Next to racing, football is my favorite sport to shoot. Due to some pending legal issues I am reluctantly excluding NFL images from this year in the blog (so a lot of my best shots are missing) but here is the best of non NFL football from 2009. Enjoy!

My first football game of 2009 began on New Years day as I traveled over to Pasadena, CA to shoot the Rose Bowl.

The Rose Bowl always has great light I can play around with.

Below, a shaft of sunlight peeked through the tunnel as Penn State players came out to the field prior to the game.


Nikon D300, 80-200mm, 1250iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

By underexposing the image by about 3 stops (below) I was able to get just the shapes of the helmets on USC players as the sun rim lit the players in a huddle.


Nikon D3, 400mm, 320iso, f2.8, 1/8000th, Aperture Priority

I can’t imagine light getting much better than the below photo of USC quarterback (6) Mark Sanchez throwing a pass in the first half.


Nikon D3, 400mm, 320iso, f2.8, 1/1600th, Aperture Priority

Below, Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark gets tackled by Southern California Trojans defensive end Kyle Moore.


Nikon D3, 400mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

To see the full blog from the Rose Bowl click here.

A few days later at the Fiesta Bowl, I shot the below photo of Texas quarterback (12) Colt McCoy as he headed through the tunnel into the locker room at halftime.


Nikon D3, 14-24mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/80th, Aperture Priority

Below is an example of dumb luck on my side as Texas Longhorns running back Foswhitt Whittaker lost his shoe as he ran the ball in the third quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Fiesta Bowl. I didn’t see the shoe fly off on the play but after the play I noticed him hopping over to the shoe and putting it on. After going back through the images of the play I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had a shot with the shoe.


Nikon D3, 400mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

When a play comes close to me in the end zone I have to decide (in a split second) which lens to grab for the photo. For the below play of of Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback (2) Terrelle Pryor making a leaping touchdown catch under the defense of Texas Longhorns safety (21) Blake Gideon in the fourth quarter I grabbed my wide angle camera which worked out quite nicely.


Nikon D3, 14-24mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

A few minutes later it would once again by Terrelle Pryor making a great catch in the end zone, this time on the other side of the field. Shooting the play with my 200mm it gave me a wide shot but ended up looking pretty cool with the reactions of all the cheerleaders in the foreground.


Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

In what ended up being a very exciting game it would end in the closing seconds with Texas Longhorns wide receiver (6) Quan Cosby making a catch and diving into the endzone for the game winning touchdown, below.


Nikon D3, 400mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

To see the Fiesta Bowl blog click here.

In the middle of summer I found myself in Las Vegas to shoot tryouts for the United Football League.

With just gorgeous light produced from a light pocket on the shadowed field I took the below photo of Bennie Brazell as he made a catch under pressure from defender Trey Brown (2) during the United Football League workout at Sam Boyd Stadium.


Nikon D700, 400mm, 1000iso, f6.3, 1/8000th, Manual

To see more from the UFL workouts in Vegas click here.

On the opening weekend of college football I had the chance to go up to Seattle to shoot the LSU Tigers taking on the Washington Huskies.

Shortly after sunset as the sky was a nice rich blue color I took the below wide angle shot on an LSU field goal attempt.


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

Below, Washington Huskies wide receiver (9) Devin Aguilar is tackled by LSU Tigers cornerback (7) Patrick Peterson at Husky Stadium.


Nikon D700, 400mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

To see the full blog from the LSU vs Washington game click here.

I spent a few days down in Casa Grande, AZ to shoot training camp for two of the UFL teams. The all access I was granted allowed me to shoot some pretty cool shots.

Below, I got low to include the sun in my shot to produce a nice silhouette as Las Vegas Locomotives linemen ran drills during training camp at the Casa Grande Training Facility & Performance Institute.


Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 200iso, f5, 1/8000th, Aperture Priority

Below, California Redwoods defensive back Ronnie Prude does a front flip during a drill in training camp at the Casa Grande Training Facility & Performance Institute.


Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 200iso, f5, 1/1250th, Aperture Priority

To see more from UFL training camp click here.

I made my first trip to BYU for a football game and it ended up being a blast.

Belkow, with evil clouds overhead I got on the ground to shoot up at BYU Cougars offensive lineman Marco Thorson (right) prior to the game against the Florida State Seminoles at LaVell Edwards Stadium.


Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 200iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

BYU Cougars wide receiver (4) O’Neill Chambers catches a pass under pressure from Florida State Seminoles cornerback (15) Ochuko Jenije in the second quarter, below.


Nikon D700, 400mm, 320iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

I have seen some pretty stadium settings over the course of my career but I would have to rank LaVell Edwards Stadium right up at the top for beauty, below.


Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 400iso, f2.8, 1/2000th, Aperture Priority

To see the rest of my stuff from the BYU vs FSU game click here.

Back in Casa Grande once again for more UFL training camp, I got the below photo as players are silhouetted as they head out to the field for a night practice. (for the record I never knew Arizona had mosquitoes until that night)


Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 800iso, f2.8, 1/125th, Aperture Priority

To see more from the UFL night practice click here.

Up next are some images from the inaugural UFL game.

Below, Las Vegas Locomotives running back Marcel Shipp goes airborne as he runs the ball in the first quarter against the California Redwoods during the inaugural United Football League game at Sam Boyd Stadium.


Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

From the roof of Sam Boyd Stadium I shot the below photo of Las Vegas Locomotives tight end (87) Adam Bergen as he dove into the end zone for a touchdown ahead of California Redwoods linebacker (55) Maurice Crum.


Nikon D700, 400mm, 4000iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Shutter Priority

To see more images from the inaugural UFL game click here.

The first UFL season was rather short so a few months after the first game I would once again be back in Las Vegas for the UFL Championship Game.

Below, Las Vegas Locomotives quarterback J.P. Losman throws a pass under pressure from the Florida Tuskers defense in the second quarter during the UFL championship game at Sam Boyd Stadium.


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

For the below photo I literally laid on the field to shoot Las Vegas Locomotives wide receiver (81) Andrae Thurman as he nervously looked on as kicker Graham Gano (not pictured) lines up for what would be the game winning field goal in overtime.


Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 1000iso, f2.8, 1/800th, Manual

After the Locomotives won the championship game with an overtime kick, head coach Jim Fassel (below) was carried off the field by his excited players.


Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 1000iso, f2.8, 1/800th, Manual

To see more from the UFL Championship click here.

On the last week of the college football regular season I covered the homestate rivalry game between the ASU Sun Devils against the Arizona Wildcats.

From the roof of Sun Devil Stadium I shot down on the field as ASU ran through smoke during player introductions, below.


Nikon D700, 400mm with 1.4 convertor (550mm), 400iso, f4, 1/5000th, Aperture Priority

Also from the roof, I was lined up perfectly with the Sun Devils logo painted in the field to incorporate it into my photo of Arizona State Sun Devils quarterback Samson Szakacsy as he dropped back to pass in the first quarter, below.


Nikon D700, 400mm with 1.4 convertor (550mm), 320iso, f4, 1/2000th, Manual

Posted in ASU, California, Football, Las Vegas, NCAA, Sports, UFL   | 8 Comments

8 responses to “Best of 2009: Best Football Photos”

  1. Derek says:

    I have been loving all your “best of 2009” blogs! thanks.

  2. Derek says:


    Just wondering why you so often shoot wide open at f2.8, any particular reason why?

    Obviously at pitch level you do it to blur the distracting backgrounds, but even high up in the stand shooting the whole stadium you still shoot at f2.8

  3. Great series of pics.

    I love your blog and your photographs, one of my all time favorite photographers…

  4. Thanks for the feedback guys, I appreciate it. Derek, you are right on why I shoot f2.8 down low, to help blur out the distracting backgrounds. I guess the reason I am at f2.8 even up high is cause thats what I am used to having it on at most times and am too lazy to change it, haha


  5. Jamey says:


    Does the NFL not allow posting of images on blogs? I have never shot NFL before but I have friends that have and they have posted on their blogs, should I warn them?

  6. I have a question about the high ISO you sometimes seem to use.

    for the pic of the Locomotive WR lying down you use 1/800 as a shutter speed and an ISO of 1000… I know the D700 has great ISO capabilities, but why not lower the shutterspeed to lower the ISO?

    Looks really cool though the way the background sky is blown out.

  7. Derek says:

    Cheers for that Mark, you’re in good company as I too am a lazy photographer haha

  8. Ted says:


    Great shots, your photography reflects your passion for shooting football, suburb images. Too bad you can’t show your NFL photos, I’m sure they’re awesome as well.

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