Nikon D3, 600mm with 1.4 convertor (850mm), 5000iso, f5.6, 1/250th

So 2008 is in its final month so I figured what better way to remember the great year than by throwing together several best of 2008 galleries. I plan to do several in these last few weeks of the year. I will start it off with my favorite celebration photos of the year.

The above photo was shot of NASCAR driver Ryan Newman celebrating after winning the Daytona 500. As you can see from the settings it was shot with a 600mm along with a 1.4 convertor from over a quarter mile away. For shots in victory lane I hang the motor drive as the driver climbs out in hopes of catching someone elses flash. Mission accomplished!

The below photo was shot in the closing seconds of the Rose Bowl on New Years day in Pasadena, CA. Along with several other photographers we converged on the USC sidelines in hopes of getting head coach Pete Carroll getting dunked with water. Instead he ran away and the players doused coach Ken Norton Jr. instead. While I would have preferred pictures of Carroll being dunked, this picture still worked well especially with Carroll on the right looking on mid run.

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, 800iso, f2.8, 1/250th

A few days later I was back home in Arizona and shot the Fiesta Bowl where interim West Virginia coach Bill Stewart was carried off the field by his players after winning the game. 

Nikon D300, 15-55mm, 800iso, f2.8, 1/400th

Next up was an NFL playoff game in Seattle against the Redskins. Got a nice moment when Seahawks defensive end Darryl Tapp celebrated a play.

Nikon D300, 400mm, 500iso, f2.8, 1/2000th

A few weeks later in Phoenix I had the privilege of shooting my first Super Bowl, who would have known it would turn out to be arguably the best Super Bowl ever played. New York Giants linebacker Michael Strahan had a career game with multiple sacks of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The below photo of him flexing after a sack with Brady on the ground behind him worked out great from my elevated shooting position in the grandstands.

Nikon D3, 600mm with 1.4 convertor (850mm), 5000iso, f5.6, 1/640th

Near the end of the game Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress caught what would be the game winning touchdown and celebrated towards me providing a nice frame. Who would have known 10 months later he would shoot himself accidently and perhaps end his career as a New York Giant.

Nikon D3, 600mm with 1.4 convertor (850mm), 5000iso, f5.6, 1/640th

Six days later I was in Daytona, Florida for Speedweeks. Perhaps the biggest story was Dale Earnhardt Jr, who was in his first season driving for powerhouse owner Rick Hendrick. In his first start in a Hendrick car he won the Budweiser Shootout all star race and celebrated with a big burnout right below me as I shot from about 12 stories above on top of the roof. The shot ended up being a double truck in Sports Illustrated to open a cover story about him.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 5000iso, f3.2, 1/800th

A week later I was near Los Angeles shooting NASCAR. Carl Edwards won the race and celebrated with his trademark backflip. I was in a good spot and shot a pretty clean angle of the flip.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm with 1.4 convertor, 500iso, f5.6, 1/1600th

A few weeks later NASCAR raced in Phoenix and Jimmie Johnson provided me with a nice celebration shot as he nosed his car to the pit wall in front of his crew members and smoked the tires as they cheered. Johnson may have the personality of a rock but the man knows how to do a burnout!

Nikon D3, 600mm, 5000iso, f4, 1/640th

Next up was NASCAR in Richmond, VA where Clint Bowyer was doused with drinks by his crew as he celebrated in victory lane. On top of the liquid flying and confetti falling I was lucky enough to catch another photographers flash would threw a cool shadow behind Bowyer with his hands up.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/320th

A few weeks later I found myself in victory lane at the Indianapolis 500 where race winner Scott Dixon doused himself with the traditional bottle of milk. For a driver like Dixon not known for displaying much emotion I was very happy with this shot.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 400iso, f4.5, 1/1000th

Next up was Las Vegas for wrestling Olympic trials where the 2008 OLympic team would be decided. T.C. Dantzler fell to the mat and cried after winning his weight category to earn an Olympic slot. I shot elevated for the final matches because the colors and pattern of the mat made for a nice graphic composition.

Nikon D3, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/800th

Next up was the playoff round of the US Open where Tiger Woods won what he said was the biggest win of his career. A few days later he opted for surgery on an injury and was done for the year. It was my first time ever shooting Tiger so it was cool to photograph such a historic moment that should make me money down the road in my archive.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 200iso, f3.5, 1/1000th

Next up I ended up in Newton, Iowa for Indy Car racing. After the Indy Light Series race I was in victory lane shooting race winner Dillon Battistini posing with his trophy and kneeled down low to the ground with a flash on camera to accentuate the awesome demonic dark clouds behind him. I really hope this guy goes on to become famous so this photo gains some value.

Nikon D3, 24-70mm, 200iso, f7.1, 1/250th

About a month later I boarded a 747 bound for Beijing, China for the biggest shoot of my life, the 2008 Summer Olympics. Celebraions take on a whole new level when you’re talking about the Olympics so lets get started.

In one of my first days there I shot fencing for the first time. It is a very cool sport to shoot and pretty funny when you see two opponents celebrating because they are both trying to sell that they were the one who scored before the other such as the below shot of Sada Jacobson (USA), left, and Sofiya Velikaya (RUS) celebrating the point they both feel is theirs.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1000th

I only got to shoot Olympic hero Michael Phelps one day but the one day I shot was arguably the best one to see as him and three teamates came from behind to win the gold medal in the Mens 4x100m freestyle relay final. On the last leg of the final lap I trained my camera on Phelps as he cheered his teammate on. Wehn USA won Phelps and his teammates outside the pool just went insane with celebration. I must have fired off like 50 photos of Phelps screaming. Obviously I wish the distracting yellow pole wasn’t in the background and that the rope across the pool wasn’y in the shot but I have seen much better photographers who had the rope blocking his chest and face so I will not complain. This is one of those sports moments that people will recognize for many many years to come. I was very happy to be there to witness it.

Nikon D3, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th

A few days later I shot mens gymnastics where China won the mens all around final. After shooting the “safe shot” of the gymnasts on the podium I then focused on the fans in the background, the Olympic rings were a nice touch as well. It came out pretty nice and is certainly different from the normal shots we all have to take to satisfy our clients.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 1250iso, f2.8, 1/640th

Next up was one of the signature events of the Summer Olympic, the mens 100m final. I wasn’t scheduled to shoot it but for some reason I ended up finishing my day early and walked the mile over to the venue and got there about 4 hours early and found a decent elevated spot. Everyone and their brother was gonna do standard stop action of the racers crossing the finish line so I tried something different. I set the camera down to a slow shutter speed in hopes of having some blur to the photos. I got lucky as the only two usable shots were of race winner and world record setter Usain Bolt as he celebrated the last 20-30 feet of the race. 

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 200iso, f5.6, 1/60th

After a slow victory lap he stopped below my position and struck a pose for the mass of photographers.

Nikon D3, 400mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/800th

I ended up shooting Womens softball where USA batter Crystl Bustos hit a monster homerun in extra innings. As she rounded third base towards home she was greeted to her cheering teammates. Nice.

Nikon D3, 400mm, 500iso, f4, 1/2000th

The next day I found myself shooting the USA womens soccer team winning the gold medal over heavily favored Brazil. Their celebration was great and lasted forever.

Nikon D3, 600mm, 2500iso, f4, 1/1250th 

A few days later I was shooting the womens volleyball gold medal match between USA and Brazil. Brazil went on to win the gold medal where the players put on a good show as they tossed team captain Helia Souza in the air. Thanks ladies.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1000th

My last day in Beijing had me shooting the mens water polo gold medal match between USA and Hungary. Hungary ended up winning the gold medal and the team celebrated by taking head coach Denes Kemeny for a victory swim.

Nikon D3, 400mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/1250th

Back in the states it was gonna be several weeks of NASCAR. 

At the race in Dover, Delaware my remote camera took a nice photo of Kyle Busch celebrating after winning the Nationwide Series race. What I really like about it is that its a nice clean shot with good light.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 640iso, f8, 1/800th

About a month later in Phoenix I once again shot Carl Edwards celebrating with a backflip. My angle made for a very clean shot that is one of my favorite Edwards flip shots.

Nikon D3, 600mm, 800iso, f5, 1/3200th

The next day in the Sprint Cup Series race I shot Jimmie Johnson celebrating in victory lane. The low angle really added to the shot.

Nikon D300, 14-24mm, 1000iso, f2.8, 1/250th

Then the next week in Miami he won the championship, his third in a row, and he celebrated with a bottle of champagne bigger than any person should be allowed to have.

Nikon D3, 400mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/800th

So that about wraps up my favorite celebration photos of 2008. Next up will be favorite dejection shots.









Posted in China, Dover, Football, Golf, Indy Cars, Iowa, NASCAR, NFL, Olympics, P.I.R., Pocket Wizard, Racing, Remote Camera, Sports, Wrestling   | 7 Comments

7 responses to “Best of 2008-Best Celebration Photos”

  1. Jeremy says:

    Tell me Hussein Bolt and Terrell Owens are not 2 peas in a pod…

    Great Shots… I love the wrestler on the mat too – great composition.

  2. Walter S says:

    Great set of photos you sure did have a great year! Nice to see a Mountaineer shot included 🙂

  3. So, next time I get the crowd in focus instead of my actual target, I’m going to say I’m copying your technique!

    Looks like a very nice year indeed, Thanks for sharing!

    Don J.

  4. Andrew Weber says:

    Get reaction shots this year. I am thinking about putting something together like that we will see.


  5. April Woodard says:

    A great collection of victory shots!
    The fencing one is really neat.
    Best wishes for another successful year.
    When do we get to see the new vet?

  6. michael vettas says:

    for me its the wrestler shot, the composition use of colours just draws you to the subject and the emotion behind it, having said that though they are all awesome images regardless.

  7. Fantastic photos as always!

    Do you have to wear a fire suit when you are in the pits for NASCAR?

    Just curious, it’s required when I shoot Le Mans. I’m wondering if it’s just a universal ordeal
    for photographers / media.

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