Pat Donaghy strives to capture the perfect moment to create long-lasting memories.
Patrick “Pat” Donaghy is a well-known face and name among East Ridge High School (ERHS) athletes. The team photographer for ERHS football, volleyball and basketball, plus Stillwater Area High School girls’ lacrosse, is passionate about his role behind the lens. He takes great pride in knowing that the moment he presses the shutter button, lifelong memories are created.
Taking sports photos started as a hobby and a favor for friends and family. Eventually, positive feedback on social media about his work—and a few awards—inspired Donaghy to take photography more seriously. “There’s nothing like a sports event that brings out the emotions of so many people,” he says.
Donaghy says he enjoys immersing himself in those emotions to get the best shots he can during an event. He notes his favorite photos are the celebrations after a big play from the players on the field and on the sidelines, as well as the fans’ reactions in the stands. He admits oftentimes hoping games stay close to create a big, celebratory moment at the end.
“There is no daily occurrence where you see so much energy in life,” he says. “I love being in the environment and capturing the moment.”
In addition to the energy created during sporting events, Donaghy says he also enjoys opportunities to set up a memorable shot. “I’m typically standing in areas where no parent, player or coach sees what I am able to see because of where I set up,” he says. “As an example, in basketball, I sit under the basket where no fans are allowed. What I see is completely unique to the photographer.”
Donaghy says he enjoys the uniqueness of every team and makes it a point to learn the group’s dynamics and treat each one differently.
“Each team has its own unique story and its own life,” he says. “It takes a lot of effort to find out about the teams I shoot to try to get these pictures. It’s hard to do that without being on the sidelines for a game before taking pictures. If I know I’m taking a picture of a team, I’ll try to attend a game as a fan and just observe what’s going on and visualize where I should be standing. The first time taking a picture of a team, I’ll miss many shots but keep notes on what they do, so that I am more prepared for the next game.”
The photographer credits the time, effort, energy and dedication put into sports by players and their families. Donaghy says he is proud to play a role in the lifelong memories made at these events. “If these emotions aren’t captured, they become a memory and perhaps lost over time,” he says. “By capturing the photos, I can keep these memories, so they are never forgotten.”