Instructor discusses thrill of sports photography

In nearly 30 years as a sports photographer, Sean Haffey has seen it all.

But he never knows the outcome.

Instructor Profile: Sean Haffey, Sports Photography: Capturing Dynamic Moments

“That’s the beauty of shooting sports,” said Haffey, instructor of UC San Diego Extension’s “Sports Photography: Capturing Dynamic Moments” for eight years. “Every event has its own storyline, with an uncertain ending. So the challenge is to tell the story with only one crack at it.”

Haffey recently spent three weeks at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, covering for U-T San Diego.

“It was a great experience, exhilarating and tiring at the same time,” he said. “You work incredibly long hours and you don’t notice how tired you are until it’s over. Then you can’t wait to get home.”

He’s pleased that his students sign up based on their love for photography, rather than a career pursuit.

“It’s more of a desire to be better at the craft,” he said. “Rather than just teaching X’s and O’s, I feel like I bring a lot to the table.”

A graduate of UC Santa Barbara, Haffey has traveled widely, even apart from his photographic assignments. At various times, he’s lived in Europe and Central America.

Among the major events he’s covered are five Olympic Games, numerous World Series games, Super Bowls, and 25 Rose Bowls.

His favorite major sport to cover? Pro football, except: “These days, there are so many people on the sidelines, it’s harder to come up with a unique shot.”

By contrast, covering extreme sports – winter and summer versions – gives him a good buzz.

“I’ve really come to like extreme sports,” he said. “There are fewer rules and regulations and the athletes enjoy the coverage more.”

A three-session, one-unit course, “Sports Photography: Capturing Dynamic Moments” begins April 7.

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