Not long after I posted some of my favorite images from Super Bowl week on this blog, I received an email from Paul Gessler from Fox 45. He was interested in doing a segment with me about my story as one of the team photographers for the Ravens and our journey to the Super Bowl.
I was pretty shocked that there was even that much interest in what I do and at first I was a little hesitant to sit down on the opposite side of the camera and spill my guts.
However, I agreed and Paul and his cameraman Jed came to my studio to do a sit down interview. We talked for quite a while and I went through some of my favorite images from the post season including the Super Bowl and provided the stories behind how I made them.
The segment aired last night and I thought they did a great job. Im always still amazed at how much content gets edited out to make a 2 minute video segment. It is definitely a little weird to see myself talking on TV, but at least I didn’t embarrass myself…I think.
The end is pretty hilarious, its the clip of the “Harbaugh handshake” from the Super Bowl. You can see me getting mugged by all the photographers around me. I am still amazed that I made even one usable frame during that moment.
Anyway, I also wanted to mention that in addition to myself, the Ravens do have another team photographer who has actually been around a lot longer than me. Phil Hoffmann has been the Ravens team photographer since 1996 and has shown me the ropes since I’ve been with the team. Phil is a big reason that I am able to take risks and be more creative on gamedays since I know he is going to be there to get the shot that I may miss.
Secondly, in the beginning of this video you’ll see a still photo of me shooting in my (fashionable) green vest. That photo was taken by super talented local photographer Patrick Smith, definitely check out his work too. Its inspiring.
Lastly thanks to Paul and Jed for being super cool and making this happen…enjoy!
If I sat here and tried to write about all the amazing, emotional, crazy, funny, scary and intense moments I experienced during Super Bowl week I’d never get around to actually posting any pictures and I’d bore you all to death because I am a terrible writer. So, I’ll spare you all the details…
What I will say is that it has been such an honor to follow this team this season through all the highs and lows and everything in between.
I had the opportunity to photograph my first Super Bowl and the team that I work for won…that feels as good as it sounds.
Throughout the week, not everything went as planned and that certainly carried over to the game. As a photographer you are 10% picture taker and 90% problem solver. At the end of the day you do the best you can with the situation you are in and with any luck you make a few nice frames and if you are even luckier you actually enjoy yourself while you are doing it.
Looking back on this experience, I feel pretty darn lucky. I am still trying to convince myself that its impossible to capture every moment or every play. That doesn’t mean that I won’t try every single time.
There is really no other way to sum up the week leading up to the Super Bowl, the game itself and the parade that followed other than to just show you the pictures. Enjoy…
For the second week in a row the Baltimore Ravens defeated a team led by a future hall of fame quarterback…and this time they didn’t need a field goal in double overtime to pull it off.
Although the first half of the AFC Championship got off to a slow start at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, the Ravens absolutely dominated Tom Brady and the Patriots in the second half of the game.
But hey…you already know the details and you already know that the Ravens are going to the Super Bowl…pretty sweet!
However that also means one very important thing… I AM GOING TO THE SUPER BOWL
Let me have my little kid moment.
It really hasn’t sunk in yet. To have the opportunity to photograph on the biggest stage in football, amongst THE BEST photographers in the world is a crazy and somewhat daunting thought.
Luckily I have two weeks to let that thought marinate and focus on shooting the biggest game of my career.
The air was too thin. The quarterback wasn’t elite. The linebacker was past his prime. The opposition, too great to overcome.
No one gave the Ravens a chance……except the Ravens.
Last week when Ray Lewis walked out of the tunnel at M&T Bank stadium for the last time, I thought to myself. “OK, this is the emotional pinnacle of the year.”
Not so fast.
I’ve never photographed such an amazing roller coast of a football game in my life.
Needless to say with as much action went on, as fate would have it, I didn’t have a great shot at most of it. The first four touchdowns were either on the opposite side of the field, facing away from me or completely obstructed. It was pretty frustrating.
But in the moment I realized that the game was bigger than my ego and I was happy to be there to witness such a monumental game in Ravens history.
Luckily my focus during any given football game attempts to go beyond the action and delve into the intense emotions that surround these games.
After the game, the locker room was absolutely ecstatic. Hearing speeches from Coach Harbaugh and Ray Lewis you realize that there is something special going with this team, you can just feel it.
As the Ravens continue on their journey, their faith in each other and their faith in a power greater than themselves guides them along the way.
Next stop, Foxborough. See you there.
I don’t get nervous before shooting games. At least I didn’t until Sunday…
With Ray Lewis announcing his pending retirement last week, the stress of figuring out how I was going to cover his last game at M&T Bank stadium was overwhelming.
“Ray’s Last Dance” was the prominent headline throughout the week and the anticipation of Ray coming out of the tunnel and doing “the squirrel” for the last time almost outweighed the game itself.
I have shot Ray countless times coming out of the tunnel from many different perspectives…The last thing I wanted to do was to shoot an image that could be mistaken for just another game. Knowing I had many images of Ray from a forward or side perspective I immediately knew I wanted to shoot him from behind. I had done this once before, but never from INSIDE the tunnel.
The image was already burned into my brain…Ray IN the tunnel walking out to the field through the smoke. It spoke loudly to me about the finality of this event.
I shot in the tunnel and also placed a remote camera on the top of the “Ravens eyes”, an idea that I have had for the longest time, but never put into action. Glad I saved it until now.
Looking back you always think how you could have done things differently. I would have changed a few things, but the most important part is that I was able to capture the essence of this day for Ray and for the Ravens.
I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity over the last 6 years to document many moments in Ravens history and to work up close and personal with a player whose combination of faith, passion and ability will never be duplicated.
Ray may be leaving, but his legacy will always remain in Baltimore.
The Ravens are in the playoffs for the 5th time in as many years.
No other NFL team can say that.
Who knows what the future will bring for the Ravens this year, but it sure has been a fun ride.
I forgot to blog the Giants game so I’m including those images along with new images from the Bengals game.
Thanks to everyone for checking out my images this year and I hope to keep you entertained in 2013.
After three weeks off from shooting football, I was anxious to get back on the field Sunday.
After a lot of recent criticism about “barely” winning games, the Ravens were anxious to prove their critics wrong. They did…in a big way.
They scored more points than any other team in Ravens history.
As a team photographer I feel an immense amount of pressure and gratitude to have the incredible opportunity to document this team’s history and games like this make it extra special.
A few great things happened on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.
The Ravens won and improved their record to 5-1, tied for best in the AFC.
Jacoby Jones tied the NFL record for the longest kickoff return for a touchdown with 108 yards.
However, the taste of victory was bittersweet as the Ravens lost two of their best players to injury for the rest of the season. Cornerback Lardarius Webb tore his ACL and linebacker and team leader Ray Lewis tore his triceps.
Lardarius tore the ACL on his other leg during his rookie season and came back stronger and became a crucial part of the Ravens defense. He’ll be back stronger next year, no doubt.
A cloud of mystery seems to be forming over the future of Ray Lewis after spending 17 abusive seasons in the NFL. I haven’t talked to Ray personally, but let me tell you a little secret…
Ray will be back next year.
Knowing how determined, focused and passionate the man is about the game of football and life…I don’t believe for a second that this is how he is going to make his exit. Only time will tell for sure, however I truly believe in my heart we haven’t seen the last of number 52.
By now everyone is aware of the headlines…
“Ravens get redemption for AFC Championship game”
“Torrey Smith overcomes loss and shines in honor of brother”
“Justin Tucker kicks game winner”
It was an amazing night. I am so glad I was not watching this game as a fan, because I probably would have ripped out my hair.
Now…time to get ready to do it all over again tonight.
When I set out to shoot a game I have one very specific personal goal…make an amazing image of every play…simple right? Although I have yet to achieve this goal during a game, if I don’t strive for perfection I’ll never get better.
The “perfect image”, in my opinion, is one that technically and artistically captures the peak moment of a critical play. It’s sharp, well composed, unobstructed by other players or refs, and visibly shows players’ faces in front of a clean background. Is that too much to ask? Unfortunately, the scenario of a football game is engineered to defy all of these criteria.
Sometimes I “capture” a big play, but I don’t necessarily make a great image and sometimes I make a successful image of a situation that ultimately has no significance to the outcome of the game. Both have their use. I am documenting Ravens history, so its important to keep record of important moments even if they aren’t the “best” images. Its also important to me personally to make “good “images even if they capture moments that don’t necessarily change the outcome of a game. When you can make a great image of a big play its special.
Needless to say, I don’t think I was able to make anything very special on Monday night. From my position, many of the big plays were either obstructed or the players involved were simply just not facing my direction. The good thing is that I’ll get another chance this week and I’ll never stop chasing the “perfect image.”
The Ravens hosted the Jaguars in another preseason game last Friday. There is nothing too remarkable about the preseason, but the Ravens played well and overall this was a fun game to shoot.
I’m on the road with the Ravens in St. Louis today and I’ll be shooting the game against the Rams later tonight.
Heading down the stretch of a crazy month, I’m thankful to have been shooting so much. I’ll be getting back into Baltimore around 3:00am Friday morning and heading right out to shoot the Baltimore Grand Prix at 7:00am…sleep is overrated
I’m shooting marketing images for the race promoters all weekend. Should be a fun gig.
The Ravens had their first home preseason game on a somewhat rainy night last friday against the Detroit Lions.
I typically don’t like to shoot in the rain. Despite having equipment that can tolerate getting wet, it complicates everything I do while shooting and generally makes it harder or impossible to do some of the things I normally do on gamedays.
However, the rain was escorted in by a vibrant blue sky which made a perfect backdrop for some nice pre game images. It also seemed oddly appropriate that the sky was nearly identical to the color of the Lions uniforms who ended up winning the game.
I was really excited to shoot this game because it was the first chance I had to test out some new gear I loaned from Canon…the 1DX body and the 400 2.8 “II” lens. I don’t want to turn this blog post into a equipment review, so I’ll keep it short…WOW.
The 1DX has by far the best autofocus performance out of any camera I have ever used. I’m very critical of image focus, and I’ve never had so many sharp images to choose from. It rarely missed.
The high ISO performance was impressive as well. The only thing that I have to get used to is the full frame sensor. During much of the game I felt like I wasn’t close enough to the action, but thats something that I will adjust to over time, so I’m not worried.
Anyway, I have the camera and lens for another week and a half, but I’ve pretty much decided that I’m going to buy them already.
Anything that allows me to capture better images is a worthwhile investment.
It didn’t take long for players to get warmed up for their first full team practice of the Ravens 2012 Training Camp…after all, it was a hundred degrees out.
I love shooting training camp because it allows me access and perspectives I could never get during a game. Because their are very similar elements of each practice, day after day, the challenge is making fresh new images each time.
Luckily, I get bored easily, and I am always trying to think of new ways to shoot the same thing. Let’s see what happens today…
What’s left to say? I’m not going to dissect “what went wrong” at the end of this game.
No amount of analysis is going to put the Ravens on a plane to Indy.
The Ravens had an extraordinary season. I can’t tell you how fortunate I feel to have had the opportunity to tag along for the ride. This season brought many highs and lows for the Ravens. I too as a photographer experienced successes and failures from game to game.
Opportunities were missed…Billy Cundiff missed a last second field goal…I missed a shot of Torrey Smith diving into the end zone for a touchdown right in front of me. Why? Does it matter?
It sucks…It REALLY sucks
Sulking about it is not going to make the situation any better.
If you want to grow as a professional, you pick your head up, learn from your mistakes, work hard and hope you have the chance to prove yourself the next time opportunity knocks.
I want to thank everyone for tuning in to this blog all season and I hope you’ve enjoyed my work.
If you choose to comment on this blog, please keep it positive.
It’s not flashy…
It doesn’t always look pretty…
It doesn’t get national attention…
But guess what?…Its working.
The Ravens don’t play football like any other team in the NFL, and thats just fine with me. While quarterbacks like Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers are watching the Patriots play next Sunday, the Ravens will be doing business…their way…the Ravens way.
By beating the Cleveland Browns on Christmas Eve, the Ravens went undefeated at M&T Bank Stadium for the first time in franchise history.
I want to draw a little attention to the fact that the Ravens have won EVERY game which I have photographed this year…I don’t normally travel to regular season away games (except Pittsburgh this year).
But given this statistic, I’m thinking they might want me around on the road next year. They’ll be on their own in Cincinnati, as I won’t be traveling, however I’ll be around wherever we play in the post season to keep the streak alive.
Wow…what can I say? You saw the game…you know what happened. That was one of the greatest wins I have ever witnessed since I have been shooting for the Ravens.
Shooting on the road is odd is certain ways. At home, I am used to the stadium erupting when we make big plays. On the road, its the exact opposite…silence…sweet silence.
I’ve never heard a stadium louder than when we beat the Jets earlier this year, and I have never heard a stadium as quiet as Heinz Field was after Torrey caught that game winning pass.
This is only the second time in history that the Ravens have beat the Steelers in both regular season games…definitely a year to remember.
After a week off of shooting football during the Ravens bye week, I was anxious to get back on the field at M&T Bank Stadium.
The Ravens started off strong and put together a complete game, dominating in the fourth quarter. Its been an exciting season so far and this was another fun game to photograph. Here are some of my favorite images…
With the NFL season in flux this year, the offseason seemed like it flew by. My offseason was full of traveling for commercial work which I enjoyed tremendously.(I will be posting some shots from those jobs as soon as I get clearance.)
However, shooting portraits and advertising work doesn’t exactly get you ready to shoot pro football. Normally I would start shooting training camp to get into the swing of things and prepare for preseason action. However, since the CBA was reached so late, we didn’t have a full camp open to the public, and I had only shot two days of practice before our first game. For most of the preseason, I found myself feeling a little sluggish and behind the action. You forget how fast the game moves once you’ve been away from it for so long. But after all, thats what the preseason is for…shaking off the rust, and getting back in to peak season form.
Here are a few of my favorite images from this year’s preseason…enjoy
Well, everyone knows what happened yesterday, so there’s no need to go into a bunch of meaningless details. Despite the sentiment of some clueless fans in Baltimore, the Ravens had a great season. Although we came up short of our ultimate goal, we went further than most of the teams in the NFL. There is nothing that provides me with such shear thrill and excitement as being on the sidelines shooting the Ravens, whether we win or lose.
I am already looking forward to next season, and I hope that the CBA agreement gets resolved sooner than later so we can all enjoy another season of Ravens football.
Its always hard for me to enjoy editing photos after such a heartbreaking loss, and I am sure it will be hard for some to relive that game through these photos, but I hope they provide some enjoyment none the less.
When you walk into Arrowhead stadium in Kansas City, this inside is full of digital banners proclaiming that you are in fact in the “NFL’s loudest stadium.” Through the first two quarters of the Ravens’ divisional playoff game against the Chiefs, you would have thought that was possible. However by the second half, after a few Ravens’ touchdowns and some Chiefs’ turnovers you could here a pin drop.
The Ravens played what was most likely their most complete game of the season with big plays on both offense and defense. Joe Flacco and Todd Heap had record games and the defense recorded 5 turnovers. This type of blowout win is exactly what we need as momentum going forward into a very hostile Heinz Field in Pittsburgh next week. We know what to expect and so do the Steelers. Its going to be a thrilling game. Hopefully the Ravens come out on top.
I picked out a few more images than normal just because it was the playoffs…I hope you enjoy them.
As expected, the Ravens defeated the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. This is my fourth season with the Ravens, and although I never get bored shooting on gamedays, I do always try and think of new ways to photograph things to keep it fresh. After shooting player introductions from the field for the last 4 years, this game I decided that I would shoot them from inside the tunnel. Its quite a different perspective and I ended up with some unique images that I haven’t seen around before. Besides getting a little choked up from all the smoke they pump out in there, it was a great experience. Celebrating the Ravens win this week didn’t last long. The Ravens host the Steelers, their biggest rival on Sunday night, which always proves to be a great, hard hitting game. Its supposed to be ridiculously cold, but I’m stocked up on hand warmers and ready to go. Enjoy.
On Monday, September 13, the Baltimore Ravens opened their 2010 season with a big win against the New York Jets. It was the first ever regular season game in the New Meadowlands Stadium and the Ravens are officially in the stadiums history books. I don’t normally travel with the Ravens unless we are in the playoffs, although I have traveled twice this season with the team to D.C. and St. Louis. Since the game was so close, I decided to drive up myself….and boy was it worth the trip!
Despite a “clear and sunny” forecast, about an hour before game time it began to POUR! They delayed the game for a while because of the lightning. Luckily the rain eventually stopped and it was nice and clear for the kickoff and the remainder of the game. This was pure smash mouth football! Both teams were a little rough around the edges, but the Ravens just had more heart at the end and made a couple of big plays and put away the victory 10-9. Here are some of my favorite images from the game. Enjoy
P.S. You can buy my favorite images this game and every Ravens game I shoot at the Baltimore Ravens Official Team Store >CLICK HERE<
just testing out some options to display my photos. Here are some black and white images from the Baltimore Ravens first preseason game against the Carolina Panthers. I don’t normally convert football images to b&w but these seem to fit nicely.