20
Jan

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After missing my first Rose Bowl in six years I was excited to make the trip a few days later to sunny California to cover the BCS Championship game which is essentially the second biggest football game on Earth behind the Super Bowl. All that I could think about leading up to the game was I hoped to have a good game and not screw up.

I got to the Los Angeles area a day prior to the game to pick up credentials and later meet up with some good friends for some random shenanigans.

For game day it was important to get to the Rose Bowl several hours prior to the 5pm kickoff to avoid the horrific LA traffic. Even getting there close to five hours early saw us sitting in some pretty crappy traffic making a 15 minute drive to the stadium closer to an hour drive.

Below, outside the Rose Bowl fans are kept back to allow room for the Alabama Crimson Tide players to make their way to the locker room.

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Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 400iso, f5.6, 1/1000th, Manual

One Alabama fan stood atop a van to get a better view of the festivities, below.

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Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 400iso, f5.6, 1/1250th, Manual

On the field prior to the game I spotted the BCS champion trophy. It is a football made from crystal. I underexposed the background quite a bit in the below photo to give the trophy the appearance of it glowing.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 400iso, f4.5, 1/2000th, Aperture Priority

The media room at the stadium is perfectly situated behind an end zone right between the walk ways each team uses to get to the field. An added bonus this year was some nice bright lights (for TV) lighting up the walkway. I set up off to the side in the tunnel that the Texas Longhorns would be using and shot the below photo of quarterback Colt McCoy as he made his way out to the field.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/400th, Manual

A few seconds later I shot wider to get the rest of the team as they headed out to the field.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/400th, Manual

After shooting Texas I made the 10 second walk to the other tunnel to try and shoot Alabama heading out.

Below, Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy waits for his teammates prior to heading out to the field for warm ups.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/500th, Manual

For big games such as this where I am working with multiple photographers we come up with a plan prior to the game to ensure we cover the game as well as possible. With our three man team we had one person in each end zone who wouldn’t move while a third person would roam the sidelines. For the first half of the game I was set up in an end zone so I was hopeful the action would come to my corner.

Right before kickoff in front of me Alabama male cheerleaders (below) waved their team colors……….

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Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/500th, Manual

……..while behind me the Alabama dancers laughed it up while fireworks exploded behind them. Which view would you choose?

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Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/400th, Manual

One of the more interesting angles of the game was that the Heisman Trophy winner, Alabama running back Mark Ingram was up against Heisman runner up, Texas quarterback Colt McCoy. They were the two players I was hoping to get lots of good photos of.

Below, Texas Longhorns quarterback Colt McCoy throws a pass early in the game. (It would be the only action photo I would get of him since he went out a few plays later with an injury).

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1000th, Manual

I noticed the smoke from the pre game pyrotechnics lingering over the field so I shot the below wide shot of some action on the field. If only they had been closer to the camera, it could have been a great shot.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1250th, Manual

As I mentioned earlier, I was in one position for the entire first half and hopeful that I would get some action in my corner. The last National Championship game I shot (2006 BCS Bowl between Ohio State and Florida) I was in a corner the entire game that never saw a single touchdown to.

Luckily this game wouldn’t be like that as in the second quarter Alabama Crimson Tide running back Mark Ingram (22) would break through Texas defenders and run into the end zone for the first touchdown of the game, below.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1000th, Manual

Below, Ingram is mobbed by teammates as he celebrates.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1000th, Manual

19 minutes later I would once again be rewarded as Alabama Crimson Tide running back Trent Richardson broke through Texas defenders at midfield…..

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1000th, Manual

…..and ran about 50 yards right at me for a touchdown.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1000th, Manual

When the action was at the other end of the field I would use a 600mm to stay on top of the action.

Below, Texas Longhorns wide receiver (9) Malcolm Williams leaps for a pass in the end zone under pressure from Alabama defensive backs (4) Mark Barron and (24) Marquis Johnson. Williams was unable to come up with the pass.

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Nikon D700, 600mm, 4000iso, f4, 1000th, Manual

Below, Alabama Crimson Tide running back Trent Richardson (3) goes airborne as he is tackled by Texas Longhorns safety Earl Thomas (12).

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1000th, Manual

Just before halftime Texas had the ball deep in their own territory and instead of playing it safe and letting the clock run down to zero to end the quarter they threw a pass that was intercepted by Alabama Crimson Tide defensive lineman Marcell Dareus (57) which he returned to the end zone for a touchdown, below.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1000th, Manual

The big man was a happy fellow as he celebrated the big play.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1000th, Manual

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1000th, Manual

Normally at halftime I have to frantically edit photos and transmit them but at this game we had card runners and editors in the media room so I instead took a few minute break to grab some water. On my way out to the field I once again shot in the walkway to the field  as Alabama players headed back out to the field.

Below, Alabama defensive lineman (95) Brandon Deaderick and linebacker (10) Jerrell Harris head back to the field for the second half.

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Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 4000iso, f2.8, 1/400th, Manual

While shooting there I noticed a spot where I could get an all black background for photos. I was hoping to use the spot to shoot running back Mark Ingram but he had already passed so I instead settled for the below shot of Alabama Crimson Tide defensive lineman Terrence Cody.

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Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 4000iso, f2.8, 1/320th, Manual

Below, Members of the Texas marching band react during the second half of the game.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 640th, Manual

One of my favorite things to shoot in sports is when crazy fans run out on the field. With the hefty fines and jail time the trespassers receive it has become more and more rare of an occurrence. That didn’t stop one crazy fan from doing it during the game. While reviewing images on my camera I heard fans going crazy and looked up to see the below fan doing a cartwheel on the 50 yard line wearing booty shorts with “Howard Stern” written on his ass.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1000th, Manual

After the cartwheel he ran around some more……

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1000th, Manual

……before peacefully surrendering to stadium security.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1000th, Manual

Ok back to the game.

Below, Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Greg McElroy (12) throws a pass in the third quarter against the Texas Longhorns.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1000th, Manual

At the beginning of this blog I had mentioned how I wanted to get some good shots of Heisman trophy winner Mark Ingram so when I nailed the below photo of him flying through the air on a play I was more than happy with my evening. Anything else would simply be an added bonus.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1000th, Manual

Anytime a player loses his helmet during a play it can make for a cool shot. Below, Alabama running back Trent Richardson loses his helmet as he is sandwiched between several Texas Longhorn defenders.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1000th, Manual

Midway through the fourth quarter the Longhorns began making a comeback.

Texas Longhorns quarterback Garrett Gilbert (3) throws a pass as he is pressured by Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Robby Green (23), below.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1250th, Manual

Texas Longhorns wide receiver Jordan Shipley (8) catches a pass for a touchdown, below.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1000th, Manual

After the touchdown, instead of kicking a field goal, Texas went for the two point conversion where wide receiver Dan Buckner (below) made the catch for two bringing the Longhorns within three points with just over two minutes remaining in the game.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1250th, Manual

Unfortunately for Texas their amazing comeback derailed with a fumble for a turnover and Alabama only needed to run down the clock to complete their perfect season.

Below, a dejected Texas quarterback Colt McCoy sits helplessly on the sidelines as the clock runs down to zero in the last game of his college career.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 640th, Manual

As soon as the clock hit zero I sprinted as fast as I could to the center of the field to get the below frame of Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban (left) shaking hands with Texas Longhorns head coach Mack Brown after the 2010 BCS national championship game at the Rose Bowl.

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Nikon D700, 17-35mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

After the coaches shot I frantically looked all around for any of the star players of the game celebrating. I nearly ran into Alabama running back Mark Ingram (below) as he celebrated with a number one.

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Nikon D700, 17-35mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Since he was the player of the game I decided to stay near him, well until I saw a sad Colt McCoy approaching, below.

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Nikon D700, 17-35mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

When you are shooting in the scrum (scrum-mass congregation of media) it can be tough to get a good shot and ultimately it takes some luck to get the good shot. Below, when Ingram greeted McCoy I got bumped into a bad position behind and as you can see I had no chance in hell of getting a good shot of the moment.

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Nikon D700, 17-35mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

A few minutes later during the trophy presentation I stood on the teams bench on the sideline to try and shoot over the mass of media, fans and family around the stage. While the bottom of the frame is blocked it didn’t bother me too much because it gives the photo some depth and a decent layering effect.

Below, Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban holds up the Coaches’ Trophy and celebrates after defeating the Texas Longhorns 37-21 in the 2010 BCS national championship game at the Rose Bowl.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1250th, Manual

After presenting the trophy to the coach he handed it to the players to celebrate as confetti filled the air.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1000th, Manual

After searching around for more photos to shoot I saw Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Rolando McClain as he was walking off the field holding the  championship trophy.

After shooting a standard (boring) shot of him with the trophy (below)….

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Nikon D700, 17-35mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/800th, Manual

…..then I held the camera close to the trophy as he held it up for the cheering fans……

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Nikon D700, 17-35mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/800th, Manual

And then dropped down low beneath his extended arm and shot a nice clean shot with the dark sky as my background, below.

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Nikon D700, 17-35mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/800th, Manual

My last shot of the game was running back Mark Ingram yelling to the fans as he walked off the field.

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Nikon D700, 17-35mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/640th, Manual

About an hour after the game our whole team of Photographers, Editors and Card Runners went back out on the field for the below group photo.

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That wraps up a very fun and successful championship game. Can’t wait till next year when the championship game will be played in Arizona.

CLICK HERE to view all my images from the game


Here are some web clips:

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Posted in California, Football, NCAA, Sports   | 5 Comments

5 responses to “Tide Roll over Longhorns in BCS Bowl”

  1. John Mersits says:

    Mark ~ Great photos!! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Great game hun! You really were on that night!

    I do believe I should get some credit! I mean come on, you know more than half of those screen grabs, that I took BTW, were because I was all over that field out-running and tripping all other card runners!

  3. Masden says:

    So much Canon around you !! why that !

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