The Nevada sports calendar came to an abrupt end in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since that time, student-athletes, coaches and faculty have been sent home from the university and classes have been moved online.
Due to this quick change in the sports landscape, the Sports Desk decided to sit down with the photography desk of the Sagebrush and go over some of the best work produced this year. This photo essay doesn’t necessarily recap the best moments from this past season in Wolf Pack sports, but instead highlights the incredible work our photo staff produces on a daily and weekly basis.
Each photograph in this essay will be accompanied by a question and answer from the photographer. The Sagebrush hopes you enjoy our work as much as we did.
Austin Prince is a sophomore and covered basketball for the Sagebrush throughout the season.
Q: This moment is from the opening tip-off of Nevada vs UNLV. What kind of energy did that rivalry bring? Anything special or memorable about this match?
AP: “Probably the biggest attendance [in] Lawlor had [seen] so far to that point in the season. It felt different though because the last few years we’ve beaten them pretty comfortably and this year it was more [of an] even matchup from a talent standpoint.”
Q: Jalen Harris was a phenomenal athlete this past season. Did you enjoy covering him? What made him stand out?
AP: “It was fun to watch him play. Something that really stood out was how every time he got the ball, you felt he could score.”
Q: K.J. Hymes is showing his emotion during this moment. How do you capture that raw emotion during a match?
AP: “You just really have to be ready to shoot at any time. Basketball is a fast-paced game, so you just have to be able to pull up your camera quickly to capture a shot.”
Mason Solberg is a freshman at the university. Solberg primarily covered baseball, softball and swim for the Sagebrush this spring.
Q: Softball and baseball are some of the more unique sports to photograph. Can you speak on some of the unique challenges that you faced?
MS: “I think the biggest challenge is that the game can be slow, but the action happens in a split second. The size of the field also makes it challenging because shooting a line drive in the infield is much different than shooting in the outfield. The fences surrounding the field also make it challenging to get a clean shot.”
Q: Tell us a little about this moment. Help us set the stage. What was going on?
MS: “It was a later inning of the game and [Nevada] had a slight lead. The pitcher [Tanner Cunha] had let a couple of players on base and was trying to close the inning. He had been pitching for a while and was trying to hold the lead until the relief pitcher was available. I think the umpire and third baseman in the back, set a mood of anticipation. The pitcher is also displaying great form.”
Q: You really capture the power behind the athlete in this photo. What do you look for when photographing swim and dive?
MS: If I can, I try to capture the swimmer’s face or depending on the event, their stroke as well. A lot of times the athletes just raise their head enough to breathe, so I think it makes a good swim photo when you can see their full face.”
Jayme Sileo covered a wide range of sports for the Sagebrush through the fall semester. Her work—featured below—is a testament to that.
Q: So, there seems to be something rather unique being held up in this shot. Can you speak on that and the energy that the band was bringing to this game?
JS: “The marching band is a crucial aspect of the university’s sporting events. The energy of the band’s performance carries over to the rest of the fans. In this particular photograph, one of the band members is holding up a Peppa Pig stuffed toy, referencing the cartoon’s humorous internet presence. While silly, the point of the marching band, and all sporting events, is to excite and entertain the audience.”
Q: You captured the movement of Lindsey Drew in this shot. What technique do you take when a subject is moving so fast?
JS: “In sports photography, the idea is to use high shutter speed. Hard to shoot situations with low light and lots of movement may require a lower shutter speed, in which case the most important thing is to try to follow how the subject moves. Watching for when players are opening up, making a break down the court, jumping or ducking, helps to figure out where to look for a shot.”
Q: This really captures the frantic, fast-paced nature of soccer. What’s the hardest sport to capture photos of and why?
JS: “For me personally, football has been the most difficult sport to photograph because of how quickly the action happens. I prefer to take more time to think about shots and to have more opportunities to take a photo. Sports with longer stretches of action are typically easier for me to photograph, but what’s difficult for one photographer to shoot might come easier for another photographer. Being comfortable with how the sport is played, rules and traditions can help to foster an overall understanding of the sport.”
Q: Celebration is part of any sport, and it appears that’s what is happening here. Is there a certain memorable celebration moment from this past year in Nevada sports for you?
JS: “Sports are very high energy and celebration is usually the cumulative peak of that throughout the game. This photo is actually one of my favorites from the football season. The frenzied buzz of competition makes sports exciting and capturing the triumph after the hysteria holds emotional and physical energy. The photo was taken right after a touchdown. The three players shown all joined together, smiling, for chest-bumps, high-fives and hugs.”
Q: Rugby is one of the more unique sports on campus. How was it covering a sport like this? Any unique challenges?
JS: “I photographed rugby for the first time without any prior knowledge of the sport. The more you photograph, the easier it is to take what you know and apply it to what you don’t. Finding similarities and differences to other subjects creates a starting point for where to look for shots. In this shot, the player is running down the field with the ball, just like in soccer, football or basketball. The unique parts of sports are the most important to capture. In rugby, players perform lifts, two players lifting a third player into the air, to catch the ball thrown from out-of-bounds. Lifts are a unique part of rugby, like a slam dunk is to basketball or a sack to football, and an important photo to take.”
Q: Help us get a clearer picture of what was happening here. What’s going on?
JS: “At the beginning of all football games, all the marching band members, Wolfpack cheer members and football players run across the field carrying the large UNR flag and smaller flags that spell out NEVADA. Fireworks and smoke shoot out and over the field to pump up the crowd in the stands. Seeing all the groups together created a sense of unity in school spirit. Sports often bring people closer together, and athletes are as much a part of the picture as everyone in the bleachers.”
Last of our featured photographers is Nevada Sagebrush Sports Editor Ryan Freeberg, who helped cover a wide variety of sports during the past year.
Q: Football is one of the more physical sports at Nevada. Due to the nature of the game, you have to be ready to capture that physicality at any time. Is that challenging? How do you capture that kind of action?
RF: “It starts with being ready. You have to keep your head on a swivel at all times. That being said, it’s about knowing the sport. Like any subject, if you’re familiar with it, you’ll be ready when the moment comes to document it. I grew up around football and I’d like to think I know the game fairly well so I feel like that experience has prepared me to photograph it.”
Q: Nisré Zouzoua was one of the standout players this year for the Pack. What made him fun to cover? Is there any moment that really stood out to you?
RF: “There are countless moments that made Zouzoua special, I couldn’t pick just one. But every game I covered, it was his selflessness that stood out to me—always a team player. I guess you could say that about the entire team but Zouzoua really captured that.”
Q: Basketball is fast, it’s constant. It’s not often you find a player still unless they’re going to the free-throw line. Talk us through this moment.
RF: “So Essence Booker, pictured here, paused for just a brief moment before she charged the paint. This photo was taken during a match against UNLV. Booker, as she did throughout the season, was on fire that night. Every time she touched the ball, you felt her control. Not only her control over the game but her control of the court.”
Q: It’s not often you find this kind of sport on a college campus. What are some of the challenges involved in covering boxing?
RF: “Nothing prepares you for the brutality of boxing. This was the first time I had ever covered a fight, so I knew it would be a little different. The main issue I had with covering boxing was finding the right angle. As you can see, the ropes really create an issue, but you have to work around that. I tried to use the ropes to frame the shot. It would have been a little easier if I would have been ringside or had some verticality.”
All images in this essay can be found in various stories from the last year of coverage. The Sagebrush implores you to go read those respective articles if any of these moments piqued your interest.
The Sports Desk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SagebrushSports.