Los Angeles Chargers team photographer, Mike Nowak, recently earned first-place honors in the Feature Category of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's 53rd annual photo contest.
The feature piece will be on display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio in the coming weeks.
"I'm so thankful to be recognized for my work," Nowak said. "They judge over 1,000 photos from some of the best photographers in the country, so it's just an honor to be in that circle of such high talent."
His first place-winning feature work titled, "Flow," showcases Chargers players running onto the field ahead of their game against the New York Jets on Nov. 22. The flow of the image comes from a technique he used to keep the shutter open but like with any good photograph, there's a story behind how it came to be.
"It was just an idea that I had coming into the new stadium with new uniforms and I wanted to figure out the best angles of the stadium," Nowak said of the photo. "I hung a camera upside down above the team's tunnel and I connected it to a remote I could fire from anywhere in the stadium. I set the camera up to a one-second exposure which gave you the blur effect of the players running onto the field."
Ben Liebenberg, director of photography for the National Football League, recognized the level of work and attention to detail Nowak took to capture the photograph.
"It was a photo that took planning, it took thought," Liebenberg said. "You had to work to get this image and it was really cool to see a photographer, Mike Nowak who works for the Chargers, take the time and effort to make this really gorgeous frame."
Nowak also took second-place in the 53rd annual Action Category with a photo titled, "Ekeler Diving TD."
Nowak, who's been with the team for over 20 years, previously won the Dave Boss Award of Excellence in 2001 for his feature piece titled "Freedom." The photograph depicted former Chargers quarterback Doug Flutie running onto the field while carrying an American flag and was taken during the Chargers' first home game after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.