Salem News Photos of the Year 2013

I actually can’t believe it’s been almost a year since my last post on my blog which ironically was the 2012 Salem News Pictures of the Year, but here goes. Over the past year I’ve taken thousands of images, some good, some bad, and a few that I thought were great. For the Salem News Pictures of the Year special, I wrote a paragraph about each of the photos I chose from the year and how I got each image. The photos I have chosen I think are a nice culmination of my work in 2013 and gives me the drive to improve my work and be more creative and motivated in the upcoming year. Best Wishes and Happy New Year!

“Working as a photojournalist I am met each day with new challenges to capture the world around me, to document stories and events, and to give others a chance to see the world through my eyes.

This collection of images that I have chosen for The Salem News “Pictures of the Year” section is a reflection of my growth as a photographer within the past year. From capturing the peak action in a sports game, to the joys of winning and sorrows of losing, to the simplicity of a feature photo and to the complex and unyielding nature of spot news stories, my one objective is for the viewer to have a first hand look at how I view the world through my camera.”-David Le

Head Over Heels
Head Over Heels
At a quad-team gymnastics meet at the Beverly YMCA last January, I was rotating through shooting the various events taking place on the floor, beam and bars. Marblehead senior gymnast Katherine Pitman was taking her turn on the uneven bars and I noticed that on her dismount that she flipped and twisted a few times before landing. Positioning myself low to the ground, I saw the painting of a gymnast doing a flip in the background and told myself I wanted to get the Marblehead gymnast flipping to match the painting in the background and with a well timed shutter I got this shot.

The Leap
The Leap
During the Patriots-Broncos game this November, New England, behind a great second half performance from Tom Brady, came back to stun Denver 34-31. Early in the 4th quarter of play, and the Patriots down 24-21, Julian Edelman caught a short pass from Brady, juked away from multiple Denver defenders, extended the ball and leapt into the endzone for the go-ahead score. After seeing how animated Edelman got after his previous 3rd quarter touchdown, I anticipated that for this touchdown he would do something just as animated, and was rewarded as he leapt into the end zone.

Icing a Victory
Icing a Victory

As time ticked down in the Division 5 Superbowl, a 28-0 dominating victory by Bishop Fenwick, and the players and fans started to celebrate, I noticed a couple Crusaders players pick up the Gatorade cooler to douse head coach Dave Woods with a ceremonial post game Gatorade dump. I found the coach and positioned myself well out of the splash radius of the water and waited for the cooler to be spilled. As Dave Woods hugged defensive coordinator Dave Dugan, the players dumped the ice cold water over their coaches, on what was already a freezing cold night. The coaches reactions paired with one of the Fenwick players celebrating in the background made this a strong photo.

Diving Finish
Diving Finish
While at the NEC Indoor Track Championship at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston, I was seeking out local runners in each of the races. Having run track myself, I knew that one of the most grueling races was the 300 meter dash, an all out sprint for 300 meters. After seeing the exhaustion on the faces of the runners in previous heats, I set myself up for a clear view of the finish line for the fast heat of the 300. As Beverly senior Brendan Flaherty and Revere senior Bobby Rose rounded the last turn, I knew it would be a photo finish as the two were running neck-and-neck. As they approached the finish line I started snapping away, anticipating the runners leaning forward to try and cross first, but I was rewarded with this shot as they both dove for the finish line, laying everything on the line to get the victory.

Key To The City
Key to the City
Beverly native Angie Miller, a 2012 graduate from BHS, was one of the top finalists on Season 12 of American Idol and as part of the show, each finalist got to film a visit to their respective hometowns. As thousands of screaming fans and supporters filled the fields next to Beverly High School, Beverly Mayor Bill Scanlon took the stage and presented the hometown hero with the Key to the City. As Mayor Scanlon held the key high above his head for all to see, Angie screamed in excitement.

Calm Under Pressure
Calm Under Pressure
The Danvers baseball team was involved in an extra inning thriller in the D2 North tournament with Reading and as the game went into extra innings and each pitch became increasingly important, Danvers junior pitcher Rafael Tylus began slowing his time in between pitches down and making sure he was focused. As Tylus began composing himself on the mound, preparing for another pitch, I saw his head backlit by the lights of the scoreboard and started framing a photo where I got Tylus composing himself with the tied score and inning lit up behind him.

Guns A Blazing
Guns A Blazing
On a hot afternoon this summer, I was assigned to shoot a reenactment with Glover’s Regiment at Seaside Park in Marblehead. Not knowing exactly what to expect from a reenactment I surveyed the scene a bit before I started shooting. With troops marching all over the place and guns firing, I decided to try and get a close up photo of one of the militia members right as he fired his rifle and was covered in billowing white smoke. As Glenn Blakely, of the 1st NJ Volunteers unit, prepared his rifle to fire, I positioned myself to get a clear shot of his face as he fired the weapon. As the commands came to “Fire” I started snapping away and managed to get this shot with the explosion of the gunpowder and the billowing of the smoke.

Move, Get Out The Way
Move, Get Out The Way
During Beverly’s game against Haverhill early this fall, Beverly senior linebacker Sean Winston intercepted a pass from the Hillies quarterback. As he sprinted up the field towards where I was positioned, Haverhill player Ian Kessel tried to chase down Winston on the interception return. As Kessel reached out to try and bring down the Panther senior, Winston threw a stiffarm to the facemask of Kessel and as the two stumbled downfield, Kessel’s helmet got pushed way up, revealing his face as he tried to bring Winston down.

Down To The Wire
Down To The Wire
In a first round tournament game against Marblehead, Danvers was down 1-0 late in the second half of play, but controlling most of the play in the Magicians end. Danvers senior captain Kylie Plaza had been dominating the game for the Falcons, and on a long free kick Plaza managed to knock home the game-tying-goal. As she turned and ran towards her teammates she screamed in excitement and pumped both her fists.

In Memory
In Memory
As one of the longest, most challenging days in my time as a photographer drew to a close, I knew covering the upcoming vigil wouldn’t be an easy assignment or one I would forget for along time. At Danvers High School, students organized a candlelight vigil and memorial for Danvers teacher Colleen Ritzer, who was allegedly killed by one of her students the previous day. Students, teachers, and families gathered in the parking lot at the high school and also in front of a vigil to remember Ms. Ritzer and provide support for one another. In such a delicate situation as this vigil, I was challenged as a photographer to find a balance between doing my job by documenting the scene unfolding in front of me, and giving the Danvers community their space to grieve and try and start the healing process. As I took a step away back from the vigil and using a long lens, these four girls, comforting each other in this terrible time, caught my eye immediately and I waited until that perfect moment when they all had their heads together and illuminated by the warm candlelight from the vigil.

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Salem News Pictures of the Year

At the end of each year, the Salem News publishes a Pictures of the Year section with photos from each photographer for the past year. After scouring through the thousands of photos I took, I narrowed my selection down to eight photos. For the paper I wrote a photographer’s statement and submitted the pictures with detailed cutlines, but I decided to reflect a bit on my own and wrote a bit about each photograph, telling the viewer how I came across each picture and what I might have been picturing, but ultimately leaving the way my pictures are viewed to my audience. Please read, see and enjoy. Happy New Year!

“As a photographer I capture the surrounding world through my lenses, telling the stories of the subjects I meet, and adding a creative vision for that compelling final image. Working for a newspaper allows for a wide variety of assignments, ranging from feature photos, to spot news, and sports.

The collection of images I chose for the Salem News “Pictures of the Year” is a compilation of some of my favorite photographs from 2012. Whether it’s feature photos, covering a fire, finding a dynamic moment during a game, or capturing the emotions from victory and defeat, I approach each assignment with the same goal: create an image that will invoke an emotional response from my audience. Hopefully the images I chose will display my creative vision and give you a glimpse into how I see the world.”-David Le

Beverly-Masconomet Football
Beverly-Masconomet Football
When shooting sports, I try and capture a certain dynamic moment, freezing the action in time. When covering football I have tried shooting from many different positions and various angles, but I have found that shooting in front of the action from the end zone produces the best results. As Beverly junior running back Isiah White turned the corner after taking a handoff, Masco defensive back Adam Murphy came up and tried to make a tackle. As White threw a stiff arm to the facemask of Murphy, and as Murphy pulled on White’s jersey I snapped away.
-Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon EF 300mm, f/3.5, 1/1000, ISO 6400

New Year's Fire
New Years Fire
Just a few days after the New Year, a late evening, 3-alarm fire at the Folly Hill Meadows apartment complex in Beverly broke out. By the time I arrived at the scene, the fire had been burning for a good while, engulfing the 12-apartment unit in flames and smoke. While working my way around the police and fire crews assembled to combat the blaze, I found a lone Beverly firefighter around the back of building who was single-handedly working to extinguish the blaze. I was able to capture this image right as a large chunk of the building came crashing to the ground, spewing flames and sparks everywhere.
-Canon EOS 7D, Canon EF 70-200mm, f/2.8, 1/40, ISO 4000

Kissing Clifford
Little Girl Kissing Clifford the Big Red Dog
Often times for the News I am asked to go to various events in the local towns and cities to find “stand-a-lone” feature photos to use as art throughout the paper. This particular assignment was to cover Salem’s So Sweet Festival Children’s Arts and Crafts afternoon. When I first arrived at the Old Town Hall in Salem, there were activities I had covered many times before, like face painting and decorating paper masks. After snapping a few pictures I noticed Clifford the Big Red Dog giving high fives to passing children on the far side of the room. I went over completely content with capturing a small child giving Clifford a high five, however, as a slightly timid girl sidled up to the dog, she gave him a big kiss on the nose and luckily I was at the right place at the right time to manage to capture the moment.
-Canon EOS 7D, Canon EF 16-35mm, f/2.8, 1/250, ISO 800

Sports Reaction Shots
In my time at the Salem News I have been fortunate enough that many of the local sports teams have experienced great post-season success and have been able to cover multiple teams as they made their deep run into the playoffs and watched them push for the ever-elusive State Championship. I have found that nothing really compares to the raw emotion that spills out onto the playing field or court following a huge win or a heartbreaking loss.

Masconomet Girls Loss to Andover
Masconomet Girls Basketball Loss to Andover
Following a tough 61-53 loss to Andover in the D1 North Final at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, tearful Masco players sought each other out for comfort while Andover celebrated on the same court. After moving through the handshake line four Masco players, three of them senior captains, sat on the bench, faces buried in their hands, in stunned silence.
-Canon EOS 7D, Canon EF 70-200mm, f/3.5, 1/400, ISO 2500

Bishop Fenwick Baseball Loss to Lynnfield
Bishop Fenwick Baseball Loss to Lynnfield
Entering the bottom of the 7th inning, and Bishop Fenwick up 5-1 over Lynnfield in the D3 North Final at Alumni Field in Lowell. However, after giving up three runs to make the game 5-4, Crusaders senior pitcher Kevin Church gave up a 2-run walk-off base hit. As Lynnfield players stormed the field to celebrate, Church bowed his head and walked slowly past stunned teammate Gianni Esposito who squatted on the field in disbelief.
-Canon EOS 7D, Canon EF 70-200mm, f/4, 1/2000, ISO 640

Beverly Girls Soccer Win North Title
Beverly Girls Soccer Win over Central Catholic
After 100 minutes of play in the 2012 D1 North Girls Soccer Final, Beverly and Central Catholic, tied at 1-1, were forced to go to a best of 5 penalty kicks. Leading 3-1, senior captain Diandra Crowley stepped up to dot and buried the winning kick. As the Panthers stormed the field to celebrate, junior defense Kristen O’Connor ran straight for junior classmate, goalie Casey Cook, and jumped into her waiting arms. They hugged each other and screamed in triumph as the Panthers celebrated their D1 North Title.
-Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon EF 70-200mm, f/2.8, 1/500, ISO 2500

Will Parr Salem Golf Feature
Will Parr Salem Golf Feature
Shooting a Sports Feature photo has always been something I really enjoy doing. It gives me a chance to be creative and take a photograph of an athlete in a more controlled environment. Will Parr is a senior golfer at Salem High School who had his right leg amputated when he was younger and had just taken up golf as a freshman in high school. Parr manages to golf on one leg and played in the number 3 spot this past fall. I knew going into this assignment it would be a much different feature shot that I was looking for. After taking a few headshots and arranging a few feature shots, Parr headed to the tee box for the start of a match. While setting up to tee off, Parr dropped his crutches on the ground behind him, which conveniently fell crossed, one over the other. I quickly crouched low to the ground and snapped away as Parr took his first shot of the afternoon.
-Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon EF 16-35mm, f/4, 1/4000, ISO 320

Candlelight Vigil for Sandy Hook
Candlelight Vigil for the Victims of Sandy Hook
An impromtu vigil for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, CT, was held the evening of Friday, December 14, 2012 at the Beverly Common. Summoned by word of mouth and a Facebook event, a small group of people came to pay their respects and hold a candlelight vigil and moments of silence the night of the shootings. As the group of people gathered grew, I spotted these two women, huddled together with their heads bowed, faces lit up by the candles they held, deep in thought and prayer.
-Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon EF 70-200mm, f/2.8, 1/80, ISO 4000

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First November Post!

So after not posting for awhile I figured I’d get around to updating my blog with a short post and a picture. Most of October I was kept busy with freelance work for Endicott, sports photos for EC and daily stuff at the news. The beginning of November was also pretty hectic with high school state tourney play starting up not to mention Election Night. The next few weeks will also probably be pretty busy and hectic with more State Finals and Thanksgiving football coming up, plus the high school super bowls.

On a side note, I made some nice framed photos for the Endicott Men’s and Women’s Soccer teams for their seniors. I ended up staying up until ungodly hours of the morning cutting matte board and printing and mounting the photos, which reminded me a lot of Senior Thesis and doing my framing and matting for that. Even though there were too many sleep deprived nights in college finishing thesis pictures and writing, as crazy as this sounds I actually kind of miss doing the work and getting the satisfaction of completing the work. I looked back at my thesis paper and can’t believe I actually wrote the whole thing. But either way I think I’m going to start printing more of my photos because when photos are printed up they pop even more than when on a computer screen.

This is a photo of Marblehead Light during Hurricane Sandy. The wind gusts coming off the ocean were so fierce and strong I could hardly walk into the wind to get in the right spot to take this photo.

Surviving Sandy

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Finally It’s Kickoff Time

It’s time for the 2012 Patriots Season. Go Pats!!!

It's Kickoff Time

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It’s Football Time!

With the Bruins out in Round 1 and the Celtics eventually fall in the Eastern Conference Finals to a stacked Miami Heat team, I was forced to watch the glamorous supernova that was the 2012 Red Sox season for the last few months. Finally, after a long long wait, football season is back! And I can probably speak for most of New England in saying, Thank God! Sunday afternoon football is back and so are Friday Night Lights.

I was shooting some photos at the St. John’s Prep-Pingree scrimmage for the Salem News Fall Preview and just as I was thinking I was a bit rusty shooting football I got this shot of one of the Prep linebackers as he tried to bring down the Pingree QB who was scrambling out of the pocket.

Look the Other Way

Falcons Shine

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Canon 1D Mark IV Photos…Finally!

Since getting my Canon 1D Mark IV I’ve been pretty busy shooting with it and organizing a lot of my work from the past year and planning ahead for the upcoming months. Let me just say that the camera is all I expected it to be and more. Learning new functions and the ins and outs of my new camera is going pretty well, but a bit slower than I expected. The quality of images I now get from my new camera is mind-blowing in comparison to cameras I have used in the past. This past week I’ve been going through some of the images taken with my Mark IV and I’m finally posting them.

Late Summer Bloom

"Grow Old Along With Me"

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New Camera and Lightning Storms

So I finally caved in and ended up ordering the Canon 1D Mark IV yesterday from Adorama. What I think really solidified my decision was when I went to shoot the Boston Lobsters tennis match and Olympian John Isner at the Ferncroft Country Club last night. Thanks to a fellow photographer Rose Raymond, I now have a new sports shooter camera strap, allowing me to easily carry my Canon 70-200 f/2.8 while also having my 300 f/2.8. I brought the company’s 1D Mark II and paired that with my 300 f/2.8 while the evening light was still strong enough to shoot at ISO 640 and below (after ISO 640 it gets real noisy and I don’t like using it). I also had my 7D with my 70-200 f/2.8 to shoot with once I had to crank up my ISO. I started shooting with the Mark II and noticed how spot on the focusing was and the overall quality of the image was better than I remembered. The colors were more vibrant and saturated than my 7D and the body style of the Mark II was a lot more comfortable. I think before shooting again with the Mark II I was about 60-40% for getting the Mark IV, but using the Pro-geared camera, it swayed me to get it without a doubt. Don’t get me wrong, the 7D is an EXCELLENT camera and I’ve gotten great use out of it, but I think for me it was time to step it up and get the Mark IV. I will hopefully be getting it by Thursday (maybe Wednesday if I’m lucky) and will post some photos I take with it and photos of it.

In the mean time, here’s a layered photograph I took tonight near the pier in Swampscott of the lightning storms over the water. Lightning is something that I don’t have that much experience shooting but it is a subject that I definitely want to keep shooting and learn the best ways to shoot it.

Summer Lightning

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