2016 Sports Shooter Academy - Photo of the Week by Brian Rothmuller

The Sports Shooter Academy 13 in Costa Mesa, CA wrapped up over the weekend. On the last day of shooting we all shot the Fullerton College vs. Orange Coast College football game in Costa Mesa, CA.

Normally at football games, I have a list of players I need to shoot for stock purposes and I'm running up and down the sidelines to track the action throughout the game. Since that was not the purpose of this workshop and day, I decided to try some different techniques. I shot most of the game backlit and some of it above the press box playing with the player's shadows on the field, searching for that one great image.

The image came on a fourth and 10 play from the the thirty yard line, when Fullerton College caught a 30 yard pass in the end zone for a touchdown. I was about six feet behind the end zone on my stomach and got this great shot. The angle makes the whole shot as you wouldn't see the defenders face if I wasn't that low. It also tells the story of the game nicely with the scoreboard in the background.

It was very humbling to hear the comments of the instructors as they saw my image, including the praise of legendary sports photographer John Biever, who is one of four people to shoot every Super Bowl.

Below is the photo that won the "Photo of the Day" and "Photo of the Week". Thanks again to Nikon Professional Services for the Nikon D5500 for winning this award. I shot it with a Nikon d750 body and a 70-200mm 2.8 lens. 70mm, f4, 1/4000 sec at 400 ISO.

11/4/16 --- Football --- Fullerton College running back Phillip Butler (6) catches a touchdown pass as Orange Coast College's Bryce Garcia (59) tries to defend him during a game at LeBard Stadium in Costa Mesa, CA. Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Sports Shooter Academy

11/4/16 --- Football --- Fullerton College running back Phillip Butler (6) catches a touchdown pass as Orange Coast College's Bryce Garcia (59) tries to defend him during a game at LeBard Stadium in Costa Mesa, CA. Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Sports Shooter Academy

2016 Sports Shooter Academy Day 2 by Brian Rothmuller

After a long first day, that resulted in over 8 hours of shooting, it was on to day 2 at the Sports Shooter Academy 13 in Costa Mesa, CA. On day two, first up was shooting junior college water polo at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA. I've never shot water polo before, but found it to be a great sport to shoot with lots of different angles (including shooting off a platform diving board). There was some challenges with focus points with the swimmers going under water at times and exposures, but all in all was a lot of fun.

From there we went to shoot college softball and baseball at Cal State Fullerton. Being a little drained at this point, I focused on slowing things down and trying to work the scene and get some nice detail shots.

These are the three photos I submitted on Day 2.

11/4/16 --- Baseball --- A Cal State Fullerton fan cheers on the team during a fall league game between Cypress College and Cal State Fullerton at Goodwin Field in Fullerton, CA. Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Sports Shooter Academy

11/4/16 --- Baseball --- A Cal State Fullerton fan cheers on the team during a fall league game between Cypress College and Cal State Fullerton at Goodwin Field in Fullerton, CA. Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Sports Shooter Academy

11/4/16 --- Water Polo --- Jacob Thompson (16) from Golden West College shoots during a match between Golden West and Saddleback at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA. Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Sports Shooter Academy

11/4/16 --- Water Polo --- Jacob Thompson (16) from Golden West College shoots during a match between Golden West and Saddleback at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA. Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Sports Shooter Academy

11/4/16 --- Softball --- A Vanguard player looks on during their game against Cal State Fullerton at Anderson Family Field in Fullerton, CA. Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Sports Shooter Academy

11/4/16 --- Softball --- A Vanguard player looks on during their game against Cal State Fullerton at Anderson Family Field in Fullerton, CA. Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Sports Shooter Academy

2016 Sports Shooter Academy Day 1 by Brian Rothmuller

This week I participated in the Sports Shooter Academy 13 in Costa Mesa, CA. It was five days of shooting, editing and critiques. Thanks to Nikon who sponsored the event and all the great staff who took time out of their schedules to be mentors to a group of 45 people.

The first day, I shot the UNIQLO Wheelchair Doubles Masters in Mission Viejo. It was the first time I ever shot this type of sport and it was quite a challenge. I came in with a plan of playing with shadows and I spend over an hour trying to find a good spot that I could execute the shot I was looking for. I ended up finding a crack in the fence behind one of the courts and was able to get the shot I was looking for. It took a lot of patience and trial and error, but kept at it.

From there we went to the La Habra Boxing Club and shot boxers of all ages working out. The gym was very dimly light so we played with speedlights and then grabbed some of the boxers and shot some portraits outside during the sunset. We played with LumeCubes (check them out) and the shot I ended up submitting for the slideshow was shot with a soft box.

These are the three photos I submitted on Day 1 and was proud to have my shadow wheel chair shot finish in the Top 10.

11/3/16 --- Wheelchair Tennis --- Mauricio Pomme of Brazil serves during the 2016 UNIQLO Wheelchair Doubles Masters tournament at Marguerite Tennis Pavilion in Mission Viejo, CA. Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Sports Shooter Academy

11/3/16 --- Wheelchair Tennis --- Mauricio Pomme of Brazil serves during the 2016 UNIQLO Wheelchair Doubles Masters tournament at Marguerite Tennis Pavilion in Mission Viejo, CA. Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Sports Shooter Academy

11/3/16 --- Wheelchair Tennis --- Rafael Medeiros (left) and Daniel Rodrigues (right) compete at the 2016 UNIQLO Wheelchair Doubles Masters tournament at Marguerite Tennis Pavilion in Mission Viejo, CA. Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Sports Shooter Academy

11/3/16 --- Wheelchair Tennis --- Rafael Medeiros (left) and Daniel Rodrigues (right) compete at the 2016 UNIQLO Wheelchair Doubles Masters tournament at Marguerite Tennis Pavilion in Mission Viejo, CA. Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Sports Shooter Academy

11/3/16 --- Boxing --- George Rico poses for a portrait outside the La Habra Boxing Club in La Habra, CA. Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Sports Shooter Academy

11/3/16 --- Boxing --- George Rico poses for a portrait outside the La Habra Boxing Club in La Habra, CA. Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Sports Shooter Academy

2016 Ballislife All-American Game by Brian Rothmuller

Last weekend I shot the 2016 Ballislife All-American Game at Long Beach City College. The game had a ton of talent, with several top 25 players playing in it. Here are some of my favorite photos that I shot. I've also posted some on my sports Instagram account: @brothm_photos:

Arizona's freshman to be Terrance Ferguson won the slam dunk contest. Photo: Brian Rothmuller

Arizona's freshman to be Terrance Ferguson won the slam dunk contest.

Photo: Brian Rothmuller

Arizona State's freshman to be Sam Cuncliffe tried to SWAG it up shooting in the three point contest with sunglasses on. Photo: Brian Rothmuller

Arizona State's freshman to be Sam Cuncliffe tried to SWAG it up shooting in the three point contest with sunglasses on.

Photo: Brian Rothmuller

UCLA's freshman to be Lonzo Ball was all smiles during the game. Photo: Brian Rothmuller

UCLA's freshman to be Lonzo Ball was all smiles during the game.

Photo: Brian Rothmuller

Tennessee's freshman to be Kwe Parker during the dunk contest. Photo: Brian Rothmuller

Tennessee's freshman to be Kwe Parker during the dunk contest.

Photo: Brian Rothmuller

 

 

Outwork the Guy Next To You by Brian Rothmuller

Over the past season I've seen a lot of photographers shooting for national publications that show up in their shooting spot right before the game and leave the second the game is over. I understand the latter as they are on deadline, but if you don't show up early, you miss out on a bunch of shots no one else is taking.

One example is the shot below I took a year ago. All the photographers were in the media room eating food, but I was out on the floor because I knew Bill Walton was broadcasting the game and that he liked to talk to the players before the game. Not only was I the only person to get this shot, the player and his family loved it as I was able to document something for them that was special to them.

I also got this great shot of the Colorado's guitar player in their basketball pep band. You can't just keep your eyes on the court, you have to be looking everywhere, even behind you. 

A guitar of a member of the Colorado Band during the 2016 Pac-12 Tournament. Photo by Brian Rothmuller

A guitar of a member of the Colorado Band during the 2016 Pac-12 Tournament.

Photo by Brian Rothmuller

There are a ton of aspiring photographers out there, you don't have to have a Nikon D5 to outwork the guy next to you, you just need to have a great eye that is always looking for a shot in different directions than the rest of your people.

College Basketball: 4 OT Thriller - USC vs. Arizona - Top 10 Photos by Brian Rothmuller

This past Saturday afternoon, the USC Trojans took on No. 7 Arizona Wildcats at the Galen Center in Los Angeles, CA. Anytime Arizona visits Los Angeles, it is one of the more well attended games of the season for both UCLA and USC. That is always a good thing for  a photographer as the crowds fill up the space in the background of your shots. I shot the game for Scout.com and wanted to walk you through the day, as well as highlight what I consider to be my Top 10 of frames I shot during the game.

If you want to skip ahead to the photos, scroll down.

When photographing games at USC, I get to the arena early to mark my spot on the court with tape. Other arenas have a photo captain, who you check in with when you arrive and they assign a spot for you. I picked up my media pass and dropped off my computer and extra gear in the media room before making my way to the court. Most games if I am shooting for a specific team I will shoot the direction they are heading on offense and then when they switch directions at halftime, I also switch sides. In this case, given that the photo area was going to be packed, I decided to stay in one spot the whole game.

The game was full of action. Both teams hit big shots, but USC couldn't score in the final seconds and the game went to overtime. At this point,  the game went into groundhog day mode. Another chance for USC to win, another missed shot, and a second overtime. Then, yet another chance for USC to win at the buzzer, another missed shot, and a third overtime. Here is where I panicked. I normally shoot around 1,000 frames during a basketball game. At the end of the third overtime both my memory cards were full with over 2,000 frames. I normally have an extra card on me, but in this case it was in the media room and I had to run back and get it before the start of the 4th overtime. You can never have too many cards on you; I learned my lesson. I can just imagine, the game ending on a great shot and my cards full so I wouldn't be able to capture the shot.. The game finally ended in the 4th overtime and I was able to capture one of my favorite photos I've shot for basketball. It was a long day, I shot over 2,600 frames, some were crap, others were good, but I nailed the money shot.

Without further ado, and with commentary, below I countdown what I consider to be my top 10 shots from the game. Your comments and questions are welcomed!

#10. I like how close this shot is as the player was driving to the hoop right in front of me. I always make sure I shoot the star players first. My editor isn't going to care if I get a great shot of a player who isn't someone they can feature in a story.

#10. I like how close this shot is as the player was driving to the hoop right in front of me. I always make sure I shoot the star players first. My editor isn't going to care if I get a great shot of a player who isn't someone they can feature in a story.

#9. I like the Arizona player's hand over the USC player's face as he shoots and the bench reaction in the background as the ball is shot.

#9. I like the Arizona player's hand over the USC player's face as he shoots and the bench reaction in the background as the ball is shot.

#8. At first glance, there isn't anything amazing about this shot. But if you know that two fingers at USC are a victory symbol that translates to “Fight On!” this picture is a gem and one that could be featured in promotional materials for the school. I recommend doing your homework to get these type of shots.

#8. At first glance, there isn't anything amazing about this shot. But if you know that two fingers at USC are a victory symbol that translates to “Fight On!” this picture is a gem and one that could be featured in promotional materials for the school. I recommend doing your homework to get these type of shots.

#7. When opponents shoot free throws towards the home student section, it always makes for a good photo. I always hope that I capture a student doing something crazy like taking his shirt off or a great sign in the crowd. In this case, neither happened, but it’s a nice capture of the emotion of the game.

#7. When opponents shoot free throws towards the home student section, it always makes for a good photo. I always hope that I capture a student doing something crazy like taking his shirt off or a great sign in the crowd. In this case, neither happened, but it’s a nice capture of the emotion of the game.

#6. Trying to get the game winning shot, but instead, got the game winning foul. 

#6. Trying to get the game winning shot, but instead, got the game winning foul. 

#5. Emotion. Nothing tells a story better for sports than the emotion on people's faces. The Head Coach looking up to the heavens, a student manager looking stunned and a player sinking down in disappointment. Having multiple subjects telling the story is much stronger than focusing on just one.

#5. Emotion. Nothing tells a story better for sports than the emotion on people's faces. The Head Coach looking up to the heavens, a student manager looking stunned and a player sinking down in disappointment. Having multiple subjects telling the story is much stronger than focusing on just one.

#4. I was so focused on USC's reaction to a foul in the last OT that I didn't see Arizona Head Coach Sean Miller's epic reaction until a fan behind me was talking about it. I also love the guy at the media table smiling.

#4. I was so focused on USC's reaction to a foul in the last OT that I didn't see Arizona Head Coach Sean Miller's epic reaction until a fan behind me was talking about it. I also love the guy at the media table smiling.

#3. The USC bench trying to will in free throws that ultimately would give USC the victory in the 4th overtime. Great anticipation of the moment being captured with this shot.

#3. The USC bench trying to will in free throws that ultimately would give USC the victory in the 4th overtime. Great anticipation of the moment being captured with this shot.

#2. This is my favorite bench shot. USC's Elijah Stewart's face and expression is classic. As you can see, my process in shooting big plays is going right to the bench for a reaction after the play is complete. I also like to get the fan's reactions right after the play.

#2. This is my favorite bench shot. USC's Elijah Stewart's face and expression is classic. As you can see, my process in shooting big plays is going right to the bench for a reaction after the play is complete. I also like to get the fan's reactions right after the play.

#1. I was very happy to capture this shot at the end of the game. It probably helped that I had 3 previous overtimes in the game to frame up the shot, but I feel like I nailed it. I was very aware of making sure I had the game clock in the picture and the red light on the backboard. I wish I didn't cut off the backboard on the right, but I only had a split instance to get this shot before players crossed in front of my view on the court.

#1. I was very happy to capture this shot at the end of the game. It probably helped that I had 3 previous overtimes in the game to frame up the shot, but I feel like I nailed it. I was very aware of making sure I had the game clock in the picture and the red light on the backboard. I wish I didn't cut off the backboard on the right, but I only had a split instance to get this shot before players crossed in front of my view on the court.

For the entire gallery, click here.