Since major league baseball opened their 2009 season a few days ago I figured it was about time to post some of my favorite shots from the few spring training games I found time to shoot this year. Normally I try to shoot 15-20 games during spring training but this time I shot 6. So here we go.

The big story with Spring Training in Arizona was Manny Ramirez, and the wait for him to sign with the Dodgers and to actually show up at camp. With that I ended up shooting more Dodgers games than I wanted.

I went out to Glendale to shoot the first day of Spring Training at their new home following decades of them playing in Florida. On the first day of players being there it was only practicing and getting acclimated with their new surroundings, no games. In other words BORING.


Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 320iso, f7.1, 1/500th

Heres a shot of a bunch of pitchers invited to try out for the team. When you go to McDonalds later today there is a good chance that the person taking your order was one of these players who tried out and failed to make the team.


Nikon D3, 70-200mm, 400iso, f5.6, 1/2000th

One of the bright spots of the current economic climate is that there are plenty of seats available for your favorite sporting event, just ask Ichiro Suzuki who was playing the outfield that featured countless empty seats.


Nikon D700, 70-200mm, 500iso, f5.6, 1/2000th

Manny Ramirez sighting! I think he is praying for some excuses to not have to play.


Nikon D700, 70-200mm, 400iso, f4, 1/800th

I got to shoot one of my favorite players Josh Hamilton, who I spent a few days shooting last season. Hamilton is a great story about coming back from problems in life and is now a happy guy who will always be a goof whenever you point a camera at him.


Nikon D700, 70-200mm, 400iso, f4, 1/2500th

During Spring Training the players don’t try as hard (for the most part) so camping out waiting for wild action plays is usually a fruitless endeavor. Sadly I was actually happy with the below shot of Texas Rangers baserunner Taylor Teagarden (2) being tagged out on a stolen base attempt by Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Orlando Hudson at The Ballpark at Camelback Ranch.


Nikon D700, 400mm, 250iso, f4, 1/1250th

Dodgers player, manager, coach? Tommy Lasorda was not impressed with the play.


Nikon D700, 400mm, 250iso, f4, 1/2000th

The below shot looked kind of funny so I figured I would post it. Texas Rangers catcher Taylor Teagarden throws to second base as Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Manny Ramirez heads to first base after taking ball four. It looks like hes about to throw a fast ball right into the side of Mannys head. That would have been exciting enough to wake Lasorda up I bet!


Nikon D700, 400mm, 250iso, f4, 1/2500th

A grounds keeper mows the gras prior to a game at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.


Nikon D3, 24-70mm, 400iso, f4.5, 1/6400th

Admitted steroid user Jason Giambi makes his way to the field.


Nikon D3, 24-70mm, 400iso, f4.5, 1/320th

One of the best things about shooting Spring Training is the good access and laid back demeanor (by most). Below I get up close for a few angles as Oakland Athletics pitcher Dallas Braden warms up prior to the game against the San Francisco Giants.


Nikon D3, 24-70mm, 400iso, f4.5, 1/4000th


Nikon D3, 24-70mm, 400iso, f4.5, 1/3200th

Admitted steroid user Jason Giambi tosses his bat after hitting a first inning home run.


Nikon D3, 400mm, 400iso, f4, 1/2500th

I wanted to shoot a wide shot from the press box so I went up there. While there I noticed an open window that if I lined myself up right I could get the reflection in the window into my wide shot. Amazing? No, Different from the standard? Yes.


Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 200iso, f5.6, 1/800th

Former superstar Ken Griffey Jr made headlines by returning to the team he had his best years with a decade ago. As a child he was my boyhood hero. I collected every baseball card of him I could find even. Then I had the chance to photograph him back in 1998 that instantly made me despise the guy. It sucks when your childhood hero tells you, “If you take my picture again I am gonna shove that camera up your ass.” Classy eh.

11 years later I once again had the chance to shoot him at a game. I wanted to get some good stock images of him since with the way he has been the last several years he would probably end up injured soon. I saw him roll up to the dugout in a golf cart. As he was standing in the dugout I shot a photo of him. I was far away and wasn’t being intrusive or anything. Just doing my job. Here is the picture.


Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 640iso, f4.5, 1/500th

Right as I shot the photo he looked up at me and said, “You obviously don’t know me, otherwise you wouldn’t take my picture without asking my permission.”  All I could do was laugh. (good luck to all my Seattle photographer friends who will have to deal with him this season…don’t worry he will be on the disabled list soon I’m sure!)

Below is the view over the catchers shoulder as I shot Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda warming up between innings against the Seattle Mariners at Peoria Stadium.


Nikon D700, 400mm, 500iso, f5.6, 1/1250th

Seattle Mariners third baseman Adrian Beltre warms up in the dugout during the game.


Nikon D700, 400mm, 640iso, f5.6, 1/800th

After Manny Ramirez played his first few days he was sidelined with a hamstring injury. I found out he was coming back to play a few days later so I went out there to shoot some more stock of him.

The tunnel from the locker room at Tempe Diablo Stadium to the dugout led the players through a gauntlet of fans so I hung out there to see if it would make a cool shot of Manny as he walked through. It was decent.


Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/1600th

A short while later Ramirez surprised me and the other photographers in attendance as he signed autographs for several minutes. Instead of shooting the boring shot from the side as he signed, I crouched down on the ground underneath the fans stretching their arms out and shot up. It is certainly not something that hasn’t been done a million times but it surely beats standing alongside getting a lazy shot.


Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/1600th

While shooting from the first base dugout I noticed Los Angeles Angels infielder Sean Rodriguez watching the game wearing some cool and reflective sunglasses. Instead of exposing for his face I exposed for the reflection in his glasses which made everything very dark which produced a pretty cool looking shot.


Nikon D700, 400mm, 800iso, f5, 1/2500th

When shooting baseball (or any sport) you can be in a perfect spot for a play but have it blocked by an umpire, base coach or any player. I had that happen on a double play at second base but got one shot between two people blocking me which ended up producing a cool effect for the play.

Below Los Angeles Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick throws to first base to complete a double play after forcing out Los Angeles Dodgers base runner Andre Ethier during the game at Tempe Diablo Stadium.


Nikon D700, 400mm, 800iso, f4, 1/6400th

That wraps up my small group of images from Spring Training 2009. While I only shot about 15 total innings this spring I still got a few shots I liked so all is well in the world.

I have a long season of Diamondbacks baseball ahead of me so hopefully I get a bunch of cool shots to show you.





Posted in Baseball, Sports   | 6 Comments

6 responses to “A few shots from Spring Training”

  1. Tanya Plonka says:

    Amazing shots as always! I’m especially impressed by your shot of Josh Hamilton… it’s definitely not the strongest in this set, but your exposure is so perfect in it – the detail in his eyes even though that was in shadow floors me!

  2. Just curious, why were you using the D700 with the longer lens and the D3 with the wide for some of the pictures above?

  3. Andrew Weber says:

    I am surprised Manny didn’t make any crazy faces at you or throw up some crazy hand gesture.

  4. Kyle Pochek says:

    The shot of Sean Rodriguez is really really cool, I tried to do the same thing but it was cloudy out and this is what happend.


  5. Matt Graves says:

    Damn you are good. I felt the same way about Griffy as a kid. Bummer to hear he was an A-Hole to you.

  6. PositivePaul says:

    Awesome stuff – found the link to your web site via the HalosHeaven blog. Griffey’s a hard guy to read. He LOVES to mess with the press.

    Jeez, the D3 and D700 really shine here – matching your awesome skill and eye, of course. Nice work!

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