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Pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu jumps into the pool after the Dodgers defeated the Diamondbacks and clinched a playoff spot.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Dodger players celebrate in the locker room after defeating the Diamondbacks to clinch a playoff spot.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Pitcher Clayton Kershaw celebrates in the pool after the Dodgers defeated the Diamondbacks and clinched a playoff spot.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Players celebrate in the pool after defeating the Diamondbacks to clinch a playoff spot.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Outfielder Yasiel Puig celebrates in the pool after the Dodgers defeated the Diamondbacks to clinch a playoff spot.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Outfielder Yasiel Puig celebrates in the locker room after the Dodgers defeated the Diamondbacks to clinch a playoff spot.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

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Behind the lens | the Dodgers celebrate the playoffs with a swim

By Wally Skalij, Los Angeles Times

Midway through the locker room celebration, a player called for a celebratory swim. The next thing I know, I am running with at least 15 players toward the swimming pool in Chase Field, where the Dodgers had just beaten the Diamondbacks to clinch a playoff spot. Yasiel Puig does a swan dive; Hyun-Jin Ryu does a cannon ball. My feet are soaked and I am stressed about making deadline, but I am fairly certain the photos will work well.

Covering a locker room celebration is one of the more difficult assignments for a sports photographer: Most players wear goggles and don’t wear jerseys so it’s a challenge to identify them. Furthermore, there is often Champagne splashing all over everything including camera gear, and the deadlines are usually very tight.

I was recently assigned to cover the Dodgers in a possible playoff-clinching game against the Diamondbacks. Once the Dodgers went ahead in the eighth inning, I immediately started to prepare one of my cameras for the locker room. I carefully taped plastic around the lens and camera and locked the rest of my gear away in the photo well.

The game ended at 4 p.m. and I had a print deadline of 4:45 p.m. I was considering leaving to transmit when the players decided to go for a swim. I am glad to have followed them out and wound up sprinting back to my computer to transmit. Sticky, stinky and sweaty, I made deadline and one of the photos made the front page.

2 Comments

  1. September 25, 2013, 4:09 pm

    great photos! The Dodgers seem like a fun team to cover.

    By: iseebeautyallaroundbyrobpaine
  2. September 25, 2013, 8:01 pm

    Wally, you are the best. What a great story — and cool, one-of-a-kind pictures. By now I can tell a Wally photo just by looking at it — don't even need to see the photo credit. It's always 'the big moment' from a game, perfectly captured by you. Always awesome …. and always amazing.

    By: bpatterson90505

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