Posts Tagged ‘sports’
German sports photographer Peter Langenhahn has an interesting way of documenting the important moments in a sporting event. Instead of showing them each in a separate photograph, he shoots events from a distant perspective and combines the important moments into a single image afterward. For example, one of his panoramas shows every single foul called throughout the course of a soccer match. After shooting up to 3,000 photos during an event, he spends up to 2-3 months combining them into a photo thats 100 GB in size and takes 6 hours just to save.
If you want to know the ins and outs of shooting a college basketball game, check out this awesome behind-the-scenes video with pro sports photographer Miguel Olivella. In it, he walks us through things like where to be, what gear to use, camera settings, and various tricks he has under his sleeve that help him get the perfect shot.
(via Scott Kelby)
The Super Bowl isn’t just the biggest event in the NFL season, but one of the biggest events for the world’s best sports photographers each year. Here’s a neat behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to shoot the Super Bowl as a Sports Illustrated photographer.
(via f stoppers)
Dean Blotto Gray of BLOTTO PHOTTO is the Burton Snowboards Principal Photographer.
If there’s one small joy in life that I look forward to every year, it’s probably the Burton product catalog, which always features an eye-catching mix of creative product photography, cutting-edge board and page design, and breathtaking location photos.
If you’ve snagged a copy of this year’s catalog, The Good Book, Blotto’s shots are featured in some of the spreads.
With so many riders on the mountain, snowboarding photography is also an integral part for individual riders to stand out from the crowd and get mainstream exposure and street cred.
Snowboard and ski photography are perhaps the most physically demanding types of sports photography, oftentimes set in the dangerous and extreme weather locations. At the same time, it’s got a youthful style and high energy culture that is very apparent in Blotto’s work.
PetaPixel: Can you give us some background about yourself; what you do, where you’re based, and how you became a photographer?
Blotto: I grew up in Arizona and Texas during my younger years, but Phoenix became my home starting in Grade 6. By this time I was consumed with riding BMX bikes, which led to racing at the local tracks until my mid-teens. Around this time I found skateboarding and that took over until this day. Once college entered my life, snowboarding did to. After the very first run I ever took on a snowboard, I knew this was what I wanted to do because it was like skateboarding on the mountains, total freedom to adventure.
I eventually moved to Colorado, Utah and Oregon to pursue a life in the snowboarding industry, but not as a professional rider. My friends and I started a small snowboarding company selling t-shirts, hats and bindings, so out of necessity I picked up the camera because we needed to produce our own images for our marketing materials. In 1999, I took a position at Burton Snowboards, which eventually led to this Principal Photographer role. My home base is Burlington, Vermont, which happens to be the world headquarters for Burton.
My official job title is Burton Snowboards Principal Photographer. It’s a year round position that keeps me on the road documenting their professional snowboarding team as they compete, film and tour. The photographic materials are used for Burton’s advertisements, catalogs, editorial purposes plus my website, photo shows and books.
PP: How do you get around the mountain/locations while you shoot? Do you ride, too?
B: A snowboarding background is ideal to document the life and times of the athletes because you’re in the mountains about seventy-five percent of the time. Everything we do is one-hundred percent team work based…picking locations, traveling, building the features out of snow, accessing alpine zones, getting home safe at the end of the day and being able to relate to your subjects around you.
When shooting in the alpine environment, we access mountain areas via chairlifts, hiking, snowmobiles and helicopters. Your mode of transportation is dependent on where you are in the world and what your snowboarding goals ultimately are. I prefer hiking to snowmobiling, but I also spend as much time as possible shooting from the helicopter so I can document the snowboarder’s action from above…it makes for a very unique perspective not always seen in action sports. We also spend a great deal of time in any given city that has seen significant snowfall. Using cement, metal and architecture is a treat because it differs so much from the alpine regions.
PP: Which did you start first: riding or photography?
B: Started snowboarding in 1992, picked up a Canon 35mm SLR in 1997.
PP: How do you bring your gear on a photo shoot? Do you have a special photo bag you prefer?
B: Burton Snowboards is very flexible and enthusiastic when it comes to research and developing travel bags and camera packs. I’ve been using the Burton F-Stop Camera Pack and Double Deck Travel Bags since the year 2000. It’s the ultimate combination for checking in luggage during airline travel and the most reliable and comfortable bag to have on your back while shooting. Burton has listened to our needs as traveling snowboarders and photographers and produced reliable, smart luggage.
PP: What gear do you usually bring on a shoot?
B: Canon 1Ds, assortment of Canon lenses, Pocket Wizard remotes, ProFoto Strobes, SunPak Flashes and a point and shoot camera. There’s an assortment of safety equipment, proper outdoor clothing and of course a laptop and hard drives.
PP: Can you tell us about the most extreme or difficult weather or mountain conditions you’ve shot in?
B: Shooting in the alpine environment has the inherit risk of snow avalanches. It’s something you always have to think about, prepare for and be ready. If you plan your route and personnel properly, most situations will never get out of hand. My equipment of choice has never let me down during any winter condition. It’s comforting to know your equipment will perform right along side you, so you don’t have to focus any energy worrying about camera failure.
PP: How do you protect your gear from the elements and the cold?
B: I’ve found that the equipment I use has been weather sealed enough to stay protected in any snowy condition, no matter how wet or dry the snow is. I don’t use any aftermarket covers for the body or lenses, they only inhibit the use of the device.
The key to equipment longevity and reliability is a proper dry out and cleaning every time after shooting. It’s a big no-no in snowboarding to show up to a shoot with gear that doesn’t function properly. Athletes are risking their lives to progress and document snowboarding, so you need to be on point as the photographer.
PP: Have you ever broken equipment while riding/shooting?
B: I’ve dropped my share of lenses and cameras, there’s no doubt about that. If this situation occurs in the field, you must do what it takes to continue shooting and not hinder the flow of the session.
PP: How did you land a job as the Principal Photographer for Burton?
B: I was brought into Burton as a Team Manager with specialized skills in photography, cinematography, photo editing, marketing and travel. I was always taking photos during my team management days, so it was natural for me to graduate to the role of photographer.
PP: Your bio on your site says you travel 290 days out of the year. Where do you travel most often?
B: My travel schedule of 290 days per year is a result of Burton’s endless photographic needs from their riders. Our shoot locations are dependent on the latest snowfall reports, so when an assignment comes up, it could be New Zealand in August or Newfoundland in January. During the springtime, we set up man-made snow features at ski resorts (with the proper manpower in place) to create our vision.
Over the last couple of North American summers, I’ve found some time to document the track bike revolution in various cities. It’s a dream come true to photograph where it all started for me…bicycles.
PP: Do you have a favorite location to shoot at?
B: If I had to pick three locations I would never give up shooting it would definitely be Japan, Alaska and Central Europe. Each place offers such a unique vibe and backdrop for snowboarding and photography…from the type of riding that happens to the images you’ll capture.
PP: How would you say snowboarding photography is different from general sports photography?
B: The biggest difference between snowboarding and general sports is location, but more specifically dealing with the threat of avalanches in the alpine. A common thread is most of snowboarding’s photographers and cinematographers are snowboarders themselves, many of which are former professional riders.
Image Credits: Blotto portrait by Laura Austin, Blotto 1 and 2 by Jeremy Jones, Blotto by Gabe L’Heureux, all other images by Dean Blotto Gray
Seldom do the wonderful worlds of video games and photography meet, but when they do, fun often ensues.
Photography has had a relatively quiet but constant presence in video games over the last two decades, usually featured in video game titles as a mini-game or bonus mode. A few incorporate photography into the main storyline.
Here’s a roundup of some of my favorite photo-related titles over the years, ranked by their incorporation of photographic elements into the gameplay.
#1. Pokémon Snap (1999)
Platform: Nintendo 64
Gotta photograph ‘em all doesn’t quite sound as snappy, but Pokemon Snap is the first and arguably most successful Pokémon spinoff console-based title. Aptly named amateur photographer Todd Snap ventures through seven different landscapes, on assignment by Professor Oak to be the very best Pokemon photographer–like no one ever was.
For nostalgic gamers who want to party like it’s 1999, Pokémon Snap is now available for download on Wii’s Virtual Console.
#2. Dead Rising (2006)
Platforms: Xbox 360
Genre: Action/Survival horror
Freelance photographer Frank West is out get the scoop in a small suburban town that seems to have a slight zombie infestation. Fortunately, Frank West happens to be remarkably in shape–like most seasoned war photographers, apparently. Not only can he gain experience points as he takes unnaturally zoomed photos with what looks like a 17-35mm, Nikon D1X, West can use almost anything as a weapon: mall benches, lawn mowers, chainsaws, trash cans, other zombies–you get the picture.
#3. Fatal Frame Series (2002-2008)
Platforms: PlayStation 2, Xbox, Wii
Genre: Survival horror
The protagonist of Fatal Frame combats angry spirits of the dead with a camera while roaming around creepy environments. The gameplay is very similar to a first-person shooter game, except the main character wields an antique camera in lieu of a shotgun. Published at the onset of the digital photography era, this game pays an homage to film photography, as ammunition comes in the form of special types of film.
Fatal Frame is the first in its series, which includes Fatal Frame II, III, and a Japanese version of IV for the NintendoWii.
#4. Beyond Good and Evil (2003)
Platform: PC, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube
Genre: Action Adventure
Much like Frank West in Capcom’s Dead Rising, the protagonist in Beyond Good and Evil is an investigative reporter with above-average athletic prowess–she knows her martial arts. Set in a rustic future, young journalist Jade tackles the tough issues of human trafficking and propaganda, armed with her camera and a jō staff.
#5. Spider-Man 3 (2007)
Developer: Treyarch, Vicarious Visions
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PSP, Wii
Even Spider-Man has bills to pay. In Spider-Man 3, freelance photojournalist Petey goes on assignment around the city, occasionally taking self-portraits. Is that ethical?
In any case, at least his thin wallet is true-to-life.
#6. Bully (2006)
Platform: PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, Wii
Never had the time to take a photography course? In Rockstar’s schoolhouse adventure, Bully, a photo class is in the required curriculum. Jimmy Hopkins, the anti-hero, roams the halls of Bullworth Academy to complete his homework assignments.
#7. Metal Gear Solid (1998), Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (2001), and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (2008)
Platform: PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3
Genre: Third Person Action
Amidst Hideo Kojima’s thought-provoking storyline, an excellent soundtrack, and groundbreaking graphics, Kojima gives a nod to photography in several Metal Gear Solid titles.
Special espionage commando Solid Snake uses a camera in the Tank Hangar basement in the first Metal Gear Solid.
In MGS 2, Solid Snake and sidekick Raiden sneak stealthily around industrial settings, avoiding exclamatory guards and disabling weapons of mass destruction. Solid Snake uses a spy camera in a mission, which can be unlocked and equipped after the game is completed once.
Metal Gear Solid 4 contains a bizarre photo shoot Easter Egg. While fighting the Beauty bosses, avoid combat for three minutes and the photo shoot mode will be activated.
#8. BioShock (2007, 2008)
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Released initially for the Xbox 360 and later as a port to PlayStation 3, BioShock’s silent protagonist makes his way through a submarine 1940s dystopia that has been ravaged by the excesses of its vain, idealistic society. Along the way, he collects a research camera with which he can photograph enemies to improve fighting ability in future encounters.
Grand Theft Auto 4
Photography plays a very minor role in the gameplay of GTA 4, appearing in an assassination mission. Protagonist Niko uses a camera phone (no fancy SLR in this gritty game) to take a photo of and confirm a hit via photo messaging. How convenient!
Myst IV: Revelation
The last installment of the Myst series provides a camera for collecting clues to solve hair-pulling puzzles.
Screenshot Photography Modes, Various Titles
Other games include a photography feature, separate from the gameplay. Most recently, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves includes a screen capture, or photo mode (Visit The Sixth Axis for a screen capture forum here).
More titles with a screen capture mode include Gears of War 2, Halo 3 (for tips on capturing boast-worthy screenshots, visit Paradox460 ) and Gran Turismo 4, which has its own flickr group. Additional racing titles also have this feature, such as Forza 2, MotorStorm Pacific Rift, Wipeout HD, Tourist Trophy, and more.
Game Face Feature, EA Sports Titles
This past September, EA Sports introduced a new feature, Game Face, an upgrade of Photo Game Face, which works with games such as FIFA 10, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10, Facebreaker and Fight Night Round 4 on Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. Game Face incorporates photography into character customization by letting players upload their own faces into different games as well as while creating their own avatar. The program is an interesting, though fluffy feature, akin to the PlayStation Eye and EyeToy, neither of which fared particularly well on the market. Game Face is still in its BETA stage, so we’ve yet to see whether it takes off.
We hope you enjoyed our virtual photo roundup. If you’ve got a favorite video game photo op moment, please share it with us!
Image credits: All images credited to their respective developers.
The football season may be halfway over, but there’s still time left to gear up and hone your skills in time for holiday bowl games.
Whether it’s the Super Bowl or the local high school homecoming, anything can happen during a football game. Miracles and heartbreak unfold on the field. The stands are alive with cheering fans led by cheerleaders and mascots. The band trumpets the team on.
And the sideline photographer gets the best seat in the house to observe and capture these moments.
Football is probably one of my favorite sports to cover. I covered the UCLA football team for four seasons, through their ups and downs (both usually against USC) and across the country. Along the way, I’ve compiled a few tips that I’ve passed along to my fresher staff members.
1. Practice, Practice, Practice.
Whenever the team practices, you can too.
If you have access, practice a great time to get a feel for the pacing and feel of the game.
But better yet, you can get a behind-the-scenes look at the players and the coach. Get a sense of the overall team dynamic–which leads us to our next point.
2. Know the Teams.
Particularly if you are a team beat photographer, it’s essential to at least be familiar with your team’s players, their role in the game. Which notable players are on the O-line? Who’s the 2nd string quarterback? Are there any potential rising stars on the team?
Knowing who will do what, and when, will not only help you get better coverage during play time, but sometimes you can capture more intimate pre-game and post-game moments.
I took this photo of UCLA tail back Kahlil Bell right before he exited the tunnel to play his final college football game against USC last season. Aside from being a gauntlet game against USC, Bell’s expression reflects the personal significance of this game as a senior player.
It’s also a good idea to do your research about the other team. What are the pregame predictions? Are the players evenly matched? Team or personal rivalries?
There’s this great Daily Bruin archive photo from an old UCLA vs. USC game. A Bruin player is lending a hand to the Trojan sitting on the field after a play, but the latter responds by defiantly flipping him off.
3. Dress Appropriately.
There’s no dress code, but it is a good idea to dress sensibly while shooting.
Wear comfortable clothing and shoes with good traction.
You might find yourself running more yards than the star running back, not only to get the shot but especially if you’re covering a game that has TV coverage. Television crews get priority access to the sidelines (they make the big money, usually), and major networks almost always have a large dolly truck that runs up and down one side of the field. Mind your step, watch out for cords, and be ready to run if you’re passing the dolly (of course, you could always shoot from the other side of the field, sans dolly).
Check the weather.
Even when I was covering games at the Rose Bowl in sunny Southern California, the nights could get a bit drafty. Layers come in handy. Also, you’ll know if you should come prepared with a poncho and protective gear for your camera.
Optionally, knee pads are a good idea. Your body will thank you.
Finally, wear long shirts, please, or a belt at least. Because plumber’s cracks are not limited to that vocation.
4. Pack Wisely, and Mind the Monopod.
Most professionals use two to three camera bodies paired with different lenses. I’m probably at least 50 pounds lighter than the average football photographer, and my budget is proportionally smaller, so I usually carry two bodies and a monopod. Two bodies are always better than one, especially if one tweaks out. You’ll have a media room or photographer’s area at most college or pro venues to stash the rest of your gear.
My camera bag usually contains:
Primary and secondary bodies
Primary lens: A long lens — 300mm f2.8 or 400mm f2.8
Secondary lens: A long to mid-range lens — 70-200mm f2.8
Other gear: laptop, card reader, monopod, 1-2 extra cards, extra batteries and charger, standard 17-35mm lens for tunnel and post-game celebratory shots, sometimes a flash for post-game shots at night.
And finally, mind how you carry the monopod. It can be cumbersome running down field with a 300mm lens over your shoulder, but make sure you know where (or at whom) your monopod is pointing. Terrible accidents can happen (I know this for a reason; sorry, guy!).
5. Work the Field.
In most games, photographers cannot stand between the two 20-yard lines on each side of the field, since the team, coaches, and officials use that area. The area between the 20-yard line and the goal, as well as the entire end zone might seem constrictive, but they’re actually the most ideal places to be.
I like using the 300mm or a 400mm lens primarily, so I tend to camp in the end zone, maybe venturing up the corners and sides every once in a while. Up-field from the offense, I’m almost guaranteed to get some good face shots or action in the frame, since they are headed my way.
On the flip side, shooting from behind the team with the ball can yield some great defensive moments too: turnovers, interceptions, not to mention a great angle of the quarterback dropping back for a pass or pitching the ball to a tail back.
If you follow the quarterback, you follow the ball. Learn to read his body language. If he drops back in the pocket and looks around, he’ll likely pass. If he immediately runs back, he’s likely to hand it off. If he hesitates in the pocket, get ready for a sack or for him to rush.
6. Don’t Always Follow the Ball.
In a lot of games, a lot of action takes place away from the ball. While that one player has the ball, the other 21 guys on the field are scrambling desperately to do something. Not to mention coaches yelling, other players on the side lines, field officials running about. I smell a photo op.
7. Don’t Always Follow the Game.
In the same line of thought, there’s more going on at the stadium than just the game itself.
There are wild fans, families, 70-year-old school alumni, retired players, the marching band, the mascot and, of course, cheerleaders. Try taking photos that capture the spirit of the game, or even the environment at the game, the sunset or snow over the stadium.
A few hours at a football game can yield a cohesive photo story.
8. Get Faces, Action, Emotion.
It’s easier said than done. It’s hard to capture faces, action and emotion in one shot:
Woops. I was on the wrong side of the field for this shot. It was a great moment, but a bit pointless since I have no faces. Great photos don’t always have to have faces, but faces do add a lot to the image.
Not all good shots need to hit everything on the list, either.
9. Good Crop, Bad Crop: Use Cropping to your Advantage.
Cropping a photo can make or break it.
I’m personally a fan of really, really tight crops for football photos. I like to find where the peak action is occurring and home in on it.
This was the initial crop I made of this photo. I wanted to emphasize the fact that the player is carrying the ball and that there is a cool reflection off his visor.
However, I sacrificed the ball in the shot to draw closer attention to the details on his visor, which ultimately make this photo stand out from any other ball-carrying photo. In the reflection, the entire field is visible, from the blocker in front of the player to the tackler about to make a stop.
At the same time, it’s important to be aware of the empty space in the photo, which gives the subject breathing room and a sense of motion.
This uncropped photo is not particularly interesting, but cropping might help add dynamism to the moment and emphasize the quarterback’s expression.
This crop is a little better, but badly composed. Though the player’s head is in the upper third, the action is killed because he’s placed at the dead center of the photo. Also, the crop is still too wide, since his feet are awkwardly not in the frame.
This crop is probably worse than the previous crop because it’s too tight. The motion is killed and the photo is claustrophobic because there simply is not enough empty space for him to visually move into.
I would lean more towards a crop like this, where there is space on the left, where the player is moving from, and on the right, where he is moving into. I left a little of his right leg in there as well, to preserve the sense that he’s running.
10. If it Needs More than 1000 Words, Captions Say the Rest.
If you are shooting for a publication, informative captions are essential for marketing and presenting your final products.
Generally, I use captions to contextualize the image, and to explain who, what and where the photo is taking place. I usually try to at least include a date, locale, and both team names.
Back to the photo of Kahlil Bell in the tunnel:
It may not be immediately obvious who, where, why or what he is doing in this photo without an explanation.
However, couple the photo with a quick caption underneath, and you’ve got an emotional context and story which adds depth to the image.
UCLA tailback Kahlil Bell pauses at the tunnel entrance at the Rose Bowl before his final college game against USC, Dec. 6, 2008.
From preparation to post-production, covering the football beat can be challenging but extremely rewarding.
If you’ve got tips of your own tips, suggestions or questions, leave a comment!