Tuesday, September 22, 2009

HOLY F%&K Did that just happen?!?

Saturday, I went down to Austin for the biggest football game in the state. Texas was playing Texas Tech in a rematch of what was an awesome game last year with Tech winning on the last play of the game and effectively killing Texas' chances of playing for a national championship. The main reason, however, why I was covering the game is because both teams' quarterbacks, Taylor Potts from Texas Tech and Colt McCoy from Texas are both from Abilene. Actually, McCoy is from Tuscola, which is a "suburb" of Abilene.
The fun for me started while I was walking from the parking deck to the stadium. As I was walking I kept hearing this clicking noise, I figured it was just my cameras knocking together, then I heard this loud glass thud underneath me feet, much like that of dropping a heavy glass. Because, well, it was heavy glass! The front element of my 70-200mm lens just just fallen out! After dropping a few "F" bombs , I calmed down enough to notice, miraculously, there were no scratches on the glass! It had landed on its side. So, I screwed it back in, and other than a nice fingerprint on the inside of the glass and a few more, which I later was able to wipe down, on the front. It looked good. It even focused better. Since the damn thing had probably been coming unscrewed the last week or so! So, now that the excitement was over I was able to get in the stadium, no matter what happened after that probably wasn't going to be quite as traumatic.
I generally like to get to college football games about 3 hours before the game starts. Yes mom, there is something I actually try to get to on time, and I generally make it around that time! That way you stay a little ahead of traffic, and if it is bad, I don't feel rushed. As well as it gives me time to pick up my credentials find where I'm supposed to park, find the photo workroom, set up etc. Not to mention it gives me time to take care of other problems such as, when your lens falls apart while walking into the stadium! And with all of that I was still able to make it to the field with plenty of time to spare.
The first half of the game was about as awful as it could be. Neither team was moving the ball and the only scoring were two field goals and a punt return for a touchdown by Texas which I was on the wrong side of the field for. I made a couple of decent photos, but there just wasn't a whole lot happening as far as action or big plays went.
The second half of the game was a hell of a lot better. There were a lot of big hits, as well as some nice offensive plays. I was still on the wrong side of the field for my fair share of plays, but there was enough that I got that I wasn't totally disgusted with my shooting. One thing about memorial stadium that I don't get a lot of when shooting high school games is nice light.
The stadium lights were bright enough, in combination with my D3 allowing to crank up the ISO a little, to allow me to use not only my 1.4x teleconverter, but also the 2x. That way I could camp out in the end zone and not have to move. It helped me make a decent shot of a touchdown from the other end of the field (above).
Shooting these night games are nice, especially in Austin, because the weather gets cooler. Event though it was still hot as hell, and the humidity sucked. I can only imagine how much worse it would be for an afternoon game! But, the problem you run into is these 7pm game on national TV seem to drag on forever, especially near the end. The commercial breaks seem to take longer and I'm looking at my watch after every play hoping that I'll be able to get back to the photo room and edit and transmit my photos before deadline. Luckily with this game being so big, we were able to push back deadlines and my photos didn't have to be in until 11:45.
The drawback to that is I had to make a decision beforehand to shoot a to a horizontal hole. It turned out ok. However, I did originally have a vertical shot I was planning to send. But, I'm actually pretty I glad I sent the one I did to be used as the main photo (top). Not only was it a local kid, but I think it also sort of summed up the game with the defense being the key to the game. Although I think everyone, including me, thought the offenses were going to shine.

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