John is an incredibly talented photographer in the Phoenix Area that has been passionate about photography his entire life. This week we had the opportunity to conduct a short interview with him and get his perspective on sports photography. Make sure to check out more of his work.
How did you get into photography?
I had an uncle that was very passionate about photography. He traveled often and had great images from all over the world. He introduced me to photography back in the early 80's when film was still used. I was still in school and the hobby got too expensive with buying and developing film. I was lucky to get one decent image from a roll of 36. I stepped away and didn't get back into photography until 5 years ago. Nowadays with digital, after the initial investment, it's so cheap (almost free) to shoot.
John out on a shoot. Credit: Jeff Mays
What's your favorite things to shoot, what makes up your passion work?
I love shooting anything that moves, from sports to wildlife. One of my favorite events to shoot is triathlons because it's actually three sports in one. I also have much respect for triathletes and the training involved to get through such an event. It's inspiring to watch.
What's your typical equipment setup, and your favorite piece of equipment?
My equipment list consists of a pair of Nikon D3 bodies, 24-70mm 2.8, 70-200mm 2.8, 300mm 2.8, 1.4x teleconverter, SB-600 flash, and a monopod. I have some miscellaneous stuff also but find I use these items the most. Right now, the 300mm 2.8 lens is my favorite piece of equipment. It's a fun lens to shoot with, very sharp and produces great bokah. When I'm through shooting, I can use it for a dumb-bell for my workouts!
What are your passions outside of photography?
Outside of photography, I enjoy reading. What do I read about? What else...photography! Haha. Seriously though, I enjoy learning. I like pushing myself outside my comfort zone to explore and learn new things.
Photo from Triathlon Credit: JPPhotography
Where do you see the future of the photography industry going especially with the advent of widespread digital photography.
One of my favorite photographers is Joel Grimes. I think he said it best...composite photography is the way of the future. I think he may be right.
What's the most interesting photo and/or your favorite you've ever taken?
It may not be the most interesting but definitely one of my favorites. I was shooting at a drag boat racing event several years back, first time shooting drag boat racing for me. These top fuel hydroplanes go crazy fast, somewhere around 250+ mph in a quarter mile under 5 seconds. As a photographer, you don't have time to do much except spray and pray you get a good image. I happen to be focusing on one hydroplane at the start line. Something about it caught my attention so I decided to focus on it. As the boat took off, it lost control and flipped, shattering into pieces. Luckily, the driver was not hurt. I was lucky enough to capture the entire event.
Do you have any advice for aspiring photographers or anyone that wants to get started with sports photography?
I think it's been said many times before but it's honestly the best advice, simple but true. Just get out there and shoot! I have done events where I failed miserably. Looking back at it, it's those failures that have taught me the most.