After a great shoot just 7 hours prior in Phoenix it was a lovely 6am wakeup call New Years day to hop on a plane for the quick jump over to LA for the Rose Bowl. I was tired, sore and cranky but the gorgeous weather and great light motivated me to cheer up in time for a New Years tradition.

While flying to Burbank I fired off a few photos with my new Canon G10 point and shoot camera. I hope to use the camera to document more behind the scenes stuff as well as shoot some video with it.

The view north of Los Angeles while making our approach.

Canon G10, 18mm, 80iso, f4, 1/2000th

The wheels are down as we are on final approach.

Canon G10, 18mm, 80iso, f4, 1/2000th

After getting credentials and about a 20 minute wait for them to start allowing media to enter I was finally in and set up in the photo workroom.

Prior to the game I found a nice spot to shoot the Penn State players heading out towards the field.

Nikon D3, 14-24mm, 500iso, f2.8, 1/250th

Everyone (myself included) usually shoots USC coming out on the field but I decided to stick to Penn State since I had never shot them before and wanted to produce some quality stock images. After the above photo that I was on the ground for I jumped up and switched to my 80-200mm body  to try and take advantage of this small light pocket that the players were walking through.

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

The game got underway and I cherry picked decent shots here and there but nothing amazing.

Below USC linebacker Brian Cushing waits for the Penn State snap.

Nikon D3, 400mm, 320iso, f2.8, 1/3200th

Being that I was one of a four person team we took sides of the field for the first half prior to switching for the second half. I ended up on the backlit side of the field but was determined to make the best of it. One good thing about backlit is when grass is flying it has a nice glow to it such as the below shot.

Nikon D3, 400mm, 320iso, f2.8, 1/3200th

The first score of the game would come when Southern California Trojans wide receiver (18) Damian Williams caught a pass and broke free from the reach of Penn State Nittany Lions safety (7) Anthony Scirrotto. As you can see I was way too tight and should have switched to my mid range lens.

Nikon D3, 400mm, 320iso, f2.8, 1/2500th

The Trojans marching band played in celebration of the touchdown.

Nikon D300, 14-24mm, 320iso, f2.8, 1/3200th

As the light got lower I messed around with some exposures to attempt to produce some really moody looking rim lit shots of the players. Below the edges of players helmets glisten during a huddle.

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

By underexposing a little less it gives a little definition on USC quarterback Mark Sanchez as he throws a pass.

Nikon D3, 400mm, 320iso, f2.8, 1/3200th

I quickly ran the 100 yards to the other endzone and set up for USC coming my direction. Note how completely different (and awesome) the lighting from the other corner looked with the sunlight hitting the players but not the crowd behind them.

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

Instead of a touchdown, USC would end up settling for a field goal by kicker David Buehler.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 400iso, f2.8, 1/2000th

After every USC score quarterback Mark Sanchez provided nice clean celebrations that made for good reaction shots.

Nikon D3, 400mm, 320iso, f2.8, 1/1250th

And just as quickly as USC would score, Penn State would get the ball, make no progress and before you knew it USC would be threatning to score again.

This time Mark Sanchez made a leaping throw above Penn State defenders…..

Nikon D3, 400mm, 320iso, f2.8, 1/1000th

…that was caught by USC tailback (2) C.J. Cable and run into the endzone for a touchdown.

Nikon D3, 400mm, 320iso, f2.8, 1/1000th

As quarterback (6) Mark Sanchez celebrated the touchdown he was lifted up by offensive tackle (68) Butch Lewis. What killer light for one of the most photographed moments of the game!

Nikon D3, 400mm, 320iso, f2.8, 1/2000th

For the second half I was on the Penn State side of the field, sadly the nice light was completely gone as the sun had already set.

Nikon D3, 400mm, 1000iso, f2.8, 1/6400th

Here and there in the second half I had Steve Barry tailing me as he was shooting clips for a multi media presentation about photographers covering the game so I figured I would show you a few of them.

This first clip shows the 100 yard dash I have to do several times a game when a team is about to punt the ball away and I need to get to the other side to set up and shoot the return.


As you can see I am totally out of shape!

USC wide receiver Patrick Turner is unable to come up with the leaping catch in the third quarter.

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

Below USC quarterback (6) Mark Sanchez has his head pulled back by a Penn State defender after keeping the ball on a short run.

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

Below Penn State Nittany Lions running back Stephfon Green dives for yardage against USC.

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

The fourth quarter got off to a good start for me as I got a nice sequence of Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark being pursued and tackled by Southern California Trojans defensive end Kyle Moore.

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

Here is a short clip where I discuss endzone lens selections.

On a Penn State drive in the fourth quarter I had a nice series of the running back as he headed my direction prior to taking a pretty big hit by a USC defender. Click the photo to see the series.

Nikon D3, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1000th

Below Trojans safety (26) Will Harris tackles Penn State Nittany Lions tight end (10) Andrew Quarless in the fourth quarter.

Nikon D3, 400mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/1000th

And here is a clip shot as I was shooting the above photo.

Late in the fourth quarter I shot Penn State wide receiver (24) Jordan Norwood making a leaping catch. It was a useless shot essentially because USC had already sealed the victory.

Nikon D3, 400mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/1000th

As soon as the clock hit zero making the USC victory official, I ran all around looking for any good celebration to shoot, the only problem was there really wasn’t much going on. The problem with blow out victories is the players celebrate much earlier and by the time the game has finished so has their celebrations.

I did find USC linebacker Rey Maualuga (who is gonna be a first round NFL pick most likely) as he walked away from all the other players in a laid back and slow victory lap where he waved to the fans after his final college game.

Nikon D300, 14-24mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/800th

I closed out the evening by shooting USC quarterback and offensive player of the game Mark Sanchez as he hoisted the Rose Bowl trophy.

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

And with that it was back to the media room to transmit a bunch of images and then hightail it to the Burbank airport to catch my hop back to Phoenix.

Here are a few clips I found with my images…..

My site was nominated for Best Photography Blog!

Posted in California, Football, Me, NCAA, Sports   | 9 Comments

9 responses to “Breaking in the new year with USC for 4th year in a row!”

  1. Walter S says:

    Dang you sure did have some nice light! Another great blog, the clips where neat also.

  2. Jeremy says:

    I love the “Oh Shit Camera”

    The videos are a nice touch to actually see what goes on behind the lens.

    Great stuff Mark! The light on ea01x_0574-650×437.jpg is great!

  3. Tony says:

    The Oh S*#+ camera. I like it.

  4. LD says:

    I like the videos. Did I see you manually focusing? Or just fine tuning?

  5. michael says:

    great post mark especially the videos and you freak handholding the 400 although i agree with your reasoning.

    i cant believe how busy it is on the sidelines thats insane.

  6. Dani says:

    Wow nice photos!!!
    You work with tree D3?
    I see in the video you shoot with 400mm without monopod you have strong arms 😀

  7. Tony Leon says:

    The “In Motion” feature
    I like the clips…..shows where you were and how you shot through the play.
    very ala…………..David Bergman/Chase Jarvis.

    Keep up the good work, this is my first time posting on your blog, but a fan of your work for a while now.

  8. michael says:

    Dani: Im pretty sure Mark shoots with 2 x D3 and a D300

Leave a Reply

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!