April 30, 2011

Cal Football Spring Practice

Headed over to Contra Costa Community College to photograph Cal Football's open spring practice.

The SID, Kyle, prepared a nice list for me with players to focus on. Spring practice is a great opportunity to photograph the "will be" stars before the season starts. There's a lot of players who had a good amount of play time last year that Michael Pimentel and I were able to capture last year, but there's also a lot of redshirt players or players with limited time that we were unable to shoot a solid set of at the time.

It's also nice to shoot practice because all the defense wore blue and all the offense wore white, (and for some reason all the quarterbacks wore green) so it's easy to identify who's who.

The only bummer is, its a practice jersey, so you won't be able to convince anyone it's an actual game photo.

Though capturing the players was a key element, the critical images were those of coaches. During the season, it's hard to capture the coaches as they are always surrounded by players, and slightly inaccessible since I'm not allowed to stand amongst the players on the sideline during the game, for obvious reasons. So practice, calling drills, running plays, and post-practice reviews are excellent opportunities for coaches photos. Especially this year, with a handful of new coaches joining the Cal Football Family. Welcome!

Though the practice was open to the public, once they started running plays, the newspaper photographers were asked to leave and I was able to stay as the team photographer. I love being embedded with the team and having that additional access to cover them in a more complete sense. And even better to be working at Cal, my alma mater!

It was fun to see all the familiar faces that I've come to know over the last four years working at Cal. It's funny because now, not only do a majority of players, coaches, and staff know who I am, I've started having some alums and parent's of players come say hi. All full of Cal pride, Go Bears!

Looking forward to Cal Football 2011! Full set up: http://www.goldenbearsports.com/p177141645

April 29, 2011

MLB: A's defeat Rangers 3-1

Immediately after Cal Women's Basketball individual practice, I headed over to the Oakland Coliseum for the A's game against the Texas Rangers.

This is the first of three games I'll be shooting in the series, also shooting Sunday and Monday, so I'll keep it short and sweet =)

The A's defeated the Rangers 3-1.

Cal Coach Gottlieb Day 4

Thursday I picked up my new 7D from Camera West and then was able to take it out on assignment Friday covering more of Coach Gottlieb's transition as the head coach of Cal Women's Basketball!

Was fun to shoot with the higher ISO expansion even though I didn't take it to the 12800 limit. Was also fun to try a bit of video. I definitely still have a lot to learn both in shooting video and the post processing. For now, I'm sticking with the stills.

My photos: http://www.collegiatephotos.com/2010-2011/calcoachgday4

April 27, 2011

Cal Coach Gottlieb Day 2

Day two covering new Cal Women's Basketball Head Coach Lindsay Gottlieb.

I swung by campus today to photograph her first individual practices with the girls. First the guards, then the posts.

Per NCAA rules she's not allowed to have a full team practice or even watch them scrimmage, and this is the final days of being able to have individuals before summer. It was great that Cal was able to hire her in time to have the opportunity for Coach G to connect with her players.

Though I love following sports, I'll never claim to know thaaaat much about them. But from my untrained eye, it seemed like a great practice. The girls could have gone into it with a "who do you think you are?" or "prove yourself to me" attitude, but they all showed up, ready to be coached, buying into the idea, and playing hard.

Afterwards, she continued some one-on-one meetings in her office with players.

Also, let's give some shout outs to Assistant Coach Charmin Smith who has really held down the fort for these girls while their head coach and assistant coach left for other jobs.

And another shout out to Jessica Dolan, also guiding the team through this crazy process.

It's great that as Coach G steps into this new position, without even having decided the new hires, already has a great staff around her. It's great for the coach, but more importantly, great for these young women.

Looking forward to the future of Cal Women's Basketball! Photos up: http://www.collegiatephotos.com/2010-2011/coachgday2

April 26, 2011

Welcome Lindsay Gottlieb to Cal!

Today was the big announcement of Lindsay Gottlieb as the new head coach of Cal Women's Basketball. After three years at UCSB, she returns to Cal where she was once assistant coach under Joanne Boyle. After being inspired by Deanne Fitzmaurice's "Freak Season" on Tim Lincecum, I felt the need to do something similar. Though Coach G won't be starting pitcher winning the World Series, she could very well be the women's head coach that leads this Cal program to an NCAA title! Either way, I'm excited she allowed me to follow her around throughout the day as I document the process. Big shout out to photographer Mollie McClure who did a lot of amazing work with Women's Basketball in the past and connected me with Lindsay for this gig!

Coach G came in, just a suitcase, laptop and her speech printed out, and was ready to get down to business!

She made the rounds of Haas before the press conference and it was amazing to see all the coaches and staff welcome her with open arms. Instead of introducing herself, it was them seeing her walk in the room, and saying "Welcome Back!!" with open arms and genuine excitement to have her back on the Cal campus.

Though she did have to introduce herself to Men's Head Coach Mike Montgomery, since he arrived after she was already at Santa Barbara, he was equally friendly and they instantly connected.

Then she had some quiet time in her office to go over her speech before the press conference.

Then Yahoo! Sportswriter, Mike Silver stopped by the Women's Basketball office.

Of course to cause trouble with Assistant Coach Charmin Smith ;-)

Next, she went to meet the girls. Even though all the girls are too young to have been coached by her when she was at Cal, the instant she walked in the room, they all got up to hug her. Not those phony hugs, but real embraces. Though I'm not a big hugger myself, I loved this unique element of women's sports. Hugs all around!!

When she sat down to speak with them I shot the first section then stopped. Though I want to document her process truthfully, I didn't want the girls to feel like her words were part of some show. I stood in the corner with the SID and literally started tearing up as she talked about how much she cares about them as people and is committed to them beyond the court... ugh, I'm such a woman ;-) Next thing you know I'll be a hugger!

Next was the press conference with the girls, and they already felt like a real team.

Athletic Director Sandy Barbour introduced Lindsay and her impressive resume.

Everyone seemed excited to have her on board and she took to the press like a champ.

And whoa, Sandy Barbour ASKED me to take a picture of her with Mike Silver. This never happens, very exciting!!

Then it was to the goodie closet. Some girls dream about a closet full of Versace dresses and Manolo Blanik footwear, and that "some girls" includes me. But on a more practical level, what I would actually wear everyday, OMG a closet full of Cal gear!

Though I can't say I'd want EVERYTHING in this closet.

Then I went home to grab some dinner and send off a photo from the press conference for calbears.com before heading over to Pyramid where the senior banquet was being held. We had to be in SF by 7:30 and I'm sure Lindsay would have much preferred to go to her hotel and lay down for a second but she wanted to stop by this team dinner to connect with the girls... that she won't even be coaching. I think that says a lot about her character.

Then we drove over to the Comcast Sportnet studio for her appearance on Chronicle Live. It was an hour plus delayed because the Giants game was delayed, but we killed time at a nearby restaurant. Even though she's stepping into this celebrity status role where she's on a TV set where a professional make up artist does EVERYONE'S make up before they go on, she wasn't a diva ;-) Shout out to make up artist Linda who made everyone look beautiful... in HD!

Lindsay had a great interview with Greg Papas, who is an amazing multi-tasker, literally having a conversation with Lindsay, while reading the teleprompter and hearing score updates of the Sharks game in his earpiece.

A fun day for me, I'm so excited for this new era in Cal Women's Basketball and look forward to covering her throughout her process of taking on this new position with care and dedication! Welcome to Cal, Coach Lindsay Gottlieb!! =)  Go Bears!!