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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.