04
Apr

A few months ago I was lucky enough to shoot my fourth Super Bowl game. This game would be a rematch of the 2009 Superbowl that took place in Arizona between the Patriots and the Giants. Now if only this game could be as exciting as that one!

Shooting a Superbowl isn’t one of those events you fly in the morning of the game, shoot the game and then go home. Being credentialed for a Superbowl typically means covering lots of press conferences and events for the wire.

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Below is a view of the media hotel I was in for the week.

I so happened to end up at a few exclusive parties in the days leading up to the big game.

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Below, First up are a few shots from the Leather and Laces party at the Regions Bank Tower which featured Playboy playmates Bridget Marquardt (left), Holly Madison (center) and Kendra Wilkinson. I was doing the shoot for USA Today so I was given very special access and was one of only two photographers in attendance to get taken into the models VIP area to get them posed together for the shot.

Nikon D3S, 24-70mm, 1250iso, f4.5, 1/1250th, Manua

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It was like most parties I attend with nearly naked models hanging from the ceiling pouring vodka into the partiers mouths…

Nikon D3S, 24-70mm, 2000iso, f4.5, 1/1250th, Manual

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After a little while at the Leather and Laces party it was a cab ride to an old wherehouse building on the outskirts of the city to attend the Maxim party. The Maxim party is usually referred to as the most difficult ticket to get in town. With that in mind I was more than happy to attend.

As soon as we walked into the party I heard a familiar voice on a stage singing. It would be none other than rapper Ludacris.

Here are a few shots I managed to take during the last two minutes of the show.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, 4000iso, f2.8, 1/640th, Manual

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Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 4000iso, f2.8, 1/640th, Manual

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Nikon D3S, 24-70mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/640th, Manual

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After the concert there really wasn’t much to see. With the game the next day I just wanted to get back to the media hotel and pass out! With that in mind we headed out of the party and down an empty red carpet. As we were goofing around taking stupid pictures a few people walked in and down the desolate red carpet. We stood out of the way and as they walked past they stopped and posed for us. We didn’t know who the hell we were shooting but fired away and pretended we were there to shoot them.

A little while later we figured out the person we shot was super stoned looking actor Stephen Baldwin, below.

Nikon D3S, 24-70mm, 2000iso, f5, 1/1250th, Manual

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After shooting Baldwin I took a fun pic with good friend Guy Rhodes who was shooting video for USA Today.

By this point its 1:30am on the morning of the Super Bowl and I needed my beauty sleep. All that was missing was a cab. A parking attendant said his buddy was a cab driver and he called him to come pick us up. When the “cab” arrived we were quite surprised to see the below van.

We didn’t really have any other choice and I was tired so we took the risk and hopped in. The guy ended up being super cool and we got to the hotel without being mugged or raped.

Early on Super Bowl morning we had a US Presswire team meeting where we discussed strategy, positions, responsibilities and such. We had a white board with the plan drawn out and everything!

Following the team meeting it was about a quarter mile walk to the Lucas Oil Stadium. Luckily for us the weather was great.

Nikon D3S, 24-70mm, 250iso, f4, 1/12000th,Aperture Priority

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For the second year in a row I would be shooting the game from the field. The previous two times I had shot from an elevated position in the grandstands which is still a cool spot but it lacks the excitement and electricity that you feel when down on the field for the game where seemingly everyone in the world is watching.

Below is an overall view of Lucas Oil Stadium about six hours prior to kickoff of the game.

Nikon D3S, 24-70mm, 1600iso, f4, 1/500th, Manual

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Below, New York Giants super fan Joe Rubach displays a long line of customized license plates before Super Bowl XLVI against the New England Patriots at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Nikon D3S, 24-70mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

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Below, New England Patriots wide receiver Chad Ochocinco warms up on the field prior to the game.

Nikon D3S, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

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Below, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) shakes hands with head coach Bill Belichick before the game.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

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Below, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell walks the sidelines prior to the game.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

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For the team introductions sideline photographers were supposed to stay off the field. The view from the sidelines was horrific due to all sorts of flags and banners in the way. Just prior to the Giants taking the field I spotted two photographers with vests the same color as mine out on the field feet away from where the players would be. Next thing I know my legs take over and run me out onto the field where I was able to use a wide angle lens and get low to shoot up (to clean up the messy backgrounds) and the below photo of Giants quarterback Eli Manning was the result.

Nikon D3S, 24-70mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

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For the game I would be spending both halves on the Giants sideline. When you are restricted to a sideline its all about having good luck with the players coming to your side of the field.

Ok lets get this game going.

Below, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) is tackled by New England Patriots players including Patriots outside linebacker Rob Ninkovich (50) during the first half of Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Nikon D3S, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

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Below, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) drops back to pass during the first half of Super Bowl XLVI against the New York Giants at Lucas Oil Stadium. On this play he would be called for a safety.

Nikon D3S, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

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Below, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) celebrates with a fist to the sky after throwing a touchdown pass during the first half of Super Bowl XLVI against the New England Patriots at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Nikon D3S, 400mm, 100iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

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Below, New England Patriots free safety Sterling Moore (29) breaks up a pass intended for New York Giants wide receiver Mario Manningham (82) during the first half of Super Bowl XLVI.

Nikon D3S, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

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The first half of the game went rather quick, sadly I didn’t have much for action on my side of the field.

At most other games I cover halftime is when I haul ass to media room and download, edit, caption and send my images to the wire but for Superbowl we had a whole team of talented editors being fed images by our four card runners. Instead of having to do all that work, I stayed on the field to shoot the halftime show featuring Madonna and Nicki Minaj.

Below, the stage that was quickly constructed during the first commercial break of halftime comes to life with lights shining all different directions.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/100th, Aperture Priority

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Looking like a scene from the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the Indiana Marching Band (below) came out onto the field through some crazy light shining across the field.

Nikon D3S, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/500th, Manual

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Then the star of the halftime show, Madonna, came out on a massive chair being carried.

Nikon D3S, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/640th, Manual

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Below, Recording artists SkyBlu (left) and RedFoo (right) of LMFAO perform with Madonna (center) during the halftime show for Super Bowl XLVI.

Nikon D3S, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/500th, Manual

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Below, Recording artists Nicki Minaj sings during the halftime show.

Nikon D700, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/640th, Manual

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Towards the end of the performance all the fans helped participate in the show by holding up LED lights placed on all their seats prior to the game. By shooting with a wide angle lens I was really able to illustrate the moment, below.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/200th,Aperture Priority

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As Patriots quarterback Tom Brady came out onto the field for the second half he looked up to one of the suites and pointed to them, below.

Nikon D700, 200mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

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Below, New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez (81) celebrates after catching a touchdown pass during the second half of Super Bowl XLVI against the New York Giants at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Nikon D3S, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

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Below, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) throws a pass during the second half against the Patriots.

Nikon D3S, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

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Below, New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw runs the ball during the Super Bowl against the Patriots.

Nikon D3S, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

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In the fourth quarter I had a small moment of TV time as New York Giants wide receiver Mario Manningham (82) made a catch in front of New England Patriots free safety Sterling Moore (29) running right at me.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

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By this point I was pretty confident I was about to get laid out but its the Super Bowl so I stuck with the play and focused on getting the shots.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

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At the last second #32 on the right would slightly push Manningham and instead of hitting me straight on he would only glance off me.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

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Here is a funny shot by coworker Matt Emmons from the sidelines showing me (left) bailing at the last possible second as he hits me.

Photo by Matt Emmons

Within seconds of being hit my cell phone started buzzing like crazy as text after text came in from friends around the country who had just seen me get hit. In the 10 minutes following that play I received texts from over 50 people.

The game winning play ended up being an average photo from my angle (below) as New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw (44) would fall backwards into the end zone to score a touchdown against the New England Patriots.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

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The Patriots would get the ball back with less than a minute on the clock. It was gonna take a miracle for them to score in so little time so I stopped shooting the game and instead went to the Giants bench to be close to Eli Manning to shoot his reaction to becoming a two time Super Bowl champion.

Through some good pushing and shoving I was in a perfect spot right in front of Eli as he watched the final play of the game, below.

Nikon D3S, 14mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

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Just as Eli was about to celebrate I would end up getting pushed from behind and would actually have to put me arm on Eli to try not and be pushed into him. As bad luck would have it his celebration shot that I was so perfectly set up for would fail as I got distracted by the pushing at exactly the wrong moment.

Check out the below photo that was printed in the next days Indianapolis Star. I am in the bottom left of the shot with my arm on Eli completely missing the shot. #FAIL

Manning would run out to the middle of the field to celebrate with teammate Justin Tuck, below. Check out all the media running towards Eli from every direction on the field.

Nikon D3S, 14mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

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Within seconds Eli was completely surrounded by overzealous media doing everything they could to muscle their way to the front to get their shots.

Nikon D3S, 14mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

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Below, confetti falls inside Lucas Oil Stadium as the scoreboard shows the Giants as the Super Bowl champions.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, 2500iso, f4.5, 1/1600th, Manual

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The scrum of media around Eli continued to grow to a full on riot of photographers, below.

Nikon D3S, 14mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

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I wasn’t happy with my jube shots thus far so I quickly pushed my way back through the photographers to get up close as Eli is led towards the podium with the game ball safely tucked into his arm, below.

Nikon D3S, 14mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

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Below, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning points into the crowd as he celebrates after the Giants defeated the New England Patriots 21-17 in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm,2500iso, f3.5, 1/1000th, Manual

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The classic shot to take after the Super Bowl is of the MVP holding the trophy with confetti falling. The below picture works perfectly!

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, 2500iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

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Can’t forget to do a super close up of the trophy with random hands hoisting it, below.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, 2500iso, f3.5, 1/1000th, Manual

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Here is the view inside the still photographers media room as everyone edits away to get their images to to world, below.

Nikon D3S, 14mm, 8000iso, f2.8, 1/640th, Manual

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About an hour after the game I tagged along with one of our editors Kyle Terada to help him take down remote cameras high above the field in the catwalks.

The below shot gives you a good view of confetti covering a sizable portion of the field.

Nikon D3S, 14mm, 4000iso, f5.6, 1/640th, Manual

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After surviving the catwalks it was back down to the field where I celebrated the completion of my fourth career Super Bowl with a nap in the confetti.

And that wraps up the game. While it was an average game for me with little action on my side of the field it was still a successful week that I can’t wait to do again next year in New Orleans!

I have a Facebook page devoted my photography where I routinely share my favorite photos from each shoot as well as favorite photos from the past. Click the below banner to check it out. Be sure to “like” the page so you can be kept up to date on all the events I am doing!


 
Posted in Football, Me, NFL, Sports, Super Bowl   | 3 Comments

3 Responses to “Giants defeat Patriots to win Superbowl (Again!)”

  1. Ryan says:

    Jeez, Mark, next time the Pats are in the Superbowl, with you being so close to the field and all, would it kill you to “accidently” put your leg out to trip up players on the opposing team?

    Seriously though- cool blog. Quick question: that photo where all the media is running towards Eli at the end of the game- look at the right side of the photo towards the middle… what the hell was Zach Galifianakis doing on the field?!?!

  2. J. Wiggins says:

    This is an EXCELLENT behind the scenes look at Superbowl week and your Super Bowl workflow. I loved it man! Keep up the good work !!

  3. D.Smith says:

    I thought that was you I saw almost getting run over … Funny that down here in Australia , I watched the game and did not know the names of anyone I saw except the photographer on the sidelines almost getting knocked over !

    Great Work … once again .

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Check out my Facebook page devoted my photography where I routinely share my favorite photos from each shoot as well as favorite photos from the past. Click the below banner to check it out. Be sure to "like" the page so you can be kept up to date on all the events I am doing!