Photography by Erik: Blog http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog en-us (C) Photography by Erik photographybyerik@gmail.com (Photography by Erik) Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:36:00 GMT Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:36:00 GMT http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/img/s5/v117/u235385917-o9225674-50.jpg Photography by Erik: Blog http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog 120 120 Scorched Hardwood http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/4/scorched-hardwood Scorched Hardwood

Greetings and salutations, I hope this finds everyone well. I am sorry I haven’t had any blog entries to start 2017, but things have been rather crazy for me the last four months. And that craziness is thanks to a lot of basketball I had to cover in March, and a certain playoff game in April, but I’ll get to that later.

 

 

 

Basketball season is always an exciting time for me, because it’s my favorite sport to shoot, but this year I had a bit more action to cover from March onwards. In March, both Rice University basketball teams made it into postseason play, resulting in six extra games that I covered at Tudor Fieldhouse in the space of twelve days. While it got personally draining towards the end of that stretch, it did result in some pretty cool images from the action. Anyways, the men’s team had a good run in the CBI tournament, defeating San Francisco before falling to Utah Valley State. Meanwhile, the women’s team competed in the WBI tournament and ended up winning the title with victories over Lamar, UT-Rio Grande Valley, Idaho and UNC-Greensboro. I am confident that the two tournament runs will be the start of great things over on South Main for the Owls.

 

 

After the completion of Rice’s tournament play, I was fully expecting to be done with basketball until November. Then the NBA playoffs started, and I was assigned to cover Game 2 of the series between the Houston Rockets and the Oklahoma City Thunder. I was hovering between excited and being petrified, not from shooting an NBA game, but shooting an NBA playoff game featuring both James Harden and Russell Westbrook, two of the three leading candidates for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award. Anyways, the game was rather entertaining as the Rockets won the game, despite trailing by as many as 14 points. While Westbrook had the bigger night (51 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds), Harden (35 points) came away victorious as the Rockets won 115-111 to take a 2-0 series lead. Houston eventually won the highly-anticipated series, 4-1 to advance to the Western Conference Semifinals.

 

 

Anyways, that’s what I’ve been up to for the first four months of the year, covering all the burning hardwood across town. (And may not be done yet, who knows.) Thank you for viewing and for your time, have a wonderful day and, until next time, fare thee well.

 

All images copyright 2017 Erik Williams/Rice Sports Information/USA Today Sports Images


 

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photographybyerik@gmail.com (Photography by Erik) houston rockets nba playoffs rice basketball http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/4/scorched-hardwood Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:34:07 GMT
Scaling the last mountain.........and taking a break for now http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/12/scaling-the-last-mountain-and-taking-a-break-for-now Scaling the mountain......and taking a rest for now

Greetings and salutations, I hope this finds you all well. Things have been rather calm for me as of now. I say “as of now” because August-November was a very stressful period for me with the bulk of football, volleyball and soccer seasons all going on at once. But now that football is over, at least for me, it’s time for basketball season. And that’s where I do shine in terms of sports photography, as I am a basketball lifer, having grown up around the game in the 80s.

Shooting basketball has always been enjoyable for me, but not only am I shooting college basketball this winter, I’m also shooting professional basketball. The NBA, the National Basketball Association, more specifically, the Houston Rockets. Shooting the Rockets was always an outside goal of mine, having done it twice in 2007, but I didn’t think it would be possible due to many factors. But this year, thanks to my association with USA Today Sports, the opportunity arose to start shooting a select number of Rockets games this season. Needless to say, I was elated to be offered the chance to shoot NBA games, since that had been a goal of mine, really, the final goal of mine in a while. But I was nervous about it as well, hoping to do a good job.

My first game was on November 12 against the San Antonio Spurs. Yea, my first Rockets’ game in nine years was a home matchup against the Spurs, one of the best teams in the league. It turned out to be a pretty entertaining game as San Antonio ended up winning, 106-100. In terms of the photos, I think I could have done better in terms of capturing the action. But for not having shot an NBA game in nearly a decade, I think I did a serviceable effort.

 

 

 

Five days later, I was back at the Toyota Center as the Rockets hosted the Portland Trailblazers. Regarding the game, it was a bit more entertaining as the Rockets used a spurt in the third quarter to pull away from Portland, 126-109. Regarding the pics, I was a lot more comfortable as I knew what to expect this time around, thus the photos were stronger. Regardless, I felt good about the two games I’ve covered this far, and am optimistic regarding future Rockets games this season.

 

 

 

Shooting the Rockets again has been a real experience, and considering it was the one sports team that I didn’t regularly cover until now, I feel a real sense of accomplishment. It’s an achievement that is a good way to cap off the last 27 months in my professional life. But now that December is here, I’m thankful for some quiet time. Granted, there’s still basketball on tap, but not much else, and I’m glad things can slow down for a little while. Now that things have slowed down, I’ve taken stock on a lot of things, and I know that I wouldn’t be where I am and done what I’ve done without a strong edict towards hard work and exerting control. And that’s the key to making it through life. Believing in God, having a positive attitude and holding joy in your heart is all fine and dandy, but at the end of the day, all that can’t supersede hard work. If you have a goal, attain it via hard work because no one is going to just give it to you. That may be pretty hard and unyielding, but considering where I’ve been in my life and the lows I’ve crashed to, it’s necessary, and it makes the successes I now enjoy all the sweeter.

 

 

 

With that said, thank you for reading another colorful blog entry. I wish to thank you all for your support this year and in years’ prior. And a VERY special thank you to my dearest friends, Michelle Miller, Jennifer Sacco, Helen Laird, Kerri Rapp, Dr. Susanna Mittermaier, Kyla Holas and Chantel Baptiste. I wouldn’t have survived the last two years without you in particular. Thank you all and fare thee well.

 

All images copyright 2016 Erik Williams/USA Today Sports Images

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photographybyerik@gmail.com (Photography by Erik) Houston Rockets end of 2016 nba basketball http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/12/scaling-the-last-mountain-and-taking-a-break-for-now Mon, 05 Dec 2016 22:14:34 GMT
Five years later.......still on the road to redemption http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/9/five-years-later-still-on-the-road-to-redemption

Greetings and salutations all, I hope this finds everyone well thus far this week. I've been all right since the end of July, when my regular work started back up again. And things have been challenging yet great. A recent highlight was on Saturday, Sept. 3 when I covered the Advocare Kickoff Classic at NRG Stadium between the University of Houston and the Oklahoma Sooners. It was one of the more exhilarating college football games I've ever covered, especially in terms of atmosphere as both teams battled in front of a sellout crowd of over 71,000 fans. The highly anticipated matchup more than lived up to the hype as #15-ranked Houston took advantage of two third quarter turnovers to pull away from #3-ranked Oklahoma, 33-23. It was a great game in all respects, and I took full advantage, getting many viable images from the game.

 

 

 Photography by Erik: Folder for posting online &emdash; 9-3-2016uhfbvsoklahoma_0019

 Photography by Erik: Folder for posting online &emdash; 9-3-2016uhfbvsoklahoma_0029

 Photography by Erik: Folder for posting online &emdash; 9-3-2016uhfbvsoklahoma_0050

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 Photography by Erik: Folder for posting online &emdash; 9-3-2016uhfbvsoklahoma_0078

 Photography by Erik: Folder for posting online &emdash; 9-3-2016uhfbvsoklahoma_0064  Photography by Erik: Folder for posting online &emdash; 9-3-2016uhfbvsoklahoma_0066
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Strangely enough, it wasn't until I got home and unpacked that I realized the date, September 3rd. It was on this date five years earlier that I covered the NCAA football game between Houston and UCLA. And the similarities between the two days were pretty eerie: Houston was playing at home in front of a raucous crowd against a higher-ranked opponent and traditional powerhouse, and the Cougars would emerge victorious in both games. (UH defeated the UCLA Bruins, 38-34.) Pretty strange, eh? But there was also personal significance to that date as well.

 

 

Sept. 3, 2011 was the first NCAA football game I covered after a nearly two-year exile from shooting professional and college athletics. (Thanks to unfortunate circumstances and my own professional naievete, I didn't shoot any major professional or college athletics between Nov. 2009-Mar. 2011, and certainly no upper-level football during that time.) While I was "out of it", I lost faith that I could make it back to that place, professionally, and was unsure at to what to do with my business and even my life. But I kept at it and took advantage of various opportunities, eventually making it back on the sidelines for Houston Cougar football in 2011.

 

 Photography by Erik: Folder for posting online &emdash; 9-3-2011uhfbvsucla_0076  Photography by Erik: Folder for posting online &emdash; 9-3-2011uhfbvsucla_0034
 Photography by Erik: Folder for posting online &emdash; 9-3-2011uhfbvsucla_0079  Photography by Erik: Folder for posting online &emdash; 9-3-2011uhfbvsucla_0059
 Photography by Erik: Folder for posting online &emdash; 9-3-2011uhfbvsucla_0089  Photography by Erik: Folder for posting online &emdash; 9-3-2011uhfbvsucla_0099

 

 

While I've hit other heights since then and continue to strive to bigger and better things, it was amazing to look back on where I was five years ago and see how far I've come, how far I've grown and what I've survived. Granted I’m still not where I ultimately hope to be, but goddamnit I’m glad I’m not where I once was. I guess if there's a point of this diatribe, it's that never stop working and fighting to achieve your dreams, and don't let anyone tell you they're worthless or not meritorious of your full devotion.

 

 Photography by Erik: Folder for posting online &emdash; 320218_2307134085295_961131406_n

(taken during the UH-UCLA game on Sept. 3, 2011)

 Photography by Erik: Folder for posting online &emdash; 14196073_10153876132868201_7216081071960303839_o(1)

(taken during the UH-Oklahoma game on Sept. 3, 2016)

 

 

Well, with another diatribe concluded, I hope everyone has a good week and rest of September. Thanks for your time, and until next time, fare thee well.

 

 

All images copyright 2011-16 Erik Williams

 

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photographybyerik@gmail.com (Photography by Erik) advocare kickoff classic ncaa football nrg stadium university of houston university of oklahoma http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/9/five-years-later-still-on-the-road-to-redemption Tue, 06 Sep 2016 17:51:06 GMT
Catching up aka Sorry about the long wait http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/6/catching-up-aka-sorry-about-the-wait New Page 1

Greetings and salutations, I hope this finds everyone well. I duely apologize for no entries whatsoever since October of last year, but life kept getting in the way and with 1-2 exceptions, there wasn’t anything ultra special to write about, professionally. Well there was the AFC Wild Card Playoff game in January between the Houston Texans and the Kansas City Chiefs, but we won’t mention that game for obvious reasons. And I won’t mention the plethora of storms that have ravaged Houston the last eight weeks. Frankly, that horror speaks for itself as well and many thoughts and prayers to all those affected.

 

Anyways, this year has been a mélange of experiences and emotions thus far, and while I’ve been working less in comparison to this time last year, I’ve been able to put more of myself into my assignments. Two weeks ago, I reprised my coverage of the Southland Conference Baseball Championships at Constellation Field in Sugar Land. Once again, it was a daunting task shooting nearly a dozen baseball games in four days, but it was even more daunting this year thanks to a massive rainstorm that disrupted play on May 27, forcing the tournament to be extended a day.

 

 

 

While it was an unexpected inconvenience, playing the championship game on Sunday proved to be a memorable affair as Sam Houston State and Southeastern Louisiana squared off in “The Dream Final”. I was hoping for a great matchup between the tournament’s top two seeds, and the game did NOT disappoint. After giving up a grand slam early, the Sam Houston Bearkats fought their way back into the game, scratching out seven unanswered runs enroute to a 7-4 victory. The win clinched the Bearkats the Southland tournament title (pairing it with the regular-season title) and a berth in the ongoing NCAA baseball tournament. (Also, Southeastern qualified for the NCAAs as well, securing at at-large bid.) Anyways, I don’t know what it was about the championship game, but I got into a real zone shooting and I captured some pretty good shots all along the way. Maybe it was an adrenaline rush or the oppressive heat and humidity, but I was pleasantly surprised by the images from the showdown.

 

 

Well, not much else to say. With summer here, things will be pretty quiet until August when things resume in earnest again. Always keep working hard to achieve your dreams, damn all who get in your way or don’t support you. Thank you for your attention and until next time, Fare Thee Well.

 

 

P.S. Many thanks to Diana Porter, Hardy Meredith, Angel “Rick” Leal and the communications staff of the Southland Conference for either helping me or putting up with me between May 24 and 29. It was all VERY much appreciated!

 

All images copyright 2016 Erik Williams/Southland Conference Sports Information

 

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photographybyerik@gmail.com (Photography by Erik) constellation field ncaa baseball sam houston state southeastern louisiana southland conference http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/6/catching-up-aka-sorry-about-the-wait Wed, 08 Jun 2016 12:32:12 GMT
"Waterlogged" http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/10/-waterlogged "Waterlogged"

Greetings and salutations, I hope this finds you all well, and I hope things are going well for everyone, as the year winds down. Things have been stop-start for me in the midst of football season, which is always the busiest time of the year for me. This past weekend, I covered Rice’s home game against the Army Black Knights. Shooting football is always fun, but not when the weather is inclement. And the weather this past Saturday was wet, or as I call it, two-of-every-animal-bad.

 

 

Between Friday night and Sunday night, the city of Houston (and all of Southeast Texas) was drenched from the remnants of Hurricane Patricia as perpetual bands of rain lashed all over town. And unfortunately, Rice Stadium was not spared from the deluge. As the game started, even as Rice jumped out to a 14-0 lead, the rain was showering the stadium, but it was as least tolerable. And yes, I took precautions beforehand, dressing for the precipitation and making sure my camera equipment was well-protected. Things held up until the start of the second half when the rain came down harder and harder. At some point in the third quarter, the sky just opened up and it started pouring hard, VERY HARD. The rain was so vicious that I could barely see the action on the field, let alone shoot it. And my main camera was nearly useless as water droplets completely covered the front element, making shooting very difficult. As the quarter progressed, I constantly dried off the front element to at least get shots in focus, but the driving rain made that difficult.

 

 

Oh yea, back to the game proper, Rice stretched their lead to 10 points early in the fourth quarter, but Army fought back to tie the slosh-fest with just two minutes and thirteen seconds left, right as the rain started to let up. On Rice’s subsequent possession, they drove 63 yards in 93 seconds, just as another strong line of storms passed over the stadium. Amidst the inappropriately placed heavy rain bands, Rice scored the game winning touchdown with 24 seconds left, winning the contest, 38-31. It was a great win for Rice, a truly memorably one, but it was simply the most miserably football game I’ve ever shot. I’ve shot games in extreme heat and cold and been reasonably fine, but never in rain that consistently fierce. And yes, every single part of my person and gear was completely soaked afterwards. But it was another memory created in a very long year, a year that has been a rollercoaster in many ways. Sometimes life involves doing things you don’t want to and doing things in VERY harrowing conditions. All you can do is push through and fight it out, even if you’re drenched into the stone age in the process.

 


Well, with all that said, thank you for your time and for reading my blog once again. I hope to have another entry online by mid-December if not sooner. Thank you for the support, and until next time, fare thee well.

 

All images copyright 2015 Erik Williams/Rice Sports Information

 

 

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photographybyerik@gmail.com (Photography by Erik) army ncaa football rain rice http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/10/-waterlogged Wed, 28 Oct 2015 13:44:24 GMT
Front Row To History http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/front-row-to-history Front Row To History

Good morning all, I hope this finds you all well today, especially with end of summer here.  It’s been a while since my last entry, and I had hope it would be something different after the one in June regarding the Houston Astros. However, last Friday night’s game forced a change in plan. Last Friday night, I covered the Houston Astros’ series-opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The game already had personal significance for me, as I grew up a fan of the Dodgers, which is weird considering I’ve lived my whole life in Houston. So seeing my favorite team as a youth was exciting, aside from the obvious matter at hand, as both teams led their respective divisions.

 

 

The game started out rather slow, but the Astros took an early 2-0 lead after two innings, eventually stretching it to 3-0 after six innings. As the game went on, a discernible buzz grew around the stadium as Astros starting pitcher Mike Fiers hadn’t allowed a hit. Seventh inning comes and goes, still no hits for the Dodgers. When Fiers retired the side in the top of the eighth inning, the roar in Minute Maid Park had grown to a fever pitch, and the crescendo built even louder as the Astros took the field in the top of the 9th (still leading 3-0) and Fiers, whom had never pitched as long or as heavily in his career, retook the mound. And his task to attain the no-hitter was not an easy one, as he faced the top of the Dodgers’ order in Jimmy Rollins, newly-acquired Chase Utley and Justin Turner. Still bringing the heat after 130+ pitches, Fiers’ forced two consecutive fly-outs on Rollins and Utley, setting the stage for, well, history. And it was a moment I’ll never forget, with all the fans cheering and screaming, as Fiers at 9:43p, on his 134th pitch of the game, reached back and rifled a pitch past Turner for strike three, his 10th strikeout of the night, winning the game and securing the no-hitter. Needless to say, it was near pandemonium on the field and in the stands, and understandably so. It’s not every day there’s a no-hitter in Major League Baseball, so to be at one involving your two favorite teams (past and present) and to capture the moment is a humbling yet exciting experience.

 

 

 

The experience became crystallized for me yesterday when I learned that one of my images from the game (mainly the celebration) was printed in this upcoming week’s issue of Sports Illustrated, making it now seven times I’ve been published in S.I. since October 2012, and it’s my first “double-truck” shot of any kind. (In photo-parlay, a double-truck is a shot that extends over two pages of a publication.) And understandably, I am beyond overjoyed to attain an accomplishment like that, especially regarding such a momentous event.

 

 

With an uncertain professional future ahead of me, I am starting to cherish the grander and sweeter moments I now experience, moments that make the accomplishments stand out more. And what I’ve achieved is a testament to hard work, passion, respect, determination and dedication. With those things, you’re not guaranteed victory or success, but without them, you won’t get anywhere worthwhile in life. Put your best foot forward and love what you do, that is a start towards great things, and the occasional no-hitter. Anyways, that’s it for now. Thank you all for the support, the kind words, and the encouragement. Until next time, fare thee well.

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photographybyerik@gmail.com (Photography by Erik) astros baseball dodgers mike fiers no hitter http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/front-row-to-history Thu, 27 Aug 2015 16:00:23 GMT
Astros Resurrection http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/6/astros-resurrection Astros Resurrection

Greetings and salutations all, I hope this finds everyone well. Things have been rather busy, but with summer here, I can expect things to slow down a great deal, which will be beneficial with a busy fall ahead. The spring saw me cover a lot of baseball, much more than I have this time last year. And a bit of my time has been spent at Minute Maid park, home of the first-place Houston Astros. No, that’s not a misprint and I am not inebriated. As of this entry (June 2nd), the Houston Astros are in first place in the American League West division. Not only are they in first place in the AL West, as of this entry, they have the best record in the American League overall (and are percentage points behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the best record in baseball altogether).

 

Though the 2015 season is only at the one-third mark, it’s an incredible accomplishment for a franchise that had lost 100+ games three of the last four seasons. And it’s been pretty fun watching this young team grow together, led by the timely hitting of Jose Altuve and the solid pitching of Dallas Keuchel. (Oh, and speaking personally, it’s also been fun shooting the games with “new” equipment on hand, improving the image quality and results.) With four months left to the season, it will be very interesting to see if the Astros can keep this pace up and win the division, or in lieu of that, qualify for the playoffs as a wild card (either way, making the playoffs for the first time since 2005). But as it stands now, they are the most interesting story in baseball thus far.

 

 

Anyways with that, thanks for reading my blog, and I hope to have another entry online very soon. Thank you all for your support, and until next time, fare thee well.

 

 

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photographybyerik@gmail.com (Photography by Erik) http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/6/astros-resurrection Tue, 02 Jun 2015 15:01:30 GMT
Four Days in March......Survive and Advance http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/3/four-days-in-march-survive-and-advance Four Days In March.........Survive and Advance

Greetings to all, I hope this finds you well. Once again, I do apologize for a lack of entries lately, but the beginning of the year proved to be busy once again, especially the month of February. A lot has been going on, but things should slow down with my basketball coverage for the year now completed.

 

The month of March is always an exciting month, with the NCAA Basketball tournaments starting up, and the road to “March Madness” begins with conference tournaments. And last week, I was out in Katy, TX for the Southland Conference basketball tournament, covering the Lady Huskies of Houston Baptist University. A quick recap, after a rollercoaster season in which their best player was lost for the year with a knee injury, HBU won on the final day of the regular season to qualify for the Southland tournament as the #8-seeded team. Despite being the last team in the tournament field, the Lady Huskies were undaunted as they faced off first against the #5 seed, the McNeese State Cowgirls on Thursday, March 12. After building a 17-point first half lead, the Huskies had to hold on down the stretch to pull out a 70-68 upset victory, stunning the favored Cowgirls and advancing to the quarterfinals. The Huskies pulled out another upset the next day, defeating the #5-seeded Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 49-48, advancing to the semi-finals. (Personal note: Due to prior commitments, I was unable to attend and cover the quarterfinal matchup, hence no photos, many apologies.)

 

 

In the last four on Saturday, HBU faced their biggest test, the top-seeded Stephen F. Austin Lady Lumberjacks, the winners of the regular season title, led by Porsha Roberts, the conference’s player of the year AND defensive player of the year. The already daunting task for the Lady Huskies looked to be impossible when they fell behind by as many as 18 points in the first half. However, a hot shooting run saw them cut the deficit to four points by halftime, 41-37. The Huskies continued their torrid shooting in the second half while mixing in some timely stops on defense, limiting Roberts to only six points (on one made basket) in the second half. The end result was an upset for the ages as Houston Baptist won, 88-81, to advance to the tournament final. Without exaggeration, it was the best college basketball game, men’s or women’s, that I’ve ever covered. It wasn’t just the comeback that was memorable, it was the way it happened, along with the atmosphere of the arena AS it happened. For example, in the second half, members of the Northwestern State band (in attendance for their semifinal against Lamar) actually went to the HBU student section and cheered for the Huskies. Even the Lamar fans who were in attendance were cheering for HBU as the game came down to the wire.

 

 

With confidence at an all-time high and local and national media now attentive, HBU faced off against the #6-seeded Lady Demons of Northwestern State in the championship game on Sunday afternoon. Sadly, after a back-and-forth first half, the Cinderella Huskies ran out of steam as a cold-shooting performance doomed them to a 58-50 defeat. Despite the setback, two members of the squad made it to the All-Tournament Team, and interest in the program has never been higher. And it was symbolic of two things: 1) March Madness will always be awesome, even the conference tournaments, where a long-shot can ride a wave of momentum to glory multiple times; and 2) In March, much like in life, it takes more than talent to succeed, it takes passion, heart and perseverance, even in the face of nearly certain defeat. It takes all those things to survive, advance and succeed in any venture, especially in basketball and especially in the month of March.

 

 

Thanks again for reading my blog, and I hope to have a new entry soon. Until then, thank you for the support and fare thee well.

 

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photographybyerik@gmail.com (Photography by Erik) http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/3/four-days-in-march-survive-and-advance Thu, 19 Mar 2015 15:11:59 GMT
The duality of the wolf http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/12/dualityofthewolf  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greetings to all of you, I hope this finds you well amidst the bustle of the holiday season, wherever you are.

 

As the calendar winds down on 2014, and with a break in my work schedule, I've been looking backwards, not just on this year, but on the last few years in my life. More than anything, I've been looking back at November 2012, which was a critical juncture in my professional and personal exploits. I hated where I was in my life, yet a chance to change it all presented itself and I took it. I wanted to change my life, and I did in many ways and I don’t regret any of it for a second, even though many people who were present in my life two years ago are long gone. Rather than bemoan or prolong this pity party and such, all I have to say is this:

 

Don’t let yourself be anyone’s physical or emotional punching bag EVER. Never take any form of abuse in the name of “friendship”. If you have a dream, don’t let anyone defecate on it because their dreams and ambition don’t match yours. If you do have a dream, honestly pursue it with all your strength and passion and don’t let up until you attain it…..even if it means pushing everyone you hold dear away.

 

While I’m not a firm believer in astrology and the zodiac, I looked up the Chinese zodiac and 2015 is the Year of the Sheep, the sheep being a symbol of peace and tranquility. While that is commendable and I do wish for peace for the world and this country, for me, 2015 will be the Year of the Wolf. I love wolves, such mysterious yet deadly beasts, capable of beauty and savagery, be it alone or in a pack. And that’s my thoughts for the end of the year. If you have a dream, a passion, and you want to attain it, be a wolf and do it. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals along the way, or go it alone, but do it as best you can, with beauty or viciousness. Humans only get one life to life, go on and live it……with the heart of a wolf.

 

And that’s it, for the end of the year. Season’s greetings, many blessings, and best wishes to all of you. Until 2015, fare thee well.

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photographybyerik@gmail.com (Photography by Erik) http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/12/dualityofthewolf Fri, 12 Dec 2014 17:14:51 GMT
"The Longest Day" http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/10/longestday "The Longest Day"

Greetings and salutations, I hope this finds everyone well today. I apologize for a lack of entries, but life has been a rollercoaster ever since the end of July, when regular work started back up for me. But things are tootling along at a breakneck pace. This past weekend was no exception as I had five assignments to cover over a three-day period. The hardest day over that stretch was on Saturday, as I had two football games to cover. While I love football, shooting one game a day is a sincere physical investment. TWO games in one day can be daunting, and that was the task that I faced 48 hours ago.

 

First up at 11a was Rice University hosting the Mean Green of North Texas at Rice Stadium. After a shaky first half, the Owls kicked it into gear in the second on BOTH sides of the ball, scoring 27 unanswered points to win 41-21 for their fourth straight win. The game was a bit fun, despite unseasonable warm conditions. Seriously, 86 degrees in late October was BS, but it’s Houston, so it should be expected, right?

 

Anyways, after editing and image delivery, I packed up my gear and headed to Houston Baptist University for their 7p game against the Nicholls State Colonels.  By arrival time (3:30p), I was already feeling the effects from the first game, as I had a slight headache and a sick stomach, to go with sore legs. But I got some quick rest and got ready for the nightcap. In the game, the HBU Huskies hammered Nicholls State on the ground, rushing for over 260 yards, as they rallied in the fourth quarter to win, 31-21. The win was HBU’s first home win in the program’s infantile history and their first Southland Conference victory as well. To say that Saturday was a long day would be an understatement. My day started at 6:30a, and I didn’t make it back home until 11:30p. Long days can be common no matter the profession, but a 16-hour day speaks for itself. But honestly, while Saturday was nothing short of a marathon for me, I would gladly take it over not having anything to do at all.

 

 

The entire weekend has made me realize how far I’ve come in the last two years, as a photographer and a man. I never realized how capable I am of doing what I have been, and while my has involved some painful choices (most notably my acrimonious departure from Lutheran South Academy), those changes have been necessary, ‘cause they paved the road for better times and greater adventures……and the occasional 16-hour day on the gridiron. To those I left behind (well, MOST of them), thank you for your understanding and support.

 

Anyways, that’s all I’ve got for now. Many thanks, many blessings to you all. Until next time, fare the well.

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photographybyerik@gmail.com (Photography by Erik) http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/10/longestday Mon, 27 Oct 2014 17:01:36 GMT
The Klinsmann Effect and Professional Trolling http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/6/the-klinsmann-effect-and-professional-trolling

 

 

Ever since the start of the FIFA World Cup this month, I’ve had this entry in mind. Well, it’s been on my mind for nearly eight years, seriously. The US National Team has advanced to the Round of 16 and nationwide excitement over the team and the tournament has been amazing. Aside from the players, the team has had a major identity shift thanks to their head coach, German-born Jurgen Klinsmann. (Quick bio, Klinsmann was the head coach of the German national team in 2006, leading them to a 3rd-place finish. And his playing career was a decorated one, winning the Cup as a player with West German in 1990.) As the Cup has progressed, he has proven to be a great coach…….which makes U.S. Soccer’s decision to hire him in 2011 all the more puzzling.

 

Back in December 2006, there were reports that Klinsmann had accepted the USA head coaching job, but the reports were quashed and such, and those reports surfaced after the US’s disastrous World Cup campaign, being eliminated in the Group Stage. And over the next five years, US Soccer was a roller coaster, with a lot of downs along the way (the 2010 World Cup loss to Ghana, the 2009 and 2001 CONCACAF Gold Cup Final defeats to Mexico and the collapse in the 2009 Confederations Cup Final to Brazil). After the World Cup in 2006, it was clear that the US National team needed to go in a different direction, so it’s still bothersome to me that US Soccer didn’t hire Klinsmann then, especially with what he’s done since taking over and with a roster in transition. And not just with his team and the pundits, the energy he’s brought overall has been rather infectious and humorous. (Attached below is a “sick note” he penned to American employers on the eve of the USA-Germany Group Stage match on June 26.) It may be sycophantic to give such glowing praise to one person, but Klinsmann has been a definite shot in the arm, not just for the national team, but for soccer in America overall. All the watch parties nationwide and massive television ratings can attest to that.

 

 

Which brings me to Ann Coulter……..how and why, you ask? Well, in the aftermath of the US-Germany match, Coulter brought herself into the spotlight, essentially denigrating soccer fans nationwide, saying “any growing interest in soccer can only be a sign of the nation’s moral decay.” She also added that in soccer, “there’s no “prospect of either personal humiliation or major injury” and that soccer is only popular in the country “because of the demographic switch effected by Teddy Kennedy’s 1965 immigration law.” After reading it in full, I was nauseatingly amused by her remarks, and that’s saying something considering her track record, especially in the wake of her “trolling” Michelle Obama just a few months ago. Rather than dissect the ignorance and hate spewed out by Miss Coulter, I’ll just address it with the retouched pic below, a pic of Miss Coulter herself:

 

 

In short, I am enjoying the World Cup and the progress the US National Team has made under Jurgen Klinsmann, the confidence to dig in and fight and win games that they normally would have lost, and that progression has been great for the game domestically overall. Soccer may never unseat one of the “Big Four” in the US, but it’s growing more and more, and I do appreciate that. It’s a shame that in some circles it’s met with such divisive and juvenile vitriol. But that is the world, isn’t it?

 

Anyways, this has gone on long enough, so thanks for entertaining me. Best wishes for a great end of the World Cup over the next two weeks. Until next time, thank you and fare thee well.

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photographybyerik@gmail.com (Photography by Erik) http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/6/the-klinsmann-effect-and-professional-trolling Fri, 27 Jun 2014 16:00:10 GMT
Wanna get into photography, eh? http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/6/wanna-get-into-photography-eh Getting into Photography, eh?

 

 

Good day all, I hope this finds you all well today. First off, many apologies for no blog entries since last December. Work got incredibly busy for me for three-plus months with various assignments for various clients. And frankly, that strain and constant crush of work was pretty brutal from mid-March onward, but as of May 19th, I’m done for a little while and am ready to enjoy the summer. That and watch a lot of sports on TV.

Anyways, enough exposition, time for the meat of this entry. For years, many people have been asking me how I got into photography and for advice on how to make it in the industry and make it profitable. That topic has been a point of contention for many years, especially since photography is almost exclusively digital now, for better or worse. But really, it comes down to about five simple things: Have realistic goals, be open to all genres, be smart with your money, be willing to sacrifice and be respectful to others. And despite what goes on in some parts of the industry, those simple standards can prove to be very beneficial in your long-term exploits.

 

Point by Point:

· * It’s best to be realistic about what you want to do with photography, be it keeping it as a weekend hobby or wanting to do it full-time. Have goals, but be realistic about them. Be sincere about keeping photography as a hobby or wanting more out of it because there’s no in-between.

· * Don’t limit yourself to just one photographic genre. The best photographers are multi-talented, and while they specialize in one field, they’re capable of variety as well (i.e. portraits, sports, with or without flash, etc.). And a well-versed background can lead to big experiences.

· * With any business, money is huge, and photography is no exception, in terms of income and equipment. Regarding income, SAVE YOUR EARNINGS, which goes without saying, and it sort of segues into the second part regarding equipment, only purchase what you will regularly use.  

· * The road to success is a LONG one, and there will be a lot of long days and, if necessary, LONGER nights. Photography isn’t just regarding shooting, it involves location scouting, driving to and from locales, meeting with clients, and editing, LOTS of editing. Even if you want to pursue photography just part-time, be prepared to give up gobs of your time.

· * With all things in life, it’s best to have a passion for it, and in photography you can express that passion in your images. But regarding the business side, especially when expanding a client base, be respectful of other photographers and their positions. Undercutting is a nasty and rather unnecessary part of the business, so if you’re starting out or wanting to do more, don’t look to “screw someone over” for any reason, as that is not beneficial to ANYONE involved.

 

All these points have been brought up before many times by many other photographers, some of whom have many greater experiences than I, but I hope these points prove informative for anyone looking to pursue photography, even if it’s a weekend fun-thing or a life-long profession.

I think I’ve gone on long enough, so I’ll end this entry here. I hope everyone has a great summer. Thanks for the attention, and until next time, fare thee well.

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photographybyerik@gmail.com (Photography by Erik) http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/6/wanna-get-into-photography-eh Wed, 11 Jun 2014 22:57:35 GMT
Chasing legends in the cold.......all to close 2013 http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/12/chasing-legends-in-the-cold-all-to-close-2013 Closing 2013 chasing legends in the cold

Greetings and salutations all, I hope this finds you well and with your loved ones this holiday season. December has proven to be a busy month, yet productive as well. The denouement of 2013 was one to remember, mainly because of three football games I covered. First was the Conference USA Football Championship between Rice University and Marshall. The game itself was memorable for two reasons: 1) Rice won the game in dominant and stunning fashion over Marshall, 41-17, for their first outright conference championship since 1957; 2) the game was played in viciously frigid conditions, around 36 degrees at kickoff. With a steady north wind blowing, it pushed the temperature well below freezing through the course of the game. It was easily the coldest sporting event I’ve ever covered. But it was worth it to cover an immense accomplishment by the Rice Owls.

 

 

The other two football games from December that I enjoyed covering were the final two home games of the Houston Texans’ 2013 season, first featuring the New England Patriots and three weeks later, the Denver Broncos. Of course, all the attention (mine included) was focused on the visiting teams’ quarterbacks, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Both QBs were magnificent in their victories, especially Manning, who broke (or rather, reclaimed) the NFL’s record for most passing touchdowns in a regular season. But it was very cool to shoot the two greatest quarterbacks in this generation, especially with another head-to-head postseason meeting looming.

 

 

The whole month has been rather interesting for me, but I see it as the culmination of the last two-plus years of my professional life, not just to be able to rebuild things and take them to the next level, but to be able to have rather epic days via my craft. And I’ve had a year’s worth of epic days since April 2012. My hope is that it continues in 2014 and onward. And that is my wish for everyone, to pursue your dreams no matter how difficult. I know I’ve said that many times, but that is a sincere hope for everyone in this crazy-as-heck world.

 

And with that, thank you all for the attention and the support, and all the best to you this holiday season and a Happy 2014. Until next time, fare thee well!

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photographybyerik@gmail.com (Photography by Erik) http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/12/chasing-legends-in-the-cold-all-to-close-2013 Tue, 24 Dec 2013 19:12:33 GMT
35 years in........ http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/11/35-years  

 

 

 

 

 

Good day all, I hope this finds everyone well today. Today is a rather special day for me, as it’s my birthday…….my 35th birthday. For many adults, it’s no real concern, just another day. For me, it’s a day to be sure, but it’s a chance to reflect upon the last 12 months of my life, and it’s been an absolute roller-coaster of an adventure, wrapped up in multiple enigmas.

 

Looking back on where I was a year ago, I had no real direction and purpose in my life. Well, I did but I had no idea where I wanted to go with it all. But in taking advantage of a big opportunity that presented itself, I completely change my life. Aside from the financial improvement, I feel like within my craft, I can accomplish anything. In the last year, I’ve been printed in Sports Illustrated FIVE times, secured my positions with Rice and Houston Baptist and totally re-defined and revitalized my business. While I’m exhausted with the weekly crushes of work, I wouldn’t trade where I am right now for anything.

 

I do look back on where I was a year ago, and while I miss certain individuals and settings, most notably the student-athletes of Lutheran South Academy, I am confident that those same people would be proud of where I am now and what I have achieved in the past 12 months, well, MOST of the people, not all. For all those who were detrimental, disrespectful and dishonest towards me for so long………I sincerely thank you. I hold no malice towards any of you, but you’ve given me the confidence and fire to live my life my own way and achieve my goals amidst the cancer, toxicity, poison and laziness spewed out. And for those who believed in me when I lost faith in myself, words can’t express how grateful I am to you, especially three very special people who have touched my life and actually SHOWED that anything in life is possible.

 

One more thing, last year on my birthday, it was my sincere hope that people could come together and make the world a better place to live in. I do apologize for that unrealistic and Disney-themed bullshit. If I have one thing to pass along this time around, it’s this: If you have a dream, make it come true no matter what. If you have people in your life who love you, love them back with all your heart (within reason) and be honest. If things or people make you unhappy or frustrated in your life, fucking cut them loose and don’t look back. To loosely quote Marshall Mathers, “life’s too short to not go for broke."

 

And that’s that, thanks to everyone for the Happy Birthday wishes, and I hope to have another eventful 35 years, maybe longer. Take care, thank you all and fare thee well.

 

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photographybyerik@gmail.com (Photography by Erik) http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/11/35-years Wed, 06 Nov 2013 13:08:36 GMT
Chapter 1, Page 1, Paragraph 1...... http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/8/chapter-1-page-1-paragraph-1

 

Good morning all, I hope this entry finds everyone well, especially with summer starting to wind down. (THANK GOODNESS!) Anyways, with the end of summer comes the beginning of an American tradition – football season. And this year looks to be a very busy one for me, shooting three different college football teams AND the Houston Texans. However, along with the Texans and Rice University football, the team I’m most looking forward to shooting is Houston Baptist University.

 

 

For those unaware, the 2013 season marks the inaugural season for Houston Baptist Football, as the school is starting a program from the ground up. And their very first game is this upcoming Saturday against future Southland Conference opponent and FCS powerhouse, Sam Houston State. While I’ve been an invested part of football teams in the past, on the high school and collegiate levels, this is the first time I’ve been a part of a brand-new football team. And the first few seasons for HBU will be building and establishing the program, to ensure competitiveness in the Southland Conference and in the region. But with all big things in life, it has to start somewhere, and Saturday evening will be the start of something big for the school. And it’s going to be interesting to be a part of it on the ground level.

 

 

Anyways, with a busy two months coming up, blog entries may be pretty sporadic until October. But I hope everyone has great days ahead. Thank you for viewing and the support, and until next time, fare thee well.

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photographybyerik@gmail.com (Photography by Erik) http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/8/chapter-1-page-1-paragraph-1 Thu, 29 Aug 2013 17:34:01 GMT
Strength Revealed.... http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/7/strength-revealed Strength revealed...

Good afternoon all, I hope this finds everyone well today, on the eve of U.S. Independence Day. I know it’s been a while since my last blog entry, but real life intruded for a while, especially in the month of May. Things got pretty busy in May, most notably my covering both the Conference USA and Southland Baseball tournaments in the same week (May 22-26).

 

 

One would think shooting a lot of baseball in a week would be fun. And to an extent, it was. But it was also very draining. All told, I shot 15 games in five days, splitting time between Reckling Park (where the C-USA tournament was being played) and Skeeters’ Park in Sugar Land (where the Southland tournament was). It meant getting up very early some days, long drives in between the stadiums, editing en masse, dealing with the BRUTAL heat and humidity. And in all fairness, by the day of the C-USA Tournament Final (May 26), I was completely exhausted, with nothing left to give. At least that’s how I felt before the game when trying to psyche myself up. And it also didn’t help that I was having knee and hamstring issues as well. In other words, I was burned out and beaten up. Even looking back upon it now, I have no idea how I got through that last game, especially in the searing heat, and especially with it going to extra innings, but I did. I guess that one day has been a microcosm of things lately for me, because even when things have been bad or I cannot go further, all that’s left to do is to just push through, no matter how hard it is.

 

 

Anyways, that’s pretty much it for now. I hope to have more entries and photos to share in the second half of the year. Thanks for the time and attention, many thanks and fare thee well.

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photographybyerik@gmail.com (Photography by Erik) http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/7/strength-revealed Wed, 03 Jul 2013 21:44:44 GMT
Coming to Grips..... http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/3/coming-to-grips

(DISCLAIMER: This entry is full of personal introspection again, some of which could be offensive to those with sincere medial vices. For those offended by my thoughts, I implore you to close the browser and wait for my next entry.)

 

Good day all, I hope this finds everyone well thus far, as March comes to an end. As the month nears its close, I’m thankful for the slowing of work. Between the beginning of February and now, I was on a murderous pace that lent itself to both financial stability and health issues as well. In other words, I kept busy doing cool things, but I got sick three times along the way. Now that I have a short break this week, its only now that I realize what I’m capable of in life, but I’m also coming to terms with a “problem”.

 

I have an addiction, of sorts, an addiction to my work. I’m not content just to sit around and do nothing or rest on my laurels and accomplishments. But still, I take my work to an extreme and I push myself too hard at times, to the point where I frequently get ill. And I will never be content with where I am, I want to get better with each passing week.

 

Why succumb to this addiction? Well, I will never have a wife or a girlfriend, nor will I be a father in my lifetime. I’m just not that sort of person, nor do I wish to “just settle” for just anyone, that’s just making a “bad” situation worse. With what time I have left in my life, be it 70 years or 70 weeks, I will make an impact doing what I do best. It’s only now that I realize that I don’t have a choice in the matter. I have to work this hard.

 

I’ve now delved into rambling so I’m cutting myself off here. Thanks for the attention and the support. Until next time, Fare thee well.

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photographybyerik@gmail.com (Photography by Erik) http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/3/coming-to-grips Tue, 26 Mar 2013 15:57:36 GMT
An undercooked blog entry to go, please........ http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/2/an-undercooked-blog-entry-to-go-please  

 

 

 

(DISCLAIMER: This is going to be a rather disjointed and free-flowing entry on my part, so I apologize if my thoughts or words are a tad confusing or potentially offensive.)

Greetings and salutations all, I hope this finds everyone well this afternoon. I apologize for no blog entries in over two months, but things have been a tad hectic, mainly because of work. Not just that, I’ve had a lot of time to do some personal reflection as well, as 2013 has arrived with a vengeance.

 

In all fairness, while I hate certain decisions and such that have been made, I do appreciate where I am in life right now, at least professionally. I will never care for certain people and their crappy actions and crappier complaints about their lives, but as of now, I have the strength not to allow that types of people in my life any more. I have no time whatsoever for users, abusers, liars and hypocrites, and have made it clear that I will not have that in my life. I do hate the sort of collateral damage it’s has created, but to quote many athletes of the day, “it is what it is”.

 

As far as work, things have been busy, well January was busy, but this and next month are due to be exceedingly demanding for me. But I’m looking forward to it all, not just to keep busy and to make some serious bank, but to actually re-take my work to the next level, and push myself even higher. Even working towards next year, I already have some big plans regarding the 2013-14 football and basketball seasons for Rice and Houston Baptist, among others.

 

Anyways, I’m dry on words, so I’m signing off for now. Always hold onto your dreams and don’t be blinded by your fantasies. Those are fleeting, but achieving your dreams and goals, that’s long-lasting. Until next time, thank you and fare thee well.

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photographybyerik@gmail.com (Photography by Erik) http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/2/an-undercooked-blog-entry-to-go-please Tue, 12 Feb 2013 22:09:27 GMT
2013: A new adventure awaits..... http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/12/2013-a-new-adventure-awaits 2013: A new adventure awaits

Good morning all, I hope this finds everyone well. First off, my sincere apologies for no entries since the middle of October, but things have been a tad hectic between recently getting sick, the close of high school football season (at least, for me) and the completion of two weddings within five weeks. Not only that, but I have recently began a new venture regarding my business, shooting athletics for both Rice University and Houston Baptist University. Despite the plethora of work, it's gone good so far, especially shooting basketball for both schools (which is one of my favorite sports to cover), and I hope this venture continues into the 2013-14 athletics year. Below are some samples from the first few weeks on the job for both schools.

 

Anyways, with these new duties on my docket, along with the Texans games and other assignments included, I do have a bit of news to announce. Due to the increase of work on various fronts, I will no longer be shooting any Lutheran South Academy athletics. This is a decision that I have not entered into lightly, but between my new duties and a bit of unpleasantness during the high school football season involving the athletic director and other figures at the school, it made the most sense for me to terminate my relationship with the school until further notice. (And before I forget, I want to make it known that I DO NOT hold the student-athletes, coaches or the parents accountable or responsible for this severing of ties. My irreconcilable strife is solely with the athletic director and one other individual based solely on their disrespectful actions. There's no need to go into those actions in this online venue, but I wish to thank all others for their support over the years, especially the student athletes, it's been absolutely enjoyable to be of service to you all for the last few years.)

 

 

Well, with that, there's not much else to say other than I am looking forward to this new adventure in my professional life, and I hope to do right, not just by my new clients, but by all those who have supported me over the years, especially since 2009. Unless the Mayans were correct and we're all on borrowed time, 2013 looks to be a very exciting and busy year for me, and I'm looking forward to it. I hope to have one final blog entry online by the end of the year.

 

Until next time, Happy Holidays and fare thee well!

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photographybyerik@gmail.com (Photography by Erik) http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/12/2013-a-new-adventure-awaits Thu, 06 Dec 2012 18:14:44 GMT
Football Is A Funny Ol' Game...... http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/10/football-is-a-funny-ol-game

Good day all, I hope this finds everyone well thus far today. I know it's been a while since my last blog-tastic visit, but alas between an abundance of work and issues on the homefront, it's been an interesting time for me. Rather interesting, mainly because of all the football I've shot recently. Ah yes, football. What is football, well, AMERICAN football? Well, it's defined as "a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone by running with it or throwing it to a teammate." Great definition, but football is so much more than that. Honestly, where else can a person go to see all of what a football game offers? Athleticism, controlled violence, unity towards your team, angst towards the opponent, the fans who dress up, the fans who bring signs, all of that. Football isn't just a game, it's an experience, especially on the higher levels. (Forgive the complimentary fellatio, but I can now understand WHY the NFL is the king of pro sports leagues in the U.S. year after year.) Anyways, I have some shots to share from the last six weeks of games that I've covered.

Anyways, thanks for viewing the latest entry of my blog. I hope everyone has great days ahead. Thank you for your support and, until next time, fare thee well.

 

 

All images copyright 2012 Erik Williams

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photographybyerik@gmail.com (Photography by Erik) http://photosbyerik.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/10/football-is-a-funny-ol-game Wed, 24 Oct 2012 15:33:31 GMT