The one thing I definitely miss doing since I came down here to Texas was sports photography. It's not like I wanted to do a lot of it, but at least some. Enough to have more diversity in my portfolio. That's why I made it a point to get to a handful of sporting events when I was in Iowa. Being a basketball and football fanatic, I had to have some of those type of captures. Sure, it was just a few games that I went to, but it was enough to get good captures. That's not the case here.
One of the problems is that that particular type of photography is VERY competitive here. You can't just step up to the field and/or court with a couple of years of photography under your belt and think they're going to let you get prime access for the great shots. That's reserved for the photogs that have been doing it a while. Or the ones that have connections. My only other option was to get a high-powered lens and shoot from great seats. Hard to do that when you're ballin' on a budget.
While I was in Des Moines, I did get in good with some players on the local semi-pro team the Des Moines Blaze as well as their head coach, Tyrone. That networking allowed me to get some great game shots that remain some of my favorite captures to this day. I wasn't aiming so much for getting professional individual player shots a la Joel Grimes style (although that would have been cool), but I figured one of them would eventually be looking for other photography needs. It turns out the coach himself did.
Tyrone initially was looking to have some professional pics done for himself so he could get a change of pace from the whole selfie look. I can definitely appreciate that. I always like to say that one of my goals when I started doing this was to eliminate the restroom selfie fascination one photo shoot at a time. Have I gotten there? Heck no. That will probably never happen. But the more people I work with, the more folks try to get away from that restroom pic to have photos done the right way. And that's what's up.
Tyrone came up with the concept of doing a shoot that would showcase the hardware he's accumulated while coaching the Des Moines Blaze. Tyrone has been the coach for the Blaze for the past three years. The Blaze have threepeated in that time period making them the Midwest Football Semi Pro BCS National Champions from 2011 - 2013. I too would be looking to get some pics done to proudly display those accomplishments myself if it were me. So it was an privilege and an honor to do the shoot.
Historically, working with guys is a more challenging task than it is when working with women. I don't know too many of us guys that work on our poses with a plethora of selfies. And even those that do aren't as good at it as the ladies are. Therefore, I have to find the right poses that will work for the guy as well as the overall composition of the picture. This particular one did that as we are able to see not only the trophies but also the rings. More importantly, Coach Tyler is in a confident yet non-arrogant stance. All of it capped off by his game face.
I needed to add a bit more oomph to the photos so I came up with the idea of making it a composite in the format of an older style football card. The type of football card they had WAY back in the day before they got all fancy with 3-D graphics and the such. The phrase I used stemmed from the fact that after winning three years in a row, naturally the Blaze have other teams hating on their success. But instead of getting big-headed about it, the fellas want to keep focused and just be themselves. Also to let folks know that the team welcomes their support as opposed to their scorn. Thus...Don't Hate...Just Blaze.