28
Nov

One of the joys of being a photographer is the random shoot that comes up out of nowhere and you go from a Thanksgiving you thought you’d be spending at home on the couch to a big football game in Dallas as the Cowboys were matched up against the Seattle Seahawks. The last time I shot the Seahawks they were a first place playoff team. This year…..not so much. To see how this match up turned out continue reading.

As you guys have probably figured out by now when I shoot a football game the first thing I do is knock out some pre-game photos to kill some time. With this game being played on Thanksgiving I took to the parking lot encircling Texas Stadium in search of some Thanksgiving feature photos. To my luck I couldn’t find much to shoot (I think I went out there too early) I did find two guys with funny hats so I popped off a photo of them. 

Nikon D3, 14-24mm, 250iso, f5.6, 1/1000th

With there only being a few more games in the stadium before its torn down I made it a point to shoot an exterior shot for my archive.

Nikon D3, 14-24mm, 250iso, f5.6, 1/1600th

After that I headed back in the stadium to get set up for the game (and a decent Thanksgiving media lunch!)

I totally want this guys mask!

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 1600iso, f4, 1/1000th

Unlike the great pre-game access in Arizona, unless your special (which I’m obviously not) you can’t shoot player introductions from the field.

Last year at a game in Dallas I was able to sneak into the tunnel for introductions and got these cool photos of a group of players as well as quarterback Tony Romo.

2007 Photo with Nikon D200, 10.5-17mm, 1250iso, f3.5, 1/200th

2007 Photo with Nikon D200, 10.5-17mm, 1000iso, f3.5, 1/160th

2007 Photo with Nikon D200, 10.5-17mm, 1000iso, f3.5, 1/160th

Back to this year. 

Here was as good as I was able to get.

Nikon D3, 14-24mm, 1600iso, f4, 1/1000th

Pretty damn lame compared to last year I’d have to say!

Usually for football I shoot with another photographer and we work as a team to cover everything but this game I was solo and really had to work my ass off as I attempted to cover the game as well as I could. 

As usual getting some quarterback photos shot and posted on the web was of importance so I did some of that of each quarterback.

Matt Hasselbeck-

Nikon D3, 400mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/1250th

Nikon D3, 400mm, 5000iso, f2.8, 1/1000th

Tony Romo-

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

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

Back to some game action.

Jason Witten is tackled.

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

Jason Witten blocks for an extra point.

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

Cowboys running back (24) Marion Barber celebrates a touchdown with a teammate.

Nikon D3, 400mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/1250th

After shooting the above Cowboys jube I headed to the other endzone (where I had my laptop set up) and transmitted some images.

In the next quarter of the game the Cowboys were coming towards the endzone I was in and since they had opened up a good sized lead I pretty much switched into covering the Cowboys much more than the Seahawks.

While in the endzone I shot a wide shot of the stadium.

Nikon D3, 14-24mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/2000th

That was a pretty cool angle so I began to hope for a way to incorporate it into more of an action type shot.

A few minutes later I got my chance (kinda).

Cowboys tight end Jason Witten caught a touchdown pass in front of me that I shot with my 80-200.

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

After catching the pass he ran past me towards the fans so I jumped up with the wide angle and ran towards him to see if I could get anything cool.

He ran to the crowd and it appeared he looked for the first fan wearing one of his jerseys and tossed him the ball.

Nikon D3, 14-24mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/2000th

Then I had to move quickly from his way as he turned around to run back to the sidelines. After he passed me I somewhat got a shot that represented what I had envisioned (not as cool as I wanted though).

Nikon D3, 14-24mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/2000th

So at this point the story of the game was the domination by Dallas and I had some decent stuff to convey that story but still nothing amazing. Over the course of the next few minutes the story changed to the abuse Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was taking as he was about to be sacked numerous times.

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

For the above shot I was laying flat on the ground and it really cleaned up the backgrounds for me. 

Normally I don’t get good sack shots because I usually stay ahead of the play so the sack shots are blocked but with this game I was editing a lot between plays so I didn’t follow Seattle as they drove away from me. It worked out well when the sacking began.

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

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

That was just two of the sacks. By games end he had been sacked 7 times!

Seattle had to resort to a field goal just before halftime.

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

Normally at halftime I am busy as can be transmitting images before the third quarter begins but with how I had been transmitting as I shot I didn’t need to move much so I instead shot the Jonas Brothers as they played a concert set. (I would rather shoot myself but my buddy Robert Caplin is a HUGE Jonas Brothers fan so I chose to hook him up!)

Nikon D3, 400mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/1600th

Nikon D3, 400mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/1600th

The below photo is titled “flamer.”

Nikon D3, 400mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/1600th

Shooting all these photos of a boyband was making me feel a little less than manly so I did what any guy would do.

I shot the cheerleaders!

Nikon D3, 400mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/1600th

I fired off a few more photos before getting ready for the game to resume.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1250th

Once the second half began it was back to sacking Hasselbeck. DeMarcus Ware who would go on to be named player of the game had his glory.

Nikon D3, 400mm, 5000iso, f2.8, 1/1000th

Ware jumped to his feet after the sack and began screaming and dancing.

Nikon D3, 400mm, 5000iso, f2.8, 1/1000th

After shooting that sack and jube I quickly ran back to the other side to transmit the images. Dallas had the ball back and was driving away from me but I chose to continue sending photos since I had some solid stuff.

A long deep play put the Cowboys in the red zone and something inside my head told me to haul ass down there and see what I could come up with. 

Thankfully I did as future hall of famer Terrell Owens caught a touchdown pass and had a nice celebration. Anything with T.O. seems to sell well so hopefully these photos continue with the trend.

Nikon D3, 400mm, 5000iso, f2.8, 1/1000th

Nikon D3, 400mm, 5000iso, f2.8, 1/1000th

Nikon D3, 400mm, 5000iso, f2.8, 1/1000th

As you would expect I hustled back to the other side to transmit the celebration shots.

While editing the assault of Matt Hasselbeck continued.

Nikon D3, 400mm, 5000iso, f2.8, 1/1000th

While editing I saw Cowboys running back Marion Barber being walked to the locker room. Anytime a starter leaves the game with an injury its newsworthy but when its the teams start running back it becomes especially important. I grabbed my cameras and ran as fast as I could to a position by the tunnel to get him walking towards me.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 4000iso, f2.8, 1/800th

The shot worked for what I needed but I stayed for a few more seconds after we walked past me to see if there was another angle that could look good.

I found the angle as he walked up the incline in the tunnel. The lines and colors made it a pretty solidand story telling photo in my opinion.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 4000iso, f2.8, 1/250th

Headed back to the field just in time to shoot one of my favorite shots of the game as two players tangled in an attempt to catch a pass. The expressions really add to the photo.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 5000iso, f2.8, 1/1000th

Seattle ended up punting the ball and it put the Cowboys real close to the endzone I was shooting/transmitting from so I laid flat on the ground to try and come up with a different perspective from the boring eye level shot everyone does.

The play ended up being a Tony Romo handoff which worked well since he turned towards me on the play as opposed to just seeing his back if he had thrown a pass.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 4000iso, f2.8, 1/800th

Nearing the end of the game one of my editors texted me to tell me to try and get something of Hasselbeck and head coach Mike Holmgren which showed that it wasn’t a good day for them.

Hasselbeck-

Nikon D3, 400mm, 5000iso, f2.8, 1/1000th

Holmgren-

Nikon D3, 400mm, 5000iso, f2.8, 1/1000th

As George Bush would say, Mission Accomplished!

The game ended and I stuck close to Terrell Owens as he celebrated while leaving the field.

Nikon D3, 14-24mm, 5000iso, f2.8, 1/640th

After the Marion Barber tunnel photo I really wanted to use the tunnel again for a shot because I love how it looked. While not as dramatic this shot still worked.

Nikon D3, 14-24mm, 5000iso, f2.8, 1/640th

I went wider real qucik to show all the fans in the crowd trying to high five their hero.

Nikon D3, 14-24mm, 5000iso, f2.8, 1/640th

And with that my game was over and I transmitted some final images before heading to Champps for a well deserved Thanksgiving drink!

Heres some of the web clippings I’ve found so far from the game.

picture-4



 

 

 

 


 
Posted in Football, NFL, Sports, Texas   | 6 Comments

6 responses to “Matt Hasselbeck is a sack lunch for the Cowboys defense”

  1. mae says:

    love your photos, shooting football isnt easy. next time take charlie with you

  2. Mark, I love your work and commentary. You provide top notch work and the commentary of a comedian.

    I added you and shot you a message on Facebook a couple days ago hoping to hear from you. I really like your style and have learned a lot from your work as I photograph college football for my university.

    I was really excited to see this update from you because I watched that entire game and had no idea you were shooting it. It’s always cool to keep an eye out for friends of mine shooting televised games.

    I wish I had come across your site earlier so I could apply some ideas and techniques to my work work.

    Keep up the good work my friend. I would love to have the chance to pick at your brain for a bit because I have a lot of questions in mind and no photographers here that would be worth asking.

    I look forward to your next update!

    Hope to hear from you soon,

    – Chris

  3. Frederic says:

    Mark,

    This is a very interresting post (like most if not all posts on this blog).
    Great pictures and stories behind them.


    Frederic

  4. Pete Tiley says:

    Nice work once again and I urge you to arrange a swap with me so I can sample the delights of the NFL whilst you can cover some good old English Rugby !!! Remember at school when kids you to come over from other nations? You can stay at my Mums !!!!

  5. michael vettas says:

    the image with the tunnel shot and the crowd makes the tunnel look like a tv screen, very cool Mark.

  6. If I had known you were coming to Dallas, I would have just skipped watching on TV and waited for your photos and commentary!

    Very nice work!

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