Penn State ended its 2013 football season on a high note tonight, but here’re a few action-feature photos from the two regular-season games I shot this year. (I did shoot the spring Blue-White game, and did video for a third regular-season game.)
Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category
The first high school football game of the season is tomorrow, and we’re sending folks to cover Penn State’s first game on Saturday. With that in mind, here’re a few pictures I made last year while working on a story about pee wee football.
For one and a half years, practically every fall evening as I drove back to the office via Parkway Boulevard, I’d see miniscule football players running through drills and practices. Finally, my interest had been sufficiently piqued and, one evening, I pulled over, observed the final minutes of practice and chatted up one of the fathers who was making sure his son wasn’t slacking. Then he introduced me to the coach, and after that, I was at practice at least once a week.
After following the “rinkies” for about a month, I pulled the story together with this basic summary:
After an undefeated regular season — and not allowing first downs or touchdowns in all but the last game — the Boys Club of York Red Raiders’ rink varsity football team lost the York County Youth Football Association championship game 12-0 to West York’s rink varsity football team on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, at Northeastern High School. The “rinkies” are 7-8-year olds who had practiced every weekday from August through the beginning of November on a field just off Parkway Boulevard in York. This team of rinkies has played together for three years so far and, despite three consecutive undefeated seasons, has yet to claim a league championship title.
Happy football season, everybody!
Softball picture from forever ago:
Today, the York Catholic girls played their seventh state championship game in the past eight seasons.
Today, they lost 45-38 to Bishop Canevin.
But — they lost with grace.
I began following the team’s journey this morning after I checked in with the student tailgate outside the Giant Center:
After the game, tears:
And a pep talk:
I’d like to thank the girls for letting me follow them around, even inside the locker room, and being completely normal about it. They’re a class act, a strong team and wonderful people.
For more coverage:
- Check out the full slideshow of photos I took today
- Read reporter Matt’s game story
- Watch photographer Jason’s video about Morgan Klunk’s mother watching her last game
My first-ever cheerleading assignment took me to the YAIAA Cheerleading Championship, where seven teams competed in two divisions. It was a lot of fun, especially with the presence of the youth cheerleaders who performed showcase, non-competition routines. If I shoot this next year, I’ll definitely take my shooting to the next level, but nevertheless — this was fun.
I love shooting basketball. It was the first sport I ever shot (thanks for throwing me in, Rae) and much of my first winter in York was spent covering high school games. This season, not so much, oddly enough. But here’s a collection of some reaction-oriented feature pictures — or jubilation, or “jube” — from the post-season.
And, to end on a joyous note, four pictures from the York Catholic girls’ eighth consecutive district title win — which, by the way, is a District 3 record:
For me at least, it’s easy to forget, after covering some of these girls for three seasons, that they’re just girls. They’re still in high school. They’re just kids. Then you get off the court, and they’re jumping and whooping and giving each other piggy-back rides back to the locker room, where they then break out into song and run around and remind you that they’re still girls, and that’s totally okay.
When I asked fellow photographer Kate about shooting wrestling at Milton Hershey School, she gave me two really good tips: Use a 300, and shoot from the track level.
I understand wrestling just enough to shoot it, so I’ve never tried to have fun with it before. Today, I did just that by acting on her tips. Thanks Kate!
As soon as I made this picture at Saturday’s Penn State game…
…I immediately thought of this picture from another, very different Penn State game:
In the 48 hours between Friday evening and earlier today, I covered three football games.
- Saturday: Penn State lost 35-23 to Ohio State.
(View more game photos here.)
- Today: The Red Raiders of Boys Club of York defeated the Blackhawks of Eastern York County 12-6.
I’ve been following York’s pee wee football team — specifically, the Red Raider rinkies, who are 7-8 years of age — for an upcoming photo story. These are just a few shots from today’s game, but I’ve been covering practices, and also shot their last regular-season game.
As for today? After their third undefeated regular season, the Red Raiders had a bye week in the first round of playoffs and, today, won their semifinal game. They play West York in next week’s championships.
So, even though I just shot my last Penn State game of the season, there’s still more football to come. But for now, it’s time to prepare for upcoming Sandy/Frankenstorm coverage.
When the York Revolution lost the playoffs last month, they completed not only their post-season chance for a third Atlantic League championship — they also completed manager Andy Etchebarren’s career.
The day started well enough. The Revs had lost the first two games in their best-of-five series, but spirits were high:
Then the Barnstormers started racking up runs, and the Revs just couldn’t keep up.
After shooting last season’s Champagne-soaked playoff jubilation and championship victory, covering the swift end of the Revs’ post-season play and the quiet conclusion of Etchebarren’s storied career was a little strange.
Etch has managed the Revs for only three and a half seasons, but because I’ve shot those last two seasons (and was never too familiar with Etch’s career with the Orioles), it’s hard for me to separate Etch from the Revs, and vice-versa. I think I haven’t worked long enough in one place as a photojournalist to have developed a distant- or vast-enough perspective of time and the changes it brings. Sometimes, when I look back on my body of work, I’m surprised by how much I’ve covered and how much of it I’d forgotten about until reviewing it. Then I remind myself that I’ve been working professionally for just over a year and generally for barely six years — and that’s really just a drop in the bucket, in the grand scheme of things.
So maybe someday, in a few years or 20, I’ll forget that Etch was here when I first started working in York, at least until I review my work again. In the meantime, I can hardly imagine next season without his presence on the field, but I’ll find out soon enough what that’s like. Soon enough in the grand scheme of things, that is.
(Be sure to check out some more photos from Etch’s last game.)
Shot my second Penn State game of the season yesterday. It’s also now exactly a year to the day that I got knocked over by two high school football players, couldn’t walk for about 10 minutes and suffered an impact fracture at the top of my tibia — all of which is relevant because shooting football even a year later can be a little painful.
But it was one of my better games to shoot. Take that, knee.
It also rained a bit. Nothing dramatic — just a steady drizzle — so when the sun came out and finally created enough contrast for the water droplets to show up in-camera, I seized it:
I guess I’d be angry, too, if I were getting tackled:
It’s almost ballet-like, the way it seems as if Rumer is lifting Zordich. Almost:
And finally, a “whaaa–?” moment from QB1 and coach:
Be sure to check out more photos on the YDR website!
The last time I shot Navy football, I was pretty frustrated. Not because the Midshipmen defeated the Missouri Tigers in the Texas Bowl, but because their triple-option offense utterly confused me and had me falling for more than a few fake plays.
The last time I shot Penn State football was the first game without Joe Paterno. The second-to-last time I shoot Penn State football was Joe Paterno’s last game — a victory that got him the title of the winningest Division I football coach. And all that was stripped when the NCAA vacated all the Nittany Lions’ wins since 1998.
Which made yesterday’s victory over Navy Penn State’s first victory since 1997 — and Bill O’Brien’s first win as head coach.
A lot has happened since the first time I stepped inside Beaver Stadium. But, as I walked onto the sidelines yesterday, all I could think about was how not to fall for more fake plays in the Midshipmen’s offense.
I think I did reasonably okay. You can check out all the (action) photos on YDR’s website, but here’re a few of my favorites:
On an unrelated note: Armed with editor Brad’s iPad, I was able to tweet out a few photos — from my DSLRs — during the game. The signal was pretty shaky at times, but it was a neat exercise in being actually digital-first. Editor Eileen had reassured me before the game that tweeting wasn’t my priority and, if it felt overwhelming, that I could just put it aside. But I had a lot of fun with it (at least, when the signal worked), didn’t let it get in my way and got some good feedback from Twitter as well as fellow photographers on the sidelines.
Would I do it again? Absolutely.
The first time I ever shot boxing was also the first time the main-event, hometown favorite lost as a professional.
Fortunately for me, I got to test out vantage points and shoot several amateur and pro matches before Carney “Beeper” Bowman took the ring. The Valencia Ballroom — where high schools host their proms and older societies hold their formal events — seemed like a strange boxing venue, but I did my best to have fun with it.
Check out Jim’s article, which sums up and reports Bowman’s first professional loss much better than I ever could, and which includes a few other photos as well.
I’m pretty sure every fall sport had a scrimmage this past weekend, and begins this full season this week. So last week, my editor sent me hunting down some practices between assignments. Here’s what I found:
Maybe it’s because it’s been so terribly long since I’ve been in school, but this summer really flew by. It feels like I just shot West York’s baseball championship game a few weeks ago, and I can’t believe we’re on the brink of football season. Suffice it to say, I’m keeping a bottle of Alleve in my camera bag… and will do my best to avoid further football injuries this year.
The celebration didn’t end with the Bulldogs’ infield pile-up after they clinched their first-ever state championship win.
Something I’ve observed and come to appreciate about West York athletics is its close ties to the community. I’ve only shot a few of the program’s different sports, but at the conclusion of every game — win or lose — the West York fans line up as close to the playing field as they can get, and the players and coaches come to them to give each fan a high-five or hug. This tradition can be really exciting to observe when they win, or really heart-wrenching to see when they lose, but either way, it’s something I’ve never seen anywhere else, and I now look forward to it each time I shoot a West York game.
As befitting a team that won state and a community that stands proudly behind its team no matter what, West York threw its champions a small parade and hosted an assembly in the gym earlier this week. Check out the video I produced, which features some Wes Anderson-y editing in one section:
Summer means baseball, and in these parts, that means a) the York Revolution and b) local league ball.
I’d never shot at Stewartstown’s field before, nor had I ever seen a similar setup. The playing surface is maybe six feet below the ground on which the nearby community building stood, and the fence serving as the backstop extends all the way to the dugouts, whose roofs rise about three feet above ground level. So, after securing the home team manager’s permission, I camped out on their dugout roof while I covered the game.
With that vantage point and some gorgeous evening light, I got to make baseball pictures I’ve never made before.
For example, twin dirt clods:
Evening light was insanely nice. And the game was moving at a pace where I felt like I could relax and make pictures, not just shoot-shoot-shoot.
I’d never shot on a field with such nice, selective light on a pitcher:
The sun soon faded beyond the horizon, and the light evened out on the playing field. Then I noticed that the pitchers — from both teams — had dug quite a hole into the pitching mound. Never saw that before, either:
So, combined with the nice angle-of-light and the higher vantage points possible, I’m excited for the next time I shoot at Stewartstown.
Yesterday, I went to State College not for Penn State (for once) but, rather, a local team making its first state championship baseball game appearance. West York, who had lost the district semifinal football game last fall to Lampeter-Strasburg, was facing them again — this time, for the state title in baseball.
Sure enough, the West York Bulldogs delivered their comeuppance in a 9-6 victory over the L-S Pioneers.
As the only photographer sent to the game, I was responsible for two section fronts, a slideshow’s worth of photos, a video and, of course, a bit of social media as well. After some pre-trip brainstorming with editor Brad and fellow photographer Jason, I walked into the stadium three hours before West York and L-S took the field, and started working right away: I explored the stadium, found the team and didn’t stop until after the game was over.
The game itself wasn’t my best in terms of shooting for action. Unlike any other high school baseball game or even any Revs game, I was pretty limited in my mobility by the officials as well as by the geography of the dugouts. But, as reporter John assured me, state championship games are all about emotion — and I did get plenty of that.
For my video — thanks to Jason’s suggestion — I focused on the starting pitcher, Kaden Hepler, who ended up pitching 23 of 26 innings in West York’s state playoff games:
Check out a slideshow of more photos, too.
I had only shot one track-and-field competition — and, since I was to focus only on the track events, I had never shot any field events — until I was assigned to make pictures of Jared Allison.
At the time that reporter John and I followed Jared during one of his pole-vaulting training sessions at an indoor facility, the high school senior had his eye on breaking the state record and capturing the gold at the state championships, which were about a month away.
I did my best in the indoor facility. The light situation was terrible. One end of the large, tall-ceilinged room was lit with blue-white fluorescents, the other end (where the landing pad was) was lit with dim orange lamps and finally, just beyond the landing pad, were windows that let in a good amount of sunlight. Not the ideal situation for decent white balance.
But I had fun. Pole-vaulting is such a fundamentally strange sport, as John alluded to in his profile of Jared, and I had never shot it before. So it was a challenge on multiple levels — lighting and exposure, the novelty of the sport — but it was fun.
Be sure to check out John’s full article, which includes more photos.
And as for the state championship? Jared didn’t get the gold or break the state record — but that’s okay.
I’ve only shot softball three times (including a doubleheader, so four games), and every time, Central York has won.
More significantly, each time I’ve covered their games, the Panthers have won by scoring a run in either the last inning in regulation or the last, pre-tiebreaker inning.
The first time:
And the third — last night’s:
Last night, I shot a spectacularly weird football game. It was played on the ice rink… with turf carpets laid directly on top of the ice:
It was an American Indoor Football league exhibition-style game, and it was by far the strangest one I’ve photographed. The “field” was 50 yards long, and the goalposts were suspended from the ceiling. Early in the first quarter, management decided to have the game played in only one direction after a player slid on the carpet — which then slipped on the ice — in the far end zone.
Most significantly, the players and the ball were prone to crash into the crowd at any point.
Almost as significantly, the unevenness of the turf carpet meant extra caution had to be taken.
But everyone seemed to have fun. And if the higher-ups think the game was a big-enough hit, who knows? Maybe one day York will have its own indoor football team.