Okay – we just have to start this post out by saying…you guys are unbelievable photographers! This was by far and away the most difficult round to judge. Pretty much every photo that we received could have been our winner! This round of photo submissions showcased talent, timing and all around photographic excellence. The photos just keep getting better and better, so we can only assume that our last round will be the best yet – so keep the pictures coming!
Frank McGrath, the official staff photographer of the Indiana Pacers sat down with us last week to take a look at the wide variety of photos that we received. Frank was blown away by the pictures submitted this time. He poured over them for quite some time and, at the end, had a stack of pictures that he said were all winners and it was going to be so hard to choose the number one photo. Every picture we looked at showed beautiful composition, fantastic timing, told stories and more. Thank you all for showcasing your talent with us.
We want to offer huge congratulations to Jeff Nycz of Warsaw, IN along with FOUR runner ups…as I said; this was a very close contest. Franks comments are included below:
Winner: The Catch
By Jeff Nycz
Comments from Frank: The professionalism of this photo stood out immediately to me. And while we had many great pictures, this photo stole my heart and was so technically perfect. You can’t ask for better timing than what is displayed in this picture. What stood out most to me about this picture was how the focus held so perfectly. You can tell that this photographer was obviously across the field, so I have to assume he had at least a 400mm/2.8 lens or better. But, even with that capacity of lens, to hold that type of focus and keep the picture so sharp and so crisp while capturing that kind of action shows me that this person took a gamble and it paid off big time! This individual is a fantastic photographer. The color is beautiful, and very sharp. And the framing and composition of this picture could not be better – the player is perfectly centered and in motion, yet there is not a blur on him, and his face is looking towards the camera, which is such a tough shot to get. And the story that is told with the player’s eyes locked on the ball and the opposing team’s player, just barely missing his mark, in the corner of the picture – showing what I have to assume is a great catch and a just missed tackle. Well done Jeff! This is one of the best pictures we have seen so far.
First Runner Up: Wrapped In Defense
By Ted Remble
Comments from Frank: This was another picture that I kept going back to, and truly, if Jeff’s picture hadn’t been there, this would have been my winner. I especially loved what was conveyed in this picture related to the action of the game and specifically the action of this specific play. The body contact in this picture is great, because it shows the struggle of the play, and then also the outcome as you see the player in the white jersey just barely get her foot on the ball after what we can assume was a race for the ball. You also see all the girls in the background with their eyes trained on the ball waiting to see what will happen. Usually as photographers, we are capturing one moment of a play, and what is very difficult to do is capture the entire story of a sports encounter with just one shot. This photographer did that here, and it is very refreshing to see. Using outdoor light is always nice as it gives you great color – and this photographer used that to his advantage. The color and clarity is excellent and there is really nothing that you could improve upon with this picture. As I said, this is such a wonderful picture and I tossed and turned over this one and our winner. Thank you for submitting a great shot Ted!
Second Runner Up: Three’s A Crowd
By David Riojas
Again, I can’t talk to you much about where we can make improvements with this photo. It is an amazing photo! Speaking of ‘Three’s A Crowd,’ this was such a close race between this picture and the previous two, I can really only tell you what I liked about it. Horse racing is such a fast-paced sport and it is pretty tough to shoot, which is one of the reasons I was so drawn to this picture. It is a very dynamic photo. The horses in motion with all of their different colors are so beautiful. I love seeing the dirt flying up behind them and their neck-in-neck position leaves you dying to know who will win this race. The only thing that could have made this photo better and possibly made it our winner is if you were able to tell where in the race these horses were at the time of the photo or if this shot was made as they were crossing the finish line! But, depending on the photographer’s position in the stands, that shot is not always possible. And this is another picture with beautiful color and clarity. If I had to give you one specific reason why I picked our football catch over this picture, it would be based on the difficulty of capturing the timing of the action in that shot. All in all, this is a winner in my book! David – this is a fantastic picture that you should be very proud of, thank you for sending it our way.
Third Runner Up: Up and Over
By Shawn Barney
Another really good action shot that I stared at for a long time! While the timing of the player’s jump is great, one of the things that I love most about this picture is the huge fan-base cheering in the background and the coaches screaming and jumping in the air on the sidelines. Without that in the background, the story of this picture would almost be lost completely. You can see the enormity of the play in the reaction of the people around the main subject of this picture. Catching a sport’s player in mid-air without blur always shows great timing and skill by the photographer. This photographer anticipated a big play and was ready when this run down the field happened. Again, there is not a lot of room for improvement on this shot. If you zoomed more closely in on your main player, you would lose the crowd and the context of the play – which is what makes this picture so memorable for me. Well done Shawn!
Fourth Runner Up: Hold On
By Margaret Fallin
While the timing and action of this shot was spot-on, I think it was the little players themselves that really made me love this picture. You can see the mixed emotions of focus and determination, and also a little bit of fear on their faces and in their outstretched arms (as they try and brace their falls) that made this photo so refreshing to look at. The photographer got a great shot off in this play. It is crisp and clear and centered – very nice composition. It is great contact between the players and an excellent representation of the action that we look for in all of our pictures. One of the only improvements you could make here is the lighting. While you can tell the field was in the shade and you can’t actually change the cloud coverage, you could go into Photoshop or another editing program after the fact and bring up the back lighting so that the photo does not look as dark. All in all, another picture that really caught my eye! Thank you Margaret!
Overall comments: As always, a very heart-felt thanks to those of you that took the time to share your images with us. As we said before, everyone really rose to the occasion with this round of submissions. We love looking at all of the entries and we appreciate you giving us the chance to evaluate them, because that is how we all become better photographers. Keep sending in your shots so that you can be the Pacers Fan Photographer of the Game! Our next submission period to be the Fan Photographer of the Game for the Pacers v. Brooklyn Nets game on April 12th is currently going on and we will stop taking entries on March 10th. This will be our last round, so don’t miss it!
There were also many wonderful images that were not mentioned here and we encourage you to view the entries on Facebook! We would also like to keep all of the images and enter them in the next submission period so that we might consider them for the next Pacers Fan Photographer of the Game! (You may submit additional images for the next round even if your picture from round one is being kept. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to submit additional pictures.)