Even seasoned pros sometimes are in awe of a legendary figure. I have covered many events in my life and met some amazing people, but this past weekend my goal was to meet and take a photo of Joe Pa. Goal accomplished. In every job no matter what, you need to set a goal. Setting goals keeps you focussed and gives you a great deal of confidence when your goal is achieved. My goal on Saturday was to get a good photo of the legendary coach whether it ever saw the light of day in any paper or magazine. I wanted it for my own reasons. Sometimes personal goals and business goals can be shared and will benefit each other. While studying the coach and looking for the shot I wanted, I took several other photos that have been published already. In this image Joe Pa is looking around the stadium as if reflecting on a friend and fellow colleague the “Bear”. This is the image I wanted and he may not have thought of Coach Bryant at any point, but I’d like to think this was his moment to say goodbye to a friend.
When covering a sporting event your goal is to capture the defining moment in a game that in one photo can tell the whole story. In this photo of Eryck Anders hit on Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert in the final moments of the game is the defining moment. Texas had a chance to drive the field and go for the win. Alabama’s defense had another plan and that was to disrupt that opportunity at all cost. On the second play of that drive Anders hit Gilbert causing a fumble and Alabama recovered. A few plays later Mark Ingram scored the touchdown to seal the win for Alabama. One play, one moment, and history is defined.
Covering Talladega is like a box a chocolates, you never know what you are going to get. As stated in an earlier post patience is the key for a moment like this. You have to be ready to press the button at any second and this whole sequence of photos only took 4 seconds. Several photographers around me didn’t get the shot because their cameras were down by their side and you can’t react quick enough. The key lesson to learn is photography is not a reaction it is a readiness for something to happen. You have to anticipate the moment before and then record it. On the last lap at Talladega anything can happen and usually does, so anticipating a close ending can result in many things from a clean pass to win, a block to hold onto the win, or as in this case a wreck for the history books. Plan and you will get the shot no matter what the outcome will be.
As a photographer you sometimes have to take what mother nature gives you and this year she has given a little more than usual. Weather always adds to a photo. Whether it is clouds, a storm, or as in this picture human interaction with the weather. This cheerleader was enjoying life to the fullest in a downpour. So the next time weather dampens your photo experience, look around it might just lead to something that makes you appreciate the simple things in life. A dance in the Rain.
The spring race had a nice surprise on the last lap as Flippin Carl Edwards flipped through the tri-oval. This weekends race should even be more exciting with the just a few races left in the championship. I shot more pictures in the last 10 minutes of that race than I did in the first 180 laps. Patience is the lesson to learn, you can’t force a photograph you just have to be ready to capture the moment when it happens. Study your subject and anticipate when and where you need to be. Preparation is a key to catching the moment. Know you subject and put yourself in the right positions.
Before the snap I was begging for a play to my side since the last 10 went away from me. I saw the quarterback pulling towards me and started panning with him. Shooting a frame or two it was not very interesting then he decided that from the 5 yard line he could dive for the end zone giving up a great shot. Excitement quickly changed as I realized now he would end up in my lap and of course mom calls the next day and says “Saw you on tv when that player ran over you.” Thanks mom. Hope you enjoy
Some of the best sports photos of all times have come from off the field. Don’t get me wrong I love the action shots too and spend most of my efforts trying to capture those moments. However, I love to search the sidelines and dugouts in between plays looking for anything that might grab my attention. Everyone can shoot this type of shot without all the high tech and long lenses, it just takes awareness. So the next time your wanting to get a shot to remember turn around and see what awaits.