The Coin Toss

Stroudsburg v. Pocono Mountain East

Before a high school football game, the referee flips a coin to determine who will first receive the ball to start the game. This happens just after the Friday night warmups in my area, so the gathering at midfield just before kickoff is merely ceremonial. The actual coin toss occurs even before the pre-game activities, including the marching band’s performance.

Inspired by Peter Read Miller’s book,¬†On Sports Photography, (which really is a great sports photography book) I wanted to make an attempt at photographing the coin toss last Friday night. You’ve got to check out his coin toss photo in his book captured at the Dallas Cowboys’ Stadium!

As most of you know, lighting at these high school games is not typically very good nor very bright. However, this is not an action shot, so I thought I might get something decent even with the thin lighting.

The coin toss began with a few words from the referee and then the shaking of the hands of both teams. It is more like an amoeba conglomeration of people and I had to keep an eye on a videographer, too. This is the shot I ended up with during Friday night’s coin toss.

It is okay at best; certainly not stellar. The one good thing is the coin is in the with that dark blue sky and the referee is looking up at it. The main problem is the lack of any other faces being visible in the shot. The one almost face is obscured by the other official. I am thinking I should use a wider angle lens the next time and certainly get into a better position to capture the faces of the players. I am learning!

 

Two Sports Photographs Published

Stroudsburg v. Pocono Mountain East

 

Stroudsburg v. Pocono Mountain East

Rain fell in Swiftwater as the Stroudsburg Marching Band played the pre-game ceremony. Once kickoff ensued, the action was fast and furious. Stroudsburg struck first, but Pocono Mountain East answered back in record time. The game was tied 7-7 late into the second quarter, but Pocono Mountain East was driving and knocking on the door.

The Cardinals punched it into the end zone with less than 30 seconds remaining in the first half. Stroudsburg received the kickoff but could not drive the ball before the half ended. The second half was a different game for Stroudsburg.

Rushing and throwing seemed to come a bit more naturally, but an early muffed punt resulted in a turnover and a quick touchdown. Stroudsburg scored another follow-up touchdown to make it 28-14.

The Cardinals made it interesting by scoring a touchdown very late in the game but their on-sides kick was recovered by the Mounties who hung on to win 28-21. These two photographs of #21 Gerald Douglas crossing the goal line with the go-ahead touchdown are online at the Pocono Record. You can view the article here.

Friday Night Football’s Aerobatic Action

Lehighton v. Pocono Mountain East

This Friday night’s football game, featuring Lehighton at Pocono Mountain East, included some aerial attacks down field from the quarterbacks. Some amazing acrobatic action ensued!

Many fans enjoy and prefer the passing game. It’s exciting to see a quarterback drop back behind the line of scrimmage and toss a throw to a sprinting receiving. It’s even more awesome when the receiver makes an acrobatic catch! This night had it all: throws, incomplete passes, receptions, and interceptions. What is not to like about all this?

Capturing this in-the-air action with a camera is not always easy. I am sure I’ve missed plenty more than I got with my lens! However, I do believe I am getting more consistent, which is imperative when working as a freelance stringer for the local newspaper; in my case, the Pocono Record. It is crucial to get some action shots that might be deemed worthy of print by the editor. Football players jumping high into the air to catch a ball is one of the money shots. Get the ball in the shot as the players are in the air and you’ve got a chance. Oh wait, did you remember to get good focus? What about the composition of the photograph? Is your exposure right? These are hard enough to manage on a sunny day; now try to accomplish them at night under high school stadium lights! (I just have to get a new camera!!! In my case, I am dreaming about, hoping for, and trying to save my pennies for a Nikon D4! This camera is newer than mine and boasts some incredible high ISO shooting for these low-light conditions. Anyone willing to offer me a loan?)

I am passionate about sports photography and I live for this challenge to capture the action in the air!

My next game is tomorrow night and I can’t wait to have a crack at it again!