— Jenny Neill

My Turn as Sports Photographer

My first camera, one I still occasionally take out to shoot with, is the Pentax Spotmatic my father gave me many years ago. He invested in this model with the then brand-new, through-the-lens exposure metering to cover sports events when he was a college student. Dad taught me how to manage the manual adjustments of that old 35 millimeter SLR while taking cues from the needle of the TTL light meter.

Seattle Sounders fans in rival territory

Seattle Sounders fans in rival territory

Fast-forward about twenty-five years and I found myself on the pitch at Jeld Wen Field, a credentialed photographer at one of the most intense matches of the 2012 Major League Soccer season.

That afternoon resulted in a number of firsts:

  • The Seattle Sounders FC were losing to the Portland Timbers, and the eventual win would be Portland’s first against their biggest rivals since the Sounders joined the MLS.
  • I was shooting the event using a borrowed Nikon D50 with a 28 to 80 millimeter lens, my first time shooting with a digital SLR.
  • It was my first sports photography assignment and the first time I attended a match in Portland.
  • And, now, a photo I took of Sunday White led to my first credit on the Huffington Post. Steve Clare, editor of Prost Amerika and president of the North America Soccer Reporters, selected it to run with an opinion piece reflecting on homophobia and gay rights among soccer players and fans.
Sunday White waving her support of the Timbers above her rainbow flag

Sunday White waving her support of the Timbers above her rainbow flag

Those lessons Dad gave me on light metering, on how to adjust shutter speed and light exposure, served me well.

More photos from that June 24, 2012 match

Troy Perkins lept to Timbers defense

Troy Perkins lept to Timbers defense

Colorful fan cheering

Colorful fan cheering

David Horst and Eddie Johnson battle for control

David Horst and Eddie Johnson battle for control

Patrick Ianni and Futty in the air

Patrick Ianni and Futty in the air

Fredy Montero walks off after being red carded

Fredy Montero walks off after being red carded

Thanks to Mike Russell for post-production and photo editing support.

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