Friday, September 12, 2008

University of Texas football...

A few weeks ago I had the chance to shoot the Texas Longhorns as they opened their season against Florida Atlantic in Austin at the newly renovated stadium. A record 98,053 people packed into the stands to watch the game.

A sea of orange....

I shot the game alongside two staff photographers of the AAS so it gave me the opportunity to see the pregame activities more differently than I normally would have.
I climbed up what seemed to be 5,000 stairs with all my photo gear on (with one of those silly white vests photogs have to wear) and talked my way into letting the overzealous security people to let me stand in the handicap section where no one was sitting to take a photo.
For the photo above, I wanted to capture the sheer amount of people at the game. I put on a Nikon 10.5mm fisheye and snapped a couple of frames. I wanted to go to the next level (the part of the stadium you can see from I-35), but one of the main events of the night was about to happen.

Vince Young was on hand to retire his #10 jersey before kickoff. The other two AAS photographers and I had talked about what kind of photos we were thinking about getting. They told me they were going to be in the scrum (of sorts) getting some close/wide shots Vince as he held up the horns or did something photo worthy. (From what I was told, VY is very calm and doesn't show a lot of emotion)

With that in mind, I scrambled back up the stairs to find a position that might offer a different view. Normally I wouldn't have done this as I wasn't sure if it would yeild a shot or not. I knew the other two photogs would get something from down there, so I took a chance. I wanted to get a few people in the crowd in the shot, along with the media pack surrounding him. Once he was led onto the field and into position I pulled on my Nikon 300mm 2.8 and shot a couple frames of him talking and one of him holding up the horns. At such a long distance, you couldn't really tell what was going on.

I sprung out of my photo position and literally ran up another flight of stairs and another 15 yards to get a higher elevation and a different angle. Right as I raised my camera to my eye, Vince raised up the jersey for everyone in the crowd to see. I fired off two frames and it was over, just like that.

Former University of Texas football player Vince Young holds up his retired jersey before the kickoff of the Texas Longhorn's season opener against Flordia Atlantic.

I think it turned out alright and it ran 1A above the fold on the Sunday edition of the Statesman. I was pretty happy about that. (shameless plug!)

Since the longest lens I have is a 300, and the two photogs I was shooting with were using 400's, I was assigned the task of staying close the team and to follow them up and down the field. We tried to stay away from each other as much as we could and that led to some interesting results. I put myself in positions I normally wouldn't shoot from and came away with some ok shots, but nothing portfolio worthy. I nabbed an interception in the endzone and a defender hanging off of Colt McCoy in the backfield...But my favorite "no ball" shot came a little bit later in the night.

Earl Thomas (12) breaks up a pass intended for Lester Jean during the Texas Longhorns season opener agaist Flordia in Austin.

I'm pretty sure one of the other guys got the same exact shot from the other side of the field as well, but I still like the shot. I don't know how these guys get up and walk away from some of these hits.

It was very awesome and a big eye opener to shoot a big event like this. I just tried to take what I do at every football game and apply it here. Close my eyes, point the camera and hope for the best...

1 comment:

Sean said...

great work and a great story, patrick.