Florida State destroys BYU

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I had planned on spending the weekend in San Diego shooting drag boat racing on Mission Bay with Jennifer and some friends but as things tend to go in my crazy life as a sports photographer, the original plan took a back seat to a last second shoot. That last second shoot was a college football game in Utah. Initially I wasn’t very excited about the change of plans but once I found out the game had a late afternoon start with the chances of great light I somewhat warmed up to the idea.

So after a boring day shooting testing for the drag boats I boarded a 6:15am flight Saturday morning to Salt Lake City, UT.

After checking into the hotel and relaxing for a few minutes it was onto the road for the 45 minute drive to Provo where the BYU campus was. Going into the game BYU was ranked #7 and was taking on unranked Florida State.

During the drive to the stadium I got a text from Jennifer telling me exactly what I did not want to hear.

“There was just a boat crash at the races!”

Awesome.

This year has been my worst year luck wise with shooting crashes so I wasn’t surprised one bit. Oh well.

A half hour later I once again received a text from Jennifer telling me I missed an even better crash.

FML.

Check out Jennifers blog to see her experience covering the eventful boat races without me.

Ok on to the game.

After getting to the stadium I headed up to the press box to set up my laptop.

I have been to numerous stadiums around the world but I gotta say that without a doubt LaVell Edwards Stadium has got to be the most scenic sports facility I have ever been to.

The below photo was shot several hours before the game. I used a fisheye lens from inside the TV booth atop the stadium. The black on the top of the frame is a small roof hanging over me.

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Nikon D700, 10.5-17mm, 100iso, f5, 1/1000th, Aperture Priority

BYU quarterback Max Hall is being touted as an early front runner for the Heisman Trophy so I made sure to try and get lots of photos of him throughout the game.

Below, Hall sticks out his tongue during pre game warm ups.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 500iso, f2.8, 1/800th, Manual

With how pretty the stadium was I had planned all along to go up on the top for the beginning of the game to shoot the same shot with a full stadium and nice sunlight. Unfortunately mother nature had other ideas in mind and cloud cover filled the sky overhead.

It ruined the shot I had anticipated but as luck would have it, presented me some cool clouds that looked like smoke overhead.

Below, BYU Cougars offensive lineman Marco Thorson looks towards the sidelines during pre game warm ups.

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Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 200iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

I shot a wider view to show more sky. Too bad the stands weren’t full yet.

BYU Cougars offensive linemen (78) Fono Vakalahi and (79) Jordan Richardson warm up prior to the game (below).

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Nikon D700, 10.5-17mm, 500iso, f4.2, 1/640th, Manual

On the other side of the field Florida State Seminoles players (below) `huddled together prior to the game.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 500iso, f2.8, 1/800th, Manual

For the start of the game I set up on the field to shoot the BYU players running out onto the field.

Defensive back (20) Lee Aguirre leads wide receiver (12) Stephen Covey and the rest of the team onto the field to the cheers of the stadium (below).

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Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 640iso, f5.6, 1/1000th, Manual

After they ran onto the field the band and fans quickly cleared the field and before I knew it I was by myself in the middle of the field as the captains from both teams met at center field for the coin toss.

I was already there so I figured what the hell and got in on the action and got low between the Florida State captains to shoot the coin toss.

Below, local shooter Boyd Ivey got a nice photo showing my up close view of the coin toss.

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Photo by Boyd Ivey

BYU Cougars tight end (32) Dennis Pitta, quarterback (15) Max Hall and linebacker (35) Mike Bauman look up as the coin spins through the air during the coin toss, below.

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Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 640iso, f5.6, 1/1000th, Manual

After the coin toss I finally got off the field and as I was walking behind the BYU bench I briefly stopped and shot as BYU Cougars offensive lineman Jordan Richardson (below) holds his helmet up with teammates during the kickoff for the game against the Florida State Seminoles.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 500iso, f2.8, 1/5000th, Aperture Priority

After the kick off the clouds slowly began to break up, enabling me to get the nice light I had been craving.

Below, Florida State Seminoles quarterback (7) Christian Ponder throws a pass in the first quarter.

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

Below, Florida State Seminoles wide receiver (80) Jarmon Fortson runs the ball past my spot on the sidelines against the BYU Cougars.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 320iso, f3.2, 1/2500th, Aperture Priority

By kneeling down low on the ground I was able to clean up some of the horrible backgrounds that the stadium possessed.

Florida State Seminoles wide receiver (83) Bert Reed is tackled by BYU Cougars defensive lineman (84) Jan Jorgensen (below).

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 320iso, f2.8, 1/3200th, Aperture Priority

Speaking of horrible backgrounds check out the awesome banner on the sidelines in the below shot that totally destroyed my shot as Florida State Seminoles tight end (88) Beau Reliford makes a diving catch.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 200iso, f2.8, 1/8000th, Aperture Priority

Even shooting backlit provided some nice lighting as evident in the below photo as Florida State Seminoles quarterback (7) Christian Ponder runs the ball towards me in the second quarter.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 200iso, f2.8, 1/2000th, Aperture Priority

The sun reflects off the face mask of Florida State Seminoles running back (33) Ty Jones as he lines up for a play (below).

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 200iso, f2.8, 1/3200th, Aperture Priority

With the awesome mountains behind the stadium I found myself shooting all sorts of photos incorporating the fans into the scene.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 200iso, f2.8, 1/6400th, Aperture Priority

Below, BYU quarterback Max Hall points at a player on defense (not me).

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 320iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Since I am used to shooting in domes I rarely get the chance to shoot with nice late afternoon light so I was loving life when Florida State Seminoles running back (24) Lonnie Pryor ran right at me into the end zone for a touchdown in the second quarter, below.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 320iso, f2.8, 1/5000th, Aperture Priority

While walking along the sidelines I saw that the BYU cheerleaders were about to do some acrobatics so I exposed for the nice sky in the background and got a semi cool silhouette shot as the girls flew through the air. Had I exposed for the girls then the background would have been way blown out, thus resulting in a lackluster photo.

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Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 250iso, f2.8, 1/8000th, Aperture Priority

Just before the half I was hoping for a few more good photos prior to leaving the sidelines to go to the press box to transmit. I got my wish as BYU Cougars wide receiver (4) O’Neill Chambers made an amazing catch under pressure from Florida State Seminoles cornerback (15) Ochuko Jenije.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 320iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Chambers tipped the pass……

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 320iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

…and just when it appeared it was going to fall to the turf incomplete he made a last second dive…..

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 320iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

…..and hauled in the pass.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 320iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

A few plays later it was BYU Cougars running back (11) Manase Tonga who made his way into the end zone for a touchdown, below.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 320iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

There were still about three minutes remaining in the half but I needed to transmit some game action so I ran off the field to the elevator and up to the press box.

While downloading and transmitting images Florida State made their way down field and into the red zone. Obviously it would have been impossible to make it back down to the field to shoot so my only other option was to grab the camera with the 400mm and shoot through the press box glass on the field below.

I got pretty lucky and was actually able to produce a nice shot as Florida State Seminoles tight end (81) Caz Piurowski caught a touchdown pass under pressure from BYU Cougars linebacker (35) Matt Bauman in a nice little light pocket (below).

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 320iso, f2.8, 1/3200th, Aperture Priority

For the start of the second half since I was already in the press box it was a simple walk up a flight of stairs to the roof where I could do my overall shot. It wasnt as nice as I wanted since the sun now was so low that shadows filled the stadium but it still made for a nice shot nonetheless.

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Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 400iso, f2.8, 1/2000th, Aperture Priority

By throwing the fisheye on the camera I was able to go even wider to get nearly the entire stadium in the shot (below).

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Nikon D700, 10.5-17mm, 400iso, f4.2, 1/400th, Aperture Priority

Random fans and parking lot photo, below.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 1250iso, f2.8, 1/8000th, Aperture Priority

While on the roof I shot a few action shots with the 400mm. Shooting down on the field is the best way to eliminate distracting backgrounds.

Below, BYU quarterback (15) Max Hall throws a pass downfield.

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

After I finished up on the roof it was time to head back down to the field. On my way I looked to my left and saw a wonderful sunset and had to stop to shoot a few photos.

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Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 250iso, f2.8, 1/4000th, Aperture Priority

By shooting a longer lens into the parking lot and underexposing by a few stops I ended up with the below photo which I thought looked pretty cool.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 320iso, f2.8, 1/640th, Aperture Priority

Below, BYU Cougars defensive lineman Jan Jorgensen prepares to put on his helmet as he enters the field.

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

Below, BYU quarterback Max Hall throws a pass downfield.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Below, Florida State Seminoles wide receiver (80) Jarmon Fortson flips over in the end zone after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

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

BYU quarterback Max Hall (below) looks sad on the sidelines in the closing minutes of the lopsided loss to Florida State.

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

At the conclusion of the game it was time to run to the center of the field to shoot (below) as Florida State Seminoles head coach Bobby Bowden (right) speaks with BYU Cougars head coach Bronco Mendenhall.

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

Below, Florida State Seminoles linebacker Dekota Watson carries sod off the field following the game against the BYU Cougars…..

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Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/500th, Manual

…..as he ran towards the locker room he was mobbed by happy Florida State fans.

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Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/250th, Aperture Priority

That wraps up my first shoot in Utah. The next morning it was back on a plane for a flight down to San Diego to shoot some NFL.

Web clips:

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6 Responses to “Florida State destroys BYU”

  1. What a great post so we are walking through life through your eyes.

    Its a priviledge to see things from your self-absorbed perspective.

    Cheers

    - V

  2. Michael says:

    The coin reminds me of sensor dust.

  3. Zak Seward says:

    Mark,
    great insight like always. Are all photographers able to go on the roof and on the field? Also have you ever been trucked? Looks like those players get pretty close when they are amped and run on the field.

  4. Frederic says:

    Nice post, thanks for sharing.
    I really like the stadium shot that you shot from the TV booth

  5. Jeremy says:

    Dang, I wish I would have known before hand you were going to be at that game – I so would have been your pack mule… Great shots – I really like that one of Jorgensen with his helmet off with the other 3 helmeted players (is helmeted a word?)

    Good Stuff!

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