22
Sep
Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 1000iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) trots over an SMU Mustangs defender on his way to a first quarter touchdown.

Nothing beats when a plan comes together perfectly allowing me to photograph one of the most electrifying athletes in college football, Johnny Manziel. I always make it a goal to try and shoot all the Heisman winners I can while they’re still in college so to be in Texas for work on a weekend A&M had a home game a few hours south of my location and its a perfect setup!

Less than a week ago I started looking into the prospect of flying out to Texas on a free weekend to shoot Texas A&M star quarterback Johnny Manziel.

I pulled up the teams schedule and saw that their next game was in a few days when I was already going to be in Texas covering the NHRA races near Dallas.

This was too perfect of a setup not to work!

After securing my credentials it was game on.

As soon as I finished shooting NHRA qualifying I hauled ass south to College Station.

I found the media parking lot with ease (thanks Gerry!) and from there it was a short walk to Kyle Field.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 500iso, f5.6, 1/5000th, Aperture Priority Under perfect skies, a couple of Texas A&M Aggies fans walk towards Kyle Field prior to the game against the SMU Mustangs.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 500iso, f5.6, 1/5000th, Aperture Priority
Under perfect skies, a couple of Texas A&M Aggies fans walk towards Kyle Field prior to the game against the SMU Mustangs.

Many photographers take their camera gear to games all packed up in their roller bag. While that makes it MUCH easier to get around, you can miss so many shots by not having a camera around your neck ready to go.

The tunnel beneath the main road by the stadium was a pretty cool setup that I’d love to do a portrait shoot inside of.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 640iso, f4.5, 1/2500th, Aperture Priority A sea of Texas A&M Aggies fans walk through a cool looking tunnel towards Kyle Field.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 640iso, f4.5, 1/2500th, Aperture Priority
A sea of Texas A&M Aggies fans walk through a cool looking tunnel towards Kyle Field.

Once inside the stadium I had less than ten minutes till kickoff. Hows that for perfect time management!

Nearly all of the football I shoot back home in Arizona either takes place in a dome or games are played at night. While that makes it comfortable weather for everyone, us photographers lose out on cool light, clouds, and pretty sunsets.

I was going to make damn sure I got my fill of all of that and more.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 500iso, f5, 1/6400th, Aperture Priority Texas A&M Aggies players enter Kyle Field in a dramatic scene prior to the game against the SMU Mustangs.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 500iso, f5, 1/6400th, Aperture Priority
Texas A&M Aggies players enter Kyle Field in a dramatic scene prior to the game against the SMU Mustangs.

For the game my entire focus was Manziel. Sure I would shoot photos of other players but Manziel was priority. Not being on deadline and having to leave the field to edit and transmit allowed me to maximize time shooting in the great light.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1600iso, f4, 1/1250th, Manual Texas A&M Aggies defensive back Tramain Jacobs (7) dives towards the end zone as he is pursued by SMU Mustangs quarterback Garrett Gilbert (11) on an attempted fumble recovery in the first half at Kyle Field. The play was ruled an incomplete pass negating the return.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1600iso, f4, 1/1250th, Manual
Texas A&M Aggies defensive back Tramain Jacobs (7) dives towards the end zone as he is pursued by SMU Mustangs quarterback Garrett Gilbert (11) on an attempted fumble recovery in the first half at Kyle Field. The play was ruled an incomplete pass negating the return.

It didn’t take long for me to get my first Johnny Football touchdown!

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 1000iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) trots over an SMU Mustangs defender on his way to a first quarter touchdown.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 1000iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual
Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) trots over an SMU Mustangs defender on his way to a first quarter touchdown.

Love when the plays happen right in front of me.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 1000iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel (center) celebrates a touchdown with wide receiver Malcome Kennedy who appears to be celebrating with a little "Show me the Money."

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 1000iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual
Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel (center) celebrates a touchdown with wide receiver Malcome Kennedy who appears to be celebrating with a little “Show me the Money.”

Most college teams (and pros for that matter) don’t allow photographers to take photos behind the team bench. Apparently here they didn’t seem to mind…. or maybe its because I would quickly fire off a frame or two as I walked past.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 1000iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel celebrates his rushing touchdown on the teams bench.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 1000iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual
Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel celebrates his rushing touchdown on the teams bench.

With my 600mm plus 1.4 converter aimed at Manziel, he would give me the perfect look for a shot.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm with 1.4 converter (840mm), 3200iso, f5.6, 1/800th, Manual Extreme closeup of Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel on the sidelines.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm with 1.4 converter (840mm), 3200iso, f5.6, 1/800th, Manual
Extreme closeup of Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel on the sidelines.

While I didn’t get the super dramatic light I was looking for I still would have plenty of great light to work with.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 2500iso, f4, 1/4000th, Manual SMU Mustangs kicker Chase Hover (42) kicks a field goal under intense pressure from the Texas A&M Aggies defense in the first quarter at Kyle Field.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 2500iso, f4, 1/4000th, Manual
SMU Mustangs kicker Chase Hover (42) kicks a field goal under intense pressure from the Texas A&M Aggies defense in the first quarter at Kyle Field.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 1600iso, f3.2, 1/6400th, Manual With a killer orange background of blown out fans, SMU Mustangs quarterback Garrett Gilbert (11) prepares to throw a pass against the Texas A&M Aggies.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 1600iso, f3.2, 1/6400th, Manual
With a killer orange background of blown out fans, SMU Mustangs quarterback Garrett Gilbert (11) prepares to throw a pass against the Texas A&M Aggies.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 2500iso, f4, 1/1600th, Manual SMU Mustangs quarterback Garrett Gilbert (11) throws a pass against the Texas A&M Aggies in the first half at Kyle Field.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 2500iso, f4, 1/1600th, Manual
SMU Mustangs quarterback Garrett Gilbert (11) throws a pass against the Texas A&M Aggies in the first half at Kyle Field.

I wanna kill myself for not getting any shots of Manziel with the burning orange background!

At least I would get tons of celebration shots as the Aggies scored touchdown after touchdown.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 5000iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel (center) celebrates a touchdown with teammates against the SMU Mustangs in the first half at Kyle Field.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 5000iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual
Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel (center) celebrates a touchdown with teammates against the SMU Mustangs in the first half at Kyle Field.

Even the defense got in on the action.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual Texas A&M Aggies defensive back Deshazor Everett (29) returns an interception for a touchdown against the SMU Mustangs in the first half at Kyle Field.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual
Texas A&M Aggies defensive back Deshazor Everett (29) returns an interception for a touchdown against the SMU Mustangs in the first half at Kyle Field.

While the score certainly didn’t show it, SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert is a very talented player. I didn’t realize it until I was doing this blog that I had shot Gilbert nearly four years ago when he was the backup quarterback for the Texas Longhorns and got called into the National Championship game when starter Colt McCoy suffered an injury.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/800th, Manual SMU Mustangs quarterback Garrett Gilbert (11) throws a pass against the Texas A&M Aggies in the first half at Kyle Field.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/800th, Manual
SMU Mustangs quarterback Garrett Gilbert (11) throws a pass against the Texas A&M Aggies in the first half at Kyle Field.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 8000iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel runs off the field after a third down against the SMU Mustangs in the second half at Kyle Field.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 8000iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual
Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel runs off the field after a third down against the SMU Mustangs in the second half at Kyle Field.

Show me the Money!

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 4000iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual Johnny Manziel celebrates a touchdown with what appears to be the "Show me the Money" sign. Fun stuff!

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 4000iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual
Johnny Manziel celebrates a touchdown with what appears to be the “Show me the Money” sign. Fun stuff!

My buddy Justin emailed me a list of future NFL prospects to shoot. One of the guys I was told to get was backup quarterback Matt Joeckel. Done.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 5000iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Matt Joeckel (16) against the SMU Mustangs in the second half at Kyle Field.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 5000iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual
Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Matt Joeckel (16) against the SMU Mustangs in the second half at Kyle Field.

After shooting Joeckel playing a few downs in the third quarter  I stuck around for a few more minutes before hitting the road for the three hour drive to my hotel.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 8000iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual SMU Mustangs running back Prescott Line (29) runs the ball as Texas A&M Aggies defenders take him down.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 8000iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual
SMU Mustangs running back Prescott Line (29) runs the ball as Texas A&M Aggies defenders take him down.

It was a hell of a tiring drive home through dark country roads with speed traps set up all over the place. Just when I started to get concerned with falling asleep at the wheel I came across a gas station where I bought two 5 Hour energy drinks and slammed them.

BIG MISTAKE!

I now cannot fall asleep even though I desperately need some before a full day of NHRA followed by an evening flight back to Phoenix.

The current time as I finish this blog posting is 5:14am.  Alarm is set to go off at 7:45.

And that my friends is the glamourous life of a traveling sports photographer.

Good night,  uh I mean morning!


 
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