shooting blind

Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields hits Bears wide receiver Johnny Knox (13) as Green Bay Packers safety Charlie Peprah (26) keeps his toes in bounds and intercepts Jay Cutler in the end zone in the third quarter as the Bears fell 10-3 to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

This is an idea for a photo I’ve tried to shoot off and on for three years but never had the elements come together anywhere close before. In a lot of shooting situations, I like to put the camera on the ground to go for the cleanest background possible.  Shooting from a high angle would also make a clean background of only grass, but having a wide-angle lens on the ground with your subjects close to you makes them look especially large and hopefully jump right out of the image to make you feel like you’re part of the scene. I love the look in basketball where floor remotes are used near where players are jumping toward the rim, but you only see it occasionally in football because photographers don’t have anywhere they could leave a remote camera on the ground.

Sometimes when the action is approaching the goal line, I like to put my 35mm lens under my knee from wherever I am, usually aiming at the pylon where much of the more exciting diving action could happen. Pre-focused and composed, I have it aimed so if I see a play coming right at me, I can let go of the longer zoom lens in my hands and just drive the shutter on the play that is happening right there. It’s a big risk, however, since I can’t see what I’m aiming at and could easily have kneed the camera into the wrong position or hit the focus since I looked at it last, so I usually end up chickening out and either picking up the wide-angle or just using the longer zoom. Also, if the play doesn’t come right to you, the players will be too far away and look too small to be useful.

In this case, I took a chance on the pass coming right in front of me, and Peprah got to the ball before Johnny Knox. The shot with the ball in the air worked too, but when Peprah turned a took a step toward me the players got bigger and you could see their faces for the first time. The image would certain be a lot more exciting if you had a player diving across the pylon with all the peak action and facial expressions, but I still like this as a different kind of football image at least. When the circumstances are right (and it’s not at risk of missing some critical playoff moment) I’d like to keep trying angles like this.

(Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)



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