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Tampabay.com - Reporting with a camera

All-Eyes Photo Gallery: Photographing the St. Anthony’s Triathlon

Becky Howarth prepares for the start of the annual St. Anthony's Triathlon in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Sunday, April 30, 2017. She competed in the Olympic race.

LOREN ELLIOTT | Times

Becky Howarth prepares for the start of the annual St. Anthony's Triathlon in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Sunday, April 30, 2017. She competed in the Olympic race.

Beautiful light and great action make for a sports photographer’s dream. That’s what I reminded myself when my alarm went off at 4:45 a.m. on Sunday morning. Exactly two hours later, I was knee-deep in Tampa Bay, looking back at Spa Beach and the first wave of triathletes waiting to splash past me. As the rising sun dipped in and out of cloud cover, the light changed from flat and gray to golden.

While sports photography often means shooting with a long lens like a 400mm, because photographers aren’t permitted close to the action, my favorite pictures are the ones shot up close to the athletes with a wider angle. When access permits, shooting action from up close with a wider lens gives the viewer the feeling they’re right there in the thick of it. The wider perspective also allows for more background context. Wading as close to the swimmers’ path as I could reasonably be without getting in the way, I crouched in the water and waited.

The rest of the day was a blur of sprinting in swim shorts and sandals through the shallows of the Tampa, along the cycling and running legs, and finally to the finish line. My day ended photographing the very last finisher of the triathlon making her way under the arch approximately six hours after the first competitors jumped into the bay. Triathlons are a rare opportunity in sports photography to shoot three different sports, with athletes ranging from novice to professional, all in one day. I hope to be back next year.

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All-eyes photo gallery: Meek and Mighty Triathlon

Hudson McCain, 9, left, and Karrington Hansen, 9, both of St. Petersburg, tuck in their hair before entering the pool to swim 100 yards in the St. Anthony's Meek and Mighty Triathlon Saturday, April 29, 2017.

LARA CERRI | Times

Hudson McCain, 9, left, and Karrington Hansen, 9, both of St. Petersburg, tuck in their hair before entering the pool to swim 100 yards in the St. Anthony's Meek and Mighty Triathlon Saturday, April 29, 2017.

View a gallery of images from Saturday, April 29, 2017 of young athletes competing in the Meek and Mighty Triathlon. Children ranging in ages from 7-11 and some older competed in a swim of 100-200 yards, biked 3.6-5.4 miles and a run from half a mile to a mile.

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Gilly the Grouper goes over the edge for Big Brothers Big Sisters fundraiser (w/video)

Jay Cabral, a graphic designer for Frenchy's, descended 19 stories from Priatek Plaza dressed as "Gilly the Grouper" in downtown St. Petersburg Friday, April 28. T

LARA CERRI | Times

Jay Cabral, a graphic designer for Frenchy's, descended 19 stories from Priatek Plaza dressed as "Gilly the Grouper" in downtown St. Petersburg Friday, April 28. T

Jay Cabral, a graphic designer for Frenchy's, descended 19 stories from Priatek Plaza dressed as "Gilly the Grouper" in downtown St. Petersburg Friday, April 28.

The stunt was part of a preview to Saturday's annual Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay fundraiser, where two St. Petersburg city council members, a St. Pete policeman, and the Lightning and Rowdies mascots are among the participants in this year’s VIP Over The Edge fundraising event for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay.

Saturday's main event will include "Sweet Alice" Young, 76, who founded the Big Sisters program in Pinellas County in 1968.

"I feel like it's a worthy cause, and I'm not afraid to do it," said Alice, who has recruited three of her friends to join her for the unique experience. Alice, who plans to wear a Super Girl costume, says she is not afraid of heights. At least 50 others will join in the rappelling Saturday.

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All Eyes photo gallery: Police agencies combine forces for Special Olympics torch run

Paul B. Stephens ESE Center student Nick Dimeo leads the group of law enforcement officers to the finish line at his school Wednesday afternoon 4/26/17 in the Annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics. The schools students lined the bus circle to cheer as the runners arrived. Dimeo was given the torch to carry in the schools parking lot.

JIM DAMASKE | Times

Paul B. Stephens ESE Center student Nick Dimeo leads the group of law enforcement officers to the finish line at his school Wednesday afternoon 4/26/17 in the Annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics. The schools students lined the bus circle to cheer as the runners arrived. Dimeo was given the torch to carry in the schools parking lot.

Law enforcement agencies from all over Pinellas County participated In the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Wednesday, April 26th. They ran the Torch for Special Olympics to bring attention to the many sports programs available to the intellectually disabled. The run started at the St. Petersburg Police Department at 8:15 am and ended at Paul B. Stephens ESE Center in Clearwater at 1:30. The Torch Run is an annual event that has been held in Pinellas County for over 25 years. Officers from different agencies ran different legs of the relay style 21.6 mile event that passed by several schools with Special Ed students.

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Following All-American Kevin Knox

Tampa Catholic star Kevin Knox walks to the Ronald McDonald House with fellow All-American players in Chicago, Ill., on Monday, March 27, 2017. The players toured the facility and played with sick children there.

Loren Elliott | Times

Tampa Catholic star Kevin Knox walks to the Ronald McDonald House with fellow All-American players in Chicago, Ill., on Monday, March 27, 2017. The players toured the facility and played with sick children there.

Kevin Knox, a student at Tampa Catholic High School, is considered one of the top basketball recruits in the nation. His versatile skill set earned him a spot on the McDonald's All-American team. I had the chance to follow Knox during All-American week in Chicago, photographing practices, community events, a dunk contest and the big game itself.

The Chicago trip was part of a larger profile on Knox, for which I also attended local events around Tampa and spent time at the Knox home. Photographing an athlete away from the court or field is a challenge I'm always up for. While I love shooting sports action, getting behind the scenes and shadowing an athlete like Knox for an extended period of time allows for a more holistic visual understanding of the subject. An image of Knox on the court in Chicago competing with the best high school players in the country only speaks to part of his life. Seeing him at home, relaxing with family, is also integral to the young man he is.

This gallery provides an overview of my time working on our Kevin Knox profile, including images not seen in the story.

Twitter: @LelliottPhoto Instagram: @LorenElliottPhoto

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St. Petersburg Recreation gets it kicks

Base runner Ripley Brown, 9, of St. Petersburg, a kickball player for J.W. Cate Recreation Center, right, gets back to third base as third baseman Donnie Summers, 9, St. Petersburg of Campbell Park Recreation Center, awaits the throw, left, Friday, 4/14/17 at Woodlawn Park. 130 children, ages 6-11 representing 10 City of St. Petersburg recreation centers participate in the St. Petersburg Parks and Recreation Department kickball games each Friday. The season concludes with playoff gamers in May. J.W. Cate defeated Campbell Park 7-2.

SCOTT KEELER | Times

Base runner Ripley Brown, 9, of St. Petersburg, a kickball player for J.W. Cate Recreation Center, right, gets back to third base as third baseman Donnie Summers, 9, St. Petersburg of Campbell Park Recreation Center, awaits the throw, left, Friday, 4/14/17 at Woodlawn Park. 130 children, ages 6-11 representing 10 City of St. Petersburg recreation centers participate in the St. Petersburg Parks and Recreation Department kickball games each Friday. The season concludes with playoff gamers in May. J.W. Cate defeated Campbell Park 7-2.

130 children, ages 6-11, representing 10 city recreation centers, are currently participating in the City of St. Petersburg Parks and Recreation Kickball League at Woodlawn Park, St. Petersburg each Friday. The season began with games in March and runs through May when it concludes with a playoff series.

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Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation takes senior veterans on biplane tours of Clearwater Beach

From left: Darryl Fisher, President of Mission Senior Living and Founder/President/pilot of Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation, Philip Brandies, US Airforce veteran and resident of Arbor Terrace in Citrus Park, and Stephanique Gilbert, staff member with Arbor Terrace, visit moments after Fisher and Brandies landed after a 20-minute flight in Fisher's vintage 1940 Boing Stearman 220 horse-powered training biplane at Clearwater Air Park on Tuesday (4/11/17). Fisher flew Brandies out to Clearwater Beach and back courtesy of the Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation, a non-profit organization established and dedicated to honoring seniors and United States military veterans. The primary focus is on individuals living in long-term care communities, providing the plane rides to “give back to those who have given," according to Fischer.

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times

From left: Darryl Fisher, President of Mission Senior Living and Founder/President/pilot of Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation, Philip Brandies, US Airforce veteran and resident of Arbor Terrace in Citrus Park, and Stephanique Gilbert, staff member with Arbor Terrace, visit moments after Fisher and Brandies landed after a 20-minute flight in Fisher's vintage 1940 Boing Stearman 220 horse-powered training biplane at Clearwater Air Park on Tuesday (4/11/17). Fisher flew Brandies out to Clearwater Beach and back courtesy of the Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation, a non-profit organization established and dedicated to honoring seniors and United States military veterans. The primary focus is on individuals living in long-term care communities, providing the plane rides to “give back to those who have given," according to Fischer.

Darryl Fisher, president of Mission Senior Living and the founder and president of Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation, takes residents (and military veterans) of the Arbor Terrace assisted living facility in Citrus Park on 20-minute flights over Clearwater Beach on Tuesday in Fisher's vintage 1940 Boing Stearman 220 horse-powered training biplane. The non-profit foundation was established and dedicated to honor seniors and United States military veterans. The primary focus is on individuals living in long-term care communities, providing the plane rides to “give back to those who have given," according to Fisher.

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Behind the scenes with Times photographer Will Vragovic at Rays media day(w/video)

Staff photographer Will Vragovic captured these GIFs while photographing Rays media day early on in spring training. To see them live, visit tampabay.com. Evan Longoria

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Staff photographer Will Vragovic captured these GIFs while photographing Rays media day early on in spring training. To see them live, visit tampabay.com. Evan Longoria

Most professional (and some college) sports teams host a media day each year. It's an opportunity to have new faces and veterans run through a gauntlet of quick tv interviews, radio hits, and photo sessions to kick off a new season.

Last fall, I saw the gifs that former Dallas Morning News photographer Gerry McCarthy did at Mavericks photo day and knew it was something I wanted to try. I did some research, and Gerry was kind enough to spend some time on the phone with me explaining his process, and some technical pitfalls to avoid.

(VIEW WILL VRAGOVIC'S GALLERY OF ANIMATED RAYS GIFS) …

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Photos: Tiny houses we saw at the Tiny Home Festival in St. Petersburg

The Tiny Home Festival was held Saturday in St. Petersburg.

Charlie Kaijo | Times

The Tiny Home Festival was held Saturday in St. Petersburg.

The Tiny Home Festival held at the St. Petersburg Eco Village drew a large, sell-out crowd on Saturday, as people showed up to tour several "tiny homes," which are houses under 500 square feet. Tiny home enthusiasts are part of a movement toward smaller, less expensive and more energy efficient homes. 

If you weren't able to get tickets, here's a look at what you missed.

Charlie Kaijo | Times

Attendees wait in line to see the inside of a "tiny home" at the Tiny Home Festival hosted by the St. Pete Eco-Village in St. Petersburg.

 

Samantha Putterman | Times

A graduate of USF Tampa's architecture program, Stephanie Henschen spent 10 months building the home for her thesis project.

 

Samantha Putterman | Times

Stephanie Henschen's tiny home takes up a total of 210 square feet including the loft where she sleeps.

 

Samantha Putterman | Times

A graduate of USF Tampa's architecture program, Stephanie Henschen spent 10 months building the home for her thesis project.

RELATED: USF grad has big plans for her tiny home

Charlie Kaijo | Times

People wait in line to see the inside of a converted school bus that doubles as a home for travelers at the Tiny Home Festival

 

Charlie Kaijo | Times …

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