Jan 2012 30

It’s SuperBowl Week … what a perfect time to get to know featured member John Kersten of John Kersten Photography and Kersten Sport Photography. I first noticed John’s amazing football and basketball photography on Twitter where I follow him @john_kersten.  However, once I started to ask him a few questions, I found out he has a much bigger project he’s working on and it is simply amazing. So grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair and get to know John and his work.

I asked John how long he had been a shutterbug.  He replied, “ I have been photographing for 12 years.  I have gotten more serious about my photography the last 4 years after my daughter was born.  I purchased my first DSLR and a pro lens to keep up with her.  My interest and love for college athletics led me to some freelance photography for the University of South Florida.  After a few years of shooting some basketball games I was finally issued a credential to photograph their football games in 2010.  The past two years has given me much needed experience. ”

I’m curious to know what John has in his photo bag. He answered, “ My bag has a Nikon D300 and a 70-200 2.8 attached to it the majority of the time.  I also shoot with a 35mm 1.8 that works very well around the house and everyday life. ”

I also had to know what shutter speed he uses to get such sharp action on the field, he said a lot of these images on the blog were shot at 1/2000.

John also said, besides his daughter, he loves to photograph beach volleyball the most.  “Living near Siesta Key Beach, FL has given me the opportunity to photograph some very passionate and incredible athletes competing at a sport that does not pay much at all unless you win.  These athletes are traveling all over and competing because they love beach volleyball, ” said John.

So I asked John if he could go back in time, what would he tell his younger self.  He replied, “I would definitely have asked my dad more questions about photography.  He enjoyed shooting a lot, but I never paid attention till much later in life. I would have taken some courses when I actually had time to do so, instead of trying to learn on the fly as I am now. ”

Now the most amazing thing about John, besides his sports photography,  is his personal project of photographing his daughter. So what you say? So he photographs her.every.single.day. That’s right every day he captures the giggles, the crying,  the love and the changes.  John said, “ My inspiration comes from my daughter.  I am in the middle of a special project for her when she gets older.  I have been taking an image of her everyday since she was born a little over 4 four years ago.  I have no intention of stopping or breaking the streak anytime soon.  She is growing up to be a very beautiful little girl and loves the camera 99 percent of the time.”

What an amazing project. Thank you for sharing.

Before I let John go, I did have to ask him his SuperBowl pick — he’s going with the NY Giants.  We’ll see this Sunday if he’s right! Again, thanks John for everything and if you would like to see more of his work, you can check out his flickr stream HERE or follow him on Twitter HERE.

Sep 2013 16

Everyone is bummed, Summer is officially over. But for any sports lover or photographer, there is one thing that makes colder weather and shorter days bearable: Football. Having covered football from high school to the NFL, I was asked to give five tips for covering football:

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PHOTO COPYRIGHT: PATRICK SMITH/GETTY IMAGES
1) Do Your Homework: Much like anything else, one must prepare. Find out what the story of the game is. No matter what the age of the players, find out who the all-star players are and what is everyone talking about between the two teams? Go early and stay late. Walk around the field and look for the cleanest backgrounds and try to determine when and where the best light is. All these little things can help in capturing the best image of the game.

 

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PHOTO COPYRIGHT: PATRICK SMITH/FOR THE BALTIMORE SUN
2) Get Moving: Everyone is jealous of sideline access at sporting events. But the reality is that sometime the best pictures come from where the fans are sitting. Don’t be afraid to get off the sidelines and roam around the field or stadium. There are pictures to be captured from different angles and capturing big plays, moments from a vantage different from everyone else will make your images stand out. Nonetheless, the sidelines will still always give you a more dramatic image in most cases.

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PHOTO COPYRIGHT: PATRICK SMITH/FOR THE BALTIMORE SUN
3) Feel the Emotion: Action images are always compelling, but can you feel how hard the hit was? Can you feel the dejection of an overtime loss? Or how about the pure joy of the quarterback winning the championship? Players body language and emotions are key to great story telling and sports are no different than any other story. Combining coming early and staying late with players emotions is critical to finding moments others are overlooking.

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PHOTO COPYRIGHT: PATRICK SMITH/GETTY IMAGES
4) Action Away from Action: Look for a way to humanize the sport. From youth to pros, at the end of the day, these athletes, and those involved, are no different than anyone else. Walk into the tunnel before the game, get access to the locker room before the high school game or get into the huddle (Note: Obviously all with prior permission from coaches/security). These are my favorite images to capture, because it helps show viewers a part of the game they rarely ever see.

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PHOTO COPYRIGHT: PATRICK SMITH/GETTY IMAGES

5) Have Fun: This is the best advice I was ever given. To some reading this, photography is a hobby, and to others it’s their livelihood. In the end, if you’re not smiling and having a good time, chances are your pictures are going to show that. Be proud that you have the amazing opportunity to be capturing the moments in front of you. Professional sports doesn’t mean better pictures. Share your tips, talk to others shooting the game and work together. I guarantee this tip alone will help you in being a better photographer and person.

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Patrick Smith is an award-winning freelance photojournalist currently based in Baltimore, Md., covering the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan region and beyond. Patrick fulfills the needs of editorial, action, commercial, and corporate clients with his fresh eye for color, versatility and graphically compelling images. He continually documents news and sports for Getty Images, including NFL games. To find out more about Patrick and his photographs, visit his website www.patricksmithphotos.com or follow him on Twitter or Instagram.

 


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