Looking Back

August 19, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

I am approaching my senior year of college, and decided to look back at some of my favorite images from my college career. I don't have an exact number of photos I have taken through my college career, but I'd estimate it to be over 100,000. Less than 1% of the photos I take will make the cut to be published/delivered to clients, and I've narrowed these down to 13 memorable images to share. Many people may disagree on my selection, or think that I have stronger photos that could replace some of these, but these images all have importance to me for either their quality or the story behind them. Hope you enjoy them.



Mount Rainier:

I probably get the most compliments/comments on this photo compared to any others. It has over 20,000 unique views between the places I've posted it, made the front page of reddit twice and the front page of 500px. It was the first photo I ever had requests to get printed, and by far the photo that has gotten the most press.

Mt. RainierMt. RainierThe Milky Way rises over Mount Rainier. Shot from the Sunrise area of the national park. (Ryan Sullivan) 2014 NCAA Tournament:

I was lucky enough to photograph Gonzaga in the 2014 NCAA tournament, where unfortunately they would lose to a very good Arizona team in only the third round. This photo came towards the end of the game, a play where Gabe York was fouled by Stockton on a lay-up and turned it into a 3-point play. This is one of those photos that tells the story of the game.

Gabe York (right) celebrates finishing a play and scoring while getting fouled as Gonzaga's David Stockton looks to the referee in disbelief. Arizona won 84-61 in the third round of the NCAA tournament at the Viejas Arena in San Diego. (Ryan Sullivan/Gonzaga Student Publications) Sasquatch 2014:

I never thought becoming a student photographer at Gonzaga would lend me the opportunity to photograph an NCAA tournament, or the Sasquatch Music Festival. It was a crazy weekend running around trying to photograph all the artists I wanted to see between 5 stages or so. This photo was one of my favorites from the weekend. It isn't Outkast or Phantogram or Tyler the Creator, but I think it is one of my strongest photos from the weekend. I pushed my way through a crowd at the smallest stage that had no photo pit to really provide a crowd member's perspective of the concert.

Raz Simone performs at the 2014 Sasquatch Music Festival. (Ryan Sullivan/Gonzaga Student Publications) Remote Cameras:

At the start of my junior year (Sept 2014) I decided to start trying out remote cameras. I felt that it was the next step to elevate my work beyond where it was by providing some new perspectives and angles. This was the first game I ever set up a remote, and I was lucky enough to get a penalty kick shot right at my corner of the net (I didn't get one goal photo for the rest of the season, though).

I am still in disbelief that this photo won me the National Award for Sports Photography from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Trinity Western's Andrew Hicks misses a save on a penalty kick scored by Gonzaga University's Zach Hamer at Luger Field in Spokane, WA. (Ryan Sullivan) Ball Compression:

Almost every sport has a signature "moment" you want to capture at some point. For baseball it is the ball on bat photo, and for soccer (for me at least) it was the header photo where the ball shows compression. This past year I noticed the timing of my photographs to really improve to capture the peak moments in sports and in day to day assignments I had - this photo is representative of that. Tent City:

Gonzaga has a somewhat chaotic process in order to get the best seats close to the court for important men's basketball games. It involves waiting for hours in line for tickets, running around campus to earn your tenting spot, and then camping overnight (sometimes two nights). This was the scene as students fought for a spot in line to earn their tenting number. The tenting number signifies the order students get into the arena; the first students to arrive at the location get tent #1, and are let in to the arena first.

After running alongside all of the students I arrived to the location and made this photo. I love how chaotic it is and how (for once) no one is looking up at my camera. The student on her phone was what made the photo for me. This is one of those photos that I initially didn't take any special notice to but my editor did.

Molly Bocca (center) tries calling her tent-running team while waiting to secure a tent number for a Gonzaga men's basketball game. (Ryan Sullivan) The Low-Five:

Sometimes you get some funny looking photos. Mark Few started to argue with the referee after he called a blocking foul on one of the Gonzaga players. The ref then proceeded to show that the player swung his arms down and didn't hold them straight up - creating this moment. From my perspective on the other side of the court, using a long lens, it looked like they were about to low-five. Mark Few, head coach of the Gonzaga Bulldogs, argues a foul call with the referee in the first half of play against Southeastern Louisiana at the McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane, WA, Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014. (Ryan Sullivan/Gonzaga University) An Iconic Photo Recreated:

At the 2015 NCAA tournament I had the capability to place a remote camera on the sideline, something that isn't possible in our home gym because of its design. I immediately knew the photo I wanted to create and the player I needed. In 1999 Gonzaga made their first Elite 8 run in the tournament, and Sports Illustrated photographer Robert Beck made a photo of Richie Frahm shooting a baseline 3-pointer in their game against Stanford. 16 years later, Gonzaga makes their second Elite 8 run and I capture this photo of Kevin Pangos. I was psyched to have a similar photo in nearly the same circumstance 16 years later. 

Final Score: 74-62, GonzagaFinal Score: 74-62, GonzagaGonzaga’s Kevin Pangos(4) shoots a three-pointer over UCLA’s Isaac Hamilton(10) during Sweet Sixteen play of the NCAA Tournament at the NRG Arena in Houston, TX, Friday, March 27, 2015. (Ryan Sullivan/Gonzaga Student Publications)

Gonzaga vs. Duke:

I have been a college basketball fan for a long time now - growing up basketball was my favorite sport and I stuck with it the longest. Gonzaga became my favorite team sometime around 5th grade - with players like Morrison, Pargo, Raivio, Batista, and Heytvelt, to name a few. Being a college basketball fan I obviously came to know who Duke was, and Coach K. I never dreamed I'd see a Gonzaga-Duke matchup, let alone be photographing it for an Elite 8 game in the NCAA tournament. It was a surreal experience, and this was one of my favorite photos from the tournament.

Final Score: 66-52, DukeFinal Score: 66-52, DukeDuke’s Amile Jefferson(21), Gonzaga’s Kyle Wiltjer(33), Duke’s Marshall Plumlee(40) and Gonzaga’s Domantas Sabonis(11) try to track down a rebound in the south regional final of the NCAA Tournament at the NRG Stadium in Houston, TX, Sunday, March 29, 2015. (Ryan Sullivan/Gonzaga Student Publications) More Sports:

Sports have become my favorite thing to photograph, if it wasn't obvious from the images I've chosen so far. Collegiate sports are incredibly fun to photograph because the players show so much emotion. I made this photo after a Gonzaga tennis match. The opposing San Diego player felt a call was blown by the ref about halfway through the match, and complained about it off and on until the very end. After losing the match he proceeded to complain to the referee and blame him for his loss - his teammates rushed to quiet and console him.
San Diego's Filip Vittek is consoled and quieted by teammates as he continues to complain to the referee for one call after his singles match loss to Gonzaga's Nick Kamisar at the Stevens Center in Spokane, WA, Saturday, April 11, 2015. (Ryan Sullivan) Right Place - Right Time:

Sometimes you get lucky. I was the only photographer on this section of the course of Spokane's Bloomsday Run. To start off the race wheelchair racers go first. This man crashed right in front of me. I rushed over with the medic team to see if he was okay (and to photograph him more). Luckily he was alright, just bruised - and he was in good spirits while the medical team worked with him.

Adam Finney crashes in the early stages of the Bloomsday run in Spokane, WA, Sunday, May 3, 2015. (Ryan Sullivan/Pacific Northwest Inlander) Adam Finney is treated by a medical staff shortly after crashing in the early stages of the Bloomsday Run in Spokane, WA, Sunday, May 3, 2015. (Ryan Sullivan/Pacific Northwest Inlander) More perspectives:

To finish these photos I thought I'd share a non-sports/landscape photo with everyone. I shoot a lot of events at Gonzaga as well, one of which was Graduation. This was my favorite shot from my set - I went up in the catwalks of the Spokane Arena to shoot straight down on the Graduates. I think it is a good example of how I am trying to push new angles and perspectives in my work outside of just sports.
Gonzaga Commencement 2015Gonzaga Commencement 2015at the Spokane Arena in Spokane, WA, Sunday, May 10, 2015. (Ryan Sullivan/Gonzaga University)


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