Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My Day On The Hill

hose who know me know that I either bleed Black and Gold, ie: Appalachian State, or Wolfpack red!  But I put that aside for the day recently when I had the chance to take a trip to Chapel Hill to shoot a UNC vs. Clemson football game.  Now, before I go to far I have worked a college game before, but not a Div 1A game.  Totally different than what I was used too on the sidelines at a local High School matchup.

I arrived at the stadium super early so that I had a chance to get my credentials and see what I could see.  Ended up in the press box almost instantly after being allowed in the gate.  The view was awesome looking down on a empty stadium.  Inside the booth, there were tables setup with media already surrounding them.  Some were eating, or watching a early game on the TVs, then there was the ESPN crew doing their pregame meeting right in the middle of everyone!!

After getting my neon green vest to wear on the field, another photographer asked me if I wanted to follow him down to the field since he knew the way!  We went down and stood around talking for a while.  I was able to pick his brain and share stories.  The amazing part was that he didn't have any more experience with shooting than I had and he even asked me some questions.  Being from the national media corp. and still having similar stories to tell told me a lot about myself and abilities.

As the pregame warmups began, I was still trying to figure out Sunlight angles and places I could be on the field.  By the time the pregame ceremonies began, I was all set and ready!  I was sent to cover a local player on the Clemson team but I also had a 2nd cousin on the team as well.  I considered it a twofer!  Trying to take it all in, I was shooting just about everything I could see.  The entire stadium was blue with the exception of the Clemson sections.

As the game began, it was mayhem on the sidelines.  Carolina doesn't have the most room for everyone to operate in.  With the sideline crew, national TV crew, photographers, and the cheerleaders all sharing a narrow 10 foot wide section from the field to a surrounding hedge, it got a little cramped.

As I was shooting the game, I quickly realized that I was getting the same and sometimes better photos than the national photographers.  I was standing elbow to elbow with photographers who shot for USA Today, AP and Sports Illustrated among others.  Even though I didn't have the "mortgage your home" camera lenses like they did, I was able to make the best from what I had and still captured some awesome shots. 

After I turned in my vest in the top of the stadium and was making the trek back to my truck, I started thinking about everything that I got to do that day.  The people I met and the things I got to do.  All in all, I had a fantastic day and I am ready to shoot my next collegiate event!