Second Annual Arik Armstead Football Camp. / by Luke Cheng

Back at it again for the second year in a row! I found myself in Elk Grove on a hot Friday morning to photograph Arik Armstead's youth football camp. This was the camp that Arik and David Garibaldi was raising money for the other day. Arik was there bright and early to personally welcome all the kids who came out. They would all be getting a tough workout today, and an experience that they will always remember fondly.

Each person that came to the camp received a special Arik Armstead camp shirt with his special logo on it. Hehe, I was able to snag one myself too. The kids wore grey shirts while the coaches donned red ones. Over 100 kids came out to the camp this year. They were separated into different age groups to get specialized instruction from their coaches.

For this event I chose to shoot my Canon cameras. The Canon system has been my bread and butter for me these past few years. I always feel that they are reliable, tough, and will get the job done. I used my trusty 5d mark iii and a newer 7d mark ii today. Though I liked the images I was able to capture, I started to notice a difference in quality when compared to images shot on my Sonys.

Quinton Dial and DeForest Buckner were back to help the kids in their activities today. How awesome is it to have current NFL players helping and training? These kids were really lucky to have these guys around. I was impressed by the willingness of these players to even come out to an event like this. It shows a lot about both Quionton and DeForest's character. And I must add that they were happily working, they really did want to be there! It was awesome to see.

I enjoyed going around to the different stations capturing the skill drills that the kids were doing today. The kids were working on a variety of football related skills such as passing, catching, and running. There were little breaks between each station so that the kids could get water or refreshment, but other than that every minute of their day was filled with something to do.

I have to give a shoutout to the coaches at the camp. As hard as the kids were working, the coaches were working even more. They had to set up the stations, demonstrate the drills, and of course make sure the kids were on task and working hard. These guys had difficult jobs to do, but they all were tireless in the commitment they had to Arik's camp.

Being as it was Arik's camp, he was right in the thick of it all. I saw him go from station to station working with kids on their drills. He took time to talk with every person who came up to him. My favorite moment of the day was overhearing a conversation between Arik and an older camper. Arik asked how he was doing in school and the camper said he wasn't doing so well for various reasons. Arik stepped aside and encouraged him to do better and gave tips specific to his situation. I was floored at the amount of love Arik had for these kids. 

Arik also addressed the camp as a whole after the lunch break. He got to tell the story of how he got to the NFL and let the kids know that their hard work will pay off. Arik then had a Q and A session where the campers got to raise their hands and ask him any questions they wanted to.

After the large group session it was back to work for the kids for a few more hours. There was a lot of action to capture so I went about my business getting as many photos as I could. For photos like the one above, the Canon 7d mark ii's high frame rate was extremely useful. 

When it was all said and done I was tired and hot. I had to go straight to Jamba Juice to get an ice cold smoothie. But other than that the camp was a great experience for everyone involved. I am hopeful for a third year of this camp to take place. This month is full of sports camps for me, so be on the lookout for more sports action soon!