2015: The Happy Recap

January 10th, 2016  |  Published in Behind the Scenes, Front Page, Noteworthy, Other Sports, Stories & Projects

What a year… starting with this–and no, it’s not my picture but you’ll have to indulge me for a second because it’s just so damned cool:

Getting married to Jessica? That’s far and away the highlight of the year. At Tavern on the Green in my hometown of New York City? Even better. With Robert Earl Keen giving us an unbelievable wedding present: a solo acoustic rendition of “Feelin’ Good Again” for our first dance? Are you kidding me? With our wedding photographer, Chip Litherland, absolutely nailing the photo to preserve the moment for the ages? You get the idea.

It’s tough to top that with anything else, but here’s a sampling of my favorite images (from here on out, ones I took) from 2015. Let’s stick with the marriage theme to start with; Jess and I took off to Hong Kong and Thailand for two weeks in November for our honeymoon. Luckily for me she didn’t mind if I played photojournalist along the way and shot some pictures…

Restaurant car, Thai National Railway train #85 overnight express from Bangkok to Surat Thani. Near Chumphon, Thailand, November 2015. Photograph ©2015 Darren Carroll (Darren Carroll)

Restaurant car, Thai National Railway train #85 overnight express from Bangkok to Surat Thani. Near Chumphon, Thailand, November 2015. (Leica M240, 35mm Summilux)

Chinatown, Bangkok, Thailand. Photograph ©2015 Darren Carroll (Darren S Carroll/Darren Carroll)

Chinatown street scene, Bangkok. November 2015. (Leica M240, 35mm Summilux)

Lin Heung Tea House, Hong Kong, November 2015. Photograph ©2015 Darren carroll (Darren S Carroll)

Dim sum cart waiter, Lin Heung Tea House, Hong Kong, November 2015. (Leica M240, 35mm Summilux)

Chao Phraya river, Bangkok, Thailand, looking south from the Shangri-La hotel. November 2015. Photograph ©2015 Darren Carroll (Darren S Carroll)

Chao Phraya river, Bangkok, Thailand, looking south from the Shangri-La hotel. (Leica M240, 21mm Elmarit)

Hiking, Khao Sok National Park, Thailand.Photograph ©2015 Darren Carroll (Darren Carroll)

Hiking in Khao Sok National Park, Thailand. (Leica M240, 35mm Summilux)

And we soon had an adorable little addition… Shea (yes, baseball fans, as in stadium) joined the family as an 8-week old golden retriever puppy in July. I started taking pictures right away and still can’t stop.

Photograph ©2015 Darren Carroll (Darren Carroll)

Shea, 9 weeks, July 2015. (iPhone 6)

 (Darren Carroll)

Shea. Cedar Creek, TX, October 2015. (iPhone 6)

Portrait work continued for clients old and new… Here are some of my favorites.

Brian Peters, photographed at the Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company in Austin, Texas on February 3, 2015. Photograph © 2015 Darren Carroll. (Darren Carroll)

Brian Peters, owner and brewmaster at the Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company,photographed in Austin Texas for Notre Dame Magazine, March 2015. (Leica M240, 35mm Summilux)

Trevone Boykin, quarterback, TCU Horned Frogs. Photographed in Fort Worth, Texas on July 15, 2015. Photograph ©2015 Darren Carroll (Darren Carroll/ESPN: The Magazine)

Trevone Boykin, TCU quarterback, photographed for ESPN: The Magazine in Fort Worth, Texas, July 2015. (Leica M240, 50mm Summilux).

20 JUNE 2015:  Mike Devlin, photographed in Dallas, Texas. Darren Carroll/NCAA Photos (Darren Carroll/NCAA Photos)

Mike Devlin, photographed for NCAA Champion magazine in Dallas, Texas, June 2015. (Leica M240, Summilux 75mm)

WATN: Tommie Harris portrait of former Football Player NA/Georgetown, TX, USA 6/5/2015 X159694 TK1 Credit: Darren Carroll (Darren Carroll/Sports Illustrated)

Tommie Harris, photographed for Sports Illustrated in Georgetown, Texas, June 2015 (Canon 1DX, 24-70mm f2.8 L-II)

BBQ Pitmasters Season 6. Photographed in Austin, Texas on February 10, 2015. Photograph by Darren Carroll. (Darren Carroll)

The hosts of BBQ Pitmasters, Tuffy Smith, Myron Mixon, and Moe Caisson, photographed on-set for Discovery Networks in Austin, TX, February 2015.

Buthel, bass player. the Zac Harmon Band, photographed in Austin, Texas on April 13, 2015. Photograph © 2015 Darren Carroll (Darren Carroll)

Mr. Buthel, bassist, the Zac Harmon Band. Photographed for Blind Pig Records in Austin, Texas, April 2015. (Leica M240, 75mm Summilux)

Patrick Reed, photographed at The Woodlands Country Club in Houston, Texas on July 28, 2015. Photograph ©2015 Darren Carroll (Darren Carroll/Golf Magazine)

Patrick Reed, photographed for Golf Magazine in Houston, Texas, July 2015. (Leica M240, 75mm Summilux)

Sports has always been my bread-and-butter, especially golf. No matter how hard I try and move away from it and try to pull myself out of that pigeon-hole I don’t think I’ll ever fully get away from it, nor do I want to. But the older I get, and the more I shoot, the more interested I become in looking instead for the features lurking amid the action.

2015 Valero Texas Open, first round. Photographed at the AT&T Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas on March 26,2015. Photograph ©2015 Darren Carroll (Darren Carroll)

Cutting the hole, 10th green, prior to the first round of the Valero Texas Open. Photographed for the tournament in San Antonio, Texas, March 2015. (Canon 1DX, EF 24-70mm f2.8L-II)

MLB Baseball Playoffs: Toronto Blue Jays at Texas Rangers game action ALDS Game 3 Rangers Ballpark in Arlington/Arlington, TX, USA 10/11/2015 X160029 TK1 Credit: Darren Carroll (Darren Carroll/Sports Illustrated)

Josh Donaldson of the Toronto Blue Jays slides into third base in game 3 of the American League Division Series . Photographed for SPorts Illustrated in Arlington, Texas, October 2015. (Canon 1DX, EF 70-200mm f2.8L-II)

Mini Golf: USPMGA Masters National Championship day three Hawaiian Rumble Golf Course/North Myrtle Beach, SC, USA 10/17/2015 X159981 TK3 Credit: Darren Carroll (Darren Carroll/Sports Illustrated)

The USPMGA Mini-Golf Masters, photographed for Sports Illustrated in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, October 2015. (Canon 1DX, EF 24-70mm f 2.8L-II)

 (Darren Carroll)

Tiger Woods, practice round, 2015 U.S. Open. Photographed for the USGA at Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington, June 2015. (Canon 1DX, EF 24-70mm f2.8L-II)

NFL: Atlanta Falcons vs Dallas Cowboys game action A T and T Stadium/Arlington, TX 9/27/2015 X159963 TK1 Credit: Darren Carroll (Darren Carroll/Sports Illustrated)

The Atlanta Falcons' Julio Jones gets away from Dallas Cowboys' cornerback Josh Thomas during a game at AT&T Stadium. Photographed for Sports Illustrated in Arlington, Texas, October 2015. (Canon 1DX, EF 400mm f2.8L-II)

PGA Golf: 2015 Honda Classic Fourth Round - Sunday PGA National Resort/Palm Beach Gardens, FL, USA 3/1/2015 X159309 TK3 Credit: Darren Carroll (Darren Carroll/Sports Illustrated)

Brendan Steele's bridie putt drops at the 16th hole during the third round of the Honda Classic. Photographed for Sports Illustrated in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, February 2015. (Canon 1DX, EF 400mm f2.8 L-II)

I lasted over a decade in Austin without dipping my toe in the music scene pool, but now that I did, there’s no stopping. 2015 saw the continuation of my work with Texas legend Robert Earl Keen as well as work for new clients including Blind Pig Records out of San Francisco, which commissioned me to shoot the album artwork for blues guitarist Zac Harmon’s “Right Man, Right Now” record.

Robert Earl Keen and the Robert Earl Keen Band live in concert at the ACL Live Moody Theater in Austin, Texas, Saturday, December 19 2015. Photograph © 2015 Darren carroll (Darren Carroll)

Robert Earl Keen, photographed in Austin, Texas for Keen Productions, December 2015. (Sony A7R-II, Leitz 90mm Summicron)

Zac Harmon and the Zac Harmon Band, photographed in Austin, Texas on April 13, 2015. Photograph © 2015 Darren Carroll (Darren Carroll)

Zac Harmon, photographed in Austin, Texas for Blind Pig Records, April 2015. (Leica M240, 50mm Summilux)

 (Darren Carroll)

Zac Harmon and the Zac Harmon Band, photographed at the Brass House in Austin, Texas, April 2015. (Leica M240, 75mm Summilux)

 (Darren Carroll)

Cover of Robert Earl Keen's 'Happy Prisoner: The Bluegrass Sessions,' released in February 2015 from a shoot in May of 2014. (Canon 1DX, EF 85mm f1.2L)

Documentary and feature work was a staple once again; I find myself drawn not so much to sports themselves anymore but to the stories behind them. So I was thrilled when ESPN.com assigned me to spend a few days in Waxahachie, Texas with its high school’s new head football coach, former Cowboys, Seahawks and Bengals quarterback Jon Kitna.

Waxahachie, Texas - September 4, 2015: Jon Kitna, Head Football Coach, poses for a portrait in his office at Waxahachie High School in Waxahachie, Texas. (Darren Carroll for ESPN) (Darren Carroll)

(Sony A7R-II, Leitz 50mm Summilux)

Waxahachie, Texas - September 5, 2015: Jon Kitna, Head Football Coach at Waxahachie High School in Waxahachie, Texas. (Darren Carroll for ESPN) (Darren Carroll)

(Canon EOS 1DX, EF 24-70 f2.8L-II)

Waxahachie, Texas - September 5, 2015: Jon Kitna, Head Football Coach at Waxahachie High School, works on a blocking drill during a walk-through before the Indians' game against the Azle Hornets at Lumpkins Stadium in Waxahachie, Texas. (Darren Carroll for ESPN) (Darren Carroll)

(Canon EOS 1DX, EF 400mmf2.8L-II)

Waxahachie, Texas - September 5, 2015: Jon Kitna, Head Football Coach at Waxahachie High School walks past a trophy case outside the locker room beneath Lumpkins Stadium in Waxahachie, Texas. This is Kitna's first year as head coach at the school. (Darren Carroll for ESPN) (Darren Carroll)

(Leica M240, 35mm Summilux)

And finally, saving the best (or, at least, my favorite assignment of the year) for last. Shooting the U.S. Open for the United States Golf Association, my job following the conclusion of play on Sunday is to shadow the champion for all of his post-round activities. Consequently, I was able to document Jordan Spieth’s historic victory–from when he signed his scorecard as Dustin Johnson played the 18th hole, still with a chance to win, to the embrace with his caddie, Michael Greller, the moment victory was realized, to his post-round travels with the champion’s trophy. It’s the last picture below–as he and his family watch as the engraver inscribes his name into the base–that is my run-away favorite of the year. (Well, besides the one I started this all off with, and no, Jess, I’m not just saying that).

during the final round of the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash. on Sunday, June 21, 2015.  =caption= (=photog=/USGA Museum)

(Leica M240, 35mm Summilux)

during the final round of the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash. on Sunday, June 21, 2015. (Copyright USGA/Darren Carroll) (Darren Carroll/USGA Museum)

(Canon EOS 1DX, EF 24-70 f2.8L-II)

during the final round of the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash. on Sunday, June 21, 2015.  (Copyright USGA/Darren Carroll) (Darren Carroll/USGA Museum)

(Leica M240, 35mm Summilux)

during the final round of the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash. on Sunday, June 21, 2015.  =caption= (=photog=/USGA Museum)

(Leica M240, 35mm Summilux)

during the final round of the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash. on Sunday, June 21, 2015.  =caption= (=photog=/USGA Museum)

(Leica M240, 35mm Summilux)

That’s it for 2015. Here’s to an even better 2016, if that’s possible.

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