Sports Interview Roundup

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Over the years, we’ve had the opportunity to speak with some of the world’s greatest sports photographers, on the B&H Photography Podcast and for the Explora blog. For this year’s B&H Sports Photography Week, I’ve compiled a short list of my favorite sports photography articles and interviews.

Photograph © Zak Noyle

Peter Read Miller

In 2015, we had the chance to photograph with a rare Canon 1200mm lens, one that was initially designed for the highest level of international sports competitions. Very few have been manufactured and, to put the uniqueness of this lens into perspective, I had a brief chat with veteran Sports Illustrated photographer Peter Read Miller. Miller used this lens while covering international sports in summer 1992 and later for Major League Baseball and other assignments (which include covering 41 American pro football championships). In our conversation, he discusses the good and the not-so-good of working with such a beast of a lens, and he relates the reaction it received from photographers upon debut.

Peter Read Miller

Adam Pantozzi—Brooklyn Nets

The first year that the Nets of the National Basketball Association moved to Brooklyn, I went to the Barclays Center Arena to spend a game shadowing their then-team photographer, Adam Pantozzi. It was a great lesson in the multi-faceted nature of sports photography. I arrived at the arena two hours before tip-off and Pantozzi was busy doing portrait work for the Nets marketing team up in the seats. Minutes later he was in the press room downloading images and racing to the court for a pre-game award ceremony. He never stopped working that Nikon DSLR, and even between quarters and the half, he was photographing promotional events, the team dancers, and celebrities sitting courtside. I was lucky not only to photograph Pantozzi in action for the article, but to spend a few minutes shooting the game, as well.

John Harris

Zak Noyle—Surf Photographer

Just a few weeks ago, I spoke with surf photographer Zak Noyle about creating his incredible action and seascape images, and about a new signature sports housing he created with AquaTech. Noyle was born and raised in Hawaii and, as a champion swimmer and the son of a commercial photographer, it’s little surprise he does what he does. Some of Noyle’s most stunning photos are taken from underwater, and we discuss maintaining your composure for hours in 20-foot waves, and the timing and technique it takes to submerge and “shoot your way up.” We also talk flippers, masks, housings, and the Canon EOS R5 mirrorless camera he uses. Nice work if you can get it!

Zak Noyle

U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Ticker Tape Parade

This is not really an interview, but an advantage of living in New York is that international news happens on your doorstep. In the summer of 2019, when the United States Women’s National Soccer Team won the international championship, the city hosted a ticker tape parade and I attended. It may seem anachronistic but ticker tape parades, through the “Canyon of Heroes” in lower Manhattan, have been a big thing since the first such parade to dedicate the Statue of Liberty happened in 1886. Anyway, my kids can’t even imagine the idea of dumping paper out windows as a form of celebration, but the USWNT victory was an important moment, and it may be a long time before we gather shoulder-to-shoulder to scream and sweat and have office refuse dropped on us. As a way of demonstrating the value of a workhorse DSLR and zoom lens, I went to the parade to photograph history.

John Harris

Sports Photographers Are Photojournalists

The skills are similar, the gear, too, and maybe the competitive drive. Sports is news, of course, and some of the greatest sports photos have been made by photographers who are just all-around good. For two different lens campaigns—Sony and Canon—I spoke with two exemplary photojournalists who have captured iconic sports moments. David Burnett joined us last year as part of our Sony lens campaign and, in addition to talking about his news coverage in Vietnam, Iran, and Chile, we talked about the international sporting competitions he’s covered and the making of his famous photo of runner Mary Decker, after she fell during the 3,000-meter race at the 1984 event.

David Burnett

For a Canon lens guide, I had the pleasure (and the responsibility) of interviewing Boston Globe photographer John Tlumacki one year after he made the unforgettable photographs of the bombing at the Boston Marathon. In addition to an insightful conversation about that dark day, we discussed his work as a city newspaper photographer, covering the major sports teams, organized crime, and the day-to-day wonder that is Boston.

Share with us your favorite interviews, and let us know who else you’d like to see featured in Explora, in the Comments section, below. And for more sports-related news, tips, and reviews, be sure to check out the Sports Photography section of B&H Explora.

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