Athletics Spotlight: Bob Cornell

Athletics Spotlight: Bob Cornell

Belle Stepien

Why Bob Cornell? Bob Cornell is the former Athletic Communications Director and currently takes photographs of many Colgate sporting events. In light of the arts special edition, we featured the person who is responsible for caputring Colgate sports’ best moments.

MN: Your photographs are used in publications like the Maroon-News, the Mid-York weekly, Colgate’s entire online presence, and even some national publications. Does it make you proud to see your work utilized in so many ways?

BC: I’ve never done sports

photography for any personal benefit. I’m glad my photographs are good enough to be used. I think my main reason for doing this is to give Colgate a little more exposure throughout the area and

occasionally, nationally.

MN: How does viewing a sports game from behind the lens differ from viewing it as a

regular spectator or as a Athletic

Communications director?

BC: One of the things you do as a spectator is you follow the ball, or follow the puck. You follow the action. With sports photography you have to know where the ball is going to end up. Let me give you an example: a corner kick in soccer. You wouldn’t focus in on the person taking the kick-you’d focus in on the goal. That’s where possibly a goal or maybe a great save is going to take place. If you’re doing a softball game and you have a runner on second, well, you have the possibility of maybe a single driving in a close run at the plate. You watch what’s going on out of the corner of one eye, but you’re also focusing in your camera in the area around home plate. That’s where the action is going to end up. You have to have knowledge of the game and anticipate where the ball is

going to be.

MN: So your knowledge of sports due to your times as Athletics Communication director has definitely helped you with your photography?

BC: Absolutely. I have covered

everything from your big sports to your more obscure sports at three colleges for over more than 40 years.

MN: What are the challenges that accompany sports photography?

BC: Being the amature that I am, and I really am an amature, one of the biggest challenges I face is indoor photography, because of lighting issues. Starr Rink, Cotterell Court, and particularly Sanford Field House are all poorly lit for photography. In Starr Rink, for example, all the lights are at different heights due to the rounded ceiling. Some of the pennants they have hanging down there block the lights, so lights only show in one direction, because the flags were put up after the lights were there. In Cotterell Court the lights have all different wattages, some are way up, some are way weaker and get a red tint to them. So depending on where you are, you can get light bouncing off the floor. Outdoors is much easier. Well even outdoors can be tricky. A day when there is more cloud coverage is better than a sunny day actually because of working with shadows and, you know, things like that. Definitely indoor photography has been the hardest learning curve for me. If you want to get into sports photography, you really need to leard to shoot indoors.

MN: Any final thoughts?

BC: Just that I’ve had a lot of fun doing this. I hope it’s benefitted Colgate Athletics and helped out a lot of different ways with the websites and all different publications. It’s been great for me in retirement because it keeps be out of trouble.

Interviewed by Belle Stepien