Nikon D3, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1250th

Todays best of 2008 gallery brings us to my favorite dejection/reaction photos of the year. While not as happy and fun as celebration photos it is still very important to capture athletes at their worst.

My first good dejection of the year isn’t really a dejection shot but it certainly works for the story with the blowout loss Illinois suffered against USC in the Rose Bowl. Illinois wide receiver Kyle Hudson dropped a pass and rolled over backwards as the ball bounced away.

Nikon D300, 400mm, 200iso, f2.8, 1/1000th

About a month later at the Superbowl I got a good dejection photo of New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick scratching his head as the underdog New York Giants proved to be a better team than anyone had expected.

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

A little while later I got my favorite dejection shot of the year as New England Patriots linebacker Junior Seau walked off the field after losing to the New York Giants. Ok doesn’t sound too dramatic until you add in all the flying confetti in the air from the victory celebration. He walked head down right towards my direction and it made for a very cool photo that totally tells the story of how it feels to be a massive loser.

Nikon D3, 600mm with 1.4 convertor (850mm), 3200iso, f5.6, 1/500th

A few weeks later it was spring training time in Arizona. While spring training is great for close access and head shots its not very good for dejection/reaction shots since its preseason games that don’t mean anything. But every once in awhile you can come up with decent stuff when you don’t expect it.

In the below photo I caught Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella reacting during a losing game. The photo ended up being a cool photo to use later in the year when the Cubs totally choked in the playoffs.

Nikon D3, 600mm, 500iso, f5, 1/1000th

Being up close shooting when a player gets beaned with a fast ball is never fun as you can hear them screaming in pain…….but it does make for good photos!

Nikon D3, 600mm, 400iso, f4, 1/1250th

Later in the year I was shooting NASCAR in Richmond, VA. In the Nationwide Series race driver Burney Lamar blew an engine and I happened to be walking through the garage area as he slowly walked away from his car with his head down. Before you feel sorry for the guy just realize he is married to former supermodel Niki Taylor.

Nikon D3, 24-70mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/320th

The next day in the Sprint Cup Series race Michael Waltrip was involved in an incident with Casey Mears where Waltrip retaliated to a minor accident and purposely crashed Mears into the wall. He was immediately parked by NASCAR and instructed to meet with the officials in the NASCAR hauler (like being sent to the principals office as a child). I heard this over my radio headset I use for racing so I ran to his car in the garage to photograph him climbing out and proceeding to the NASCAR hauler. His PR woman was being pissy and shooing the photographers away but it enhanced the shot in my opinion so thanks lady!

Nikon D3, 24-70mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/160th

Back in Phoenix I was shooting a baseball game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Diego Padres, future hall of famer Greg Maddux pitched that game and had a horrible night and provided some good dejection as he gave up hit after hit. While with a future hall of famer you are better off getting the happy good game photos for future sales it is still cool to get a superstar failing once in awhile.

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

Next up I was in Vegas shooting the Olympic Trials for wrestling where the winners of the different weight categories would earn their spot on the US Olympic team. The below photo was a remote I had set up next to my shooting position. I set the camera to a slow shutter speed because I was trying to pick up photographers flashes close by but the bright mat made it impossible for a shot like that to work so I kept shooting to see if I could pull anything interesting out of my failed idea. On the ground Stephen Abas reacts after losing his final round match and not earning a trip to China. The winner is a blur as he walks away which really directs your eye right to the dejection the wrestler was feeling.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 400iso, f13, 1/5th

Next up was NASCAR in Daytona, Florida. I love when a photo displays irony, such as the below shot of Mike Wallace walking away from his Geico Insurance sponsored car after being involved in a crash. The lizard on the hood seems to be saying WTF!

Nikon D3, 600mm, 5000iso, f4, 1/320th

Next up was the Olympics where just as the celebrations are bigger after success, the dejections are bigger after failure.

First good dejection was shot at the Water Cube after Mark Gangloff (USA) failed to place in the Men’s 100m Breaststroke. In a building with thousands of people and hundreds of media it was pretty cool to get a photo of a sad swimmer completely alone in the shot. It wouldn’t be as powerful if you had a cameraman walking in the background.

Nikon D3, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1600th

Next up was womens gymnastics where popular athlete Alicia Sacramone fell on the balance beam and helped end USA’s hopes of a gold medal in the team all around final. After her flawed performance she walked off the mat and into the arms of team director Marta Karolyi who was either consoling her or contemplating choking her.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1250th

A few minutes later there was more dejection as every US gymnast had errors on the floor exercise and POOF the gold medal was gone from reach. As they sat on the bench they all knew it and it showed through their emotions.

Nikon D3, 400mm with 1.4 convertor (550mm), 4000iso, f4, 1/1250th

In the below shot it really isn’t dejection but maybe I’m alone here but if I was in that position I think I’d feel pretty damn dejected with my life.

Nikon D3, 400mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1600th

Next up was womens softball where the team from Japan dejectedly walked from the field as the USA women celebrate behind following an extra inning loss. Japan would have the last laigh two days later when they would beat USA in the gold medal game.

Nikon D3, 400mm, 500iso, f4, 1/2500th

In the gold medal match for womens water polo USA took on the Netherlands for the gold. In the below photos of USA players and coaches I think its pretty obvious who didn’t win the gold medal.

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

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

And my final Olympic dejection shot is of the best womens soccer player in the world Marta, as she reacts after USA beat Brazil in the gold medal game. She wanted nothing to do with that silver medal around her neck.

Nikon D3, 600mm, 2000iso, f4, 1/800th

Back in the states it was back to NASCAR for me as I shot in Talladega. First up was Patrick Carpentier reacting after failing to qualify for the race. Normally a very happy and smily guy it is pretty obvious that he is not happy nor smiling.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 500iso, f5, 1/500th

The next day in the big race Martin Truex Jr was involved in a crash and after he climbed out of the mangled car and walked away he put his hand over his face momentarily and it made for a perfect dejection shot.

Nikon D3, 600mm with 1.4 convertor (850mm), 500iso, f7.1, 1/1250th

A month later in Phoenix I shot my second favorite dejection shot after San Francisco 49ers quarterback Shaun Hill threw an interception late in the game that would lead to a Cardinals win. In perfect movie script fashion he dropped to his knees and lowered his head in shame. Thanks Shaun!

Nikon D3, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1250th

A few weeks later the New York Giants came to town and while they spanked the Cardinals I still got a few good reaction shots from the Giants.

First up is injured receiver Plaxico Burress reacting on the sidelines. Less than a week after this photo was shot he was shot….by himself in a club with an illegally concealed weapon. He was quickly suspended for the rest of the season by his team and it very well may end his career as he is now facing hefty charges. So on top of a nice dejection shot this photo is even more important/valuable as it very well may be one of the last photos of Burress in a Giants uniform. And to think several months earlier he was the hero who caught the game winning touchdown in the Superbowl!

Nikon D3, 400mm, 200iso, f2.8, 1/1250th

And finally we have New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin going crazy with anger after what he perceived was a bad call by a referee.

Nikon D3, 400mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1250th

Next Best of the Year blog will be Best Baseball Shots.

Posted in Baseball, China, Football, NASCAR, Olympics, Racing, Sports, Talladega   | 4 Comments

4 responses to “Best of 2008-Best Dejection Photos”

  1. Bob M says:

    Mark, These are terrific as usual, the Shaun Hill image is a classic, it needs no words to describe what’s going on.

  2. Stephen Haas says:

    Great stuff… I cover Illinois athletics for my job. I don’t know how many times I heard the phrase “incomplete intended for Hudson” over the play-by-play during the past few years.

  3. Jeremy says:

    Great shot of Maddux… especially given today’s announcement.

    The Marta shot is the epitome of dejection to me… I love soccer, and I loathe Brazil, so this is great.

    Can’t wait for the Baseball pics!

  4. Love the shot of NY Giants’ Coughlin. Love the “Best of…” Albums you’re doing. Very VH1-ish.

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