TCU finishes off perfect season in New Mexico

Living in Arizona is a great place for sports photography because there is a lot of sports to shoot. The bad thing is due to the heat, games are either played in domes or at night. Both of which rob photographers of getting to shoot games with cool sunlight and light pockets. Every once in awhile though we get rewarded with some day games.

A week ago I had a great weekend as I would shoot a college football game in Arizona that was a day game followed by another college game in Albuquerque, NM that would be a day game that ended in the dark. Here are some favorites from the two shoots.

First game would be in Tempe, AZ with the Arizona State Sun Devils taking on the UCLA Bruins.

Below, members of the ASU marching band line up on the field prior to the game.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 400iso, f5, 1/4000th, Manual

Sun Devils linebacker Gerald Munns lets out a cloud of spit (below) as he runs out on the field prior to the game against UCLA at Sun Devil Stadium.

Nikon D700, 400mm with 1.4 convertor (550mm), 500iso, f5.6, 1/1000th, Manual

Below, UCLA Bruins quarterback (12) Richard Brehaut gets a little face mask action on as he scrambles against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 250iso, f4.5, 1/4000th, Manual

Thousands of fans, and one cock, fill the student section, below.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 200iso, f4.5, 1/4000th, Manual

The below photo is the result of not checking my exposure on the “oh shit camera” and using it on a play in the end zone. Lesson of the story is check your settings always!

Nikon D3, 24-70mm, 500iso, f4, 1/500th, Manual

Below, Arizona State Sun Devils safety (20) Jonathan Clark dives in an attempt to block a punt in the first half against the UCLA Bruins.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 320iso, f4, 1/3200th, Manual

As the game progressed the field went from being fully in the sun to portions being shrouded in shade which made it a little tougher to get good photos because you had to constantly change camera settings based on whether the play would be in the sun or the shade.

Below, Arizona State Sun Devils running back (26) Cameron Marshall runs the ball in the first half.

Nikon D700, 400mm with 1.4 convertor (550mm), 320iso, f4, 1/2000th, Manual

Fellow shooter Darryl Webb makes friends with a pair of much bigger than him players as they run out of bounds in the end zone on the sidelines. Webb (and his gear) would be ok following the collision.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 320iso, f4, 1/500th, Aperture Priority

Prior to the start of the second half I noticed ASU backup quarterback Samson Szakacsy on the edge of the sunlight with the field in shadows of darkness behind him, below. Imagine if one day this guy became a famous star like Tom Brady or Dan Marino, this photo would make magazine and book sales for years.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 320iso, f4, 1/2500th, Manual

Below, UCLA Bruins quarterback (12) Richard Brehaut scrambles in the second quarter against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium.

Nikon D700, 400mm with 1.4 convertor (550mm), 500iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

UCLA Bruins tailback (23) Johnathan Franklin runs the ball in the second half, below.

Nikon D700, 400mm with 1.4 convertor (550mm), 640iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

Below, an excited UCLA Bruins head coach Rick Neuheisel calls a play from the sidelines.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 640iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

By moving to the other side of the field I was able to get sun lit shots with the background lit as well. I prefer dark backgrounds because it makes the player stand out more (but a sunlight background still beats shooting in a dome!)

Nikon D700, 400mm with 1.4 convertor (550mm), 640iso, f4.5, 1/3200th, Manual

The below frame of Sun Devils cornerback Omar Bolden achieved its silhouetted look by exposing for the sunlit background with the Bolden in the shadows.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 400iso, f4, 1/4000th, Manual

Below, UCLA Bruins wide receiver (82) Taylor Embree is tackled by Arizona State Sun Devils safety (2) Eddie Elder in the third quarter at Sun Devil Stadium.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 400iso, f4, 1/4000th, Manual

A pair of ASU fans cheer from the empty upper deck during the game, below.

Nikon D700, 400mm with 1.4 convertor (550mm), 640iso, f4, 1/2500th, Manual

That wraps up ASU vs UCLA.

The next morning was a quick flight over to Albuquerque, NM to shoot the third ranked TCU Horned Frogs as they looked to finish out their perfect season against the New Mexico Lobos.

Below, TCU star player Andy Dalton is lit perfectly as he throws a pass in the first quarter against the New Mexico Lobos at University Stadium.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 200iso, f2.8, 1/4000th, Manual

Following one of his third first quarter touchdowns Dalton pointed to the sky in celebration, below.

Nikon D700, 400mm with 1.4 convertor (550mm), 200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

Below, New Mexico Lobos defensive back (29) DeShawn Mills breaks up a pass intended for TCU Horned Frogs wide receiver Antoine Hicks in the first half at University Stadium.

Nikon D700, 400mm with 1.4 convertor (550mm), 200iso, f4, 1/2500th, Manual

The below few photos are probably the worst example on earth of how to hand off the ball…

New Mexico Lobos running back (21) Kasey Carrier collides with quarterback (11) Stump Godfrey during a handoff attempt resulting in a fumble in the second quarter.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 200iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

After the collision both Lobos players dove to try and recover the fumble but TCU linebacker (43) Tank Carder would beat them to it.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 200iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Late in the second quarter there was a scary moment when TCU Horned Frogs quarterback (14) Andy Dalton injured his arm. He would not return to the game…

Nikon D700, 400mm with 1.4 convertor (550mm), 200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

Below, New Mexico Lobos quarterback (11) Stump Godfrey stands in a light pocket as he looks for a receiver in the second half against the TCU Horned Frogs at University Stadium.

Nikon D700, 400mm with 1.4 convertor (550mm), 250iso, f4, 1/2000th, Manual

While walking around the field looking for photos to shoot I noticed cheerleaders doing flips on the sidelines. Instead of shoot the actual cheerleaders like most photographers would do I instead shot their shadows on a wall as they did the flips, below.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 800iso, f5.6, 1/3200th, Manual

Below, New Mexico Lobos linebacker (58) Carmen Messina loses his helmet as he fights TCU Horned Frogs offensive tackle (77) Spencer Thompson in the second half at University Stadium.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 1250iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

With football I always shoot a lot of photos of each play because you just never really know what might be going on in your shots. While shooting TCU tailback Jercell Fort (below) running the ball I would later notice while editing in the media room that in the background TCU offensive guard (74) Ty Horn getting his helmet pushed off by New Mexico Lobos defensive tackle Ugo Uzodinma.

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

Below, TCU Horned Frogs tailback (22) Jercell Fort dives for yardage during a second half run against the New Mexico Lobos.

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

It was a rather one sided game (as everyone expected) so in the closing minutes of the game I slithered my way onto the TCU bench in hopes of head coach Gary Patterson getting dunked with gatorade. With temperatures in the mid 40’s I didn’t think it would happen but low and behold right before time expired on the game it happened, below.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 4000iso, f2.8, 1/800th, Manual

Once the clock hit zero TCU players took to the field to celebrate their perfect season.

Below, TCU wide receiver (13) Antoine Hicks celebrates following the game against the New Mexico Lobos at University Stadium. TCU defeated New Mexico 66-17 to finish the season undefeated.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/640th, Manual

That wraps up two great shooting days. Next up I will be doing all my best of the year blogs from the different sports. Stay tuned!

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