The Miami Hurricanes vs the Florida Gators. I mean does it get any bigger than that in the 2nd week of the college football season? I would be excited to just watch it on TV, so you could image how hyped up I was that I had the opportunity to be on the sidelines photographing it.
The Miami Hurricanes haven’t played the Florida Gators in years, let alone down here in Miami so the hype for the game was crazy. I got to the stadium two and a half hours prior to kickoff and the parking lots were full of fans tailgating and just walking around. A luxury of having a media pass is that I can get into the game way before the fans can so I walked into the stadium and went right out to the field. It had been raining the night before and it was dark and gloomy still so I wanted to get some early exposure readings and to basically just take in the silence of the stadium prior to all the fans coming in.
As I normally do I was taking warmup photos of the Miami Hurricanes warming up and every time I looked up there were more and more fans filling the stands. Then it started to get loud with chants directed at the Florida Gators. At kick-off the stadium was near capacity and the place was rocking.
Since this was such a big game, ESPN was there as well as like 30 other photographers so real estate to shoot from was few and far between. These photographers brought out all the big lenses and were basically armed to the teeth with camera gear. My plan was to move all around the field and get different angles of the action. It was a workout let me tell you.
I found myself in some ideal spots to get the shot and for the most part I did. Sometimes an ESPN audio guy stepped in the shot or I got the back of the head of a referee, but for the most part I had great access to the game. It was a great game too so I was thrilled to be there for it.
After the game was over and the Miami Hurricanes came out victorious, all the players ran to every side of the stadium to celebrate with fans and family alike. It was awesome just capturing the moment of them celebrating and acting like it was Christmas morning. There was one instance where a player, a lineman, went into the stands and went in to the arms of someone who I assumed was his father. The older gentleman whispered words into this player’s ears while trying to hold back his tears. It was a great moment to witness. The celebration didn’t end on the field, the fans continued to party out in the parking lot. I had to wait an hour before I could leave because of all the traffic and people blocking the exits celebrating. I didn’t mind, it gave me a moment to take in the great experience I had photographing the game.