The Best of 2020 in Photos
Entering each new season, we look forward to growing our coverage of the team both on and off the field. Our hope is always to connect fans more with the players through action shots and behind-the-scenes images of quiet moments not spent on the field.
It was not long into Spring Training that we knew 2020 was going to be unlike any other season in Major League Baseball history. Like the rest of the world, we had to change how we executed our jobs in the face of a pandemic, while still making sure to tell the story of 2020 -- all while following strict safety protocols and having completely different access than previous seasons.
Major League Photo Day is a photographer’s one-time opportunity each year to have every player, coach, and staff member available to be photographed on the same day.
Photo Day took place before the COVID-19 shutdown. This year, our goal was to make this a unique experience to get shots like no Photo Day before. We set out to build a set that would allow us to have multiple looks for photos that could be used throughout the entire season, while being efficient with everyone’s time.
To salute frontline COVID-19 responders as part of the America Strong Tour and Health Care Heroes Day, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds held joint air shows across the country. In shooting any flyover, you have to plan out locations based off the released flight routes. You have to be ready, as there are only a few seconds to capture the moment.
The MLB First-Year Player Draft is a big moment for both the team and the player being drafted. This year, due to health and safety protocols, we were unable to use the ballpark as a backdrop for players signing their first professional contract. These moments are two-fold; we want to capture the moment for historical purposes but also for the player and their families. Signing their first contract is the culmination of their hard work and their family’s help along their journey. We had to get creative in 2020. We used the Warehouse as a background for photos, working as quickly as possible on a public street so the news wouldn’t break before we announced we had signed the players.
When Trey Mancini announced he had cancer and would miss the 2020 season, the entire organization rallied around him. On Opening Day, the team showed their support by hanging a “F16HT” sign on the steps leading to the dugout. Due to our access restrictions, photographers could not be on the field, but we knew we had to capture players walking by and interacting with the sign. Our only option was to set up a remote-controlled camera so we could trigger the camera from a safe distance.
A bright spot in 2020 was when broadcaster Melanie Newman made her MASN debut and her play-by-play debut for the Orioles Radio Network. She became the first woman in team history to call a game and only the fourth woman to do so across the Major Leagues. We again needed to capture these moments for team history, but more importantly for Melanie.
Another goal was to document the team and the stadium to really showcase how different this year would be for everyone. Players were wearing masks everywhere and sitting in the stands to allow for proper social distancing, and the stadium was completely empty. When we reflect on these photos in the future, we want to understand all of the things that made 2020 so unique.
The Warehouse is a historic part of Oriole Park at Camden Yards. LED lighting was added this year, which gave the team a new way to show support for various causes and organizations throughout the year.
Our approach to the team photo this year was to make sure we followed all of the health and safety protocols while also trying to keep the traditional look of the team photo. We were given special permission to have field access for the team photo, which required extra COVID testing in weeks leading up to the photo and ample pre-planning for spacing.
We continued to experiment with the remote camera to try and capture the same angles we typically would have in a normal baseball season. This led to a lot of misses, as you have to preset every single setting on the camera including the focus and hope something happens and the camera fires.