When you are unemployed, looking for work, scouring all the job boards over and over and over again and then waiting for employers to call you back, you end up having a lot of free time on your hands. With all that free time on my hands, I’ve put together yet another gallery. This time it’s my favorite sports images from 2008.
This last year was a fun one for me when it came to shooting sports. With a full year covering teams in the Northland, I had a pretty good idea of who the good athletes were, which ones were really emotional, which teams made for good rivalries and what venues had the best hot dogs.
So check out the gallery below to see 52 of my favorite images from 2008. Below the gallery are my three favorite images from the year. I’ll talk a little about why I liked each photo, how I captured that image and what it means too me. But first enjoy the gallery!
This was one of the instances of knowing who the key players were and then following them as the action unfolded. It was also a lot of luck. This sectional soccer final had everything you could ask for. Back and forth play. These two teams were rivals. It went to overtime and still the game was tied. So a shootout ensued. A few kicks in, Hermantown was on the edge of winning the shootout. It was the kind of game that photographers dream about. Here, Hermantown’s Hannah Buchite awaits the kick of Cloquet’s Hannah Roy. If Roy’s kick missed its mark then the Hawks of Hermantown would advance to state. You can see the nerves pouring out as she could barely watch. It was better than any shot from the shootout and you can just see how nervous and attentive she was. Two seconds after this photo was taken, Buchite launched herself about 10 feet into the air and the Hawks were on their way to the state tournament.
Here is a photo with a number of layers to it. The basic information goes like this… Duluth Denfeld's Jimmy Waller (2nd from right) beats Hermantown's Steve Bockovich (right, #40) to put the Hunters up 13-0 against Hermantown Friday evening at Public Schools Stadium in Duluth. On the left celebrating Waller's touchdown is Denfeld's Jordan Verry (#71). What’s fun about this photo is the contrasting emotions. On the far right is a guy agonizing because he blew his coverage while on the far left is a player celebrating the touchdown with his hands raised to the sky. The fact that it was captured at twilight added to the photo with the sky and the contrast of the dark hillside only accentuated the twilight. I was a little bummed they were not able to run this photo right away because it needs to run big to have proper impact, but it ran as a Blink column photo a few weeks later. Blink was a photo column we submitted photos for once a month where we wrote a little about the photo and what it meant to us. When it ran as my Blink photo, it ran large and was probably one of my favorite images I submitted for that column.
Here, Ryan Braun celebrates his two-run homerun that proved to be the difference in the Brewers’ 3-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs in the last game of the year. About an hour after the game ended, the New York Mets lost and the Brewers won the wild card and advanced to the postseason for the first time in 26 years. I had my camera with a 70-200mm lens and a 1.4x extender on just in case something like this happened. Right when the ball left Braun’s bat it was apparent it was leaving the park. The crowd erupted and Braun began his celebration. I fired off some shots and three seconds after this picture was taken, I began freaking out myself. I had followed the Brewers throughout all their games and I called my friend Dan Fuhrmann more times than I’d like to admit asking for updates to games that I could not listen too or watch. To top it off, I was wearing a Braun jersey I had purchased the year before. It was surreal and the crowd was going absolutely nuts. To see what I mean click on the photo above to download an MP3 file of Bob Uecker calling the homerun. Listen to the noise of the crowd and you’ll understand.