Category Archives: Sports

Two Minutes to Tip-Off

This is an image taken earlier this week in Champaign, Illinois.

My original intent was to do a time-lapse of the game, but it didn’t work out as well as I was hoping.  (For what it’s worth, on Saturday I tried a time-lapse at a previous basketball game and didn’t even “start” the damn thing. Whoops!) From the second attempt in Champaign, however, I did capture a few frames I did like. The picture above is one of the few.

The only issue I have, however, is that blurry line between setting the camera on “auto” and walking away for four hours, and sitting behind the eye-piece and waiting for just the right moment.  Sure, there is an argument about “seeing the vision,” but at the end of the day, this is just a picture I got lucky with.  (Yes, I got lucky with other pictures — like the lightning picture in the portfolio page — but this is a different type of lucky, I feel.)

This picture would also be helped out a bit if the University of Illinois fans and students came out to support their women’s basketball team once in awhile, too.

February 2012. (2421)

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Ivy, Fence, Flags and Stanchions

In September of 2006 I brought my camera to Wrigley Field.  It was one of those iconic days of summer, where the temperature was already 90 degrees Fahrenheit  (32.2 Celsius) by nine o’clock in the morning.

I loathe days like that.

At any rate, I felt this picture was slightly appropriate because I’m currently working out my summer baseball schedule.  In years past I’ve worked a bunch of baseball games — the highest number of games being 101 games, the lowest being 75 games.

While baseball is my least-favorite of the major sports (see yesterday’s post concerning my favorite sport), I really like working baseball games in Chicago because the Cubs have a bunch of day games, so I have summer evenings off, and I can ride my bike to and from work.

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He Shoots, He Scores!

In early 2009 I brought my camera to the United Center for a Blackhawks’ game.  It was shortly after receiving my fish-eye lens, so I brought it along for the night. I really, really like some of the pictures taken that evening.

This one was taken moments after Duncan Keith scored from the blue line.

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Black and White Bicyclist

Black and White Bicyclist

I like simple pictures like this.

I was standing around waiting for a boat to motor underneath Lakeshore Drive, and passed the time by watching the runners and bicyclist race by.

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Brandon Dosch at the Dew Tour

I was pretty careful to keep track of everyone at the Dew Tour I had taken pictures of.  Upon arriving home after the event, I made a point to place captions on all of the pictures, so in seven years I wouldn’t have issues knowing which athlete was which.

My idea was working well until I got to this picture.  My notes had this guy as Corey Bohan, except in doing a quick Google image search, I realized Corey has tattoos on both arms, not just the one.

Crap.

After digging through my list of 2010 Dew Tour Chicago athletes, I found another picture of the same athlete with a single tattooed arm and bright red shoes.  In this other picture, I had captioned Brandon Dosch as the athlete.  A quick image search proved my hunch correct, except it still sucks because I now need to go through and double-check my captions.

July 2010. (2915)

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Comcast Sportsnet TV Truck

I’m a big fan of pictures of people doing their jobs.  More often than not, the only pictures we have of ourselves and our friends is from those nights drinking at a bar.  While those pictures are fun and serve a purpose, it’s nice to have a picture of yourself doing something other then holding a cocktail in your hand.

That being said, every now-and-then I grab my camera and take pictures of people doing one of the things they do best — their job.  It’s good to show other people that we’re not just another bunch of lushes at a bar, and it’s nice to have a record of you actually working somewhere (you know, make mom proud!).

This picture is from inside the Comcast Sportsnet television truck for a Chicago Blackhawks broadcast.  Mike Leary is the producer (closest to the camera) and Dave Turner is the director (wearing the black sweater).

In the simplist terms, Mike will organize interviews, meet with the announcers to ultimately decide what the show’s broadcast may cover (in addition to the game, obviously), and then watch the different cameras while the puck is in play to decide which has the best replay angle to show on TV.  Dave’s job is to choose which camera angle is the best and watch everything going on to make sure the viewer at home sees what they need to see.  Dave and Mike really work well together in weaving all of the different variables together to make the broadcast come together smoothly.

Not pictured is David Ross. He is behind the stack of books on the right side of the picture.  His job is to check the various numbers and stats and help the producer and director get the different graphics built.  If it’s a particular players 100th goal, he knows that and has a graphic built to show the viewer at home.  If it’s a player’s 1,000 career penalty minute, he knows that too.

Those three travel mostly with the Blackhawks hockey team to keep Comcast Sportsnet Chicago‘s hockey broadcasts looking similar each and every game.  In each city they’ll also work with various people (like camera guys, replay operators, audio technicians and such) to make sure things get done.

On a typical broadcast from the United Center, Comcast Sportsnet Chicago will employ about 30 people to make it all happen, and each day they’ll all start setting up six hours before he game starts.

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2011 Chicago Marathon

This past weekend we had the Chicago Marathon take place throughout the city.

It’s amazing to see the amount of people come out to support the runners, and the runners are amazingly impressive, in their own right.

The participants come from all walks of life.  There are old runners and young runners; thin runners and not-so-thin runners.  Every single person on the course made an active effort to be there, and it’s pretty inspiring.

October 2011. (1412)

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2011 Chicago Half Marathon

I ride my bike around the city of Chicago as much as possible. Some routes pass through seedy industrial areas, other times I cruise 15 miles down the lakefront to work. Most of the time it’s me and a handful of joggers on the lakeshore bikepath, but occasionally I see fun things.

One day, en route to work, I passed by a church service doing some sort of rebirth along the 31st Street beach. I stopped for quite some time and just watched as, one by one, members of the congregation were walked into the water fully-clothed, given a prayer, and dunked under the surface of the lake. The entire time the church choir provided a fantastic soundtrack to the event.

And then, a few years back I happened upon the Chicago Half Marathon. The route comes as far north as 31st Street, so I caught just a bit of the runners as I made my way to work. That day, I took a few pictures on my iPhone but made a mental note to come back for more later. “Later” ended up being two years.

After double-checking the website, yesterday I grabbed my camera and headed out the door to work. (For the runners, it was a beautiful day to conquer 13.1 miles.)

While I was trolling the Chicago Half Marathon’s website to double-check the route, I noticed they had a photography contest; winner gets $150 and keeps their image’s copyright.  Since this is one of the few photography contests I’ve stumbled upon that doesn’t take everything — including the copyrights — I thought I’d enter. (I ended up finishing third.  The two pictures ahead of me featured a runner carrying the American flag for the entire run.)

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Black and White Sox

I really like pictures of empty stadiums because I think so often we see them full of people (except the Florida Marlins in the early 2000s, of course).  It’s nice to see such a large place in such a different situation.

This is, obviously, U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox, and, for three games in 2004 the Florida Marlins.

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Winter Classic

This picture was taken the night before the Winter Classic at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois.  Considering the chaos that as about to ensue, I remember at the time it was very, very quiet.

The following morning — game day — I was taking in the scene, just off of the ice, when Martin Havlat (then of the Blackhawks) came out and was standing next to me.  He let out a “Wow” to no one in particular.  I asked him the last time he played a hockey game outside and he said it was years ago, probably when he was twelve or thirteen. In chatting a bit more, I asked him if he was excited, and he motioned to the ice with his head and said “How can you not be?”

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Dew Tour Panorama

Ryan Nyquist performs stunts on his bike during the 2010 Dew Tour in Chicago, Illinois.

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United Center

The NBA Finals wrapped up yesterday.  I think all of America (except those fools residing in Florida) were thrilled Miami lost to Dallas.  Even if you hate the Yankees, you have to respect their commitment to winning — or at least their commitment to battling with the Red Sox.  With LeBron James and the Miami Heat, the way they went about winning reeked of arrogance more than a “commitment to winning.”

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Blues Mobile

One year ago yesterday, the Chicago Blackhawks ended their drought and won the Stanley Cup.  The Blackhawks organization did a cool move and allowed season ticket holders an opportunity to hang out with The Cup and have their picture taken with it.  (They even went so far as to bring in a professional photographer to take an enormous high-resolution photo and post it online for free.)

I’m a big fan of the movie The Blues Brothers and the ‘Hawks have a car similar to the 1974 Dodge Monaco from the movie.  I’ve seen it around the United Center, but I was happy to have my camera with me when it was parked in front on Stanley Cup Day.

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Division Flags

Today is Memorial Day, a time in the United States when we honor our country’s past and present service members for the blanket of liberty the rest of us get to soundly sleep under every night.  In searching for pictures, this one struck me immediately as today’s post.

On top of Wrigley Field’s scoreboard the National League flags fly.  They are ordered in the rankings of the division, so there is West, Central and East, all topped by American Flag.

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Welsh-Ryan Arena

A nearly-empty Welsh-Ryan Arena, in Evanston, Illinois (home of the Northwestern Wildcats).

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Pommel Horse

This past weekend I found myself at a college gymnastics tournament.  About seven hours before the event started (and with few people there), I wandered around taking pictures of things surrounding the 75 year-old building and the gymnastics equipment filled within.

At one point I jumped up to the rings and did a couple of pull-ups.  I think I made it to two before my body started to cry like the out-of-shape-blob that it is.  What I did learn, however, is a new respect for the gymnasts; just playing around for all of ten seconds made me realize how impressive their efforts really are.

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Left Field Foul Pole

Today is opening day at Wrigley Field! By the end of the day, the Cubs should be mathematically eliminated from the post-season.

I took this picture in 2006 while looking up Wrigley Field‘s left field foul pole. (In 2009 the Cubs also retired Fergie Jenkins number and his name and number fly in the wind with Santo and Banks.)

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Hallowed Ground

It’s always interesting to me that the guys who work within Wrigley Field’s scoreboard seem to have no idea just how many people think they have the greatest job in the world. They work in an iconic “office” that, not only is it Wrigley Field, but it’s inside Wrigley Field’s scoreboard. (Then again, having to watch the Chicago Cubs play every single home game might feel more like a prison sentence.)

Obviously, this picture is from within Wrigley Field’s scoreboard. The bright light coming from the ceiling (a ways down) is the trap door to get onto the roof (where the “W” or “L” flags fly). The green number panels are just stickers that the worker will pull off if they need a number 18 today, but a number 19 tomorrow.

I’ve been up in the scoreboard a number of times, but I still think it’s an incredible place to visit.

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