It’s the end of football season.
Which means, on New Year’s Eve, I shot my last college football game.
Okay — more accurately, the Texas Bowl game was the last college football game I’ll ever have shot as an undergraduate photojournalism student. And boy, was it a tough one.
I’d like to think that I’ve improved with every football game I’ve shot this season. I started out a little rough with the Illinois game, which I chalk up to my previously not having ever used Nikon equipment and shooting with a D3, a D2H and a 500/4 lens. Photographing the Nebraska game turned out a lot better, despite the personal misery associated with the inclement weather conditions. And I felt really on top of things when I shot Missouri’s unexpected victory at Kansas State and happened to be in exactly the right places to capture most of Missouri’s touchdowns.
But boy, did the Navy throw Missouri — and me — a curveball with the Texas Bowl game.
Going into the game, I had a few thoughts that shook me up a bit:
- I was the only designated photographer for The Columbia Missourian for this game. Ivy was there, too, but as the designated editor, she would be leaving the field before halftime and the end of the game to empty cards and start filing and would be late arriving for the second half. I’d never been on my own for a football game before, which was a lot of added pressure in my mind.
- I had no idea how the Navy offense would play and how that would affect Missouri’s play. All I knew were that the Navy, Air Force and Army play differently and that their players are physically smaller than the college football players I’d been photographing all season.
- Because of some issues with the printer back in Columbia, my editor told us we had to file as many photos as possible during halftime in case the paper had to go to print at 5:30 p.m. I typically shoot much better in the second half, and knowing that I had to step it up for the first half was a little nerve-wracking.
But I did m’best.
And here are a few shots to prove it.
Pause for a moment and notice just how huge Sean Weatherspoon (No. 12) appears in comparison to Ricky Dobbs in the below photo.
As Jeff explained to me after the game, the Navy is one of a few college football teams to use the triple option offense, which gives their physically smaller players the tactical advantage of faking hand-offs and confusing the other team’s defense as well as photographers who are used to shooting the spread offense. Photographers like me.
But that was just another challenge that’s come with shooting college football this season, and I’d like to think I did decently well at facing and overcoming that challenge.
The Tigers, on the other hand, didn’t quite rise up to the Midshipmen’s challenge. Missouri lost 35-13 and ended the season 8-5.
Despite Missouri’s loss and the challenges presented in shooting this game, I am so glad and grateful to have ended my season with a bowl game. I’d like to think I did well and have improved significantly since I first started photographing college football, and I certainly hope that the future will present further opportunities to improve even more.
And, as always, you’re more than welcome to view more photos.
For the gearheads/photographers out there, here’s the gear I used:
- Nikon D2Hs (courtesy of The Missourian) with a 400/2.8 lens (courtesy of the journalism school)
- Canon 30D with a 70-200/2.8 and 16-35/2.8 (all mine)
Coming up soon:
- Texas Renaissance Festival photos
- New York City photos
- Updates on revamped audio slideshow projects