Friday nights in September
Football is upon us for another year, and it’s a time I enjoy each fall as a photographer. The intensity of the competition really shows up in the images, and the rapidly evolving storyline of each game is different every time. This means unpredictable results in the best possible way.
I’m at a handicap with football on most occasions because of equipment. The longest focal length lens I own is a 70-200mm/f/2.8 and it suffices at football games for action that takes place between the hash marks and the sideline one is shooting from. With this lens, anything happening between the hash marks or on the far side of the field away from where you’re shooting usually is too far away to photograph effectively. So unless I rent a 400mm-f/2.8 Nikkor, which I’ll do on occasion, I have to be picky at football games.
The photo above, however, is an exception to the rule. It came at my first prep football game last Friday in Salem. I shot it at 200mm and barely cropped it at the bottom, yet it still tells an intense story of battle on the gridiron. The running back, Tanner Shipley, is being recruited by colleges including Oregon State, Brigham Young and other top regional programs. He stares intently at the defender, who has little idea he’s about to be blasted from his left by the charging blocker. You can see the play unfold in your mind while watching a still image. I love the way you can look at this scene and others like it and know you can’t see this with the naked eye.