Back in June we had a chance to photograph USA Olympic Weightlifting Phenom CJ Cummings on assignment at his home gym in Beaufort, SC. Cummings, 16 years old, has been on a tear lately setting and breaking records no American has touched at any age in almost 20 years. He routinely lifts against men almost twice his age and just missed making Team USA for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.
A fun, fast-paced and heavy lifting (CJ, not me) shoot on a beautiful, humid day on the coast of South Carolina. A few of my favorites from the shoot.
Ohio State needed a win against the top-ranked Terps to have a chance at competing in the post season. You could feel the excitement about whether they could extend their season into the Big10 Tournament. Not only that, it was one of the nicest and warmest days we’ve had all spring, with a gorgeous sunset to start the second half. The Buckeyes started off hot and were only down a goal at half-time, but just couldn’t stop the Maryland offense. Here are a few of my favorites on and off the field.
It’s always a treat for a client to trust you with access. The opportunity to go behind the curtain and show the world the moments off the field is one of my favorite parts of this job. While each team is different, coaches and players have their superstitions/rituals/traditions before and after games. Here’s a few favorites from when Ohio State took on Johns Hopkins at Historic Homewood Field. It was a game that started with snow, had 25 goals, ended with sun and me editing pictures on the train to NYC.
Having been in Baltimore for 6 years, it was odd but I had never worked a lacrosse game at UMBC. I’d covered the America East Soccer Championship a few times, but for whatever reason never covered lacrosse there. At UMBC all the fields are congregated in one area of campus, so there’s tons of lights around, it was fascinating to see all the lights for the different fields and play with them as backdrops. A few favorites from when long-time client, Stony Brook Seawolves took on the UMBC Retrievers.
With spring finally here, that means one thing here in Maryland … lacrosse and lots of it. With the NCAA regular season coming to a close and the post-season starting, we are going to take this week to share some of our favorite lacrosse photos from this exciting season. First up, long-time client Albany – without the Thompsons – taking on top-ranked Maryland at Capital One Stadium Byrd Field in College Park, MD. Albany is always fun as they play a really fast-paced, offensive-minded game. While I dislike the logistics of working at Byrd Field, the access and angles help make up for that. Here’s a few of my favorites from the game.
College basketball is in full-swing and we are heading very quickly towards conference championships and March Madness. Right before Thanksgiving, I got a chance to document long-time client, the Old Dominion Monarchs as they competed in the 2015 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. The Monarchs faced off against top-ranked Purdue and a scrappy St. Joseph’s squads. It’s always fun to travel for work and shoot in a new venue, especially when you have lots of access to the team. Here are a few of my favorites from the tournament and looking forward to covering more college basketball as March Madness approaches.
Back in November I had a chance to shoot John Urshel at the Baltimore Ravens facility. John isn’t like any other football player. He graduated from Penn State with both his Masters and Bachelors in Mathematical Sciences. He’s gotten a fair amount of press over his published papers and playing in the NFL at the same time. I had a chance to shoot him on seamless for Baltimore magazine. I graduated with a degree in computer science, so I took a fair amount of math – Calculus, Discrete Math, Linear Algebra, Computational Computing – during my time at Clemson. I never would’ve thought in a million years I’d get a chance to shoot a portrait of an NFL athlete who is a math nerd. Offensive lineman are hard for me because they don’t hold the ball, but they also aren’t interesting recognizable due to their position.
We were fortunate to have 10 min with John to make a portrait, spending time talking about Turing machines and driving crappy cars. Thanks to Travis for the awesome assist.
Hitting the newsstands today, my feature shoot with Johns Hopkins Ryan Brown for Lacrosse Magazine. Brown is the premier attack man in the country and is steadily becoming one of the Blue Jays best players’ ever. The creative was pretty open, so I decided to setup a “seamless” on the field for some action shots and then use the bleachers as a second look. Our seamless was a 12×12 silk to give Ryan room to move and shoot, thanks to Travis for the huge help on setup and for helping lug 500lbs of sand.
My favorite is below, along with the behind-the-scenes and the other tears from the magazine.
We definitely tested his accuracy as I had him shooting at a target just off-camera, luckily for me he didn’t miss once.
With Clemson’s rise up the College Football Playoff Rankings head coach Dabo Swinney has become a national figure. He’s charismatic, energetic, and passionate. He’s also led the Tigers to 14-0 as they prepare to take on Alabama tonight in the College Football Playoff Championship in Tempe, AZ.
While Photo Editor of The Tiger Newspaper in 2009, I had a chance to photograph Dabo Swinney at the end of his first spring practice as head coach. We originally had 15 minutes at Howard’s Rock, but due to a torrential downpour we ended up in the weekly press conference room in front of this stadium mural. That winter went from interim to full-time head coach after his victory over South Carolina, but there was uncertainty if he was the right person for the job at that time. It was one of my first “famous coach/athlete” shoots so I was incredibly nervous. After meeting him in person and covering his first season, you could tell there was something different and special.
I was never a fan of Clemson until I got to campus in 2005 and fell in love with the traditions, passion, and one of the most irrational fan bases in college football. There will always be a fond spot in my heart since Clemson football and basketball started my career and business.
Love him or hate him, there’s an energy, passion and work effort he infused into a program that was lacking all the above. Here are some of my favorite moments from Dabo’s early career at Clemson.
Back in August, I had a chance to work on another personal project, this time documenting and creating portraits of lawn mower racers competing at the United States Lawn Mower Association’s National Race at Bowles’ Farm in Clements, MD. The story really starts 2 years before when I was driving home from covering collegiate sailing at St. Mary’s, MD and saw this billboard surrounded by cornfields saying simply, “Lawn Mower Racing, first weekend of August.” Immediately I pulled out the phone, marked the location the best I could and sent myself an email to follow-up on this to explore and experience. I was intrigued and I don’t know how you couldn’t be as a living, breathing person in what this might be.
Growing up in the South, there’s always these niche cultural sports/events/things and I was fortunate to go push myself to go experience or document these things as I found them. After some basic research I found it, but the only problem was Em’s oldest sister was getting married that weekend, so it hit the list of possible projects in the future. As the schedule came out for the whole series (they race almost every weekend around the country), I put it on my calendar. As it got closer into July I called up Bruce Kauffman, also known as Mr. Mow-It-All and talked with him about the project and was granted access to the event. For those of you who have been following me on Instagram, we’ve been working on the back bathroom, also affectionally known as “the outhouse.” About two weeks before the race weekend, Em and I have a conversation that goes like this:
Em – “What is this lawn mower racing thing on your calendar? Who’s the client?”
Me – “It’s exactly what it says it is, lawn mowers racing each other; I’m the client. Should be awesome!”
Em – “My parents are coming down to work on the outhouse, can this be moved or how are we going to do this? Why do you need to shoot this?”
Me – “It’s been on the calendar since January and I already got access and told them I’m coming, I can’t bail now. I’m planning on using this for the website and possibly a special mailer out to people next year.”
After some discussion, it ended up working out perfectly. We’d start working on the house at 7am and I’d work until 11am or so, get in the car and drive 2 hours south to shoot. I’d shoot until it was over, around 11pm, and then drive back. It was exhausting, but also an adrenaline rush to make the schedule work and shoot the project. After seeing the images, I’m so happy Em and I could figure out a happy balance to do this project.
Mr. Mow-It-All gave me a bit of the run down about the weekend, but I was still flying blind and had no idea what to expect. Fortunately the location and weather were picturesque and couldn’t be better. Everyone was awesome, friendly and open to letting me hang out, document and shoot portraits for the two days. People came from all over the East Coast and Midwest, from Michigan, to South Carolina, to New Hampshire. The racers ranged in age from 14 to 73 and in some divisions youth competed against adults. It was a $10 entrance to raise money for charity and all your regular fried foods to pair with $3 Bud heavy, Bud light, Michelob and Miller. I think the coolest part is people are racing for a plaque, there is no prize money, only pride.
I setup the studio on pit road, which was in front of possibly my favorite background ever – cornfields and blue sky. Out of 80 racers we shot 30 portraits, in between the 16 hours+ of racing over the two days.
Here’s a few of my favorites from the project. You can find the whole project on my website – www.ebrianschneider.com/ready-set-mow. Let me know if you want to be on the mailing list when this hits mailboxes in 2016.