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A Blair Bunting-inspired dive

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It was the collision of an inspiring image on Blair Bunting’s blog, a concept championed by David Hobby, and some Washington High School students with a camera.

In recent years, there are several photographers who have had an influence on my work:  David Hobby, Blair Bunting, Brad Trent, Peter Hurley, and Chris Crisman.  It is a pretty diverse group, this, but each one has influenced a specific part of what comes out of my camera.  I am a regular reader of the blogs of Bunting, Trent, and Crisman and often find myself exploring ideas that I see in their posts.

Link to a Blair Bunting image.

When I saw this sweet image that Blair Bunting (aka Bb) shared on his blog from his 2013 Arizona State University football campaign shoot, I tucked it away with the thought of someday making a similar kind of image with some football players and photo students at the local high school.  The opportunity arrived this year.

At the end of the season last year, the WHS football coach started working the idea of a media night before the first football game of the 2015 season.  It was a cool idea.  Cheer, the band, football players, the concession stand crew.   Everybody shows up the Saturday before the first game of the season to do a ‘dress rehearsal’ that would have a game-ish sort of feel.  All the trappings but no opponent on the field.  The team would run some plays and we could use the opportunity to make some ‘media’ images for the team.

I pitched the idea of the dive snap to the advanced photo class and had several takers, so, we made a plan.

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On a blazing hot Saturday afternoon in late August, Jose, Jessica (not shown), Samantha, and Jordan moved the Pelicans into the high school gym and we set out to see if we could make our own version of a diving WHS Ram.

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The first thing we learned: we had no where near what Bunting had for a background or landing space.  (Check out some of his football campaign videos.  Lot’s of good stuff to learn there. Ed.)

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Timing was going to have to be dead on with the jump.  And, about that jump.  The human need to protect the body after diving across the gym has an interesting response.  It was really hard to get a player to land without hands down for safety.  It takes some doing to spontaneously create reckless divers.

This is Washington High School.  In central Phoenix.  With a football field that was built in the ’50s.  It doesn’t offer the drama that can be found in the ASU stadium.  Cool snaps to Jose for the background, which he shot from the end zone during the first quarter of the first game of the season, which just happened to be both cloudy and at home.  The modest stadium made for plenty of dramatic sky.

In the end, we captured three players that were worthy of a trip to Photoshop and Jose’s midas touch.

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Thanks to photographers like Blair, Brad, Chris, David, and Peter who take the time to share the behind-the-scenes of what they do so that it can be passed on to the next generation.