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As a photographer you’re always trying to tell a story through photos. Last Saturday my job was to tell the story of the Green Bay women’s basketball senior day for one of my higher education photography clients. I’ve covered a number of these events as a sport photographer for the University of Wisconsin Green Bay and they never disappoint in delivering emotional moments. The men’s teams are a little more reserved and their emotional expressions more condensed; the women’s tend to include more tears and last a little longer.
On Saturday, Green Bay said good bye to their two seniors, Ellen Edison and Megan Lukan. Ellen went first with her long list of people that she wanted to thank for her success. Then came Megan who is from Barrie, Ontario Canada, who has a younger sister, Kaili Lukan, on the team. Megan knew she could never get through her list without choking up so she recorded it and it played on the big video monitor above the court. Megan shed a few tears as she watched herself on the monitor and it made for story telling pictures, but when she got around to thanking her family, that’s when things really got emotional. When she talked about her sister, they met in front of the players bench and hugged. When she talked about her dad, she made her way in to the stand and sat in his lap. That was a very touching and emotional moment. Even with her adult 5’7 frame sitting in her dad’s lap, you could see her as a young girl honoring that special connection with her dad. Her dad’s expression tied everything together to make it a very memorable moment.
Later that day I posted the photo of father and daughter to my social media accounts and I got a lot of positive feedback, but the comment that meant the most to me was by Megan. “They say a picture is worth a thousand words…I think this sums up how emotional I was today. Thank you everyone for all your support today and over my career here at Green Bay”. Megan asked if she could get a print of that frame; that’s definitely a request I will follow through with so they can remember the moment.
The Green Bay women’s team isn’t done for the year. The Phoenix will be hosting the Horizon League Women’s Basketball Championship. Hopefully I’ll be covering them in the championship game next Sunday.
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This past Monday Milwaukee based photographer Tom Lynn and I trekked to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore to photography the ice caves. I’ve been to the caves a number of times both in the summer and winter, but this was the first time I visited them with photography as my main mission. It was interesting to visit the sea caves with another photographer and see how they go about documenting the caves. Tom and I have covered many sporting event together over the years, but in a situation like that you don’t have as much freedom to work your photographic vision as we did on this day.
Tom wanted to have as few people in his photos as possible. I was looking for people in mine for two reasons. The main reason being that I think having a subject in the shots helps show how big some of these caves are, but also to show the adventure of visiting the caves.
A little background on the sea caves. The Apostle Islands are a group of 22 islands in Lake Superior, off the Bayfield Peninsula in northern Wisconsin. The islands and sea caves are part of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. The best caves in the Apostle islands are on the mainland and west of Bayfield near Cornucopia. The safest way to access the caves is to park at the end of Meyers Beach road, 18 miles west of Bayfield. The parking lot is run by the parks department and has stairs down to the beach. From Meyers Beach it’s about a mile to the start of the caves and the best caves stretch for a couple of miles. In the summer I suggest going out with one of the many outfitters in the area, if your not an experienced kayaker. Access to the caves is best on a calm day and to me they are most spectacular when the light hits them towards the end of the day. In the winter access is controlled by the parks department. The weather conditions need to be just right for the ice to form around the caves allowing for safe access. Some years the caves can be open for a few day or a few weeks, but some years they never open. Be prepared for the walk out. The surface can be anything from slick ice requiring some type of ice cleats to possibly snow shoes. To find out if the caves are open visit the parks department web site or their Facebook page.
Here are some of my favorite photos of the ice caves.
On Saturday afternoon the Green Bay mens basketball program had senior day for four of their players. One of the players they recognized was Keifer Sykes. The point guard from Chicago is considered one of the top point guards in the country and is the second highest scorer in program history. The number one scorer in program history is Tony Bennet, who went on to play in the NBA and is currently the head coach at Virginia.
It’s been great watching Sykes play these past four years and photographing him not only on the court, but also working on various portrait projects involving him. As a sports photographer you try to capture more then just the action moments, but also those story telling non action moments. On Saturday I captured a non action moment that I”m proud of as Sykes gets introduced during player introductions. I love the light and the way the other players are smiling, it all just came together.
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