Pro photographer's Instagram view of pro baseball (pictures)

Veteran sports photographer Brad Mangin used Instagram throughout the 2012 Major League Baseball season and shares some of his great pictures -- soon available in a book -- with CNET readers.

Christopher MacManus
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Baseball bond

With several decades of professional sports photography under his belt, Sports Illustrated freelancer Brad Mangin has captured monumental moments in various World Series, All-Star, and Super Bowl games. When Mangin started using his iPhone to capture off-moments, however, it gave him a new lease on an old game. In Mangin's upcoming book "Instant Baseball: The Baseball Instagrams of Brad Mangin" (available in late April), the seasoned Bay Area shooter looks back at the 2012 Major League Baseball season as seen through the funky filters of the Instagram iPhone app. The book takes the reader on a stylish journey from spring training through the World Series, but we've also thrown in a few choice shots from Mangin's Instagram account.

In an interview with Crave, Mangin recalls his humble beginnings with the photo app: "I started using Instagram at spring training in February 2012, when I was on assignment for Sports Illustrated in Arizona. I was simply having fun photographing everyday objects in and around the game of baseball, as well as some of the players. I loved the social-network aspect of Instagram. Sharing pictures in real time with my friends and followers was fun for me. Being able to show people what is happening, right now -- just like Twitter but with a nice photograph -- opened up an entire new world to me."

In this image, two fans look over the roster for an early-March spring training game between the Brewers and the Cubs in Mesa, Ariz.

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Batting cage

San Francisco Giants outfielder Angel Pagan takes on a few baseballs during batting practice before a National League Division Series game against the Cincinnati Reds. During game four of the series, Pagan hit a leadoff home run -- the first in his team's postseason history. San Francisco won the NLDS in five games.
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Back to the future

This isn't a 1960-something picture of a busy baseball diamond. It's a 2012 spring training game in Goodyear, Ariz.
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The next generation

Baseball fans might recognize this pregame picture featuring Mike Trout (left) and Mark Trumbo of the LA Angels. After a breakout season, the multitalented Trout easily captured the 2012 AL Rookie of the Year award and many other honors. Trumbo also impressed with solid batting that year and joined Trout in the All-Star game.

"I could not resist photographing these two great young Angels players getting ready for a game against the A's in Oakland last year," photographer Brad Mangin told Crave.

"Sure there were many pros who laughed at me and gave me a bad time [for using Instagram], but that slowed down when people started seeing my pictures -- and especially in July of 2012 when Sports Illustrated published 18 of them (including this picture) across six pages in the magazine."

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Photogenic franks

Dozens of hot dogs sizzle on a grill near a spring training game in Scottsdale, Ariz.
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Play ball

A coach hits practice ground balls to little league players at Heritage Field, the legendary site of New York's old Yankee Stadium.
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Stars and stripes

"I have always loved bunting at the ballpark," Brad Mangin said. "Whenever you see bunting it means it is either opening day or the World Series. I shot this early in the morning of the Giants 2012 home opener. Little did I know it would be the beginning of a World Series championship season."
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Field of dreams

Brad Mangin captured the conclusion of a perfect game -- one of the rarest moments in baseball. This image shows San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain throwing his final out of the perfect game that took place during a bout with the Houston Astros on June 13. "I found myself sitting in my season ticket box seats as a fan when Giants pitcher Matt Cain threw a perfect game," Mangin said. "I did the only thing I could -- I shot the final out in the 9th inning with my iPhone and made an Instagram out of it!"

When shooting Instagram pictures, Mangin often favors the Lo-Fi, Earlybird, and Hefe filters.

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Bodacious beard

San Francisco Giants ex-closer Brian Wilson, known for his solid pitching and giant beard, sat on the sidelines during most of 2012 after undergoing another Tommy John surgery to fix a torn ligament in his elbow. Here, Wilson signs a baseball for a fan.
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Tools of the trade

Some of the groundskeeper tools used to maintain the pristine field at Yankee Stadium. When asked about his method for taking Instagram pictures, Brad Mangin says: "Because the lens is kinda wide angle, I can only shoot objects and people who are close to me -- or real wide shots of stadiums, etc. Therefore, I always look for details of equipment, etc. in the dugouts before the games and players I can do portraits of. I also look for things that would look good composed as a square."
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That knuckleball

"I flew to New York in September with the goal to shoot Mets star pitcher R.A. Dickey's knuckleball grip," Brad Mangin said. "I was thrilled with this Instagram."
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Busting a pose

In the on-deck circle, San Francisco Giants catcher (and occasional first baseman) Buster Posey collects his things as he awaits the next at bat. Posey won the National League Most Valuable Player award and numerous other accolades in 2012, after sitting out much of the 2011 season with an injured ankle.
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Congratulatory pie

"The Athletics won a dramatic game against the visiting Yankees in walk-off fashion to complete a series sweep on a Sunday afternoon, and I knew there would be a pie being thrown on Coco Crisp," Brad Mangin noted. "I got to the spot I needed to be and made this frame -- one frame, with no motor drive -- with my iPhone. This is one of my favorite Instagrams of the season."
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World Series sunset

A statue of Hall of Famer Willie McCovey stands alongside the sliver of San Francisco Bay known as McCovey Cove, next to AT&T Park. Mangin shot this picture the day before the first game of the 2012 World Series -- a stunning finale against the Detroit Tigers that the Giants swept.
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Classic champions

"After the Dominican Republic won the World Baseball Classic in San Francisco, I had all I needed with my real cameras, so it was time to chase down a medal that I could shoot with my iPhone," photographer Brad Mangin said. "Pitcher Octavio Dotel paused for an interview, allowing me to get this picture."

Below, in an interview with the National Press Photographers Association, Mangin talks more about his motivations for creating a baseball book filled with Instagram pictures. Mangin also occasionally uses the iPhone apps Dynamic Light, Snapseed, and Camera+ for his impromptu pictures.

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