31
Jan
After the fall I was literally three feet from Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis so I simply laid where I had fallen and got a pretty cool low angle of Lewis sobbing with his face to the grass. It was a cool moment to be so close to... even though I was in so much pain from my fall. The bruise lasted nearly two weeks. The embarrassment will certainly live on forever.

Nothing beats finding out you got a photo credential two days before a big playoff game. That would be the case for me with the AFC Divisional matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos. The game would take place in Denver where game time weather conditions were in the SINGLE DIGITS. By the end of this marathon game I wouldn’t be able to feel a SINGLE DIGIT on my hands. On to the game!

 

Before anyone freaks out at me for the lack of camera setting info, it will be back soon! I have just been struggling to figure out this new blog setup. Im getting close.

I would get to the stadium nearly three hours before the game which gave me plenty of time to relax as well as shoot some pre game images.

Baltimore Ravens players huddle in the tunnel just outside their locker room prior to the game against the Denver Broncos during the AFC divisional round playoff game at Sports Authority Field.

Baltimore Ravens players huddle in the tunnel just outside their locker room prior to the game against the Denver Broncos during the AFC divisional round playoff game at Sports Authority Field.

A few minutes later it was time to head out on the field to shoot some more warm up action.

Denver Broncos players huddle on the field prior to the game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Denver Broncos players huddle on the field prior to the game against the Baltimore Ravens.

There were several bad things about shooting in the cold weather I hated, but there was one thing I LOVED. With each breath the players took it would make a steam cloud in front of them. For someone who usually only shoots football indoors, it was quite the treat.

Steam envelopes Denver Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe as cold conditions in the single digits made life a little more difficult for taking photos of the game.

Steam envelopes Denver Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe as cold conditions in the single digits made life a little more difficult for taking photos of the game.

Everything was going great and I was getting plenty of photos I liked.

Then the first of many bad things would begin to occur.

About 20 minutes before I had planned to head to the field I got a prompt from Apple to do a software update. I had never had issues as the result of an Apple update so I thought nothing of it.

After the update completed and I restarted the computer I went back to editing a few more pics before hitting the field.

Only one problem. Evidently the apple suggested system update messed with my Photoshop permissions because no matter what I did it was impossible to save an image. Not exactly what you want to have happen before a major sporting event where deadlines are within minutes of the photos.

After shooting pre game photos I hauled ass to the media room to transmit photos to the wire. Evidently the apple suggested system update messed with my Photoshop permissions because no matter what I did it was impossible to save an image. What I ended up having to do was caption the photos and FTP the uncropped/uncompressed 36 megapixel images to the USA TODAY Sports photo desk.

What I ended up having to do was caption the photos and FTP the uncropped/uncompressed 36 megapixel images to the USA TODAY Sports photo desk where two of their editors had to deal with downloading the giant files and editing them for me.

After finally giving up on getting my photoshop to work I ran out to the field and caught the very end of Broncos team intros, luckily I got the one person I wanted to get.

After finally giving up on getting my photoshop to work I ran out to the field at the very end of player intros, luckily I got the one person I wanted to get, Peyton Manning.

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning greets teammates as he runs onto the field prior to the game against the Baltimore Ravens.

 

Obviously a big focus on this game would be Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, who had announced he would retire at the end of the season. I totally assumed the Broncos would win the game and I'd have images of a first ballot hall of famers final career game. Those are the images that can have long term editorial sales value.

Obviously a big focus on this game would be Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, who had announced he would retire at the end of the season. I totally assumed the Broncos would win the game and I’d have images of a first ballot hall of famers final career game. Those are the images that can have long term editorial value.

Enough pre game stuff, lets get to some action.

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin is tackled by the Denver Broncos defense in the first quarter.

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin is tackled by the Denver Broncos defense in the first quarter.

 

The Baltimore Ravens would get on the board with a long touchdown pass to wide receiver Torrey Smith in the first quarter.

The Baltimore Ravens would get on the board with a long touchdown pass to wide receiver Torrey Smith in the first quarter.

 

Ravens wide receiver Tandon Doss (bottom) is tackled by Denver Broncos cornerback Omar Bolden.

Ravens wide receiver Tandon Doss (bottom) is tackled by Denver Broncos cornerback Omar Bolden.

 

In beautiful light, Baltimore Ravens cornerback Corey Graham (24) returns an interception of a Peyton Manning pass for a touchdown.

In beautiful light, Baltimore Ravens cornerback Corey Graham (24) returns an interception of a Peyton Manning pass for a touchdown.

 

Denver Broncos safety Rahim Moore (26) sends Baltimore Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta airborne with this first half tackle.

Denver Broncos safety Rahim Moore (26) sends Baltimore Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta airborne with this first half tackle.

 

Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning throws a pass against the Baltimore Ravens.

Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning throws a pass against the Baltimore Ravens.

 

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith (82) makes a leaping catch for a touchdown as Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey helplessly looks on.

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith (82) makes a leaping catch for a touchdown as Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey helplessly looks on.

By the time the fourth quarter rolled around I had a couple problems.

First up, I could not feel my fingers at all. The expensive Under Armour gloves I bought did little to combat a few hours in the nearly below zero windchill adjusted temperature.

In addition to that problem, I was scheduled to fly home right after the game. I had allotted myself what I felt was a few hours from when game would end till I had to be at the airport.

I forgot how many more TV timeouts an NFL playoff game has so as the second half went on I really started to worry about missing my flight.

Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning throws a pass downfield against the Ravens.

Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning throws a pass downfield against the Ravens.

The score of the game went back and forth. It was an awesome game to witness…. even if the night wasn’t going my way.

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice celebrates a rushing touchdown with a Mile High Salute against the Denver Broncos in the third quarter.

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice celebrates a rushing touchdown with a Mile High Salute against the Denver Broncos in the third quarter.

The game would go into not only overtime but DOUBLE overtime. I accepted the fact I would not be making my flight home.

Baltimore Ravens cornerback Corey Graham tackles Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman.

Baltimore Ravens cornerback Corey Graham tackles Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman.

A few minutes into the second overtime period the game would come to an end courtesy of a kickers foot.

The amazing game would end with this boring photo of Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker kicking the game winning field goal in double overtime against the Denver Broncos during the AFC divisional round playoff game at Sports Authority Field.  The Ravens defeated the Broncos 38-35.

The amazing game would end with this boring photo of Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker kicking the game winning field goal in double overtime against the Denver Broncos during the AFC divisional round playoff game at Sports Authority Field. The Ravens defeated the Broncos 38-35.

As soon as the kick went through the uprights ending the Ravens shocking win I would run as fast as I possibly could out to Ray Lewis. I was nearly to the center of the field when I noticed him just to my left. I would make a sharp turn at speed and sadly my shoes didn’t have enough traction and I crashed HARD!

The pain of nailing the ground with my knee nailing my 400mm lens on the ground it was such a sharp pain I initially debated just laying on the ground in pain. Luckily my photographer instinct took over and I went to work.

After the fall I was literally three feet from Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis so I simply laid where I had fallen and got a pretty cool low angle of Lewis sobbing with his face to the grass. It was a cool moment to be so close to... even though I was in so much pain from my fall. The bruise lasted nearly two weeks. The embarrassment will certainly live on forever.

After the fall I was literally three feet from Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis so I simply laid where I had fallen and got a pretty cool low angle of Lewis sobbing with his face to the grass. It was a cool moment to be so close to… even though I was in so much pain from my fall. The bruise lasted nearly two weeks. The embarrassment will certainly live on forever.

 

By now the media had completely surrounded Ray Lewis but somehow Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was able to make his way to Ray which resulted in this shot of the two future hall of famers last game against each other.

By now the media had completely surrounded Ray Lewis but somehow Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was able to make his way to Ray which resulted in this shot of the two future hall of famers last game against each other.

 

After the quick congratulations, Manning hastily left the field. His amazing season at a premature conclusion.

After the quick congratulations, Manning hastily left the field. His amazing season at a premature conclusion.

That wraps up the fourth longest game in NFL HISTORY.

Needless to say I missed my flight.

Oh, and the fall damaged one of my cameras and will result in a couple thousand worth of repairs.

The crazy thing is the game was so good that it was worth all the drama!

Now time to go pack for tomorrows trip to New Orleans to cover the Super Bowl!


 
Posted in Colorado, Football, NFL, Sports   4 Comments

4 responses to “Ray Lewis extends career with dramatic win over Broncos”

  1. David Joseph says:

    Mark!

    Wonderful stories come to life with your images which are
    a joy to view on your sports blog ! Good luck in New Orleans this weekend!

  2. Eric Yamaguchi says:

    Mark, I wanted to comment about your work. You are the best at what you do.

  3. Keith says:

    You killed it will that Ray Lewis on the ground shot. Fantastic job, does it make me a creeper that every day I secretly wanna be you? Most feel that way!! Great job!!!

  4. Scott says:

    Awesome pics. Painful for a Broncos fan, but that’s football.

    The 5th pic (of Joe Flacco) has an unusual watermark.

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