I thought it would be fun to write a blog about my experience photographing the TCU/Kansas NCAA Men's basketball game for USA Today Sports Images last night since it was a monumental upset and my first time dealing with fans and students rushing onto the court after the game.
For those that do not follow college basketball much, this game was a classic David versus Goliath scenario as Kansas is always a perennial power and came into the game with a 19-2 record while TCU on the other hand had a 9-12 record and had not won a conference game at all. I believe the Las Vegas experts had Kansas favored by 18 points and so I didn't have my hopes up for a good game! I'd be VERY wrong!
As I watched and concentrated on getting some quality game action shots, I was shocked at how both teams were really struggling to score. In fact, It was almost to the 5 minute mark in the first half before I think Kansas had more than 4 points! Yes, it was some very ugly basketball to watch for sure, but TCU was making a few shots here and there and holding a lead. Since it was a late 8pm CST tipoff, I had to go in to upload images at about the 6 minute mark before halftime and saw that TCU still held the lead while I was inside the media room.
Myself and most of the other photographers that were covering the game figured that Kansas would come out storming in the second half and play the way we are used to seeing them play, but that was not to be. TCU made clutch shots when they had to and Kansas made mistake after mistake after mistake! As the time in the game kept ticking down, I thought to myself, HOLY COW, this could be one of the biggest upsets of the year! I immediately put my 300mm lens away underneath the basketball goal and put on a 16-35 lens on one camera body and left the 70-200 lens on the other one.(I didn't want to have to drag around a 300mm while running into tons of jubilant fans on the court.)
In the final couple of minutes as it looked like TCU was going to hold on for the victory, I had to switch my thoughts from covering game action to figuring out how to capture the emotions and story of this big win.(Knowing full well that the students and fans would turn the court into one giant Mosh pit soon after the final buzzer sounded!) I personally like to shoot basketball games on the outside near to where the baseline and endline meet.( Especially now since I am using the full frame Canon 1DX cameras.) Well, at TCU, you have to be setup on the side closest to the TCU bench. This is normally fine, but in some instances players on the bench can get excited and jump right in front of you. So, I made sure to move close in to the goal for the last couple of minutes as I wanted to make sure that I wasn't blocked when TCU would be celebrating after the buzzer sounded. Luckily, as the horn went off I got a very clean shot of TCU players celebrating on their way back to the bench as well as the look of dejection in the Kansas players BEFORE the rush of fans stormed the court.(I had about 4 seconds to get the clean shot.)
My next thought was that I needed a good jubilation shot of TCU's leading scorer Garlon Green. So, I immediately looked for him and locked on to him before most of the fans would make moving around impossible. Luckily, some fans lifted Garlon up on their shoulders and it made a nice photo. Once I got that shot, I ran upstairs really quick to get an overall shot of the crowd and team on the floor before heading back down to grab a couple more celebration shots.
It was my first college basketball game where I got to experience fans rushing the court and it was awesome! It just goes to show you that on any given night, anything can happen! Here are some images of mine that were published last night and today...
You can see all of my photos from the game here... TCU-KANSAS PHOTOS
Congrats again to TCU for a great win!
This is on ESPN's Front Page...
Main page of Fox Sports...
Chicago Tribune Newspaper...
Fox Sports Kansas City...
Since the Washington Nationals are in the playoffs this year, I thought it would be fun to post some photos from a couple of their games I got to cover a few weeks ago. I hope to watch or photograph a game in every major league ballpark before I die as I think that would be awesome! Well, I can cross Nationals Park off my list now! It is an absolutely GORGEOUS ballpark and it was a ton of fun shooting there!
Here I am before the first game I shot...
Check out the AMAZING sunset!
A play at the plate and the Washington Nationals Phenom Bryce Harper.
I caught Bryce yawning before the second game.
I LOVE catching plays at second base!
Nationals second baseman Stephen Lombardozzi throws to first during the game.
The Nationals have the best mascot race with Teddy Roosevelt who until last week had lost EVERY single race! Congrats Teddy! The second photo is of Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon reacting after getting the last out of game one.
Last weekend, I covered the Alabama - Michigan game for US Presswire and thought I'd post a few shots from the day.
It was an early start as my assignment was to get some shots of ESPN's college Gameday before the actual game that night.
Here are the guys on set...
And a behind the scenes shot of the whole set...
Samantha Steele took over for Erin Andrews this year, so my editor wanted me to get a few shots of her as well.
Dallas Cowboys Owner, Jerry Jones, was on hand to pick games. You can also see that Lee Corso picked Alabama.
The Alabama fans were awesome!
I did manage to get a wifi code from the ESPN folks, but I had to edit and transmit from the back of my buddy's Ray's truck lol! Ray just had to take a pic...
Next was the game itself. Alabama took control early and never looked back!
Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson was considered a Heisman favorite before the game.(I don't think he's a favorite anymore.)
Alabama running back Eddie Lacy jumps over Michigan defenders.
Alabama Freshman running back T.J Yeldon had a coming out party for sure!
Robinson dives for extra yardage.
Alabama Tight End Michael Williams celebrates after scoring the first touchdown of the game.
Lots of Alabama celebrations.
Michigan head coach Brady Hoke doesn't look too happy.
Alabama coach Nick Saban looks much happier.
And here are a few images that were published...
Detroit Free Press
It was great to kick off some rust and shoot some football again! I'm excited for this season and will post a lot more this year!
The last gymnast that I was asked to photograph was probably one of my favorites at the whole summit! It was World Champion Vaulter McKayla Maroney and as soon as we met, I knew that we could create some pretty awesome photos! McKayla has such a fun and bubbly personality, I could definitely tell that she wasn't shy about having her photo taken! In fact, she was up for all of my crazy ideas and she looked great in all the shots!
Special thanks to my buddy Ford McClave for a few of these behind the scenes shots! In this one, I wanted to use the ringlight to bring out McKayla's eyes. I love the way the red and blue background complement her top as well! As you can see from the setup photo on the left, that light is VERY bright, but it makes for a more fashion forward look.
Next, we did a few fun shots with the balance beam. Since McKayla was sitting up on this one, it was necessary to have my back kicker lights vertical. I also placed the the stand up reflector in close for fill light.
This is probably one of my favorite shots from the whole summit as McKayla said she could jump up for one. At first, I thought to myself, yea yea, that won't look good because her body positions would be all over the place in the air and her hair would be in her face, etc... Well, we tried it and I was blown away at how she was able to have her arms and legs so PERFECT in the air! So, I had her do it a couple more times where her hair would fall in the right place and the results were stunning!
You can see the setup shot on the left below and the result on the right.
This shot was so cool, I had my retoucher Jennifer work on it and this is what we came up with for an Art Print... AMAZING!
We then went outside for a few casual ones... The sunlight was reflecting off the wall and it gave us a pretty fill light for McKayla's face on this one.
OK, McKayla might kill me for posting this one, but I think it totally shows her fun personality!
And here were a few published articles of McKayla with my photos I found as well...
I was so happy that all these girls brought home the Gold and just bummed that I couldn't make it over to London to witness it first hand. Maybe Rio in 2016? Congrats again McKayla!
The second gymnast that I photographed in Dallas was Aly Raisman out of Boston. At first, I thought Aly was a little shy, but by the end of the session, she was requesting poses! She was a lot of fun and we had a great time shooting. In fact, I'd love to photograph her again with my whole hair/makeup team as I have some cool ideas that we could try once we have more time! (Of course now that Aly is a famous Gold medal gymnast, she might get sick of photoshoots fast.)
Here are some shots from our session in May...
Here are a couple of Art prints that my retoucher Jennifer and I worked on...(Mainly Jennifer as she is amazing!)
Aly has a great smile!
I loved getting these "natural" shots as athletes NEVER seem to get any of them and it's nice to see them just being themselves!
This one was Aly's request and I liked it! (Well except for all the ugly pool stuff around, but we made it work!)
And here are a few articles I found of my pics and Aly...
Congrats again Aly! Look forward to working with you again soon!