Half Pipes to Half Time
I’ve ventured into the Tahoe backcountry, tethered to a snowmobile, braved freezing 2 AM nights in urban spots, and endured sub-zero temperatures on half-pipe decks to capture the world’s best skiers in action. Yet, if you were to ask me recently about the most challenging action to photograph, It’d be Youth Football.
There are two reasons…
I’m Out of My Depth
Let’s be clear: I follow football in the most rudimentary sense. While I grasp the basic mechanics and objectives, my understanding doesn’t extend beyond a high-level overview. I’m the guy who watches the Super Bowl mainly for the commercials. My son Callan, however, lives and breathes football.
Every. Waking. Moment — literally.
He drifts off to sleep listening to a Patriots podcast in his ears. So, when he expressed his desire to play football this season, I gave a hesitant “sure,” treating it as a “let’s-see-how-this-goes” kind of deal. But Callan took to it whole heartedly, and so we’re a “football family.” Even though my grasp of the game remains elementary still, it’s been a great way to connect with Callan.
A Departure from My Comfort Zone
The sheer mechanics of capturing football in action starkly contrast with my experience shooting action sports, especially skiing. With skiing, I understood when and where the athlete was going to be; how the light and snow would react to his or her movement across the frame, and what and why a photo made the cut, or was discarded. Photographing these kids presents an entirely different set of challenges. These kids are constantly on the move, often to the chagrin of their coaches. They can be like distracted puppies, chasing the ball from one side of the field to the other. Anticipating their movements, which again are foreign to me due to my lack of understanding of the sport (see above), and deciding when to snap the shutter feels more luck than skill. Yet, that’s the beauty of it. The ignorance, the amateur status, that’s what adds to the fun of photographing Callan and his teammates. It’s a rediscovery of the process, a chance to learn photography all over again in a new context.
The season’s end draws near and I’m already gearing up for the winter. We’ll head north to the mountains, a terrain I’m more familiar with. But in true Callan fashion, he’s chosen to snowboard. And so, I snowboard too — poorly.
Franklin vs. Milford Gallery
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