Nike Global Challenge

While the 2008 Olympics kicked off in Beijing, Nike had their own mini Olympics in Portland, hosting the Nike Global Challenge. The international prep basketball tournament had teams from Serbia, Canada, Puerto Rico, Lithuania, Senegal and 3 USA teams (with the top 30 players in the USA). As the Nike photographer it was my job to shoot the games and portraits with some of the top players. I have photographed most of the USA players over the last 2 years, but it's a whole new level when they put on a USA uniform. It was great to see the sense of pride these guys had for their country! Especially Thierno Ibrahima Niang of Senegal!

The competition was very spirited with each teams national pride on the line. Serbia proved they were here to contend for the title by defeating a USA team 3 on the first night. Senegal, a country with very little basketball history played with a lot of heart. My favorite action shot is of Avery Bradley dunking over 6'11" Uros Lukovic of Serbia... An in your face dunk that sparked a bench clearing fight! (click on photographs to view larger)
But in the end the championship game was between USA Team 1 & USA Team 2. Rosco Smith closed the door on USA Team 1 with a fast break for a wide open dunk! Show Time! USA Team 2 wins the Nike Global Challenge.


Each year Rise Magazine puts out a special basketball issue called Hardwood. Editor Tatiana Zic hired me to shoot portraits of 15 different players for the issue. In order to get all of the players she requested, I went to the Nike Peach Jam in South Carolina and went bananas! There was very little room to work with at the venue since all the courts/locker rooms were being used. The only space available was a racquetball court, which work out great! The floor even looked like a basketball court, so I opted to run my backdrop to the floor instead of a full sweep. It worked out nicely and created a different look than I had done before... I then scrambled around like crazy (with the help of my assistant Jen) getting guys to the set in between their games. It was a little nutty but these are a few of my favorites!
You can click on the images to view them larger.
Equipment: Canon Mark IIN, Black backdrop, 4 Dynalite heads total: 2 edge lights with 30 degree grids, a Mola 22" beauty dish with a 50 degree grid for the key light and 1 medium softbox for fill.

Run's House

It's so much fun to see a project in it's finished layout. I shoot several book covers a year for Gotham Publishing and hitting the shelf this week is a book titled Take Back Your Family by Rev. Run (of Run DMC) and his wife Justine Simmons.
I am a huge Run DMC fan, so this project was especially cool! The shoot was back in February at the Simmons home in New Jersey. Yes...we went to their home, the one you see on the MTV show Run's House. I have worked with a number of celebrities, but this assignment was to photograph Rev and his whole family!!! A Celebrity Family! Yikes...!!! A hip-hop legend, teenagers, a baby and young business tycoons! Talk about pressure!
I was working on the project with Creative Director Ray Lundgren. I have worked with Ray for 3 years now and he always does an amazing job on the book cover design. Also with me were 3 trusty assistants and a digital tech. We had approximately 6 hours to get the shoot done, from set up to breakdown. Justine, Vanessa & Angela went through hair and make-up while we got the lighting in place in the living room. We re-arranged the furniture and moved a lot of furniture out to make room for the lights.
The best thing on this job was the digital set up. When we got the family in place we were able to get immediate feedback and tweak things right away. Rev was very much part of the process, he had ideas of how the set up should be... and so did I... We were able to test a couple of groupings and come up with one that we all agreed on. Once we got the grouping set, it was bombs away! Rev is an amazing personality and really kept the shoot lite and lots of fun!
I can't say enough about the family, they were wonderful, polite and very genuine!
Check out Rev's website to learn more about the book:

Soccer in the City

I recently had a shoot for Rise Magazine with several of the star players of the Martin Luther King High School boys soccer team. This team has won 10 New York City championships in 12 years!! A pretty amazing feat! The kicker is, the school is smack in the middle of Manhattan and has NO field! They practice and play their games at various parks around Manhattan.
My first thought was to try and do the shoot at one of the parks, but if you have any experience shooting in NYC you know it's a real hassle getting a permit to shoot in a public park, so I went to the school and scouted for any interesting locations around the school.... Well my scout took about 10 seconds. As soon as I saw the view outside of the school, I knew we had to shoot it there! The school was surrounded by skyscrapers, plus I really thought it would drive home the fact that this team had no field of their own.
Equipment: Canon Mark III, 16-35mm lens, F/16, 1/200 a sec, 3 Dynalite strobe heads, 2 with grids, 1 with a Mola 22" beauty dish.