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Category Archives: Orlando Magic
After the past year of will he stay or will he go, Dwight Howard has officially left the building….while most are glad to see him leave, I am not.
Dwight brought credibility to the “City Beautiful”, and with his loss, the entire city is back to being tagged as a non sports town. Sure we have the Orlando City soccer team (minor league), and the Solar Bears Ice Hockey team starting up, but what else is there? The Predators indoor football…..puhleeze….? (You can surely hear my bellowing as I laugh so hard I almost pass out)…
Sure, a lot of prominent athletes come from here, but the tiny city of Clermont has more pro athletes training there (NTC) than in all of Orange county now.
I am not afraid to say that the same owner that built up the Magic has on the surface, successfully torn it apart. Sure, you own the team and can do as you wish, but for the love of God, think about others and how they have supported you and backed you for so long…….selfishness is an ugly beast….and you will see when you realize that the ticket sales are slipping and that new arena you built is only going to survive on concerts that tour the area.
To let Dwight go is like giving up on the dream you have been holding onto of for so long….this was handled in as bad a way as could have been handled…….the MAGIC did not try……if I worked for you I would quit as well….hell, I couldn’t leave soon enough, no matter how much green was thrown my way….
I first realized there was an issue when I was invited by Dwights team to go and tour Haiti after the enormous earthquake that rocked that poor island. The entire trip was to be taken by myself, Dwight, Shiyana, Adonal Foyle, Rodney the bodyguard and Kevin, Dwights manager…. This trip was NOT supported in any way by the NBA or the Magic themselves…in fact, I believe that they were actually against it…..this may not be true, but my gut tells me so, and I believe myself over ANYONE else!
Regardless, Dwight went to Haiti and witnessed the devastation first hand, even into Cite Solei, one of the 5 most dangerous places in the world…and what did he do you ask….well, he smiled and hugged every kid and played ball for 3 hours at a time…on top of donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to the school for salaries, backpacks, food and shelter….. but you never even heard a peep about this trip did you? Nope, nobody knew…….guess what, when we tried to leave the island, American Airlines cancelled our flight, so we spent the entire night in the airport, with the rats….Dwight bought thousands of dollars worth of food for everyone that was stuck, the volunteers and mission workers included, and he even signed autographs and posed for photos…all evening….
Its the little things that go unnoticed or unreported that makes a man who he is…and Dwight has far surpassed these measures………..dont think the city and the little ones that he has helped support all these years won’t miss him……..I just hope the Magic will fill the gaps that these large footprints have left….?
Good luck Dwight, you held on as long as you could here, and nobody blames you for going to L.A……at least they shouldn’t if they one day think honestly about the situation..
I’m proud to know you!
It annoys me when I show up for a shoot and one critical piece of gear is missing or broken….well, it happened to me this past Monday. The Orlando Magic were holding their annual “Media Day” event and the only story in town was that Superstar Dwight Howard had requested a trade from the team! Every sports station, radio, tv , newspaper and magazine was there to see what he had to say. Me, I just needed archive images for Orlando Sports Magazine, if Dwight was actually on his way out of town. (Thanks to Melanie and Joel once again for the access).
So the first thing I did was find my spot on the gym floor to set up, making sure that there was power and plenty of room for those that did not bring their portable lights. Most folks there will hover around the tv guys with their on-board lights and snap stills over their shoulder, unbeknowst to the videographers. Well, as tradition, they have a tendancy to hover around me until the player poses and then multiple flashbulbs blind the athlete until he can no longer see, paparazzi to the fullest…
Anyways, I opened and set my backdrop, set stands and lights and found the necessary power supplies….formatted cards, set camera to Raw/Jpeg and then went to grab the sync cord……..um,….the sync cord. Dang, “Now where did I put that?”….I always carry 2 cords just in case one fails…….hmmm………oh yeah, I was checking lights with my 8 year old a few days back, and we decided to put them back into the Pelican case, not the ThinkTank bag…NOT GOOD! I had the ThinkTank with me now..
Pocket Wizard time, but I only carry one set of these as I hardly ever use them….time to make my own magic…..I was able to put the transmitter on the camera and the only other receiver on my main light….I would just have to let the first light trigger the second light…..with absolutely no back light now……bummed to say the least!!!
The original plan was to set two lights at 90 degrees (aiming directly into the subjects ears) and then front light them with a ring flash much as I did last year. But now that my hotshoe was being used by the PocketWizard, that option was off the table….
My lack of properly preparing my gear came back to bite me in the butt…..
Regardless, you can only do what you can do so I simply pressed on. All of the players themselves were in a good mood it seemed, but the atmosphere was beginning to get tense an hour in, Dwight had not been seen or heard from by anyone.
Then suddenly, like someone had yelled “Fire”, everyone moved to the center of the gym and surrounded the basketball logo on the floor. It looked like a giant donut, 5 people deep, with cameras, lights and mic boom poles everywhere. Dwight entered the gym much like Muhammed Ali would have back in the 70’s, and after stopping for a brief moment to talk to a coach, he slowly glided across the floor to the buzzing entourage of English/Spanish/Italian? voices all clamoring to ask him about his future…..
……meanwhile, still photographers Fernando, Gary, John and myself all hung WAAAYYYY back and watched as the madness unfolded….scary and funny at the same time…..It sounded like honeybees surrounding the Queen……….had it been me, I probably would have run away!
Then it ended.
Dwight was gone just as quickly as he had arrived, and after about 30 minutes, the gym had a calm, eerie feeling to it. Of the 150 media members that had been in attendance, about 25 remained, not waiting for one-on ones with anyone else….They came, they conquered…….they bolted.
Three hours later the only ones in the gym were us photographers, CEO Alex Martins, and various communications people from the Magic. Almost all were on the phones speaking, texting or twittering…. then out of nowhere, Dwight came in again… He was ALL smiles, jumpy and very much alive…a few hellos to everyone and then it was GAME TIME!!! When he finally made it over to the last station, (mine), he smiled that pearly white smile, gave me a high five and a hug and we talked about our Haiti adventure together….I had seen him a few times over the summer but not as happy or as loose as today……I grabbed some hilarious frames of him acting like a kid, a happy kid, and then he was on his way, one last interview before heading home…
I packed up as quickly as I could, minus sync cord, and was out the back door.
No matter his choice, I sure hope Dwight decides to finish out his career here in Orlando, he is so much more than “just a baskeball player”! He actually gives back through his various charities and events, even those many of us have never heard about…….
More Images to view here:
(Hey Dwight….I would take the elephant over the pint!)……better choice
Dwight Howard brought his D12Foundation to the Altamonte Springs AMF bowling alley this past weekend. There were plenty of kids there and they had a blast with Dwight and other members of the Orlando Magic family.
The media was out in full force and they did their best to try and ask Dwight about the upcoming NBA lockout, he would have none of that however, stating that he had 2 new jobs in mind if the lockout happened. He would (1) raise chickens and give them steroids for bigger bodies, or he would (2) move to Canada to take up the Olympic sport of curling…….?
Whatever he decides to do will be just fine with me, as long as he keeps his head on straight and continues to help the kids that look up to him!
For more info log onto www.D12Foundation.com
Image published in the lastest Sports Illustrated online photo gallery.
Thanks for looking.
The Orlando Magic had a pretty good night against Blake Griffin and the LA Clippers last night. Dwight was suppose to wear goggles to protect his scratched eyeball but he decided that he couldn’t see through them very well and played on without them.
The new arena is a bit more difficult to shoot in than the old Amway arena. The crowd sits back more from the floor and there are some lighting fixtures that cause massive flares when you are shooting wide. It will take a while to get use to them I suppose.
Anyway, lets hope the Magic can get back on track and make another successful run at the playoffs……off to shoot the UCF Knights Mens basketball team tonite…..putting in my earplugs as I type.
This UCF Knights started their season off right against the visiting team from West Florida, by winning 115-61. Marcus Jordan scored a career high 24 points and the defense hustled and impressed first year coach Donnie Jones.
The cool thing about these first three games is that they are played on the same night as the Orlando Magic games, so there are only about 3 photographers on the court to capture the action.
Lets see how tonights “Blackout” game goes against the visiting USF Bulls, the cross State rival of the Knights.
Okay, so I finally remembered my password to this blog account. Lets see how often I make it back to this page. Anywho….here is a quick pic I shot at the Orlando Magic media day event last week. Dwight Howard and my first day with the new Orbis ringflash. More coming up on this shoot in the near future, as well as some shots from my time in Haiti with the Dwight Howard Fund….
- The Orlando Magic have been on a tear as of late and have been voted by ESPN and TNT and all of the basketball experts as one on the top 3 teams in the NBA today, and possibly set to make it to the Finals this year.
- I have had the unique opportunity and privilege to shoot Dwight Howard for the past few years and have been thoroughly impressed with his skills, I sure hope he will be one of the all-time greats if not the best someday. I plan on covering the Magic for the rest of this year and hopefully follow them into the new Arena that will open next season in Orlando.