Jazz vs. Cavs – LeBron James


Photographed the first quarter of the Utah Jazz vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, focusing on LeBron James. Above is a sequence during player introductions. So much energy. Then he goes over to the scorer’s table and does this whole chalk ritual. Look at all the fan cameras that got the shot, while I got this…

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There’s a big chalk cloud above that frame, too. Would be a great moment, but not for me this year.

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It wouldn’t take long for LeBron to explode.


Then three photos of the play where Kyrylo Fesenko fouled James pretty hard, knocking him to the floor.

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I had moved to the outside for a clearer view, but the ref is always unpredictable.

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Bountiful vs. Sky View Football

A selection from last week’s Bountiful vs. Sky View high school football game. Edited with photographers in mind.

Bountiful Captains


Coin Toss- My wide-angle is tweaked.

The Mosh

Banner Bust

Bountiful fans: “Take Our Picture!”

Bountiful fans: “Take Our Picture!”

Touchdown run

Touchdown run

Utah Jazz – The New Hotness


Salt Lake City – Utah Jazz guard Ronnie Price (17) goes up for a slam over Gabe Muoneke. Utah Jazz scrimmage Saturday, October 4, 2008.

Kind of weird to photograph Jazz basketball in a nearly empty arena. Just felt different without the usually atmosphere.

The great news for the upcoming season is the new lighting. The ambient light will be twice as bright this year. Looks pretty good to me.

Final Fight! – Layton vs. Davis

When you’re going to write about photographing a high school football game AND the 1989 arcade game Final Fight, where to start? Obviously, with Final Fight.

Here’s the plot as it appears on Wikipedia (with my favorite parts in bold):

Final Fight is set in the fictional American city of Metro City “sometime in the 1990s”. The story centers around the kidnapping of the Mayor’s daughter, Jessica, by the dominant street gang in the city known as the Mad Gear Gang, which seeks to bring the Mayor under their control. The Mayor, a former pro wrestler named Mike Haggar, refuses to give in to the gang’s demands and sets out to rescue his daughter with the help of her boyfriend, a martial artist named Cody, and his friend, a modern-day Bushin ninja named Guy.


It’s a common videogame premise, where you select from the characters you want to play. Each has a strength and a weakness. There is the ultra-fast guy who can’t take a punch. There’s the all-around average player. And there’s the big heavy dude who is super strong but super slow. In Final Fight, the fast and skinny is Guy, Cody is the average, and Haggar is the big slow brawler.

For far too long I’ve been playing Final Fight as the former pro-wrestler Haggar and too often I’ve also been showing up to shoot football games as Haggar, loaded down with three cameras and all the weight that entails. It’s been an effective strategy with a lot of great photographs, but I felt it was time for a change. So for this game I selected Guy and went the light-weight approach, carrying just two cameras. On one I mounted the smaller and lighter 300/2.8 and the other camera had a 16-35 wide angle. I went without a monopod and made sure to down a large Coke and a couple of candy bars for even more extra speed.


While the 300 didn’t give me the same reach as the 400 I usually would use, I stayed close to the action, mostly shooting within ten yards of the line of scrimmage.

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Above: Davis’ Troy Hinds celebrates sacking Layton QB Camren Applegate.

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My biggest technical hurdle was the dark, horrendous lighting. Just look at those weak lights! And it varied all over the field; every third frame had a horrible reddish hue. I switched to shooting RAW for the second half when it got dark just so I’d be able to correct the color shifts.

Still, it was very dark and for a while I played with the artistry of a slower shutter speed. That was a mistake when Davis made this touchdown:

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The 300 worked well throughout. While its reach wasn’t as tight as I’m used to with the 400, there’s not much you can do with either lens when the action takes off clear across the field. Shooting loose can sometimes add to the shot, like this touchdown where the marching band adds a nice detail:

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But back to Final Fight, here’s the description of Guy (again from the Final Fight page on Wikipedia):

Guy is the fastest, yet weakest member of the group, in which he can unleash fast punches against his opponents and use an off-the-wall kick to knock them down.

So true. When Kimble Jensen made the a late interception to seal the win for Layton, I was right up close and in place for the shot. Call this one my very own off-the-wall kick to knock them down:

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Full Disclosure: For almost twenty years I’ve played Final Fight as Haggar and I probably won’t change, so Alex… you’ll still have to play as Cody.

Minor League, Baseball

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I didn’t notice this photo until today, as I edited through Friday’s take from the Salt Lake Bees playoff game vs. the Sacramento River Cats. It’s the crowd reacting to a home run by Sacramento’s #17 (the roster’s in my car, and besides— it’s not like printing his name here would mean anything to anyone). Shot with a 400mm lens from the 3rd base photo well.

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The game was pretty lousy. Salt Lake gave up 13 runs on 17 hits, and this is Salt Lake pitcher Jeff Kennard feeling it in the ninth inning (above).

There’s an old saying in newspaper photography: If you don’t want them to run it, don’t send it in.

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But every once in a while I lose my common sense and send in a photo that has no business being published, like the one above that ran on an inside page. I’ll not make excuses. I had better stuff.

This is the sports front with another of my photos from the same play, with Matt Brown looking frustrated in a tough loss. Oh, it’s the photo to the right of the football.

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Alta vs. Bingham football

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Four from Friday night’s big rivalry game, where Alta took down Bingham 27-19.

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Bingham’s Nate Girsberger runs back an interception. His touchdown was called back on a penalty, but led to a Bingham field goal and a first quarter 17-3 lead. Shot with the 400 and teleconverter (560mm).

Equipment-wise I’m using three cameras. One with a 16-35mm wide angle, one with a 70-200mm medium telephoto, and one with a 400 or 600mm super telephoto lens. Also in the mix is a 1.4 teleconverter, which is on one of the telephotos or in my pocket.

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Alta quarterback Ammon Olsen stretches for the end zone, but comes up just short. At left is Bingham’s Keith Sasine. Shot with the 70-200 (at 145mm).

Carrying all that gear for a full game gets a little tiring, but if I get a great photograph with each lens it’s worth it.

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Alta QB Ammon Olsen celebrates the win as time expires. Shot with the 16-35 (at 27mm).

First Game Rust – Jordan v Northridge

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I can’t blame missing this split-second helmet knockoff on the camera’s autofocus like I usually do. My framing was off by just a bit. Screwy photographs like this are especially common from the first game of the season. After that, the rust clears away and we start to roll.

Sandy – Northridge’s Chris Washington knocks the helmet off Jordan’s Cory Hunt. Jordan’s Bill Vavau (50) looks on. Jordan vs. Northridge high school football, Friday, August 22, 2008, at Jordan.

Finally, Football

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It’s an annual event. Football season starts and rescues newspaper photographers from summer. Football for me is a sign that the weather will soon cool down, and that’s good enough.

Sandy – Northridge’s Jesse Stauffer (9) leaps over Jordan’s Braden Hammond (2), who just scored a touchdown. At left is Jordan’s Cory Hunt (15) and at right, picking up the ball is Northridge’s Blake Smithing. Jordan vs. Northridge high school football, Friday, August 22, 2008, at Jordan.

Utah Men's State Amateur Golf Tournament

I always start out a little unsure of myself when shooting golf. Maybe it stems from early in my career when I didn’t know what I was doing and constantly found myself getting in the way of the game. I may never get over the trauma of a bunch of people waving at me to move out of the way just before a ball slammed into my golf cart, or the time Utah Jazz “center” Greg Ostertag tried to nail me with a ball. But those events were years ago. Now that I know what’s going on, and Ostertag is retired, I can find the storytelling photos.

Devin Daniels faced Darrin Overson in match play. That made things easy. My notes from the day:

Devin Daniels – white cap, white shirt

Darrin Overson – blue shirt

The play was slow. It seemed like every time a golfer lined up a shot a car would go by, a motorcycle would appear, a train would blow its whistle, a cel phone would ring, or a camera shutter would fire, causing yet another delay.

Daniels won, and faces Dan Horner today for the championship.

State Championship Rodeo

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Krystal Brown racing to the finish, above, while competing in barrel racing at the Utah High School Rodeo State Championships, Heber City.

Rodeo fans are the most patriotic. It’s only before a rodeo that you hear John Wayne recite a poem on how great America is. The shot at left is a detail of the crowd during the national anthem. I worked this scene for a while and never really got what I wanted out of it. The way that little boy was sucking down the drink, I’m hoping it was water.

First Place – Sports Feature Photo

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Wasatch High School’s Forrest Hill just keeps on running for me. One of my favorite photos from last year just took First Place, Sports Feature Photo, in the Utah-Idaho-Spokane Associated Press Association’s annual news contest.

The complete list of winners is here.

Jazz vs. Lakers, Game Six, Season’s Over

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Look at all the cameras around Kobe Bryant after the game ended. I guess still photography isn’t quite dead yet. I wasn’t as interested in Kobe as in the Jazz players, namely Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams, so I left the pack focused on Kobe and moved left.

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Lucked into Boozer hugging former teammate Derek Fisher. For the rest of these photos I was on the opposite side of each situation from the other photographers, and that’s where I’m most comfortable.

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Kobe came over and I just happened to be in place. I followed Boozer and he walked off the court with Williams.

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That (above) seemed to be the perfect photo to mark the end of the season. The two best players on the team walking off together with some fans giving them a somewhat standing ovation. A good moment that tells the story.

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They’ll be back next year. Season opener in November.