American football star Geno Hayes, who plays number 54 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was flipped upside down by Evan Dietrich-Smith of the Green Bay Packers, as Hayes tried to block an extra-point attempt by Packers kicker Mason Crosby. The kick was good, but the Buccaneers went on to win the game 38-28 for their first victory of the season. Image copyright Bill Frakes/ Sports Illustrated.
He's shot sports photography since 1983 and helped judge the sports categories at last year's World Press Photo awards. Who better to ask about shooting sport than US photographer Bill Frakes? BJP gets the lowdown.
BJP: How did you get into photography?
BF: My mother raised me to be an artist. My father made me a storyteller. Photography is the medium that best combines those attributes.
BJP: How did you get into sports photography?
BF: I am a photojournalist. As a daily newspaper photographer part of my brief was to cover the full spectrum of human activity. Sports is one of the many categories I have photographed my entire career.
BJP: What makes a great sports photograph for you?
BF: Emotional motion captured from a unique point of view - and I mean that both figuratively and literally.
BJP: How important is it to you that you freeze the action on a key moment of the game?
BF: Critical. Our readers deserve it.
BJP: What does sports photography offer that moving footage cannot?
BF: A chance to linger on and savour peak action. A concise view from a different intellectual vantage point.
BJP: What equipment do you use?
BF: I always use Nikon cameras and lenses, whether I'm shooting action, video or portraits. My favorite lenses are the 14-24 f/2.8, 24-120 f/4 and 600 f/4. My favourite camera is the D3s. Whenever I can, I put my cameras on supports, which is essential for video and makes still images even better. The tripods I prefer are made by Manfrotto, but I also use Gitzo monopods. I use a lot of equipment, depending on what I'm shooting, but the other essentials for me are Kata bags. I travel thousands of miles a year, and I have to have strong, durable and reliable cases and bags which help ensure my equipment is in perfect condition when I reach my destination and get ready to shoot.
BJP: Do you fire off spurts of images throughout the match, or carefully select what you shoot?
BF: In the best circumstances my role is predictive, but that doesn't preclude firing bursts, and from increasing my odds through the use of remote cameras.
BJP: How important is it to know the games you’re shooting?
BF: It is important to understand the competitive spirit. Penultimate moments are usually obvious but in every circumstance, luck favours the prepared.
BJP: Are you under pressure to get the images back to your editor straight away?
BF: At Sports Illustrated we use images across multiple platforms - SI's Big Ticket, SI's Snap Shot, SI.com, Sports Illustrated, Sports Illustrated for Kids. For the Big Ticket images may need to be available in seconds, and same with SI.com. SnapShot requires a different, unique view daily. The print magazine has weekly and monthly deadlines. We upload digitally using different techniques depending on the situation and the available technology.
BJP: What’s the hardest thing about shooting sports?
BF: The toughest thing about shooting sports is dealing with the restrictions of where I can work. But I enjoy making people smile.
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