Photography by Erik: Blog en-us (C) Photography by Erik (Photography by Erik) Wed, 11 Apr 2018 12:39:00 GMT Wed, 11 Apr 2018 12:39:00 GMT Photography by Erik: Blog 120 120 One shot....for the win

On March 30th, the Houston Rockets hosted the Phoenix Suns in an NBA regular season contest. With the top spot in the Western Conference locked up, the Rockets went up against Phoenix, who was sporting the league's worst record. On paper, it seemed like an easy affair for the Rockets, even without Chris Paul or Eric Gordon in the lineup.




The game was proved to be anything but a breeze for Houston as Phoenix rode some hot shooting and balanced team play enroute to building a 17 point halftime lead. The Suns even stretched their advantage to 21 points in the third quarter before the Rockets fought back, eventually tying the score on a three-point shot by James Harden with 12 seconds left in regulation, 101-101. Then craziness ensued.





With an entire arena rooting against them, the Suns stayed calm and took the lead on a Josh Jackson jump shot with 1.4 seconds left, forcing a Houston timeout. After advancing the ball to halfcourt, the Rockets looked to get the ball to James Harden, whom was double-teamed by two Suns' defenders. The double-team subsequently freed up Houston guard Gerald Green, who was wide open behind the three-point line in front of the Rockets' bench. After taking the inbounds pass, Green calmly reached back and fired a three-point shot, a shot that splashed through the net as time expired. The resulting three-pointer gave Houston a 104-103 victory, setting off a wild celebration on the court and in the stands.




All images copyright 2018 Erik Williams/USA Today Sports Images

]]> (Photography by Erik) houston rockets nba basketball phoenix suns Wed, 11 Apr 2018 12:39:23 GMT
NBA Finals preview, anyone?

There are very few assignments or jobs these days that I get truly excited for, but this past weekend was an exception as I was assigned to cover the NBA game between the Houston Rockets the Boston Celtics. There were so many storylines surrounding this game, most notably the Rockets holding the best record in the league and riding a 14-game win streak. It was also a game where Houston was looking for revenge as the Celtics beat them in Boston earlier in the year. And to top it off, the game was shown on ABC as part of the NBA Saturday Night Showcase, meaning a national audience would be tuning in. And the game didn’t disappoint in the slightest.



The game got off to a fast start as both teams were hitting their shots early on. Houston built an eight point lead, 28-20, before Boston closed the quarter on a 12-2 run to lead, 32-30. The Celtics continued rolling in the second quarter as their bench led the way with baskets all over the court, frustrating Houston’s defense. Boston’s lead reached as high as nine points (47-38) before Houston was able to tie it at 50-all with four minutes left. Again, the Celtics closed strong to go into halftime leading, 64-58.



Boston was able to keep the Rockets at bay during the third quarter, pushing their lead as high as eight points (70-62) before Houston countered by hitting two straight three-pointers (74-73), forcing a timeout with 5:51 left. As the play got more physical, the Celtics started to flounder as Houston eventually took the lead, 75-74. The Rockets’ lead was short-lived as the Celtics kept attacking inside AND out. The back-and-forth third quarter ended with Boston leading, 89-86, paced by their bench who had 45 points.



Both teams showed no signs of slowing down in the fourth quarter, but the Celtics’ bench kept Houston at arm’s length for the majority of the fourth quarter, and Boston still lead 113-107 with four minutes left. From that point on, the Rockets tightened the screws defensively, forcing two turnovers leading to five points in less than twenty seconds to take the lead, 117-115. After a plethora of free-throws, the Rockets sweated out a last-second miss to win the game, 123-120. Even with both James Harden and Kyrie Irving having so-so nights (Irving had 18 points on 6-for-17 shooting while Harden scored 26 points on 6-for-18 shooting), the play of the benches and the action down the stretch gave the matchup some real spice and flavor (Boston’s bench scored 67 points while Eric Gordon for the Rockets scored 29 points, 13 of which came in the fourth quarter).




Well, what more can be said? The game this past Saturday night didn’t just live up to the hype, it exceeded it and it could be a possible preview of the NBA Finals in three months’ time. A back-and-forth game, intense atmosphere, great crowd, it was a real privilege to be at the forefront of history once again.




All images copyright 2018 Erik Williams/USA Today Sports Images

]]> (Photography by Erik) boston celtics houston rockets nba basketball nba on abc usa today sports images Tue, 06 Mar 2018 21:54:32 GMT
A 10-year addiction.....of the finest kind A 10-year addiction....of the finest kind

Greetings and salutations, I hope this finds everyone well. Been a while since my last entry, but it’s been hard finding the words after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in late August. While I was fortunately enough to not personally be affected, the suffering that others went through and have gone through was not lost on me. I certainly hope that everyone who has been affected by this is on the road to recovery.


Anyways, with October here, football season is in full swing among other things, and I’ve been hitting all over town shooting the Houston Texans, Rice University and the University of Houston. One of the games I’ve shot was the 2017 Bayou Bucket game between Rice and UH, and while the game was essentially over by halftime, it did bring back memories of the 2007 Bayou Bucket game between the Cougars and Owls, which was played 10 years ago today. It was a game that I will remember fondly for a myriad of reasons.



A quick summation: On a sunny Saturday afternoon at old Robertson Stadium, the Houston Cougars and Rice Owls battled each other in a game that saw nearly 1,200 yards of combined offense and 15 touchdowns between the two teams. Houston jumped out to a 28-14 lead at the end of the first quarter, only to see Rice battle back across the second and third quarters, scoring 34 of the game’s next 41 points. The Owls held a 48-35 lead heading into the final quarter only to see the Cougars roar back, both literally and figuratively, scoring 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to win, 56-48. (Oh, and for Cougar football buffs, it should come as no surprise that the comeback win was led by the legendary Case Keenum, but I digress LOL) For anyone watching the game in the stands, it was a heart-stopping affair with more twists and turns than a rollercoaster ride. But for me shooting the game, it was unlike anything I had experienced in my young career, at the time. (Oh a quick side note, it also was memorable because I covered the entire game while dealing with a sinus infection that left me bed-ridden the day before. )



Back in 2007, I was still trying to make a name for myself and was unsure of a real direction and purpose in photography. While certain jobs were enjoyable, I had no clue if this was something I wanted to do, long-term, and on a higher level. But this game was such a spark for me, a spark that changed my entire outlook and purpose going forward. Shooting that game and getting the images that I did, it convinced me that this is something I wanted to do long-term. And that desire got into me, like a highly addictive substance.



I’ve always regarded this game as the greatest college football game I’ve ever covered thus far, and a whole decade later, it still rings true for me. It wasn’t just an intense and memorable game, it was the game that led me to be a devotee to photography and set me on the path to where I am now. I do wish it wasn’t as expensive as narcotics at times, but that’s a rant for another day. Point is, just stay true to your hopes and goals, no matter the roads they lead to. It may take a decade to get to where you want, but keep walking the path and you WILL get there.


With that, I thank you for your attention and support. I hope to have another entry ready by November. Thank you for your time, and fare thee well. One last note, this blog entry is dedicated to my late grandfather, Connell Linson, Sr. Without your gratitude, kindness and generosity, I wouldn’t have become the professional I am now, and days like that sunny October day a decade ago wouldn’t have been possible.  


All images copyright 2007 Erik Williams

]]> (Photography by Erik) bayou bucket houston cougars ncaa football rice owls Fri, 13 Oct 2017 14:00:00 GMT
Diamond Dreams Diamond Dreams

Greetings and salutations all, I hope this finds everyone well. It's been a very hot summer down in Southeast Texas and busier than usual for me, so I hadn't been able to keep up with the blog until this week. There hasn't been much to share since the last week of May, when I made my annual pilgrimage out to Sugar Land, TX for the Southland Conference Baseball Championship tournament at Constellation Field. This was the third straight year and fourth in the last five that I covered the tournament as the Southland's photographer, and it was a job that I'd been looking forward to once again. And I was a tad smarter this time around, securing a second shooter for some of the action on Thursday and Friday. Unlike the 2016 tournament, this year's action was not marred at all by the weather, which was great. The only issue with the weather was the heat and the crappy air, which contributed to my allergies flaring up like crazy. It sapped my strength and hindered me for the first two days, but thanks to some Claritin-D, Benadryl and a little bit of help from one of my associates, covering the action on Friday and Saturday was much better.





Anyways, the on-field action was as intense as ever with conference and personal storylines abound, such as the return of the Houston Baptist Huskies to the Southland tournament (two years after winning the title) or the top two seeds (McNeese State and Southeastern Louisiana) getting beaten before Friday's semifinal games. Strangely enough, the one team that flew under the radar from the outset was the Sam Houston Bearkats, the defending Southland Champions. Despite being the third seeded team, they were ultra confident as they easily won their first three games to advance to the championship final. In the title game, the Bearkats faced off against the Central Arkansas Bears, who were Southland champions themselves in 2013. Riding an early flurry of runs, Sam Houston outgunned the Bears to win the final and repeat as Southland tournament champions, advancing to the NCAA tournament (eventually making the Super Regional round).





Overall, despite my allergies not cooperating early on, I think I had the best tournament in my four times shooting the Southland Championships. The adulation and such from the various SIDs and the Southland media officials was always good, but I felt internally accomplished as well. It’s always satisfying to have a plan of attack, executing it and seeing the results come to fruition.



Anyways, that’s all I’ve got for this entry. Many special thanks to the Southland communications staff and Maria Lysaker for their tireless assistance. Thanks for reading and as always, fare the well!



All images copyright 2017 Erik Williams/Southland Conference Media Relations

]]> (Photography by Erik) ncaa baseball southland baseball southland conference sugar land texas Wed, 05 Jul 2017 14:24:16 GMT
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


]]> (Photography by Erik) houston rockets nba playoffs rice basketball Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:34:07 GMT
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

]]> (Photography by Erik) Houston Rockets end of 2016 nba basketball Mon, 05 Dec 2016 22:14:34 GMT
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

 Photography by Erik: Folder for posting online &emdash; 9-3-2016uhfbvsoklahoma_0049

 Photography by Erik: Folder for posting online &emdash; 9-3-2016uhfbvsoklahoma_0034

 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
 Photography by Erik: Folder for posting online &emdash; 9-3-2016uhfbvsoklahoma_0088  Photography by Erik: Folder for posting online &emdash; 9-3-2016uhfbvsoklahoma_0099



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


]]> (Photography by Erik) advocare kickoff classic ncaa football nrg stadium university of houston university of oklahoma Tue, 06 Sep 2016 17:51:06 GMT
Catching up aka Sorry about the long 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


]]> (Photography by Erik) constellation field ncaa baseball sam houston state southeastern louisiana southland conference Wed, 08 Jun 2016 12:32:12 GMT
"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



]]> (Photography by Erik) army ncaa football rain rice Wed, 28 Oct 2015 13:44:24 GMT
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.

]]> (Photography by Erik) astros baseball dodgers mike fiers no hitter Thu, 27 Aug 2015 16:00:23 GMT
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.



]]> (Photography by Erik) Tue, 02 Jun 2015 15:01:30 GMT
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.


]]> (Photography by Erik) Thu, 19 Mar 2015 15:11:59 GMT
The duality of the wolf  









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.

]]> (Photography by Erik) Fri, 12 Dec 2014 17:14:51 GMT
"The Longest Day" "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.

]]> (Photography by Erik) Mon, 27 Oct 2014 17:01:36 GMT
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…… 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.

]]> (Photography by Erik) Fri, 27 Jun 2014 16:00:10 GMT
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.

]]> (Photography by Erik) Wed, 11 Jun 2014 22:57:35 GMT
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!

]]> (Photography by Erik) Tue, 24 Dec 2013 19:12:33 GMT
35 years in........  






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.


]]> (Photography by Erik) Wed, 06 Nov 2013 13:08:36 GMT
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.

]]> (Photography by Erik) Thu, 29 Aug 2013 17:34:01 GMT
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.

]]> (Photography by Erik) Wed, 03 Jul 2013 21:44:44 GMT