After an initial photography class in high school, Robert Darrah, food service director at Legacy Retirement Communities in Lincoln, Neb., picked up a camera nine years ago when his son was born. He has since found his passion in sports photography, creating Bobby D. Sports Photography to share his passion with others.
Robert Darrah, Legacy Retirement Community“In high school I took a photography class and I really enjoyed it. I just had other things to do, so I didn’t really keep up with it. When my first child was born I picked up a camera and started taking pictures. What really got me hooked was when my son started playing sports like baseball. There was a company that came out and took pictures of the kids and it would be an arm and a leg to purchase some of these photo packages. I said I bet people would like to have pictures of their kids but not get overcharged for it. I bought a professional-grade camera and took a class. As I started taking pictures of my own son, people recognized the camera and asked if I did professional photography. They asked if I would take pictures of their kids. I started doing it for free as a hobby, and then more and more parents started calling.
What makes it really worthwhile are the passion and energy the kids show, especially in pictures. If you photograph college or professional sports it’s just a job to them but to the kids it’s a game. I try to capture the essence and the true spirit of being out there and playing.
I’ve always dreamed of getting one of my pictures published. Sports Illustrated and the newspapers have their own photographers. As I’ve talked to other photographers they said to start sending my stuff in and if [publishers] liked the photos then they would publish them. I contacted the Kansas City Chiefs and asked for permission to photograph at their stadium. I got a sideline pass. I did the same thing with the Chicago Cubs and the football team at the University of Nebraska. Unfortunately nothing has been published yet.
One of my favorite photos I’ve taken was of my son eating a snow cone at a football game. It caught the essence of the day because it was 100 degrees out. You could see the sweat pouring off his face and he was gnawing on this snow cone like a bear cub.
I started a website and the company three or four years ago. It’s Bobby D. Sports Photography. I was on my college football team and there were four Roberts. For some reason the coach called me Bobby D, and the nickname stuck.
I never envisioned this becoming a part-time job. I don’t consider it that. It’s a hobby. A lot of times when parents ask me to take photographs of their kids, I do it for free. They are friends or on the same team. Some high school baseball and football teams have contacted me to take their team posters.
Everywhere I go I always take my camera because I don’t want to miss a shot. I use digital cameras for the ease. You don’t have to have 400 prints made to find that one shot that works. There are a lot of times when I’m photographing that it takes between 30 and 50 shots to get that one shot that you really like.
I had a couple ask me to photograph the birth of their child. I declined because that seemed a little out there. That’s really the only off-the-wall thing that people have asked me to photograph.
I’m not a landscape person, but I like to photograph flowers, streams and birds. It’s a nice release. I also love to take pictures of food.”