Dave Martin, 59, AP photojournalist
Mr. Martin, 59, suffered an apparent heart attack and died early Wednesday morning after working the sidelines at Texas A&M's 52-48 win over Duke in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Friends and colleagues remembered Mr. Martin as a larger-than-life character who was always happy to share advice with fellow photographers whom he often outshot.
Mr. Martin covered nearly every major news event in the South over the last 30 years - including Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf of Mexico oil spill - and he traveled to sporting events around the world and to conflicts in Afghanistan, Haiti, and Iraq. His award-winning visual storytelling was splashed across countless newspaper front pages and the covers of Sports Illustrated and other magazines.
At sporting events, he was well-known for always managing to get himself in the perfect position to take the shot of winning athletes dousing their coach with water or Gatorade. Done right, such images capture the flourish of airborne water caught in the stadium lights, but they require great timing and positioning.
"Every photojournalist in the country knows the trademark Dave Martin picture was the coach being dunked," said AP South regional photo editor Mike Stewart, who first met Mr. Martin in 1989.
Some of Mr. Martin's most memorable images helped people around the world understand the toll of disasters in the South, such as a man wading through chest-deep floodwaters after Katrina with a garbage bag of belongings. Or the striking colors of oil droplets suspended in a cresting wave after the 2010 gulf oil spill.
He won national journalism awards for images including one of golfer Phil Mickelson celebrating his 2004 win at the Masters and another of people bracing themselves against 90-m.p.h. winds next to an upended house in Key West, Fla., during Hurricane Georges in 1998.
On a Facebook tribute page set up Wednesday, dozens of photojournalists from around the country shared their memories of Mr. Martin. Many recalled his mischievous spirit and wicked sense of humor as well as his generosity.
"Through the years he taught hundreds of photographers about lighting and positioning and getting the most out of their gear," said longtime friend and colleague Jay Reeves, AP's correspondent in Birmingham, Ala. "In that way, he influenced so many news photos without even being on an assignment."
Despite the national awards, he remained humble and focused on making sure everyone around him was having a good time.