Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Friday Little League game pics

Last Friday, I received a phone call around 3 p.m. from my editor asking me to find a Little League game and shoot enough pictures for a photo page for Saturday's section. The problems were: a. It was a Friday early in the season and few teams play on Friday this early; b. I had to get a remote camera set up for the Komets' playoff game, and it had to be done two hours before game time which in this case meant, I had to be done by 6 p.m. Any baseball game I would find would likely start the same time I had to be in a catwalk 160 feet above the ice at the Memorial Coliseum.

So, I went on my way searching for games. I travelled to four different parks with not a soul meandering at any of them. Time was winding down on me because I knew I had to get to MC. So, I drove by Georgetown Little League, and a team was there practicing hitting. Bingo. Being about three minutes from the MC, I decided to run over there, get my remote installed and make it back in time for the ballgame. I got that done right on time, and made it back with 45 minutes left to shoot.

At this point, I had limited time to shoot enough images of just one game to make a photo page. No problem. At least not when you have great light. The sun was low in the sky and a beautiful golden light pierced through the clouds from time to time. So I kept an eye on the sky and made the most of my opportunities. While it was only one game and I was short on time, I was able to pull off 10 pics for the page, of which the editors used seven. I got done early enough to stop and grab a soda on my way back to Memorial Coliseum. Believe it or not, I wish I could have more days like that.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Movin' on up

The Fort Wayne Komets are headed back to a championship series after beating the Muskegon Fury 5-1 in game 6 of the International Hockey League's Turner Cup semifinals on Saturday in Muskegon. Fort Wayne scored two goals in the first 1:29 of the game and added a third at 5:33 of the first period to set the tone.

Fort Wayne will meet Port Huron for a chance to win the Turner Cup with the series starting later in the week once building open dates are determined.

April 26, 2008 - Muskegon, Mich. - The Fort Wayne Komets and Muskegon Fury shake hands after the Komets won the Turner Cup semifinals series four games to two with a 5-1 win over the Fury on Saturday at L.C. Walker Arena in Muskegon.

Photo by Chad Ryan.

April 26, 2008 - Muskegon, Mich. - Fort Wayne's Mathieu Curadeau reacts to his first-period goal against Muskegon on Saturday. Curadeau's goal was the Komets' second goal scored in the first 1:29 of the game as Fort Wayne advanced to the Turner Cup championship series with a 5-1 win over the Fury at L.C. Walker Arena in Muskegon.

Photo by Chad Ryan.

April 26, 2008 - Muskegon, Mich. - Muskegon's Rob Kwiet, top, throws a punch at the back of Komets forward Mitch Woods' head after pushing him to the ice in Saturday's Turner Cup semifinals games at Muskegon. Kwiet received a minor roughing penalty for the incident despite throwing his glove off to punch Woods several times with his bare hand.

Photo by Chad Ryan.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Komets take series lead

The Fort Wayne Komets smoked Muskegon 7-3, and it wasn't as close as the score might indicate, to take a two games to one series lead in the opening round of the IHL playoffs. Check out Blake Sebring's coverage of the game in the Sports section of The News-Sentinel. Stop by Blake's blog, Tailing the Komets for more hockey coverage.

Jake Pence, left, celebrates with David Hukalo, right, after Hukalo scored a short-handed break-away goal in the third period to take a 7-2 lead.

While they sort out the penalties ...

No game misconducts given ... look for more fights soon.

Komets playoffs pics

First Period of Sunday's game 3 against Muskegon

Fort Wayne Komets forward Konstantin Shafranov moves the puck in on goal during first period action at Memorial Coliseum on Sunday. At the end of the first period, Fort Wayne leads 2-1.

Fort Wayne Komets forward Konstantin Shafranov, top, scores the Komets second goal of the second period and fourth of the game.

Shafranov celebrates with his linemates after scoring a goal in the second period. After two periods, Fort Wayne Leads Muskegon 5-1 while outshooting the Fury 41-8. Muskegon will start the third period with a two-man advantage for 1:06.

Freedom pull one out

The Fort Wayne Freedom pulled out a last minute come-from-behind victory over the Rock River Raptors on Saturday. After the game coach Willie Davis breathed a big sigh of relief. He really wanted that game, and it didn't matter that the Freedom only led for a grand total of 43 seconds. The win was huge for the team that really needed one. check out my story for The News-Sentinel on the SportSunday section here.

The announced attendance for last night's game was 3,069. I would guess that to be pretty close. It definitely looked like more fans came out than for the other two games here in town. The guys on the team that I talked to last night all talked about how much appreciated the fan support at the game, and hope more fans can make it this week.

I was told by CIFL co-owner Jeff Spitaleri on Wednesday that he would be in attendance at last night's game and would possibly be able to give new information about the front office shakeup that seems to be in motion. I'm not saying he wasn't there, but I didn't see Spitaleri anywhere. So I was not able to speak with him about any new details. I hope to find out more later this week if/when new information comes out.

The Freedom have another home date this Saturday when the Marion Mayhem comes to town for a 7 p.m. start at Memorial Coliseum.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Freedom's revolving door

Once again, ownership and front office woes have hit the Fort Wayne Freedom. It appears the Continental Indoor Football League is in position to push owner Todd Ellis out and take over operations of the team. I was in attendance at a meeting where CIFL officials, who declined to comment, met with the coaches and players on Wednesday at the end of the team's practice, and I wrote a story about it for Friday's edition of The News-Sentinel. The story is posted online here.

I'll be covering the Freedom game Saturday, which starts at 7 p.m. at Memorial Coliseum, for the SportSunday edition of The News-Sentinel. Look for a game story, and I'm hoping to report on new information regarding the takeover as CIFL co-owner Jeff Spitaleri suggested he might have by then.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

And they pay me to do this

Sometimes, when I'm feeling contempt for things that happen at work, I sit back and remember the crazy things I get paid to do. I got paid to photograph one of the best AFC Championship football games ever played when Indy came back in the second half to beat the Patriots and head off to win the rain soaked Super Bowl XLI in Miami. Oh, then there's that. I got paid to go to Miami for a few days in February to cover that Super Bowl. It's a job, to be certain, and I can see how most people think they would love to do what I do, but like every job it has its issues.

I'm sure there are plenty of folks who would have loved to do what I did yesterday. Well, at least until that pesky part about writing two stories and editing/transmitting photos popped up. Yesterday was another of those times when I asked myself, "Is somebody realling paying me to do THIS?"

I drove up to Detroit to play poker with NASCAR's Tony Stewart. How many fans do you know that would have traded seats with me for free? How many of them would've paid me to trade with them? Two of his fans did get to sit in on the game, and they were giddy.

I have to say, I am not starstruck when I meet famous people. Hey, they're just people ... who happen to have a lot more money than I do. But I'm glad I covered this story because it was nice to talk to Stewart away from the track and in a more relaxed settting. It's common knowledge that he has a low threshold for what considers to be stupid questions. On this day, though, he was cracking jokes and less tense, even if he did have to get away from the game to get on a plane. I felt like I could ask a question without wondering if I would have a head left when he was done. It was a good time.

Kid Rock, who happened to be at the Motor City Casino's hotel even popped in for a few minutes to catch up with his buddy Stewart who made a joke about Rock being awake while it was daylight.

I was up $5,650. Too bad we played with fake money. I could have bought into a real game, but I'm not sure the accouting folks at Fort Wayne Newspapers would view a poker buy-in as a work-related expense. So, I got to do something different. I got to do something that I will likely never do again, and I got to take my mind off the fact that what I do is actually a job with its inherent frustrations.

Now I'm off to a baseball game. Have I mentioned how much I like baseball?

Check out my column at News-Sentinel.com. Unfortunately my two stories had to be combined into one, but space dictates, and my editor, Elbert Starks, did his usual masterful job of pulling it together.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Baseball season is here!

OK, I admit it. I love baseball. I always have. Over the years, though, my interest in other sports has taken away some of the time I would have normally spent watching baseball but it's still high on my list. Unfortunately, baseball is a very tough sport to photograph. Getting great action photos is dependent on equipment because the field is so wide open, but if one plays the angles right, he can get some nice pictures with less gear.

Now, the season is upon us. I shot the first two Wizards games and a couple of Saint Francis games, and I'm loving shooting something other than basketball. So, here are a couple of pics from the Wizards second game of the season. I saw something at Memorial Stadium I had never seen. Fort Wayne's right fielder Shane buschini caught a fly ball that was sure to be a home run. He had to leap towards the short fence to catch it then he fell over the fence. For a few seconds, there was nothing, then Buschini popped up with the ball in his glove. The umpire negated the catch and ruled the play a home run because Buschini and the ball went over the fence.

On another great effort, Buschini dived to catch a fly ball that looked to be in foul territory. The ball fell to the ground, but the umpire ruled it a fair ball. I'm not sure what that umpire was looking at, but my photo shows the ball falling foul. Wizards manager Doug Dascenzo argued he call, and the umpire told him the ball was fair by three feet. Anyway, I guess it was just my day to get outfield photos.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Back home again in Indiana

I just got back home from driving to and from North Carolina for an extended weekend photo conference. Although I do enjoy the trip to the Carolinas because the drive is relatively easy and there's plenty to look at, I have to say making the trek with a 10-month old who has teeth coming in can be a little stressful. The little guy just wasn't feeling good, and when he's not feeling good no one is feeling good. It wasn't all bad, though as we managed to sprinkle some fun in between the moodiness.

In any case, it was a great weekend for me. I got some great advice on some directions to consider taking my photography. I asked a couple of individuals to review my portfolio and the sessions were very productive. The people with whom I spoke gave me pointers on strengths and weaknesses with my images. Having that kind off access with these folks can be a great help, and it is the main reason I went to this seminar. Well, that and my wife and I really wanted to get away from the house for a few days. We just needed an excuse to head to the Carolinas again. It was 80+ and sunny when we got there. Remind me again why I live in Indiana.

One piece of good news came my way while travelling home. Tori Bagan, who I named The News-Sentinel Prep Sports Swimmer of the Year, had a big weekend swimming at the Speedo Championships. The Homestead freshman became the first Fort Wayne swimmer since the early 1990's to qualify to compete in the US Olympic Trials early this summer in Omaha, Nebraska. If all goes well, I'll be there covering her experience.

Recently, I've come to be known as the swimming photographer and the swimming guy. It's likely due to the portraits I've made of prep swimmers this year, but that's not a bad thing. The fact is, I enjoy photographing swimming events. More than I ever thought I would. I'm currently looking into other outlets for my swimming photography and have had some hits in the last few weeks. So things are on the move upward. Hopefully soon, you'll see my photos in swimming magazines and other publications.

2-09-2008 - Indianapolis, Ind. - Homestead's Tori Bagan gets a big start on her way to a fifth-place finish in the 100 freestyle event at the Indiana state championships. Bagan also swam to a third place finish in the 100 breaststroke behind two Olympic trials qualifiers and the state record holder in the event.

Right now, however, I'm off to get some sleep.

Thanks again for stopping by.

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