Photo: American League Wild Card chase – Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles.

"Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon celebrates after recording the final out of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles Tuesday, September 27, 2011 in Baltimore. With the 8-7 victory, the Boston remained even with the Tampa Bay Rays atop the American League Wild Card Standings with one regular season game remaining."

I’m still trying to accept the fact that the most important games in baseball, or perhaps in all of sports right now, are being played in Baltimore. Last night, the American League Wild Card race continued at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, where the Boston Red Sox held on to an early lead to defeat the Baltimore Orioles 8-7 and remain tied with the Tampa Bay Rays atop the Wild Card standings. 

This race is so close that it’s literally going to come down to tonight’s game, the 162nd and last of the season. It could even require an extra one-game playoff to decide the winner. 

I shot lots of good action from the game last night, but decided to only post this photo of Papelbon celebrating a Red Sox victory, as that’s the main story line right now. I don’t want to post too much until this series is over and we’re able to see where everything stands. Regardless, this is the closest thing to playoff baseball Baltimore has seen in awhile (even though it’s not for the home team), and I loved the energy out there last night. 

Tonight should be more of the same. ESPN is in town to broadcast the game, the phones are ringing off the hook here, and the photo pits will be packed. So, here’s to my last game of the season (maybe)!

Baltimore Orioles Photography: Monday, September 26, 2011 vs. Boston Red Sox

"Baltimore Orioles designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero tips his helmet to the crowd after hitting a single in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox Monday, September 26, 2011 in Baltimore. This was his 2,587th career hit, moving him past Julio Franco as the all-time leader in hits by a Dominican-born player."

"Baltimore Orioles outfielders (L-R) Matt Angle, Adam Jones, and Nick Markakis, celebrate a victory over the Boston Red Sox Monday, September 26, 2011 in Baltimore."

"Baltimore Orioles second baseman Robert Andino reacts after receiving a shaving cream pie to the face after defeating the Boston Red Sox Monday, September 26, 2011 in Baltimore."

We’ve reached the last three games of the 2011 regular season at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. This is always a busy week around the stadium, but there’s a particular buzz in the air this time around. The American League Wild Card chase is on, and the Boston Red Sox, in the midst of an historic end-of-season collapse, play their final three games in Baltimore. This year’s playoff scenarios are coming down to the wire, and I’m pumped at the possibility of them being decided in Baltimore. 

The Sox were unable to beat the O’s last night, moving them into a tie with the Tampa Bay Rays for the AL Wild Card spot. I’ve got lots of good photos from last night, but I want to be careful about what I post, as there’s still lots of baseball left to be played. 

Last night’s game had a bit of everything: Playoff implications, a Dominican baseball record broken, a drunken fan running across the field, an inside the park home run, and a pie in the face, to mention a few.

This game’s “Thing I Learned:” Last night’s lesson will carry over for the entire week. Big time games call for big time photos! I shoot better pictures when there’s something at stake. I like the added pressure. 

Time for game two!

Baltimore Orioles Photography: Sunday, September 18, 2011 vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

"Baltimore Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy warms up in the on deck circle in the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Sunday, September 18, 2011 in Baltimore."

I’ve gotten the chance to go through all of my images from this weekend’s three games, and I’ve realized that I really didn’t have a great stretch shooting-wise. I managed to get some nice features, like this one, as well as some portraits, but when it came to action, I was a bit off for one reason or another. 

That doesn’t bother me much, though, which brings me to this game’s “Thing I Learned:” Like anything in life, in photography there are going to be days where you don’t shoot as well as you set out to. It’s just a part of it. I take it in stride and move on!

Baltimore Orioles Photography: Saturday, September 17, 2011 vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

"Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters stands on home plate during the National Anthem before the start of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Saturday, September 17, 2011 in Baltimore."

"Baltimore Orioles designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero jokes before the start of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Saturday, September 17, 2011 in Baltimore."

Again, there wasn’t much high action to be shot during last Saturday’s game, so I fooled around a bit and tried to look for something new.

This game’s “Thing I Learned:” After I take pictures of whoever is singing the National Anthem before each game, there’s always an awkward minute or two where I’m caught behind home plate with nothing to do but wait for the anthem to be over. So, this time I decided to make myself useful and try to make another picture to avoid yet again standing on the field doing nothing but awkwardly staring at the ground. 

Baltimore Orioles Photography: Friday, September 16, 2011 vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

"Baltimore Orioles second baseman Robert Andino turns a double play in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Friday, September 16, 2011."

There wasn’t too much action from this game. Sometimes, that’s just the way baseball is. 

I was very happy with this photo, though. 

Washington Capitals’ Ovechkin visits Camden Yards.

"Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin plays catch before throwing the ceremonial first pitch at Oriole Park at Camden Yards Friday, September 16, 2011 in Baltimore."

"Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin signs autographs before throwing the ceremonial first pitch at Oriole Park at Camden Yards Friday, September 16, 2011 in Baltimore."

I don’t know much about hockey, but having lived in Baltimore, I know that Alex Ovechkin is a big deal within the hockey world. He came to Camden Yards last Friday to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. 

Here’s two of many that I shot of him. 

Baltimore Orioles Photography: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 vs. Tampa Bay Rays

"Baltimore Orioles third baseman Chris Davis prepares to field a ground ball in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays Wednesday, September 14, 2011 in Baltimore."

"Baltimore Orioles left fielder Nolan Reimold catches a fly ball in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays Wednesday, September 14, 2011 in Baltimore."

"Baltimore Orioles pitcher Jeremy Guthrie pitches in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays Wednesday, September 13, 2011 in Baltimore."

This series finale was extremely slow in the way of action, so I continued on my trend from the night before and shot the game from some new angles

This time, I went all the way up to the upper deck for a few innings for a bird’s eye effect. I think this was an impulse I had that was a result of looking at so many pictures of tennis players shot from the upper deck in Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York. 

This game’s “Thing I Learned:”  The lesson here is essentially the same as the last game I shot.  Shooting sports from different angles of the stadium gives you different results. It sounds obvious, but sometimes it’s easy to get caught in a rut and shoot the same things over and over again. I like the look the upper deck provides. It makes the ordinary – an infielder getting set, an outfielder catching a fly ball, or a pitcher pitching – a more creative feel. 

Tampa Bay Rays.

"Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Johnny Damon flexes his muscles before a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles Tuesday, September 13, 2011 in Baltimore."

"Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria throws to first base in the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles Wednesday, September 14, 2011 in Baltimore."

"Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon talks with fans before a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles Tuesday, September 13, 2011 in Baltimore."

Here are a few of my shots of some of the notables on the Tampa Bay Rays. 

Baltimore Orioles Photography: Tuesday, September 13, 2011 vs. Tampa Bay Rays

"Baltimore Orioles third baseman Robert Andino jumps as he throws to first base in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays Tuesday, September 13, 2011 in Baltimore."

"Baltimore Orioles second baseman Ryan Adams attempts to tag Tampa Bay Rays center fielder B.J. Upton in the sixth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, September 13, 2011 in Baltimore."

"Baltimore Orioles right fielder slides into second base in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays Tuesday, September 13, 2011 in Baltimore."

Yesterday I hopped off the bus at Penn Station in Baltimore and headed straight to Oriole Park to shoot the game against the Tampa Bay Rays. I can’t remember beginning any other day shooting at the top of the Empire State Building and ending it shooting a professional baseball game in Baltimore. 

After looking at so many pictures over the past two weeks, I was excited to be shooting again, and I got some frames I was really happy with. I was only gone for two weeks, but it felt like I hadn’t missed a day. 

This game’s “Thing I Learned:” I left the photo pits and shot action from the concourse for the first time this season. We’re at the point where we’ve only got a handful of games left, so I want to mix things up and shoot from some different angles. I’ve shot from above before, but I was reminded last night that it’s important to get some different looks, especially when you shoot the same thing day in and day out. Shooting from above really accentuates a baseball field’s clean lines. 

The 2011 US Open through Photos

"2011 US Open men's singles champion Novak Djokovic (SRB)(1) poses with the US Open trophy atop the Empire State Building in New York City Tuesday, September 13, 2011."

"2011 US Open women's singles champion Samantha Stosur (AUS)(9) poses with the US Open trophy in Times Square Monday, September 12, 2011."

I’m currently on the Bolt Bus on my way back to Baltimore from New York City after an amazing two weeks working as a photo editor and photographer for usopen.org at the 2011 US Open. 

My main responsibility was to work alongside a photo team in editing images of US Open matches and events shot by our team of photographers. This involved cropping and resizing, as well as adjusting saturation, levels, sharpness, and curves. I also built organized, created, and produced a large collection of photo galleries. We were told last night that we had uploaded over 3, 300 photographs over the two week period. Given that high volume of photos, the work was monotonous and hectic at times, but after working for a website that gets approximately 35 million page views worldwide on each day of the tournament, I leave feeling very accomplished. 

I also got to shoot more photographs than I anticipated, which I’m thrilled about. In the hours I wasn’t working, I spent my time on the courts or around the grounds, making pictures and adding to my portfolio. Life as a photographer can be pretty exciting sometimes. As you can see, yesterday I was in Times Square with the women’s champion, and this morning I was on top of the Empire State Building with the men’s winner. 

That being said, the daily grind of the tournament definitely took a toll on me. Traveling an hour and a half to and from the National Tennis Center on the subway every day was grueling. I worked the night shift, which kept me there until midnight or later just about every night. 

I was tired at times, but I’ll remember this experience most for the people I was around. I’m grateful for the incredible usopen.org staff for their help, advice, and inspiration. I was able to make lots of new connections, and got a taste of the New York City media lifestyle. I’m also thrilled to have met up with so many friends I haven’t seen in  awhile I was there, and I’m glad to have yet again worked alongside Ben Snyder for another media adventure (also, thanks for the NYC pad!).

Tonight, it’s back to work at the O’s!

Below is a list of galleries comprised of photographs I took:

  1. Monday, August 29, 2011, Day 2: USTA Serves Night
  2. Wednesday, August 31, 2011, Day 3: Ivanovic/Zimonjic vs. Chan/Fyrstenberg
  3. Thursday, September 1, 2011, Day 4: A walk through the Grounds
  4. Sunday, September 3, 2011, Day 6: US Open From The Ground Up
  5. Monday, September 5, 2011, Day 8: Around the grounds
  6. Monday, September 12, 2011, Day 15: Olympus Photos of the Day

Below is a list of galleries I created or contributed to: 

  1. Thursday, August 25, 2011, Qualifying Round: Nadal Tennis Clinic
  2. Thursday, August 25, 2011, Qualifying Round: Draw Ceremony
  3. Tuesday, August 30, 2011, Day 2: Night Matches on Ashe
  4. Wednesday, August 31, 2011, Day 3: Sharapova vs. Yakimova
  5. Thursday, September 1, 2011, Day 4: Djokovic vs. Berlocq
  6. Thursday, September 1, 2011, Day 4: Azarenka vs. Dulko
  7. Thursday, September 1, 2011, Day 4: King vs. Gajdosova
  8. Friday, September 2, 2011, Day 5: Blake vs. Ferrer
  9. Friday, September 2, 2011, Day 5: Roddick vs. Sock
  10. Friday, September 2, 2011, Day 5: Kirilenko vs. McHale
  11. Saturday, September 3, 2011, Day 6: Ivanovic vs. Stephens
  12. Saturday, September 3, 2011, Day 6: Tsonga vs. Verdasco
  13. Saturday, September 3, 2011, Day 6: Stars at the Open
  14. Saturday, September 3, 2011, Day 6: Djokovic vs. Davydenko
  15. Sunday, September 4, 2011, Day 7: Murray vs. Lopez
  16. Sunday, September 4, 2011, Day 7: Lisicki vs. Zvonareva
  17. Monday, September 5, 2011, Day 8: Federer vs. Monaco
  18. Thursday, September 8, 2011, Day 11: Federer vs. Tsonga
  19. Thursday, September 8, 2011, Day 11: Court 13
  20. Saturday, September 10, 2011, Day 13: Quarterfinal: Kerber vs. Stosur
  21. Saturday, September 10, 2011, Day 13: Semifinal: Murray vs. Nadal
  22. Saturday, September 10, 2011, Day 13: Men’s Doubles Final
  23. Saturday, September 10, 2011, Day 13: Semifinal: Wozniacki vs. Williams
  24. Monday, September 12, 2011, Day 15: Stars at the Open
  25. Monday, September 12, 2011, Day 15: Men’s Final: Nadal vs. Djokovic
  26. Monday, September 12, 2011, Day 15: Men’s Final Goes Into the Night