn the victory and go 1-1 in the early 2013 season.

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Third baseman, Austin Yoffredo, is throwing to 1B to secure another out on defense.

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James Shank worked a count deep and received a base-on-balls twice in the late innings.

Opening Day!

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Opening Day of the Pleasant Valley Baseball Season took place today at Freedom High School in Bethlehem, PA. The wind was blustery and cold, but there was excitement in the air as the 2013 Baseball Season got under way!

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Howie Stevens took the mound for the PV Bears. The senior pitcher mixed it up with fast balls, curves, and change ups. He provided a very solid performance for the first game of the season and went the distance!

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Dylan Frankenfield took the mound for Freedom and also pitched a great game! He overcame a slight defensive problem in the first inning and pitched out of the trouble. His complete game was very solid, too!

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The game was scoreless through three innings. Then Freedom put together a good inning when PV committed a few errors. Freedom mixed in some well-placed hits and scored three runs to take the lead.

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Frankenfield came to the plate later in the game and hit an rbi single to go up 4-0.

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PV made a valiant effort in the bottom of the last inning to make a sizable threat. Hits by Stevens, Hrbek and Domenici helped to put a crooked number up with only one out in the inning!

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The Bears produced three runs to make it a one-run game. What an exciting Opening Day for both teams!

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To view more photographs from today’s game click on the following links:

Pleasant Valley Baseball

Freedom Baseball

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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PV Wins a Thriller in the Rematch

It was a rematch from a week before–Pleasant Valley vs. Stroudsburg, and it was a thriller!

As sometimes happens, all the hard-fought battles came down to a few huge plays. A flea flicker, a field goal, and an interception were the big plays as PV fought to victory on Saturday night. It was a game for the ages!

The first big play of the game didn’t take long to develop. A flea flicker put the ball back in Leap’s hands and he threw a bomb to his receiver, Romeo. So began the rematch  and subsequent plays would not disappoint. PV scored three touchdowns in the 1st half, which was reminiscent of the previous week’s game when Stroudsburg did the same.

The battle was fought out in the trenches on the line of scrimmage. This is typical from two well-matched teams, but few fans ever notice the battles fought here. Most watch the quarterback, running backs, and receivers, as they focus on the ball. But without these battles being won, the big plays would never develop. Stroudsburg fought back twice to eventually tie the game at 21. PV’s kicker, Jordan Caffrey was called on to break the tie with a 28-yard field goal attempt. Here, in the photo below, all eyes were on that ball as it made its way toward the goal post. The kick was good and this would be the play that propelled PV to victory in this thrilling rematch!

Stroudsburg was not finished though. They put together a final drive with hopes of getting into field goal range before time ran out. But Romeo had other plans. Just as his big reception started off the scoring for the evening’s rematch, an interception late in the fourth quarter stopped the scoring and the final drive. It was then just a matter of running a few plays for PV as time ran out.

The scoreboard shows the vital statistics of a game, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. It does not, for example, show the preparation that goes into a game like this, nor does it show the hard work of each player on the line of scrimmage as they battle it out play after play. Still, the scoreboard does indicate the victor, and on this night PV would not be denied. The rematch was a thriller and lets PV continue playing deeper into the playoffs! You can view more photos of this game here.