NFL Football Playoffs - RG3 - Camera Setup

Playoffs & RG3

I don’t know about the rest of the world but for me, the holidays mean more then Christmas, New Years, presents, and family.  It means a ton of NCAA College bowl games and the beginning of the NFL Playoffs.  Unfortunately, my Detroit Lions are not in the playoffs AGAIN!!!.  What’s new???  And the Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t make it either, which means the end of my football photography season.  But I am very interested in how the Washington Redskins will do with their outstanding rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III.  I’ve been impressed by him all season.

So in preparation for the beginning of the playoffs this weekend and RG3’s first playoff game, I thought I would post a 3-picture set of RG3 from the October 28th game (Washington at Pittsburgh).  This was one of the games I covered for the newspaper this year.  Other than the weather (more on this later) it was a very fun game to watch especially from the sidelines because:

The home team won (Pittsburgh 27 / Washington 12) which ups the excitement in any stadium

I got to see RG3 up close

I was on the field….which will never get boring.

In preparation for this post, I did a little research on RG3 and found some interesting facts.  The most interesting fact was that he was born in Okinawa Japan because both of his parents were stationed there as Army sergeants.  It isn’t often you hear about a husband and wife serving in the military together.  I appreciate their sacrifice for our country and my freedoms. 

My Camera Setup and Positioning On The Field:

It was a very cold (for October) and rainy day.  So rainy that if you look close, you can see rain in my photos.  Every thing was wet including my cameras (even with my camera covers), which affected my Nikon D90.  That camera quit working about half time.  I started the game with the following camera setup.  My Nikon D90 with a 300mm 2.8f lens on a monopod for close up shots of players far away.  I also had my Nikon D800 with a 70 to 300mm zoom lens to capture plays that were closer to me.  But when the D90 quit working, I put the big boy lens (300mm 2.8f lens) on the D800 and shot the rest of the game with one camera.  I must have looked funny after the game in the middle of the field taking close up pictures of players with this giant lens on my camera.  But sometimes you just make due with what you have.  Later after the D90 warmed up and got dry, it worked fine again. 

My cameras are set up in Aperture Mode (with the lowest aperture setting possible that my lens will allow - usually 2.8f), with the lowest ISO possible that keeps my shutter speed above 1/1200 of a second.  That keeps everything but the player I am shooting blurry (making the subject player pop in the picture) and has the shutter speed fast enough to freeze the action. 

When I shoot college or NFL games, I am there as a photojournalist for the media.  So I try to capture the game from both sidelines and get shots of both team benches.  I also try to capture images of the most popular or best players up close without their helmets on.  The paper always wants shots of player’s faces, which is hard to get when they wear their helmets.  I work hard at capturing the feel of the game (player emotion, fan shots, scoreboard, etc…) to help the newspaper sports writer tell the story he/she is writing. 

This is a different approach compared to a team photographer, who wants to capture the highlights of one team, their best moments, etc.. 

Now following the game is when my stress begins.  I run back to my car or the photographer’s locker room to download the 2,000 pictures onto my computer as quickly as possible.  I look through every picture and flag the best 100 or so from the thousands I’ve captured.  I am shooting fewer pictures than the real Pros recommend.  For example, the AP photographers try to capture up to 4,000 pictures per football game.  Once I get it down to my favorite 100, I narrow that down to my favorite 15 or so.  That may sound easy, but with 2,000 photos it is hard to look at that many quickly and just pick 15 that you like.  Once I get my final selections, I do some minor editing (minor cropping, sharpening, etc…) and I upload the photos.  The paper wants these very quickly to use with their morning edition and to put on their website immediately. 

By the time the day is complete (and a game basically takes up an entire day with travel, pre game, the game, post game, image selection/uploading, traveling back home……) I am usually very tried.  Always fun, but tired. 

If you would like to see more of my Sports Pictures, please click here

23455 Steelers vs Redskins 2012.JPG
23355 Steelers vs Redskins 2012.JPG
23429 Steelers vs Redskins 2012.JPG