Patrick Lydon joins our on site photography staff, and joins existing photogrpaher, Ken DeBow, of KD photography to bring our photography of SJSU athletics events to a new pinnacle.
Patrick runs a photography company located right here in San Jose, and is a graduate of SJSU.
We sat down with Patrick recently, and we bring to you his thoughts and aspirations.
A big part of the sports photography equation has to do with skill, practice and equipment.
Sometimes though, says Lydon, dumb luck plays a part too.
I often challenge myself by doing seemingly dumb things like standing in the wrong end-zone. But a little bit of research before the game tells me that someone like Dwight Lowery is bound to pull down an interception and all of a sudden the wrong end zone is the right one.
Now I'm the only one for 50 yards or so. Most people would probably say it's just a lot of dumb luck, and I think it is actually, but I've always been the one to stray from the crowd, to do his own thing. Sometimes it helps me catch events from a new perspective.
Surprisingly, Lydon didn't initially come out to SJSU's Spartan Stadium to photograph the games.
He was a member of the university's marching band while a student, both as a player and instructor. Last year he was hired to photograph the band during their performances and in the stands.
His says turning the lens towards the football action was a natural progression, but Lydon maintains that he still holds an equal interest in photographing both organizations.
Whoever you are photographing out there, it's all action, it's all part of documenting the atmosphere, the event. The band at SJSU is great because they almost never do the same show twice. They actually learn a completely new set of drill (formations) and music for each home game. It's pretty rare.
With other WAC bands, it's always the same show every time. Scott Pierson (SJSU band director) likes to keep it interesting game after game, year after year.
Lydon has been going to SJSU home games since he began as a student there in 1999. He relishes in the recent transformation that the football program has undergone and is thoroughly impressed at the energy he sees in the fans, coaches and players.
It shows up in the photos. You can see the difference in energy. Dick Tomey brought new life into the program. The city and school are clearly responding to that.
I remember being here several years ago and there weren't even half this many people attending games. It was terrible. In the past few seasons, the community has started to get back into it; SJSU football games are becoming a great event again.
Lydon also shoots commercial studio photography projects and has recently worked with several leading Silicon Valley technology firms. When it comes to photography, Lydon maintains that the balance between studio and live event work is key.
For me, I can't have just one or the other. I get too frustrated when I'm stuck in the studio too long, I need something fresh. Getting to go out to events like the football games provides a release… and something that challenges you in a different way.
Although his college degree is in Graphic Design, Lydon maintains that the principals are all the same.
It doesn't matter if you're talking about design or photography; anyone who is in a position where they must create an aesthetic composition of any kind, they have to learn the same rules: color, balance, direction and mis-direction, all of those elements.
It all applies to photography just as it does to say, graphic design or painting. The difference with sports and event photography is that you can't control your subject; you're constantly re-composing your shot and trying to keep on top of your game, while the players are trying to keep on top of theirs. It's chaos sometimes, but that's a big part of what makes it exciting.
Lydon's coursework was not all design and theory. He minored in photography and served as the public relations officer for the SJSU Photographers' Guild. The guild organization held two gallery shows during his tenure, one on campus and one at Kaleid, a prominent downtown San Jose gallery space.
The guild also released a book, which of course, Lydon designed: Me designing the book, well, that was admittedly more of a necessity, and by that I mean there was really no one else in the organization who had any experience with this type of thing. So I had to sit down and learn the tools for creating this type of publication, which was good for me. I'd never actually produced a book like this one; all of my professional experience is in writing product manuals for SonicWALL.
There are elements of design in those books, but it's not the same thing, the tools are different, the layouts are different. This was a new thing and it was great to be involved with.
The book, titled Light Leak, includes select photographs from a school-wide competition.
Juried and judged by SJSU faculty, the book showcased work from students of all disciplines at the school. One thousand copies of Light Leak were produced.
The books are currently on sale through the holiday season at Kaleid Gallery in downtown San Jose, CA.
Patrick Lydon is a San Jose, CA based photographer specializing in events and innovative commercial product shots.
He also maintains an extensive photography and technology blog.
For more information about Lydon's services, you can visit him on the web at LydonPhoto.com.com.
Or visit his other web site at SonarMedia.com.
Welcome to the SpartanThunder.com team, Patrick!
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