OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO C-A-N-E-S Canes! This past weekend I had the amazing opportunity to shoot the Canes vs. NC State game at Sunlife Stadium for the The Sports Brothers. I never had the opportunity to shoot any sports on college or pro levels but when the chance came up, I knew I couldn’t pass it up.
I would always watch games on TV and see these sports photographers with the 400 or 500mm lenses patrolling the sidelines and endzones looking for the perfect shot and I always wondered what that was like. Ed Freeman, one half of the Sports Brothers, was able to secure me a media pass for the University of Miami football games which allows me to be on the field taking photos with the rest of the sports photographers. Seeing it on TV doesn’t begin to tell the story of what actually happens on the field.
Here I am walking into the stadium via the media entrance, all excited and what not. I always wondered what goes on once you enter the media access only part of the stadium. I walked through the under belly of Sunlife Stadium with my media pass proudly displayed. I walked through the hallways, noticing all the doors which led to a maze of more rooms etc. I won’t lie I was excited like a virgin on prom night.
I walked through the tunnels that led to field. I could literally see the light at the end of the tunnel as I walked onto the field for the Canes vs. NC State game. I emerged from the tunnel and was greeted with the familiar South Florida heat. My eyes took in the view of the stadium for the first time from the field level. So many times for games I was in the stands watching but here I am on the field where memories are created, heroes catapulted into stardom and the place where careers are made and broken.
I could hear the marching bands practice and there were the University of Miami Hurricanes, The U, on the field prior to the game getting warmed up to the sounds of Rick Ross, Jay-Z and Lil Wayne. The fans were trickling in at this point so the stadium was all but quiet except for the sounds echoing over the PA system. I walked the sidelines watching the warmup, snapping my warm up photos as well. I had to remind myself I was there to work but it was hard not to get excited.
Prior to kickoff I noticed the other photographers there, armed with a plethora of camera and lenses, getting ready and into position to capture the game. I started out in the endzone but moved up and down the sidelines with the action of the games. All I had with me was my 70-200 f/2.8 and 24-70 f/2.8 lenses. I only have one camera body so I was switching back and forth.
The first quarter felt like a blur. Touchdowns were being scored at a rampant pace and all near me in the endzone which was good and bad. Good because I was so close to the action and bad because I had my 70-200 lens on and it was “too long” for all the close action that was near me. I missed some shots. Ok, I missed a lot of shots.
The second quarter action was significantly less than the previous quarter which gave me time to get into better position to get some action shots. I was able to move up and down the sidelines with ease. I did almost get crushed by oncoming players, but needless to say I lucked out and was spared. The sheer size of these athletes and the speed at which they play with; I gained a new respect for them seeing them perform so close.
I only stayed till halftime because I had a prior commitment to assist in shooting a wedding in Boca Raton. I left with a great experience. I also left hungry for either a 400 or 500mm lens. If celebs can get people to donate just 10 cents a day to feed children, why can’t I find maybe 8 or 9 people to donate $1,000 each. That would get me a new camera body and lens. Then I would really look the part of sports photographer.
I’m grateful for the opportunity the Sports Brothers have given me and I can’t wait for the rest of the games to come around so I can continue to get better. Not sure where all this will lead but I see it as another area of photography I’m exploring. Oh and I am serious about finding benefactors who would like to contribute to my get a new camera and bigger lens fund. I will even take photos of me making sad, puppy dogs faces to garner sympathy!