How does the mascot see?

I see lots of mascots at sporting events, and I know they have a way of seeing through the costume, but I unexpected captured an image of the Roncalli High School mascot the other day that shows the "face" behind the mascot.  I hope I didn't break any trade secrets with this photo!

All hair

I am always looking for something different to shoot during sporting events.  Sure, the blocked shot and the dunks are fun, but there is action away from the ball and during breaks that are also part of the game experience.  I have been trying to get a good "hair shot" when the cheerleaders are dancing around and their hair is whipping in the air.  I took this at a Nebraska game this past week.  The next step is to try to get the same image with the cheerleader looking more my way.

What's a turkey to do?

What's a poor turkey to do?  These is six inches of snow on the ground so the food they are used to eat is covered, and it's cold, and they need food?  But I don't think this gobbler can quite reach the suet we have hanging for the woodpeckers.

Our neighborhood flock of 20+ turkeys were in hiding after the recent cold and snow, but when the temperatures started rising, the big birds came our looking for food.  Mary Beth expertly captured this image of one of the turkeys looking - almost anywhere - for food on our back deck.  We have another feeder a few feet away usually filled with safflower, but, as you see below, that was not in reach either.

If finally snowed...

The talk has been how long it has been since it snow (300 days, breaking all records) and how dry it has been, but no more.  Now the talk is about the damage the storm caused.  The storm was by no means a record breaker, 6-9 inches of snow with 35-50 mph winds.  A good storm, but we have had worse.  But for some reason, the heavy wet snow at the start, the time between storms, the closeness to the holidays, whatever, this storm paralyzed the city for a day.

For us, we lost power from midnight, through the day, and we received a call from a neighbor who spotted our lights on at 8 am the next day (we had headed someplace warm for the night).  Neighbor?  Yes, a neighbor called us.  Our side of the street was without power, the other side had power.  Sometimes we catch all the breaks!

When the storm was over, power was restored, and I could get out, it really turned out to be a nice snow.  This photo is from a tree in our back yard.  I like how the snow combines with the berries on the tree.

Merry Christmas.

You can see it all

Where can you find Santa, Mary, ugly sweaters, Waldo, kings, Christmas PJs, and santa hats all in one place, as well as watch a basketball game.  Christmas in the Birdcage, the annual pre-Christmas basketball game at Creighton Prep.  There is lots of fun before and during the game, and a basketball game to boot.

See more here.

Which pair?

Before the start of every Creighton basketball game, the team lines up in a line as the color guard brings out the flag and the national anthem is played.  I am usually at the far end of the court at this time, but I noticed that the Creighton center and the Creighton mascot stand side by side.  Also, the center, Gregory Echenique, always wears pink basketball shoes.  I raced to the other side of the court the other day to capture the image of the two of them standing side by side, because of their choice of footwear!

 

Need a Larger Feeder

Just in time for winter, the turkeys in our neighborhood have flocked together.  Earlier this year, in the Spring, we had about a dozen or so turkeys moving around together.  During the summer, we saw maybe three at one time, never more than five.  Suddenly, over the pat couple weeks, I have counted as many as 24 turkeys moving together in the neighborhood.

With numbers, comes confidence, as shown by our friend here.  The turkeys used to sit in our yard for a while, now they aggressively sometimes move up on our deck.  This bird went so far as to check out our feeder, with no luck - at least this time.

I am waiting for one to jump on the feeder and pull the whole thing down.  Then they will get their tasty treat.

First Birthday

I haven't been to a one-year old's initial birthday party in a long, long time so  I didn't know that sometimes the parents buy a cake just for the baby to attack.  Lots of colored frosting is usually involved so the little guy/gal can make a real mess of things.  Our niece's baby, Sully, made a mess of of this cake and I was lucky (?) enough to be close enough with my iPhone to snap this image.

One for Coach Tom

A local living legend retires soon, and they gave him quite a tribute at the final Nebraska home game of the season this past weekend.  Tom Osborne, currently the Athletic Director, but known as "Coach Tom" was honored all during the game. But none better than leading the team onto the field one last time.  I was on the field and captured this image as he, and the team, passed by me.

I expect I will keep this photo up a few days longer than normal with the holiday later this week and lots of sports shots to catch up on.

Start of a new season

At Nebraska home baskeball games, fans celebrate the first score of the game by throwing newspaper clippings in the air.  It gets kind of old after a few games, but at the start of a new season, it is worth a photo or two.

These guys get front court seats at every game, and I sit by them during most of the game, so I figure I will give them some publicity this week.

Wake up call

Imaging waking up to this view every day?  We did for three days when we visited my daughter who recently moved to Colorado Springs.  This was the view right off the hotel lobby.  We missed the peak of the Aspen color season by a few weeks, but still the view was spectacular.

Imagine my daughter, she gets to see this every day as she heads to work.  She is one lucky lady.

Halloween runner

I have run a few long distance races, and usually finishing is enough of a challenge without having to worry if my wings are staying on my back!

I shot a half marathon Sunday morning, a few days before Halloween.  While the race didn't advertise itself as a costume race, a few runners took it upon themselves to dress up for the event. 

This guy won the unofficial award for best costume.  I was impressed that his glasses were still on - and, of course, his wings were straight, 13 miles after he started.

Sunrise with Benedict

I had the opportunity to be at the Saint Benedict Center in Schuyler, Nebraska last week and caught this image in the early morning as the sun come up.  You can't tell by the photo, but the temperature was in the low 40's, and the wind was enough to prevent a nice reflection.  

I need to visit this place in peak foliage season on a calm fall day with a few clouds in the sky, and ...   Or, I can be thankful for being there when this scene occurred.

All smiles now

I shot the State Boys Tennis finals last week and in the top match, the favorite hadn't lost all year and he was playing against the seventh-seeded player.  David, the favorite, certainly had his game face on the entire match.  I even bet another photographer she couldn't get a photo of David with a smile on his face.  Up until the last point of the match, that was a pretty safe bet.

But once the final point was finished, and David had finished an undefeated season, the game face came off and he was all smiles, particularly with his friends who surrounded him and lifted him up on their shoulders.  It was an immediate transformation from serious to fun, and it was good to see the smiles ... even if it did cost me the bet!

Added bonus

I went to a football game and a sunset broke out!

Each week, the high school games I cover typically kick off at 7 pm.  As the season moves on, that time approaches sun down in our area.  Typically that is not good news since it means my lighting on the field will be getting bad earlier in the game.

Last Thursday night, a few minutes before kickoff, I saw this scene unfold as the sun began dropping below the skyline and a group of wispy clouds filled the sky.  Figuring the game could wait (or actually begin without me), after the anthem played, I hustled up a hill to get a better view and was treated with a magnificent sunset.  I had the right camera and lens and hand and had a bit of fun for a few minutes before the sun dropped too low.

A nice added bonus to the football game.

Tranquility

I have found my quiet time location about 20 miles north of the city in a wild life refuge.  At this time of year, migrating birds are staying at Desoto Bend, even with the lack of rain we have had this summer.

I went up there last week just to see what kind of wildlife is around the area.  I hope to head back up early some morning when I can see the most birds.  On this afternoon, I saw hundreds of geese, a few herons, and lots of sand piper near the river.

I like this quiet scene, but the bird wouldn't get much closer than this to my location.  Maybe next time.

Lonely afternoon

Nebraska played what might have been the worst team ever to show up at Memorial Stadium Saturday.  I jokingly had told some people that if the score wasn't 35-0 at halftime, the team would be booed off the field.  The actual score after one quarter was 35-0, that's how bad the opposing team was. The final score was 73-7, so unless you wanted to get photos of the fourth team lineman making a tackle, there was not going to be too much to shoot at the game.

I decided to get some "crowd" shots early.  I found this couple, all alone up in the stands, right after the gates opened to the public 90 minutes before the game.  They were all alone except for the names of former Huskers printed on the wall.

Next week, Big Ten conference action starts with a late night game in Lincoln.  We will have a wild crowd, new uniforms, and some real action.  I am looking forward to that!

Gotta love this guy

Don't you just have to love this guy?  Sully is my niece's year old boy, and in this photo he is sitting on top of his dad's shoulders.  From the looks of things, he is loving every bit of the ride.

We had been at a carnival-type event during the day, so you might expect this little guy to be tired after an active afternoon outdoors.  But for one more ride on his Dad's shoulders, he was all smiles as I took this photo.  I was able to get a really clean background which I like.

His mom says she wishes the hair was a bit more in place ... like that will happen on a bouncing baby boy, ever!

Just cheating a little

I always wanted to capture this type of image, with the ball just about to be caught by the receiver, but it is so hard to do during a football game (at least for me) because of a lot of reasons, like I usually track the quarterback so after he throws, I have to find the receiver, focus, and shoot and I usually don't get the shot.  With high school games, being played at night, I rarely have enough light to pull of the shot even if everything else falls into place.

So how did I capture this?  I caught it in practice before the game, when the sun was still in the sky, when I know the ball was going to the receiver, and when my camera was focused just on the receiver.  A cool shot, but not really game action.  I bet the player and parents wouldn't care it wasn't a game shot!

Hot start to the season

It was as warm as the guys who have been shooting on the sidelines for years could remember.  I am not even sure what the game time temperature was, I just know I didn't cool down until I was in the car driving home after the game ... it was that warm before, during, and after the game.

Still, it was good to be back on the field in daylight.  It took some time to refamiliarize myself to the sidelines work, but I ended up with some real keepers, including this shot of the team running onto the field at the start of the game.  I think I might try to take this entry shot from different parts of the stadium over the next few weeks, but this was a nice capture.

I am looking forward to the season, but I hope it cools down some for future games (wait until it snows, and then see what I say).