Last day of 2008 produces one of my best shoots of 2008

As 2008 began, it would end with me on the sidelines shooting a college bowl game. Although the Insight Bowl is a small game few care about it is one of my favorite games because if the sun is out (which it usually is in Arizona) there is great light to take advantage of. And take advantage of it I did.

After arriving to the stadium a few hours prior and spending 20 minutes to find where they moved the photo workroom to I set up shop and went to the field to fire off some pre-game shots.

The late afternoon light was great for the standard boring stock images I take during pre-game. Below a Minnesota Golden Gophers player conducts drills. I shot the photo just as he entered the sunlight.

Nikon D3, 600mm, 640iso, f4, 1/2000th

Another cool thing I noticed was if you shot the players in the shade you could come up with interesting looking images.

Nikon D3, 600mm, 640iso, f4, 1/1000th

Its a great example on how different a shot can look with different light.

I headed over to the other side of the field to shoot Kansas Jayhawks players warming up in the sun.

Nikon D3, 14-24mm, 640iso, f4, 1/8000th

For some reason a lot of my blog readers like cheerleader pics so here is one I shot during warmups with the terrible empty stadium seats in background.

Nikon D3, 14-24mm, 400iso, f2.8, 1/8000th

As I made my way towards the stairs to go elevated for the start I stopped and shot the band as they prepared to perform.

Nikon D3, 14-24mm, 250iso, f2.8, 1/8000th

Once set up on the roof overlooking the stadium three F-16 fighter jets performed a fly-over above the rather empty Sun Devil Stadium as fireworks exploded in the sky.

Nikon D3, 14-24mm, 250iso, f2.8, 1/3200th

Here is a detailed view of the fireworks being shot of on the mountain that the stadium is built into.

Nikon D3, 600mm, 640iso, f4, 1/8000th

With that it was time for the players to enter the field for the start of the game. The shadows from the cheerleaders kicking make this a pretty cool photo.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 250iso, f2.8, 1/3200th

On the first play of the game Kansas Jayhawks wide receiver (80) Dezmon Briscoe caught a long pass for a touchdown. As he ran towards the goal line in the shade I was lucky enough to catch him running through a thin light shaft.

Nikon D3, 600mm, 1000iso, f4, 1/2500th

When he crossed into the endzone he tossed the ball in the air as he celebrated.

Nikon D3, 600mm, 1000iso, f4, 1/2500th

Here is a wide shot that shows the awesome light pockets and shadows on the field.

With the sun low in the sky it made for nice shadows off the players. Had I shot from the ground I would still have cool light but would also not be able to see the long shadows off the players.

Even the most boring moments made for cool photos with that light and shadows such as the below shot of Minnesota quarterback Adam Webber talking to his team in the huddle.

Nikon D3, 600mm, 1000iso, f4, 1/5000th

It looked even cooler with a little action such as the below photo where Kansas Jayhawks quarterback (5) Todd Reesing fakes a hand off…..

Nikon D3, 600mm, 1000iso, f4, 1/5000th

…but instead throwing a pass.

Nikon D3, 600mm, 1000iso, f4, 1/5000th

As the sun dipped lower towards the horizon the field was nearly completely covered in shade now. In the below photo I got really lucky with the upper half of the players were bathed in light while the field below them was in the shade.

Nikon D3, 600mm, 1000iso, f4, 1/4000th

At least the Minnesota Golden Gophers marching band was well lit in their seats.

Nikon D3, 600mm, 1000iso, f4, 1/8000th

Right before heading down from the roof I shot Minnesota Golden Gophers wide receiver (7) Eric Decker being upended by Kansas Jayhawks cornerback (28) Daymond Patterson. While it wasn’t bathed in the dramatic sun light it still was a nice clean photo of a good play.

Nikon D3, 600mm, 1000iso, f4, 1/800th

Once back down field level I spotted the sun peaking through the stadium structure and shot a wide shot.

Nikon D3, 14-24mm, 1250iso, f2.8, 1/8000th

After looking at that shot I realized it may make for a cool photo if I shot tighter and included some action. Sadly the best acion I got was players running across field on a kick off. If only there was a cooler play going on.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 1250iso, f2.8, 1/8000th

With the sun nearly below the horizon the last light shot I took was of shafts of light going across the crowd.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 1250iso, f2.8, 1/4000th

Now with the light gone it was time to work on capturing some good game action. I got off to a good start with the below picture of Minnesota Golden Gophers running back (23) DeLeon Eskridge being tackled by Kansas Jayhawks defensive end (81) Russell Brorsen.

Nikon D3, 600mm, 1600iso, f4, 1/1250th

I had a play with a hard hit and flying player that would have been a nice shot except the damn male cheerleader on the sidelines decided to move out in front of me to watch the play. I’d make fun of him but I am sure he gets made fun of enough as it is.

Nikon D3, 600mm, 1600iso, f4, 1/800th

Kansas started pulling away from Minnesota so my focus of the remainder of the game was to get shots of Kansas celebrating. 

The shot below was close enough to what I was looking for.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 4000iso, f2.8, 1/1000th

So by this point the game was officially a great game for me and I was happy. With a few minutes left in the game I was treated to a sweet play as Kansas Jayhawks runningback (1) Jake Sharp got upended as he jumps into the endzone for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 4000iso, f2.8, 1/1000th

I never get cool aerobatic shots like that so I was pretty happy. Be sure to click the photo to see the sequence. I had like 3 other really cool shots from the play.

The game ended with a Kansas win and the players took their turns celebrating with the Insight Bowl trophy. Gotta love the sold out crowd in the background eh?

Nikon D3, 14-24mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/640th

Game winning quarterback Todd Reesing celebrated with some young fans prior to running off the field.

Nikon D3, 14-24mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/640th

And with that my great day of shooting was over with.

My site was nominated for Best Photography Blog!


One Response to “Last day of 2008 produces one of my best shoots of 2008”

  1. Ariel says:

    Ah man, I’m totally diggin’ this post, Mark. Excellent creative work with the lighting and the videos are really great. It’s nice seeing how much you shoot through a play and catch the celebration afterwards and whatnot… shooting more than just the peak action.

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