These shot are all from a Holga camera I am playing with. I used various types of film in it, and am somewhat amazed that I was able to capture anything that I thought looks cool.
I traveled to Miami in December last year to go see the Patriots play the Dolphins. I met a buddy in Ft Lauderdale. We picked up our rental car, went and picked up our tickets, then off to the hotel. Being from Connecticut , and about 45 minutes or so from the beach , it was so nice to be in a hotel on the Atlantic Ocean. I shot a lot of beach and water stuff. It was so much trying catch shots of waves as they crash around you, or over you. We got lucky and had great seats for the game, and Sun Life Stadium lets you bring in cameras. So I shot away. What a great getaway.
I like sports. I will watch almost anything that catches my interest . I love football. My son loves football even more than I do. There is something about a game where you get to be so physical, and yet it can be so cerebral, like a chess match. From September to February I watch a lot of football. Professional, college, high school , youth, I watch it all. I know there are people that watch much more than me , but I think I see more than the average person, which makes my wife a little nuts; she hates football. I am prejudiced toward my son’s team ( of course, like any good parent is supposed to be ) and my former high school( who I do a lot of work for), The New England Patriots and Notre Dame. Football is about strength and speed. Size helps too, but the biggest guy won’t always win the battle. It is about guts and the ability to overcome. I love to be on the sideline. I am able to watch the action, close up. And of course I have my camera with me.
Any good sports photographer will tell you that the more you know about the sport you are going to shoot, the better your photographs will be. As you understand about how the game moves and flows, you will be better able to position yourself where the best action will be. You will also know what players or positions will often give you the best shots. I tend to concentrate on the ball, who has it, where it is going, if it is a pass or a run, those kind of things. For those of you that don’t already know, the quarterback, running backs and wide receivers have the ball almost all the time. If my team is on defense, I still follow the ball but I try to wait until one of the defensive players is about to do something that I would want a photograph of; make a tackle, go up for a pass against a wide receiver, sack the quarterback. It doesn’t matter whether it is a youth game or a professional game, the same basic principals apply. The game just gets faster as the participants get older, bigger and stronger.
I try to wait for the peak action,then start shooting and let the motor drive keep firing after the first shot. The first shot is what I am really looking to capture, anything after that is just gravy. This is a habit from when I shot film that has stuck with me. I shoot football with an 80-200 f2.8 lens ( however with my camera it gets turned into 120-300 lens) so I can get very close to the action. I usually shoot wide open ( at f2.8) to isolate the action from the background, and keep my shutter speed as fast as possible. I usually hand hold, although occasionally I will use a monopod. This is what works for me. There are many more talented photographers than me out there, I just keep trying to make my own work better.
Walter Iooss has been my idol since I was a kid.It probably didn’t hurt that he was the first Sports Illustrated sports shooter that worked on the Swimsuit Issue. I go back and look at his work and try to see how he makes photographs, learn from them and make my own better. He shoots a little of everything, and for the most part anything that he publishes is pretty fantastic. Neil Leifer, Dave Black, Joe McNally, Tim Montoani, Scott Kelby, and Chase jarvis are all photographers ( that shoot sports, not necessarily exclusively) that I follow to see what kind of work they do, and how they do it, and how I can learn from them, and have fun while shooting it.
Sorry I haven’t posted for a while. Trying to blog on a regular basis is hard. I have a new found respect for those people that can write blogs consistently. For those of you that don’t already know, I am a firefighter. In fact that is my full-time job. I spend on average 48 hours a week at the firehouse. It is really the best job in the world. For an outsider, to see us when we actually have to “go to work” it must look like chaos. But everyone has a job, all of them important. I shoot as much as I can at work. Some guys don’t mind, so guys do not want there photographs taken no matter what. I have been trying to shoot a ” behind the scenes” kind of post, to give you, my readers, a glimpse of what happens at the firehouse, going to calls , returning from calls, a day in the life so to speak. For those of you firefighters , or very knowledgeable with the fire service, please bear with me as I try to educate some of the uninformed people out there.
Now I work on a truck company. This means that when we go to a fire, I get to go break shit. The ladder is in charge of putting up ladders, (obviously), we also do search and rescue, forcible entry( breaking into doors) ventilation( breaking windows and cutting holes in roofs) and then salvage and overhaul ( we try to save what can be saved and make sure the fire is put out by opening up walls and ceilings). We also have extrication equipment, for nasty car wrecks; ropes for rescue; tools for just about everything. We have an engine company that is in the station with us. They have the hoses, and put the water on the fire. It is like a big team sport, there are usually 16 guys on any given alarm. If more help is needed the Deputy Chief will call for more personnel. If everyone isn’t needed, he will send them back.
Here are a bunch of photos that I have taken with various cameras over the course of last couple of years. It can be difficult to shoot at work, and obviously I cannot be shooting at the same time I am working at a fire. I will probably add more as I shoot them or maybe another post. We’ll see.
Wow, it isn’t even the end of March but it feels like the girls ( Kelsey’s gymnastics team) have been going forever. Well I guess they have been kind of. Training started in September. Meets started in January. States are this weekend. Where does the time go? Being the proud father, I have to tell you about my amazing daughter. She has been doing gymnastics on and off for fun since she was about 18 months old. She is now 10, and this is her first year of team ( competition) gymnastics. I am constantly amazed at how strong she is, how she can bend and twist and flip with what appears to be minimal effort, and how much she has grown up during the year. She struts right out in front of all the spectators that are there ( for some of the meets there was a lot) and does her routines, absolutely fearless. Her teammates are a bunch of good kids. It is nice to see that the older girls look after the younger girls, and from my vantage point everyone gets along and cheers for each other. Seeing that I almost always have a camera with me, I, of course shot all the girls, trying to get those photographs that show the essence of competition, and gymnastics. I was adopted by the coaches and team as what I’ll call the official unofficial team photographer. So here are some of the photographs I have been lucky enough to take over the course of the season so far. If you want to see more I have four galleries from various meets, with another one in the works, at http://www.patrickmatthewsphotography.com , not to mention other sports and events I have covered. Enjoy and have a great day.
As I have started to blog and listen to various podcasts, I have learned the value of my cell phone camera. Chase Jarvis had this awesome project where he used his iphone to take photographs and created a book from the stuff he shot. While I am not an iphone disciple, I use my cell phone camera( I have a droid) probably daily. There are several apps you can get, some for pay and some for free, that will tweak the look of the photographs when they are taken, like the look of old polaroids, or a Holga, cross processing, black and white, all kinds of cool stuff on a pocket sized camera, that gives a decent size file, able to be printed out and still look good. I am not sure where exactly I heard it, but “the best camera is the one you have with you” is such a great quote( I think it was Chase Jarvis once again). Almost everyone has a cell phone with a camera, why not take advantage of it. Just like any digital camera, one can shoot as much as one wants. If a great photo is created, keep it. If a photo is created that isn’t so great, there is a delete button. It is like a never ending roll of film in your pocket. And chances are that if you practice things with your cell phone camera and can use it to create good stuff, then you will probably be able to do great things with any camera that turns up in your hand. So get out there and shoot. Here, like always are some of my favorites from my cell phone.
I love sports, well most sports. Anyone who knows me knows I am not much of a basketball fan. I very rarely watch it on television, college or pros, men’s or women’s, basketball just doesn’t do much for me; unless that is, I am court-side shooting it, and it helps if it is good ball. I was hired to shoot many of the Greater Hartford Pro-Am last summer. This is a league that has most of the best basketball players from the greater Hartford area. Most of the Uconn team played on various teams , there were also players from Central Conn, Fairfiled, Quinipiac, as well as some pros. To fill out the teams there were everyday guys who were just good ball players. These guys played some great ball, and it was fun to be able to shoot it. So seeing as March has just started, and the Madness that goes along with it has started as well, I thought I would put up a gallery of my favorite basketball shots from last summer. Maybe some of the kids in these shots will make it to the big dance, who knows?