With the Rio Olympics underway, I thought I’d share a unique set of images that I had the opportunity to shoot. In 2015, I had a client that I’ve done a lot of portraiture work for ask me to shoot rugby for them because they love the style of my other work. Although for the most part I don’t shoot sports, let alone rugby, I was happy to take on the challenge.

Back in early 2015, I attended both a men’s and women’s rugby scrimmage between Temple and St. Joseph’s in the middle of a winter ice storm. I was cold running around bundled up in layers, a jacket, hat, and gloves, so I can’t imagine how these athletes managed it. The dedication and intensity of the athletes was really impressive.

Rugby for Penn Mutual Life Insurance Annual Report

I followed this up with the 2015 Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championships (CRC), a collegiate rugby sevens tournament held in Philadelphia and broadcasted on NBC.

The power, speed, and agility of these amazing athletes left me in awe. Things move in and out of the frame so quickly and the matches essentially don’t stop, so it’s 14 minutes of non-stop action-awesome.

Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championships

Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championships

Penn State Nittany Lions win 2015 Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championships

Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championships

 

The client was overjoyed with the results from the 2015 tournament and asked to have this year’s 2016 tournament covered as well. The forecast called for rain and thunderstorms, so we had all our lenses and bodies covered in rain protection.

Pro tip: Get cheap rain pants from a local sporting store and cut them up to make great rain covers for your lenses. Alternatively, a sturdy garbage bag works as an even lower cost method and can work just as well. 

For 2016, we managed to get our hands on a few monster lenses in the Nikon 600mm f/4 and 300 f/2.8, and they were vital in helping capture everything. So sharp and fast, thank you Nikon NPS!

Me at the 2016 Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championships with the 600mm f/4 on one body and 300mm f/2.8 on another.

Here’s a handful of images from the 2016 Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championships:

Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championships

Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championships

Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championships

After shooting rugby for these tournaments, I can honestly say I am a huge fan. The camaraderie and sportsmanship among the athletes especially stands out, and I’m loving the return of rugby to the Olympics!