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Photography provides a unique outlet for injured Norwood


In addition to his skills on the field, wide receiver Jordan Norwood is also a talented photographer. Check out some of his pictures here.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. –** Jordan Norwood has a lot of time on his hands.

Currently recovering from an ACL tear he sustained during the Broncos' joint practice with the Texans in August, he arrives at the Broncos' facility at Dove Valley at 7 a.m. every morning – going through rehabilitation for about three hours and then working with the strength and conditioning coaches for an hour.

But after about 12:30 p.m. each day, Norwood's time is his own. In the morning he focuses on his first passion and in the afternoon he develops his second: photography and graphic design.

While the precise skills of taking gorgeous photos seem to clash with the hard-hitting nature of football, Norwood has fostered passions for both.

"Whenever I'm anywhere I'm always pretty much looking for opportunities to take pictures," Norwood said. "If I'm driving somewhere and I can't stop at the time I'll remember like to go back to that place and if it involves the sky being a certain way, I'll wait for that time of day and go back over there."

Looking at Norwood's Instagram photos and Flickr account, you would think he's a veteran photographer, perhaps an art major in college. But Norwood actually just got his first camera in September, when his girlfriend gave it to him as a birthday present.

His Canon SL1 is nearly always by his side and he joked that sometimes it's not always charged – he always has it on hand in case he sees something he needs to capture. He will often drive around just searching for inspiration. On average, he spends about 40 minutes a day taking pictures, sometimes less if it's too cold for the Hawaii native.


While Denver's winter temperatures aren't always ideal, Norwood loves taking pictures in the Mile High City as there is a great balance between urban settings and natural beauty.

Shockingly, Norwood hasn't taken a single photography class. Immediately upon receiving the camera, he switched to manual mode and learned how to fully utilize the camera's different settings. He learned everything through YouTube videos and online tutorials and he could easily be mistaken for a veteran photographer.

"As soon as I got the camera I started messing around in manual mode and figuring out what everything meant," Norwood said. "I didn't want to have a nice camera and just be putting it on portrait and taking pictures. I figured there was more to it. It didn't take me very long."

But he first honed in on his artistic skills in college when he was an advertising major at Penn State. He took multiple graphic design courses and even created a sales catalog for a small company in Pennsylvania. Even after he graduated, he wanted to keep learning and he took online graphic design courses at Full Sail University two offseasons ago. While taking those classes, he realized he could teach himself most of those skills and programs.

That same self-teaching paid dividends with the camera.

"Certainly this season, I had never really picked up the camera and put it in manual mode and started taking pictures. I've always just taken pictures with my phone," Norwood said. "So this year I found I was passionate about photography and it's something that I look for when I'm walking around, look for driving around."

When Norwood competed with the Broncos during training camp this year, he performed splendidly and had four catches for 54 yards and two punt returns for 37 yards during the Broncos' first two preseason games. But the ACL tear forced him to sit out this season, a year after a foot injury ended his 2013 season with the Browns.


Photography has been a positive way for him to use his time and helped him cope as he sits on the sideline for a second consecutive year.

"For me being injured, it's been an outlet for me," Norwood said. "Some of the frustrations I have, just not being able to play. There's a lot of time that's going to be spent outside of football once your career's over and football can end with the snap of a finger. So I think it's important (to have other passions)."

Norwood's athletic abilities seem to be genetic: His older brother was a part of George Mason's 2006 men's basketball Final Four team and plays professionally in the Philippines, his younger brother Levi is a wide receiver at Baylor and his father is a former defensive back for the University of Hawaii and current safeties coach at Baylor.

But perhaps Norwood's creativity is also in his lineage. Norwood first became interested in photography after seeing Levi's pictures, who is also talented with the camera. Their grandfather, Sam Hardy, paints, sculpts and takes pictures.

The athletic gene and the eye for beauty comes naturally for the Norwoods.

His teammates are very complimentary of his work and a few days ago, a fan had a few playful comments for him.

"When we pull out of the facility here there are often fans waiting to get autographs signed," Norwood said, laughing. "I pulled over there yesterday and the guy over there gave me a hard time of taking pictures of sunsets and stuff, which is fine."

While photography is an outlet for his frustration with being unable to play, it allows Norwood to express himself and his faith.

"It gives me great pleasure, there's no doubt about that, taking pictures and looking at them afterwards," Norwood said. "I think taking pictures, it helps me kind of share my faith a little bit. My faith is very important to me. I guess seeing things, the Denver scenery, the mountains and everything, it's something that I cherish and taking pictures of it helps me cherish it."

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