Magazine Cover Photo: Nick Markakis

"Young Harris College 'Echoes' alumni magazine: Fall/Winter 2011 Cover."

Here’s my first formal magazine cover!

While I was working as a photographer for the Baltimore Orioles this summer, editors of the “Echoes” alumni magazine at Young Harris College in northern Georgia contacted me requesting photos of Orioles right fielder, Nick Markakis, for a cover story they planned to run about him. If you weren’t aware, Markakis played his college ball at Young Harris. 

Click here to see the rest of the magazine, as well as the article itself, which includes more photos. 

This is a low resolution version of the cover, so I’ll be sure to post a better image once I get a hard copy of the magazine. Regardless, this is a great addition to my portfolio!

Hopefully this will be the first of many covers to come. 

Reflections: Year two at the Baltimore Orioles

"Baltimore Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis hits a home run during a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians Saturday, July 16, 2011."

I’m here at the yard for the last day of my second year as a photographer for the Baltimore Orioles. What can I say? It was another amazing summer consumed by two of my favorite things in life: photography and baseball. 

I did a lot this year. Since I got here in mid-June, I shot 30 home games. I also traveled with players to various community outreach events throughout Baltimore City and County. Many of my photographs were published in this year’s third edition of Orioles Magazine, as well as several Baltimore newspapers and community publications. I also worked tirelessly on the Orioles photography archives, which are in the ridiculously long process of being categorized and converted to digital format. Over these past several months, I scanned, in their entirety, the files of 60 players dating back to 1954. In total, I scanned over 4,000 images, but likely closer to 4,500. I also fulfilled image requests from other departments, local media outlets, and other teams throughout the league. 

It’s a little bittersweet now that it’s over. I love every second of being out there on the field right where the action is, and for me, shooting the games never gets old. At the same time, though, this job is intense, and can be extremely time consuming. Needless to say, I’m excited for a bit of a break after lots of hard work. I also know that I won’t miss much action during the offseason (besides the annoying sound of the scanners next to my computer all day long.)

What I will miss, of course, are the people who make this such an incredible experience for me. I owe my most sincere thanks to Todd Olszewski, the team photographer, for calling me back this year, imparting his photo expertise on me, and constantly inspiring me with his work. I also owe thanks to all the photographers I work alongside at each game for making work such an enjoyable place to come to every day, and for their advice and wisdom about this profession. 

I’m not quite sure what’s next, but I know something great will come up. Until then, here’s to two seasons!

A broken bat shot.

"Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters breaks his bat in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox Tuesday, September 27, 2011 in Baltimore."

I’ve been waiting all season for one of these to happen. Go figure it took me until game 161 to get it. I wish the bat had broken more, because I was all over this at-bat. This doesn’t look like much as far as broken-bat shots go, but I’m still happy I got one. 

Baltimore Orioles Video Highlight Reel: My Time

Here’s my first video work published for the Baltimore Orioles. This video ran on the scoreboard at Camden Yards between innings throughout the last month of the season. 

I owe a special thanks to Ben Epstein of Orioles Productions for his killer editing of this reel. Not all of the clips that appear in this video are mine, but most of them are. It’s a combination of footage I shot handheld with my Canon 7D and footage shot by the television camera crew. 

As for what to look for, I shot about every photo that appears in the opening montage, and my video clips have a more handheld look and play with focus and depth of field a lot more. I’d say they make for about 80% of the video. 

It feels great to have gotten some video published this season, and it was always wild to see my own work up on the scoreboard during games. 

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: 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. 

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. 

Baltimore Orioles Photography: Sunday, July 17, 2011 vs. Cleveland Indians

"Baltimore Orioles second baseman Robert Andino dives for a ball in the third inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians Sunday, July 17, 2011 in Baltimore."

"Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones flies out in the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians Sunday, July 17, 2011 in Baltimore."

We’ve officially reached the dog days of summer. This day game against the Indians was hot – so hot that I somehow managed to leave the game with a tan line around my left eye from my camera eyepiece. 

95 degree plus heat can be pretty draining, but I always feel a larger sense of accomplishment after those days, particularly when I come out with good pictures. So as I sat there sweating profusely and periodically leaning into the dugout to catch a hint of air conditioning, I managed to get some nice shots.

I’m still kicking myself over this Andino frame. I had the feeling that the ball would be hit his way, so I sat on him throughout the whole at bat. Sure enough, when it did go his way, I was ready to shoot it. It turns out I was a bit off with my focus, though, so although this photograph is sharp, I know it could have been even sharper. I was happy with this compressed bat-on-ball shot of Adam Jones, so I posted that as well. 

This game’s “Thing I Learned:” Take an extra second to be absolutely sure that your shot will be in focus. I tend to set my focus too quickly and assume that the auto-focus will take care of the rest.