It’s going to be hard to top 2012. I am blessed to do what I love for a living.
My final year at OU came to a close this spring, where I was fortunate enough to photograph the best season in the history of the school’s basketball program. Alumni Gary Trent was recognized at half time of the rivalry game against Miami, and brought down the house with an acceptance speech as his jersey was hung from the rafters of the Convo.
One of my most influential mentors, Erika Schultz, always told me to edit by emotion. This image from the MAC championships in February is one of my favorite moments from my time with the athletic department.
I once again had the pleasure to photograph the Arnold Sports Festival in March, one of the coolest sports photography assignments ever.
At an event covered by hundreds of photographers, our team was given behind-the-scenes access that allowed us to make unique and surprising images.
During some down time preparing for another game, I headed out to the court at the Q and shot the end of the women’s championship game for fun. With no client to shoot for, I made this detail image laying on the ground under a pair of ladders. So far, it wasn’t bad luck.
As I followed the men’s basketball team to the MAC tournament, I looked for moments that told the story of what would become a historic run for the Bobcats.
Seeing Ivo Baltic embrace his father, Alojz after the Bobcats’ championship win was definitely a highlight, and a perfect “this is why we do this” moment for me.
Out of all the celebration images from their run to the Sweet 16, Stevie Taylor’s look of disbelief in the final minutes of the Michigan game says it all. The Bobcats really were on a special journey.
In late April I returned to the SportsShooter Academy to learn from some of the best sports photographers in the world. I was especially moved by advice from Seattle photographer Rod Mar, who has been a role model to me since I found a love for sports photography.
I often joke that sports photography requires photographers to be in as good of shape as their subjects. While covering the Pittsburgh Marathon with good friend and Getty staffer Jared Wickerham, I ran with across a bridge while shooting with my camera above my head, much to the entertainment of the runners.
On a sunny day in June, I graduated from Ohio after four years in the photojournalism program.
After a week of vacation, I moved to Illinois to start the next chapter of my career as a staff photographer at The Southern Illinoisan.
As Illinois bore the brunt of one of the hottest summers on record, hot weather features were a regular occurrence. I happily got splashed a couple times to make this frame at Attucks Park.
While baseball isn’t my favorite sport to shoot, covering the Miners on a regular basis this summer gave me the flexibility to experiment with my creative approach- it took a couple games to find the right light and angle to make this multiple exposure.
As the summer wore on, the effects of the drought became much more obvious. It was incredible to see first hand how much local farmers were struggling to get by.
Bad weather makes for good pictures, and this feature from the first week of football season was a welcome sign after months without much rain.
One of my goals this year was to improve at shooting community features, and the string of late summer festivals was perfect opportunity to do so.
Sometimes pictures are incredibly obvious. As I walked back to the field at half time of a Vienna football game, I noticed the team was taking turns at the edge of the woods, as there were no convenient restrooms to use.
After a long summer covering the Miners, it was fun to document their late-season run to the championship.
My professor Marcy was always adamant about finding interesting pockets of light. I showed up early for a boxing assignment and found the sun setting into the room where the fighters were getting ready. A mirror etched with beer company logos created the pattern of light on the left side of Shane’s face.
Over the weekend of covering the Southern Illinois Hunting and Fishing days, I kept trying to make this image. I didn’t get it until the final night, when the dogs were jumping their farthest in the late-afternoon light.
Covering spot news is one of the most difficult parts of being a photojournalist. I saw crews arrive at the scene of this accident as I headed back to the office from an assignment, and made this frame quickly before putting down the camera to be a human being.
Sometimes you just get lucky. Moments like this flip by SIU’s Mika’il McCall are the reason I shoot through every play, no matter how seemingly boring it is.
I love shooting behind the scenes at productions, even if it’s just a group of Irish dancers at the city park. I was drawn to the clean background of sheets hung between the posts of a picnic pavilion, and just waited for a moment to happen.
Working the afternoon-evening shift means I am normally out shooting at sunset. After about an hour hunting features, I ended up at the SIU tennis courts by the stadium and made this frame in the final five minutes of light for the day.
One of my favorite sports assignments was traveling with the Harrisburg football team to their state quarterfinal game against Rochester. As the Bulldogs trailed 49-0 by half time, I put away my long glass and shot features the rest of the night. When the sun broke through in the final minutes of the game I laid down on the ground and made this image of quarterback Ryne Roper, who was reflecting on the end of his team’s season.
When I was told I would be photographing a pair of runners from two different teams, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to use a location that was obviously at one of their schools. Inspired by the Christoffer Relander series We Are Nature, I decided to try my hand at a double-exposure portrait. While the end result wasn’t perfect, I learned a great deal about how to execute the technique, and can’t wait to get better at it.
I woke on one of my days off to find a heavy blanket of fog had covered Carbondale well in to the late morning. I counted my blessings when I saw two students, dressed in red, playing patty-cake between two of the Brush Towers dormitories on my way to the gym.
Basketball is serious business in southern Illinois. After lighting The Convo for years at OU, I set out to do the same for my coverage of prep games for the paper. By lighting the court directly, I was able to accentuate the diamond-patterned ceiling at Harrisburg High School.
While I may not be a morning person in the slightest, I was more than happy to head out at the break of dawn to cover the Wounded Warrior Hunt, and was rewarded with wonderful early-winter light.
One of my favorite feature assignments was making images behind the scenes at the Nutcracker ballet at SIU.
Looking back, it continues to amaze me how lucky I am to be working behind a camera for a living. The unlimited variety truly is the spice of life.