Kelsey McHugh » You Can Sleep When You're Dead: Blog by Colleen Miniuk

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May 092014

Photo copyright Kelsey McHugh

As an Exercise Science major, I can be very stressed and overwhelmed at times. During the middle of my 2014 spring semester, I needed a break from school and my Dad needed a break from the heat.  My Dad planned on coming up on a Saturday to spend the day with me. He receives emails from NAU saying what is going on and saw that there was a lacrosse game the day he planned to visit. Around the same time my Dad was coming up I had an assignment to write a “How to Article.” Even though I had no experience with lacrosse, I decided to write about it for my article. My senior year of high school I developed a passion for sports photography and thought the lacrosse game would be a great photo opportunity.

I have never played or watched lacrosse before so I was not sure what I was getting myself into. My Dad and I got there at the tail end of their warm-up and started setting up the camera. I started out with my Nikkor 70-300mm lens because I was not sure where the action would be and I wanted to give myself some flexibility with what I could photograph. Since my Dad is also passionate about photography, he rented a Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 lens for me from Tempe Camera. I had never really used a fixed lens before so I was a little intimidated when I first used it. After snapping a couple of shots, I wished I had started with that lens.

The fixed lens allowed me to open up my aperture to f/2.8, decrease my ISO to 200, and overall produce sharper images. Originally I was worried the lens was going to bring me in too close to the subject and I would have no room to work with when photographing. It turns out; some of my favorite images from the day were the close up action shots. You can see the intensity in their eyes, sweat dripping from their face, and capture the passion of the players.

This is why I chose this image. It captured everything I want in an action shot. You have the main player in focus with the opponent breathing down his neck slightly blurred. This draws your eye immediately to the NAU player. Another aspect I love about this photo is that you can clearly see the ball in the players lacrosse stick. After photographing this image, it reminded me why I love photographing sports. It is exciting and a challenge; shooting hundreds of frames to finally capture that perfect moment.

I capture this photo with my Nikon D300S, a Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 lens at 1/1250, f/5.6 and an ISO of 200.

About the Photographer:
My name is Kelsey McHugh and I am an Exercise Science major with a photo minor. My love of photography began with my father and has carried on throughout the years. Throughout my photography career I have gone from landscape to sports action shots. I continue to challenge myself to try new techniques and practice till it is perfected. Continually I am inspired by my surroundings and look for photo opportunities to arise. I strive for capturing the defining moment where the light is just right and all aspects of a composition come together.

To read more about the Northern Arizona University “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” project on our blog, please read the introduction at