One of the cool things about being a sports photographer is that occasionally you get to photograph one of your favorite teams. I had that opportunity when I was photographing the 2016 Russell Athletic Bowl at the Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FL where the Miami Hurricanes took on the West Virginia Mountaineers. Lucky for me that the second college bowl game I was assigned to ended up being the Miami Hurricanes game.
As soon as I entered the Camping World Stadium, I knew the Russell Athletic Bowl was going to bigger than the last bowl game I photographer, the Boca Raton Bowl. When I walked into the media room I was a bit overwhelmed. The room was basically an auditorium lined with tables and chairs with tons of media occupying them. I saw so many photographers that I shot games with down here in Miami it kind of felt like a family reunion with all the familiar faces. Honestly I thought my chances of getting a great shot were going to be few and far between with all the media that was shooting the game, but as luck had it; I was able to find my spots and grab some amazing shots.
The game itself started out a little slow between both teams. It was more of a defensive battle, but as the game wound on the Miami Hurricanes put on a show both on offense and defense. The Mountaineers couldn’t move the ball against the stout Miami defense while the Hurricanes offense had their way with the West Virginia defense.
One of my favorite moments shooting was the trophy ceremony and celebration. The players had their families with them on the field afterwards and photographing them with their families as well as teammates was enjoyable to see. Everyone was all smiles on the Miami side. The players did laps around the stadium greeting fans and posing for pictures with them in the stands. I think the celebration could have last longer, but the stadium cut their lights off and thus the field celebration had ended.
The Russell Athletic Bowl was a great experience and I look forward to photographing more football next season!