deCroce blog of photography

Home Run Derby Photography

Story in Photographs of Major League Baseball’s 2021 Home Run Derby at Coors Field in Denver Colorado
Photojournalism for MLB Home Run Derby at Coors Field in Denver Colorado.
Under the haze of western wildfires, it was already pretty warm on the field. When the giant torches lit up for opening ceremonies, It was HOT! But the visual was well worth it at Coors Field in Denver. 2021 Home Run Derby participants (from left): Matt Olson – Athletics, Joey Gallo – Rangers, Salvador Perez – Royals, Shohei Ohtani – Angels, Pete Alonso – Mets, Trevor Story – Rockies, and Trey Mancini – Orioles.

In my craziest dreams, I never imagined getting a call from MLB to shoot Home Run Derby photography. Of all the professional photographers in Denver, there are plenty who focus on athletic photography. But MLB wanted creative shots inside the foul lines in addition to action shots.

I was thrilled to oblige. Just being at the game was incredible, these men are big and amazingly talented. And having a field pass to make Home Run Derby photography anywhere I wanted was an AWESOME experience.

Throngs of eager fans looked for autographs from the 2021 MLB All-Stars at Coors Field In Denver Colorado.
Home Run Derby photography through safety nets during warm-ups.
Trey Mancini
Trevor Story
Joey Gallo
After shooting through the nets for a while, I thought I’d try using a wide angle lens with AF and just reach my arm around the outside of the net. I wasn’t sure at first if shooting around the net was allowed but no one told me I couldn’t. Pretty soon all the photographers and videographers were doing it too.
Matt Olson
It was a joy to see and photograph other All-Stars enjoying the HRD with their families.
Photographers aim to get the ball coming off the bat. In my shots of Shohei Ohtani from the Angels, I have two almost identical images with of the ball right off the tip of the bat.
Shohei Ohtani Angels
Everyone was excited to be there and record their experience. Early in the day, I saw several FBI agents clearly marked as such loaded with weapons. I wanted so badly to document them in photographs but I was on my way to meet with the MLB editors. I wish now that I had taken a few moments and made a few images.
Home Run Derby photography of one of the two high school All-Stars. These boys are big too and undoubtedly headed for the majors.
ESPN crews were everywhere. It was often tough to get the shots I saw but I didn’t want to get in the way of the ESPN videographers.
Pete Alonso seemed to enjoy looking at my lens as he prepared for the final round with Trey Mancini
I couldn’t get as many shots of Trey Mancini as I wanted because he was on the opposite site of the batter’s box. I could only switch sides during TV timeouts.
Alonso had his mojo in full throttle, winning the HRD at Coors in Denver.
Pet Alonso hits homer at Coors in Home Run Derby photography.
This is the swing that won the Derby for Pete Alonso. Smiling faces in the background tell the story.
Quiet reflection of success.

Overall, I think my Home Run Derby photography is good. Some of the shots aren’t as perfect as I wish them to be but there are some real keepers in the bunch. Video is wonderful and has become much the preferred way to tell a story. Still imagery though, has a certain Je ne sais quoi for me. It freezes a single moment to be held in eternity.

Part of my job was to shoot logos around the stadium for T Mobile. So a lot of those shots are not in my selections.

I reminisce about the old film days and marvel at professional photographers of the past. Even with modern digital gear, I struggled to stop the action of a ball coming off a bat. I was shooting at 10,000 ISO at 2500’s of a second and still see blur in the ball. In the old days, we had 400 speed film that we “pushed” to 1600 or even 3200. But that’s 3 stops less than what I was shooting and a whole lot grainier.

In retrospect, it might have been worth the effort for me to have rented a faster telephoto. My ‘big’ lens was adequate at 400mm, but not that fast at f5.6.

Being a professional photographer means you rarely get a second chance. Once a moment is past it doesn’t repeat. If the work is good enough, new opportunities arise. And that’s what we live for. Will denver ever host The All-Star game at Coors Field again? I hope so. And I hope MLB calls again.

To see some of my Kids and Sports photography:

Check out my main website. DeCroce Photography It’s pretty big and takes some time to browse it all.

To read about Home Run Derby photography on MLB

See a story about my favorite baseball player:

You can see my shots on T Mobile Twitter:

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