While summertime offers a time of plenty of sunshine and a bit of a break from the constant scheduling headaches with various events, it also gives us a lengthy lull from UofL sports. As I mentioned on our podcast this past Saturday, this absence from being able to photograph games also brings a bit of sadness due to the empty void it leaves.
Just to give you an idea of how busy I actually am during the Louisville sports seasons, here's the number of events I photographed for each sport this past season with preseason exhibitions, regular season events, and postseason events included. This doesn't include work done with organizations or athletes or selection shows that are not NCAA sanctioned games/events.
In the 2022-2023 Louisville sports season, I photographed:
-9 women's soccer games
-6 men's soccer games
-19 volleyball games (includes trip to UK and first four postseason matches)
-8 field hockey games
-8 football games (includes trips to Clemson and UK)
-19 women's basketball games (includes trips to Bellarmine, UK, and ACC Tournament)
-18 men's basketball games
-4 lacrosse games
-14 baseball games
-15 softball games (includes trip to UK)
Would you believe that 120 games is considered a down year for me? In all fairness, if I added out-of-season scrimmages (ie fall softball, spring volleyball, spring field hockey, and spring football) and the other games in the ACC Tournament I photographed, that number would be about 132. I wasn't able to make it our to tennis or swim and dive this year, which cut down on the total number of sports I shot to 10.
As I mentioned earlier, I do some other photo work that isn't NCAA sanctioned such as Louisville Live, selection shows and cheer and dance events.
You see photos from those women's sports here at Cardinal Couple almost on a daily basis. We do try to provide a mixture of action shows and emotions/smiling shots. Personally, I favor the celebration and smiling shots. I like showing the emotion from the players and coaches. To me, it shows that they are still humans, despite how close we get to idolizing them, and it's a time that those countless hours of practices and workouts pay off in that moment of celebration. I try to capture the emotion in a way that we can feel that. Sometimes, that may come across in tears and seasons come to a close or from Senior Day recognitions.
There's also quite a few men's sports up there. While we don't cover men's sports here at Cardinal Couple (we are glad to see when they perform well), the CC crew has always been kind and willing to work with me as I do some photo work for men's sports for other various sites out there. Those sites know there's a strict policy of not using my women's sports photos, as the rights to use those are solely with Cardinal Couple, but I am grateful that CC allows me to work with those sites in order to get out to sports such as football and men's basketball.
I've sat through a 2-12 season (football), a 4-28 season (men's basketball), a 5-13 season (lacrosse), and so many other rough patches for different sports. Regardless of the success, or lack thereof, I still try my best to get out to as many games as possible for each sport.
People ask me all the time why I feel like I have to be at each game and why I don't take games off. My answer is always the same: "I don't HAVE to be at each game. I WANT to be at each game. I love being there."
One of the positives I did not anticipate when I first stressed myself out so much to get to so many games is the appreciation from players and their families. While sports such as football, women's basketball, and men's basketball will draw in dozens of photographers and plenty more media, for many of the smaller sports, it's usually the photographer Louisville Athletics sends and myself. While Taris, Adam, and Co. do a phenomenal job photographing games (seriously, the work they produce should be award-winning), more cameras out there allows for more angles and more shots for players.
Players and parents reaching out to me to offer their appreciation for my photos happens weekly and I'm happy to play my part. Many of these players and their families share these photos on their personal social media or even blow the pictures up and print them out at home to keep for the long haul. These are memories they get to keep forever.
Being at these games each season also allows me to interact with so many people who love UofL just as much as I do. That includes the UofL digital media team, the UofL sports information folks, the ushers, other media members, and of course the Cardinal Couple crew. My outgoing and social personality tends to be in heaven during these times.
So, now we arrive at summer. Take away those 120+ events, travel time, time spent interacting with folks, and time spent editing and I have thousands of extra free hours available. Well, that's what happens in the summer. Free time can be nice to relax and focus on time with friends and family. This summer is especially different with my wedding in 11 days and my honeymoon to follow not long after, so that summertime lull won't be as extreme, but not having UofL games to look forward to each day, or at least each week when teams all seem to be on the road at the same time, can be difficult.
I really do appreciate Cardinal Couple for keeping me around after all these years as their photographer and grateful to all of you for allowing me to showcase so much of that work here all the time. A post of my favorite shots is in the works for later in the summer, but will have to wait until we get past the wedding craziness.
(PHOTOS BY JARED ANDERSON)
Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!