sports captures his attention
About the worst possible assignment for me would be drag racing. When I worked in Topeka, I would shoot drag racing twice a year. It incredibly dangerous to photograph and the noise is truly indescribable. I was in no mood to be coated in tire pieces so I took a 600mm lens and sat in the very top row of the bleachers, muttering about being a drag racing again. I was panning along and the funny car driven by Jim Head of Columbus, OH exploded during his semifinal run. The guy next to me in the stands said "please tell me you got a picture of that." Head walked away uninjured from the explosion.
I remember this 2007 assignment well. The Missouri Army National Guard 205th Area Support Medical Company was deploying to Mississippi, then on to Iraq. I spotted Sgt. Callie Darling right away with her four year old daughter, Braelyn Rivera, staying close during a farewell ceremony. I saw the two of them hug a few times during the ceremony but I knew that the final hug before Sgt. Darling boarded her bus would make the best image. I kept my distance but was watching them constantly over the final half hour. All the story telling elements came together in one moment.
Flyovers are particularly tough to get a good layered photograph of because the angle is generally all wrong. The planes are too small in the sky and there little to put in the foreground. At the 2007 home opener, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Damon Huard pumped his fist at the Whiteman Air Force pilots flying over Arrowhead Stadium in A 10 Thunderbolt planes. I like this image because there two things going on at the same time. I just got lucky that Huard pumped his arm and did it before the planes passed overhead.
I had thought for a long time about where I wanted to be to photograph the men 4X100m relay final at Olympic Stadium in London. Jamaica Usain Bolt was anchoring the race and as the world fastest man, the race would be over once he began his sprint. I thought one of two things might happen: someone would drop the baton or the race would be tied going into the last 100m. The latter happened and this was the last moment it was a real race. Bolt took the baton cleanly and Jamaica set a world record, beating the USA team (in red) for the gold medal. and see nothing memorable. Occasionally, you see something unusual, like when Kansas City, Mo. police officer Chris Taylor with the Central Patrol unit examined a GMC Yukon involved in a two car auto accident at 35th Street and Euclid Avenue in Kansas City, Mo. The westbound Yukon, whose driver sustained minor injuries and was transported via ambulance, stopped balanced atop a concrete median divider. The car needed twin tow trucks to pull it off the divider. 69 to reduce bottlenecks. That sounds about as visually exciting as it was, politicians at a podium talking about road construction. I was with the press pool traveling with the Vice President and frankly, I hadn made a decent picture all day.
I had this assignment I was really unsure how I would make a good portrait from. The story about about this man who wrote a book about having a heart attack on a passenger aircraft and his experiences from that. I was meeting him in an office building so I had no airplane to work with. I used my strobe lights to set up a little studio. I wanted something "dreamy" so I smeared Vasoline on edges of my camera filter to distort the light. I had never tried that before (or since) but it gave me this very eerie color rainbow effect. Even when I was shooting it, I had no idea if it would work. The result was a total surprise.
I spend three weeks up at Chiefs training camp every summer so I try to find the pictures that go past players pushing blocking sleds or catching passes. Occasionally, after morning practices are done, players will bring their family members on the field, usually their children. I saw this sweet reaction after Jalaal Abdullah, 7, caught a pass from his father, Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Husain Abdullah (39). I liked he was wearing his father gloves too.
Driving past Loose Park, looking for a wild photo to shoot. I see Nathan Parece, 9, of Kansas City, Mo., shooting off model rockets in the park. I not sure if this will make a photo but I get my cameras and investigate. I see the rocket fall into a tree. He goes to retrieve it and I realize he going to climb the tree to get it. I break out into a mad sprint to get there first, no doubt scaring everyone in the park, some madman running with two cameras. Out of breath, I shot this and introduced myself as David, not a lunatic. When asked why all the effort to get his rocket back, Nathan explained "Well, I really, really, really, really, really like climbing trees."
One of the toughest things to photograph as a journalist is a funeral or a memorial service. Everyone sees you, no one wants to be photographed. The killings at the Jewish Community Center in 2014 made this assignment news. With a long telephoto lens, I made a photo outside of Karen Jones, left, and Deb Brown, right, as the two left the funeral service for grandfather and grandson William Corporon and Reat Underwood on Friday afternoon, April 18, 2014 at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood.
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