Favorite Career Moments from 5 of the Best Sports Photographers

Favorite Career Moments from 5 of the Best Sports Photographers

Sports photography is exciting, exhilarating, and full of adrenaline. It requires an experienced photographer who knows the game and can execute in split-second moments.

As fans, the first images that come to mind are those game-winning catches and triumphant celebrations — the kind that end up on the covers of Sports Illustrated. But when we asked 5 of the best sports photographers from The List for their most memorable moments, their answers surprised us. They were moments of quiet contrast to the roaring crowds and fierce competition. And they were examples of the true power of sports and the communities they create. Check out what the photographers had to say below.

Feature photo by Darren Carroll

Darren Carroll

Primary location: Austin, Texas
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Austin, Texas-based photographer Darren Carroll spends a lot of time traveling around the country shooting portrait, music, lifestyle, and action assignments for editorial and advertising clients. His award-winning images have appeared in magazines ranging from Sports Illustrated to Smithsonian, Golf Digest to Garden & Gun, and dozens of others, as well as in advertising campaigns, album covers, and corporate publications.

Tell us about one of your favorite memories shooting sports.
Back in July of 2014, I had the opportunity to go on a road trip with four saddle bronc riders for Sports Illustrated. We managed to cover upwards of 4,000 miles in 4 days, winding our way from Greeley, Colorado to Prescott, Arizona and from Portland, Oregon to Cody, Wyoming before finally ending up at the Calgary Stampede. They rode in 6 rodeos along the way. And all of those miles were covered in an old Dodge conversion van whose brakes and power train, to put it mildly, had seen better days. They took turns driving straight through from rodeo to rodeo (I even took a shift a one point, somewhere in Washington state at around 2 in the morning), while we all slept in the van, ate in the van, and yes, even cooked in the van. It was a chance to gain, and share, great insight into the hard, unglamorous life that a rodeo cowboy leads, and that’s before he even tries to stay on a horse for eight seconds. We were all in some really close quarters for those four days, but damn, did we have fun.

Prescott, AZ, July 1, 2014. Photo © 2014 Darren Carroll
Jacobs Crawley cooks dinner for 3 fellow saddle bronc riders as their van heads up I-5 near Salem, Oregon. Photo © 2014 Darren Carroll

Brad Mangin

Primary location: San Francisco, California
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Brad Mangin is a freelance sports photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area where he has been photographing Major League Baseball for clients like Sports Illustrated and Major League Baseball Photos since 1987.

Tell us about one of your favorite memories shooting sports.
The business of sports photography has changed drastically over the past few years, and it hasn’t always been easy. However, my faith in the good people of this world has been renewed over the past several months. In January I began documenting football legend Dwight Clark in his battle with ALS. Dwight had weekly lunches organized by the fabulous duo of Kirk Reynolds and Fred Formosa with former teammates and friends near his home in Santa Cruz, California. I attended eight of these lunches and documented them in a very low key way, shooting pictures with my iPhone X. I made two visits to his home in Montana in April and May after he and his wife Kelly moved there to be around nature and her horses. The two-day reunion in April was organized by “The Boss” Eddie DeBartolo, and will forever be one of the most incredible experiences of my life. The work I was doing was not for publication. I was simply shooting for Dwight and the family and friends who loved him. One of the best parts about our trip to Montana and the historic group picture I shot of everyone surrounding Dwight in front of “The Catch” goal post was that no one knew we were there. It was a total secret.

I began photographing the 49ers regularly in 1987, which was Dwight’s last season with the San Francisco 49ers. Thirty-one years later I was spending time with Dwight as he was surrounded by more love than I had ever seen from incredible guys like Ronnie Lott, Keena Turner, and Eddie DeBartolo. I was allowed on the inside and heard stories about the good times they had together. I laughed so hard my face hurt. Dwight died on June 4, just two weeks after I last saw him. ALS took him way too fast, as it does everybody it touches. I attended his memorial service and reception in San Francisco and the love for Dwight I was surrounded by that day is something I still can’t shake. My camera and my skills as a journalist allowed me to experience the best in people this year. Dwight and his friends let me in. I will forever be grateful to him for this.

Reunion for Dwight Clark and his former teammates at Eddie Debartolo’s ranch in Whitefish, Montana on April 23, 2018. In the background is the goalpost from the end zone where he lade “The Catch” to beat the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship game on January 10, 1982. Photo by Brad Mangin
Buster Posey, 2012. Photo by Brad Mangin

Rob Tringali

Primary location: New York, New York
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Rob Tringali began his sports photography career as a teenager. As a New York native, he has shot 23 Super Bowls, Fifteen World Series six Olympic games, the World Cup and countless golf and tennis tournaments.

Tell us about one of your favorite memories shooting sports.
It’s difficult to pick out one memory from 30 years of shooting, but there is one thing that I’ve always done and still do today before every big event. I usually get to the venue a little early and find an empty seat somewhere just by myself. I look at the empty arena knowing that in a few hours the seats will be filled and the noise will be deafening. I think about when I was sixteen and I got to walk out on to an NFL football field for the first time, and I remember all the times my parents took me to games as a kid. I’ve been lucky enough to witness some historic moments — some that I’ve captured and also the few that got away. I’ve seen amazing athletes perform and watched their careers from beginning to end. I think about people I’ve crossed paths with, and those that have inspired me along the way, and, also, those who are know longer with us. Sometimes I just sit there quietly not thinking about anything. It’s always a great therapy session and still one of my favorite things to do.

Crissa “Ace” Jackson of the Harlem Globetrotters. Photo by Rob Tringali
Dino Ebel coach of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim poses for a portrait at Tempe Diablo Stadium on February 21, 2017 in Tempe, Arizona. Photo by Rob Tringali

Billie Weiss

Primary location: Boston, Massachusetts
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Billie Weiss is the Manager of Photography for the Boston Red Sox as well as a freelance commercial and editorial photographer.

Tell us about one of your favorite memories shooting sports.
One of my favorite memories shooting sports was the 2013 World Series run, when the Boston Red Sox beat the St. Louis Cardinals in six games to win the championship. While the on-field action was great in the Series and throughout the entire playoff run leading up to it, what remains the most memorable is the impact the win had on the city of Boston and the country as a whole at the time. The Boston Marathon bombings had occurred a few months before, just hours after a Red Sox game had concluded at Fenway Park. The response through the rest of the year was spectacular, as Boston came together as one to heal with each other. The Red Sox, through their work in the community and play on the field, gave Boston something to rally around. Through an improbable run culminating in a World Series championship, they helped a city heal in a time that it was most needed. As the staff photographer for the Boston Red Sox at the time, it was inspiring to cover the story of 2013 in Boston.

Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox reacts as he is given a Powerade bath following a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on August 14, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Billie Weiss
Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots walks out of the tunnel before a game against the Seattle Seahawks at Gillette Stadium on November 13, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
Photo by Billie Weiss

Tim Clayton

Primary location: Connecticut, New York and Boston

Tim Clayton is a freelance sports photojournalist based in Connecticut. His many sports assignments have included eight Olympic Games, five Rugby World Cups the FIFA World Cup and World Series Baseball.

The Avoca Beach female surf boat crew are sent airborne after crashing into a wave during the NSW Surf Life Saving Championships at South Maroubra Beach, Sydney, Australia.
Photo by Tim Clayton
Wheelchair rock climber, Nick Morozoff, hangs from a rock face in Sydney Australia. Nick was a keen rock climber before becoming a paraplegic after a car accident. After recovering from his accident, Nick decided he wanted to continue his passion for rock climbing, so he designed his own light-weight wheelchair to accompany him. He has since set up his own company, Dynamic Living Designs, manufacturing wheelchairs for the disabled. 
Photo by Tim Clayton

 

Check out our Instagram for more beautiful shots from these photographers and the blog for more highlights from other members of The List. 

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