More College Football Photos

Lock Haven v. East StroudsburgThe Lock Haven v. East Stroudsburg college football game was a thrill for me to photograph on a number of levels. It was my first college football photo assignment. This alone had me psyched up! It was also an afternoon game and I was looking forward to shooting a game in more available light. The thrill of watching these college athletes compete on the gridiron was more than enough to get me excited!

The action did not disappoint. It was high energy from the start! The intensity, emotion, and enthusiasm were all present from the start. This first photo above shows some of the passion put on the field by these players. It is absolutely incredible! And to think I have the honor and privilege of being on the field to capture these special moments with my camera… well, it’s just mind boggling!

Lock Haven v. East StroudsburgHomecoming always seems to host an enthusiastic and high-energy crowd. When the home team scores; all the better! Here, wide receiver, Robert Bleiler, is running for the touchdown after a 96-yard run after reception.

Lock Haven v. East StroudsburgRobert Bleiler & Greg Blue are celebrating after a touchdown in this photograph. Capturing the emotions and celebrations after a play can be very successful. Just be very careful about putting a camera in the face of a defeated player.

Lock Haven v. East StroudsburgKickoffs are not always the easiest play to photograph. There is just so much going on at this time. Players are everywhere and it looks like organized chaos! Here I was able to obtain a clean view of the kicker without another player in the frame. Whew, lucky!

 

 

 

 

ESU Football Kicking Record Broken!

Lock Haven v. East StroudsburgEast Stroudsburg University kicker, Taylor Groff, broke the school record for most points kicked in a career! The record-breaking kick took place in Saturday’s Homecoming Game against Lock Haven–a game which ESU won handedly!

Lock Haven v. East StroudsburgGroff was poised to potentially break two kicking records this week. He was inline to best the most points kicked in a career and top the total number of field goals made by an ESU kicker. He accomplished the first one and is still on track to accomplish the second one before the season ends. Both remaining games are at home, so if he breaks this record it will also be in front of his home crowd.

Lock Haven v. East Stroudsburg

Lock Haven v. East Stroudsburg

 

My First College Game Photo Assignment

Lock Haven v. East StroudsburgSaturday I photographed the Lock Haven v. East Stroudsburg college football game–my first college photo assignment. It was a thrill to be on the college scene and it was Homecoming to boot!

I arrived early enough to obtain my credentials at the gate. This is definitely a different scene than my usual Friday night high school football games. I also had just enough time to watch both teams in their pre-game warmups. I like to do this in order to determine who the main go-to players appear to be for each team. I also like to determine whether the quarterbacks are right or left-handed.

The National Anthem was sung and both teams took the field to much enthusiasm in the stadium. Being on a college field on a Saturday afternoon was almost surreal! I quickly gathered my composure and settled in to photographing the game. As expected, I found the daylight shooting time to be much easier than my typical high school Friday nights under the lights. It was cloudy at times, which did cause some different problems. The clouds would open up and bright sunlight illuminated the players. Then, as the game progressed, dark shadows from the bleachers draped onto the field. I concluded after the shoot that in those conditions I might have been better off using the Auto-ISO setting.

Lock Haven v. East StroudsburgNevertheless, I was able to capture some quality photographs of the game. I enjoyed the abundant and glowing light, which appeared through the clouds at times. I also prefer to compose the action photos tightly. Backgrounds were a problem, even at a college game. Some empty bleachers, vehicles at the one end of the field, and other distracting backgrounds came into play at times for me. Backgrounds are critical for a quality sports photograph and I was successfully able to work around these problems some of the time but not always.

I also found myself better able to capture the eyes of the players in the daylight. This is one of the three main criterion for a “What makes a football photo great,” according to Peter Read Miller in his book, On Sports Photography. I highly recommend this book as a resource for sports photographers. It is chock full of great info and tidbits of information to shoot sports more successfully. I am finding it extremely useful in my current photo endeavors and re-read the football chapters again before going out to shoot this college game on Saturday afternoon.

One thing I quickly agreed with Peter Read Miller about was the struggle to photograph a football game between all the officials. There are more referees at a college game than in a high school game. They were all over the place! I found myself having to move upfield ahead of the play more than typical for me. I also agree with Peter that the end zone was the sweet spot much of the time as the teams were driving for a score. Using my 200-400mm f/4 lens was invaluable. I was proud to sport my Nikon cap from my position alongside the field because my Nikon equipment was helping me capture some amazing photographs!

Lock Haven v. East StroudsburgThe college game is longer than a high school game, so endurance was more of a consideration than I originally imagined. My knees were more achy than typical as a result. Wearing kneepads certainly helped, as I prefer to keep a low profile in my shooting position. I just think this makes for a much better perspective when shooting football, and just about any sport for that matter. Take a knee (or two) when shooting a game and you will see a big difference!

The college game is also faster than a high school game. I found it more difficult to track the receivers and be on time when they caught a pass from their QB. I did get better as the game progressed, but it was definitely a challenge. In the future, I need to learn more about the QB’s tendencies and who his main go-to guys are in important downs. Knowledge of the game and the teams’ tendencies are invaluable.

All-in-all, my first photo assignment at a college football game was successful. The newspaper printed one of my photos of the ESU quarterback who had a big day. He passed for 462 yards and four touchdowns in this game! My tight photo of him winding up to pass down field was the winning photo picked by the editors.

Now, I cannot wait for my next college day assignment! It was an absolute blast and I can’t wait to do it again! I am sure I will learn more and keep perfecting my sports photography skills.

Lock Haven v. East Stroudsburg