3 Football Games in 2 days in 2 states

One of the awesome and/or terrible things about my occupation is assignments can come up out of nowhere and a completely eliminate what I thought would be a nice relaxing weekend at home. This blog is a perfect example of my wild and crazy life.

So it was a nice and relaxing Friday. I am literally laying in bed editing photos when I get a call from one of my clients asking me if I could catch a flight in a little while to Dallas. Of course I said yes, then he tells me, “The flight leaves in 90 minutes.”

Upon hearing that I literally jump out of bed and begin to pack my travel bag as I stay on the phone hearing details of the shoot in Texas.

The plan is for me to fly to Dallas, get a good nights sleep then Saturday do something I have only done one other time in my life. Cover two football games in one day.

Now offhand that doesn’t sound very hard of a schedule but I assure you that it is. With the amount of running around I do at football games I am typically completely worn out following a game. Now to do one game then run to my rental car so I can drive 45 minutes to another game was practically suicidal. I’m a sucker for punishment though so I was pretty excited to do it.

So before I would get to experience the excitement of two games in one day I still had to get to Dallas. If any of you guys follow me on my Facebook page you already know that I always have crazy things happen to me when I travel, this day would be no exception.

So when you get a flight on 90 minutes notice you can pretty much know that the itinerary is going to suck. In a perfect world I would be on a direct flight to Dallas. The world isn’t perfect though so my itinerary instead took me on Delta Airlines from Phoenix to Memphis with a two hour layover there and then over to Dallas Fort Worth.

The flight from Phoenix to Memphis went off without issue. As I was pulling up to the gate in Memphis I was joking with friends online that the last two times I have flown Delta through Memphis that each time the plane for my connection was broken and I had been screwed. I told them if that happened today that I would burn down the airport.

So of course as soon as I got off the plane I headed to the flight status board to see what the status of my flight was. What I saw nearly put me into a blind rage. The flight was delayed by 2 hours with the potential of a cancellation due to mechanical issues.

With some quick action I was able to switch to a flight to Dallas Love Field instead of to Dallas Fort Worth where I was originally supposed to go. Ok enough of the travel nonsense, the last thing you guys need to hear about is the horrific Super Shuttle driver who smelled like a punctured sewer main.

On to the games….

I have shot some games at the old Texas Stadium so I was pretty excited to shoot at the new Cowboys Stadium. A few years ago I was across the street at the Rangers Ballpark for a baseball game and shot the football stadium under construction so it was gonna be awesome to see the finished product.

Below, the windows of Cowboys Stadium reflect the parking lot.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 250iso, f4.5, 1/1000th, Aperture Priority

Prior to the game my good buddy Justin Tooley was telling me that I needed to shoot the hell outta Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett since he is projected to be a high pick in the NFL draft. With that in mind I made it a point to try and get as many shots of him as possible.

Below, Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback (15) Ryan Mallett warms up prior to the game against the Texas A&M Aggies at Cowboys Stadium.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 1250iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

All stadiums seem to have different rules about where photogs can shoot prior to the game. Some stadiums allow you on the field as the teams run out and some don’t. When Arkansas players came out prior to the game I decided to push my limits and go on the field with a wide angle to invade Malletts personal space, below.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, 1250iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Below, the Arkansas Razorbacks cheerleader lead the team out onto the field prior to the game against the Texas A&M Aggies at Cowboys Stadium.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, 1250iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback Ryan Mallett calls a play at the line against the Texas A&M Aggies at Cowboys Stadium, below.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 1250iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

I gotta say that I have been to countless stadiums all around the world and the new Cowboys Stadium surpassed the Birds Nest in Beijing, China as the coolest stadium I have ever been to. On top of spacious sidelines and great light, it was just a great stadium to be at.

Below, Arkansas Razorbacks wide receiver (3) Joe Adams celebrates with teammates after catching a touchdown pass in the first quarter against the Texas A&M Aggies at Cowboys Stadium.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Below, Texas A&M Aggies quarterback (1) Jerrod Johnson runs the ball in the first half against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Cowboys Stadium.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 1250iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

I always hate when there is a play that would make for a sweet photo except the player screws up and misses the ball.

The below photo is one such example as Texas A&M Aggies tight end (19) Michael Lamothe was unable to catch a pass in the end zone in the first quarter.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Below, Texas A&M Aggies running back (33) Christine Michael celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the first quarter against the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Texas A&M Aggies quarterback (1) Jerrod Johnson runs the ball in the second quarter against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Cowboys Stadium, below.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Following an interception, Arkansas Razorbacks safety (5) Tramain Thomas celebrates a fumble recovery in the second quarter against the Texas A&M Aggies, below.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

One of my favorite images of the game ended up being the below frame where a referee got in the way of a play and was knocked over. Note quarterback Mallett in background reacting to the ref interfering with the play.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

A new feature I think I might add to my football blos if a photo of my favorite cheerleader of the game. Below is my first recipient of the “Mark is a creep and here is his favorite girl” photo of the game!

Nikon D700, 400mm with 1.4 convertor (550mm), 2000iso, f4, 1/640th, Manual

In the second half my new favorite stadium became even better as some awesome light pockets began creeping their way across the field.

Below is a detailed view of the feet of a referee as he is bathed in light.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 800iso, f4, 1/2500th, Manual

Since I had a pretty solid first half of images I decided the light pockets were too sweet to not spend a lot of time shooting. By exposing for the bright light hitting the field it made the backgrounds really dark. While it made for awesome photos when the players were in the sunlight, the images were completely useless if the players weren’t in the sun. Its all good, it was a risk I was willing to take for some cool shots.

Below, Arkansas Razorbacks center (64) Travis Swanson against the Texas A&M Aggies.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 500iso, f2.8, 1/2000th, Manual

The below frame is probably an example of a photo that is too “artsy” but I still love it with Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Ryan Tannehill the only person lit by the sunlight as he holds the ball on a field goal attempt against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Cowboys Stadium.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 500iso, f2.8, 1/2000th, Manual

Below, Texas A&M Aggies linebacker (37) Michael Hodges tackles Arkansas Razorbacks wide receiver (85) Greg Childs at Cowboys Stadium.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 2000iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

I really wanted to get some cool pics of Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett in the light pockets so I was pretty happy in the fourth quarter when it finally happened.

Below, Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback (15) Ryan Mallett hands the ball off to running back (29) Broderick Green in the fourth quarter against the Texas A&M Aggies at Cowboys Stadium.

Nikon D700, 400mm with 1.4 convertor (550mm), 400iso, f4, 1/2000th, Manual

That pic was cool but I really wanted Mallett as the main focus of the photo. The below frame was pretty much exactly what I had hoped for.

Nikon D700, 400mm with 1.4 convertor (550mm), 400iso, f4, 1/2500th, Manual

Texas A&M Aggies head coach Mike Sherman walks the sidelines in the fourth quarter, below.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 200iso, f2.8, 1/5000th, Manual

By shooting from more of a side angle I was able to make the light pockets look even more dramatic for the below frame of Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback Ryan Mallett as he prepares to take the snap against the Texas A&M Aggies at Cowboys Stadium.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 100iso, f2.8, 1/2000th, Manual

The below photo is a wide angle shot showing the sunlight bathing a sliver of fans in the grandstands late in the fourth quarter.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 100iso, f2.8, 1/2000th, Manual

The game ended up being pretty close and came down to a hail mary attempt by the Aggies on the last play of the game, below. Unfortunately for A&M the pass was intercepted by Arkansas Razorbacks safety (5) Tramain Thomas to seal the game.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 1250iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Below, Thomas ripped off his helmet to celebrate the victory with his teammates.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 1250iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Right after that photo I literally ran to my car to make the 40 minute drive to my second game.

I ended up leaving the first game at 6:10 and hauled ass to SMU for the second game which would kickoff at 7pm.

I missed the first 6 minutes of first quarter which was pretty impressive considering the distance between the two fields.

Below is a wide angle view of Gerald J. Ford Stadium during the first quarter between the SMU Mustangs against the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 4000iso, f2.8, 1/2000th, Manual

While going from Cowboys Stadium to this one felt like going from a supermodel girl to a homely girl I was very impressed by the great lights which rivaled any NFL stadium I have ever shot at.

The game wasn’t very important but I would shoot it like any other game and get the standard quarterback shots first then worrying about game action.

Below, Tulsa Golden Hurricanes quarterback (4) G.J. Kinne throws a pass in the first quarter against the SMU Mustangs at Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Below, Mustangs quarterback (2) Kyle Padron throws a pass in the first quarter against the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes at Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Golden Hurricanes halfback Charles Clay (below) gets upended in the first half against the SMU Mustangs at Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Here is my choice for hot cheerleader of the second game….

Nikon D700, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Probably my favorite photo of the second game would be the below shot as SMU Mustangs wide receiver (11) Cole Beasley dives into the end zone for a touchdown as he is taken down by Tulsa Golden Hurricanes guard (95) Rashad Robinson in the second quarter at Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

For the second half I decided to go up to the roof of the stadium and shoot some different angles.

Below, SMU Mustangs players pray in the end zone prior to the start of the second half against the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes at Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Anytime a helmet flies off in a photo it always makes it cooler. Look to the right in the below frame as Tulsa Golden Hurricanes defensive end (93) Cory Dorris has his helmet knocked off while Mustangs quarterback (2) Kyle Padron throws a pass in the second half at Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

I liked the below photo as Tulsa snapper (44) Bo Abbott lined up to snap the ball against SMU because the bright lights created cool crisscrossing shadows in the third quarter.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Below, Tulsa Golden Hurricanes linebacker (55) Shawn Jackson tips the pass from SMU Mustangs quarterback (2) Kyle Padron in the second half at Gerald J. Ford Stadium. SMU defeated Tulsa 21-18.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

That wrapped up two college football games in one day. Following the second game it was over to Chilis for a few hours of editing photos before getting five hours of sleep and heading home to Phoenix where I would shoot the Saints vs the Cardinals.

While I can’t blog my photos from the NFL games there is no rule against displaying web clips from websites that use my photos. Below are a few from the game….

Below, in this ESPN.com clip Arizona Cardinals wide receiver (11) Larry Fitzgerald runs the ball in the second quarter against the New Orleans Saints at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Below, in this ESPN.com photos of the week gallery you can see my shot of Arizona Cardinals running back Beanie Wells (right) as he stiff arms New Orleans Saints defensive end Jeff Charleston at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Rookie quarterback Max Hall (who I shot last year at BYU) made a great splash in his first career NFL start which led to lots of usages of Hall pics like the below ESPN.com clip….

…..and the below yahoo.com clip.

Below, in this ESPN.com NFL gallery New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees throws a touchdown pass in the first quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.

In the below USA Today web clip you can see Arizona Cardinals safety (25) Kerry Rhodes as he celebrates with the fans after returning a fumble for a touchdown in the second half against the New Orleans Saints at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Below, in this USA Today football gallery you see Cardinals quarterback Max Hall as he throws a pass right towards me.

Late in the game New Orleans Saints wide receiver (17) Robert Meachem catches a touchdown under pressure from Arizona Cardinals cornerback Michael Adams in the below web clip from USA Today.

And with that we wrap up a ridiculously long and busy two days of shooting three football games. I honestly can’t wait to do it again!

4 Responses to “3 Football Games in 2 days in 2 states”

  1. Thierry says:

    hello Mark
    has an opportunity it would be interesting to share with us behind the scenes of such an adventure (even using a mobile phone), how has the journey camera equipment (in cabin or hold), accréditations, Room press …
    best regard from France

  2. Frederic says:

    Mark,

    nice blog as usual. I really like how you get to play with the light pockets when you have them. This really makes some nice pictures.

    It’s too bad you can’t blog about NFL games anymore.

  3. Preston says:

    Great shot of Mallett. Hope he is a first rounder

  4. ADOT says:

    wow great stuff. first time reader her, and definitely a fan now.
    those light pocket shots are dope! good work man

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