It was bittersweet to photograph the last Miami Hurricanes home game this past weekend and even more for the graduating seniors who participated in Senior Day. Senior Day is typically the last home game of the season and there is a little pageantry that occurs before the pregame introductions with the families of the graduating seniors. The real story from this game wasn’t Senior Day or the Hurricanes victory over the Virginia Cavaliers, but the weather. I always wanted to shoot in the rain, but there is a limit to how much rain.
Like every other game this season, I got to the stadium early to survey the weather and to get my exposures dialed in before the game. This time, I took my time strolling down the tunnel and out onto the field. As I stepped on the field I could see the clouds growing dark and encompassing the skies above the stadium. I was thinking how great it would be to shoot some rain action. You know get the splash the players make on the field etc.
During the pregame warmups, the rain was falling gently and in all honesty I could barely feel it. As the game progressed the rain got heavy and eventually it got to the point it was blinding. I had a poncho and a rain sleeve for my camera and lens, but in this rain it was no match. I got soaked and that was an understatement. Fans ran from the stands and never came back the rain was that bad. Maybe 5 minutes till half time, I couldn’t take the rain anymore. I made my way over to a dugout and sat under there with other photographers who too had enough. During halftime, the rain was still unrelenting; drenching anyone brave enough not to seek cover.
By the middle of the third quarter the skies calmed and the sun shone through as if it had never rained. The field and adjacent sidelines were puddle riddled and it was a mission trying to get a great vantage point of the game since real estate was a luxury given the wet conditions. I took solace in the fact that I found an open spot in the endzone. I stayed there for the last quarter of the game, just shooting from the endzone.
When the game ended I ran onto the field to seek out the seniors. I found them taking a group photo for their Senior Day portraits. Afterwards some seniors just looked around and soaked in the atmosphere once more. I guess you can say I did the same thing.
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JC Ruiz is a Miami based photographer that specializes in portrait, fashion, engagement, and sports photography with a love for landscape and black and white photography.