From the Field to the Studio: Sports Give Senior a Love of Photography

Guest Writer Nate Goodwin-Kelly

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Senior James Rinehart goes into his windup in a game for the Kalamazoo Maroons. When not on the mound, Rinehart was a sports photographer for the Loy Norrix Yearbook.

Twenty years from now you’re visiting your mom. You reach behind a dusty corner and find a box filled with old books. Intrigued, you dig into the box and find your senior yearbook. You flip through and nostalgia sets in as you’re taken back to your glory days. The photos of your football team suffering another heart-wrenching defeat on the gridiron, the basketball team battling their biggest rival, another district title for women’s soccer. Athletic triumphs that you were directly involved in or that you remember watching from the sidelines. All of these events have something in common; on the sidelines at every event there’s a student with a camera, taking it all in.
Sports photographers work as either free-lancers or working for a photography unit. They travel all around the nation attending sports events, trying to get shots for possible newspapers or a photo for an agency. Sports photography is not a lucrative career, the average salary ranges from about ten to twenty thousand dollars a year. Some of the benefits, though, are travel opportunities and working hours.
The Loy Norrix yearbook has an entire section dedicated to sports. The yearbook staff is broken up into multiple groups of students who photograph different clubs and teams. Sports photography is covered by a couple different students. One of those student photographers is senior James Rinehart, who hasn’t been in yearbook very long, his senior year has been his first year on the job.
“I’ve always gravitated towards sports, from a young age it’s something I’ve had a real interest in,” said Rinehart, as his Kalamazoo Maroons baseball hat and Dansby Swanson baseball jersey illustrate a long-time interest in baseball. “I love sports and photographing them is a bonus.”  
James’s interest in sports led to him pursuing an active role in the school yearbook. There are many perks that come with being a sports photographer such as getting into the games for free and being able to use yearbook’s high quality cameras.
Among other things, sports photographers take photos of the team and take action shots. While it may sound easy, Rinehart assures that yearbook is not as simple as just leisurely taking photos over the course of the year.
“We’re really pressed for production,” said Rinehart. “The deadlines are strict and often we have to scramble to get the photos for the deadlines.”
The yearbook team works hard throughout the year, producing anywhere from 18 to 23 pages per deadline. The sports photographers take pictures throughout the year from the fall sports to the end of the spring season. Despite playing baseball in the spring, Rinehart works to get in his photos.
While Rinehart has no particular interest in photography as a long term career, he admits it was gratifying when the yearbook was published.
“It’s great to see people viewing your work, especially after putting in so much time throughout the year,” said Rinehart, “I don’t think I’ll continue with photography after this year, but this year has been fun.”