All year the photographers that cover sports here in Arizona hope and pray for the sun drench day games when the year’s ASU football schedule is released, and when it is released we review it with nervous anticipation in hopes that there will be at least one, and if we are lucky two games that don’t take place at night under the lights.
All around the world great sports photography is produced where golden sunlight and beautiful color is the norm, but due to the summer time temps here in Arizona most of our sports photography is at night or indoors, and that can make capturing the kinds of images that make it into printed magazines a challenge. With so many of the sporting events taking place at night you can’t rely on that golden sunlight to give your images that extra “pop.”
It turned out this year’s game against the blue and gold of the UCLA Bruins was going to be a day game and, I for one was very excited for the day-game opportunity.
The light before the game on the Sun Devils marching band looked fantastic as it bounced all around the stadium.
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I was also interested in the action from both teams as it looked to be a reasonable match-up that should provide some good action-related photographic opportunities on the field.
Mother nature decided to reward me with extremely bright highlights and deep dark shadows. I felt like I was really struggling with my images and the harsh lighting conditions, making me frustrated with my photography and disappointed in my abilities to deal with the conditions.
I was really getting mad at myself for missing focus, missing the exposure and generally not having a very good game, but I kept trying to work through the day and just hoped that when all was said and done I would come away with the kinds of images that would tell the story of the game.
I think one of the reasons some of my images didn’t come out the way I would have liked is the distracting backgrounds and not enough separation between the subject and the background. The cause of this is most likely the use of my Canon 100 mm – 400 mm zoom lens which has a variable aperture of f4.5 to f5.6 where I tend to just set my aperture at f5.6 to avoid any unwanted exposure changes as I zoom the lens.
The images I liked the best had much better separation between the subject and the background because I used my Canon 300 f2.8 on a second body for many of the shots you see here.
It’s not often we photographers here in Arizona get these rare day-game opportunities and I was really putting a lot of pressure on myself to produce some fantastic images. Sadly, I was a bit disappointed in many of the images I captured, but I guess everybody has off-days. We try to learn from our mistakes and move on.
The UCLA Bruins away game uniforms didn’t have those great sky-blue helmets or pants and sort of just looked a bit boring to me.
There were a couple of interesting plays where I felt like I was a bit out of position to take full advantage photographically and I didn’t get the subject-separation I wanted which tended to frustrate me even more.
Several of my shots required the exposure for the shadows to be drastically different then the exposure for the highlights and for some reason on this day it was all making my head spin.
In the end UCLA would march down the field with time expiring and kick a game-winning field goal.
The entire UCLA team would rush the field and mob the kicker and once again I felt like I was standing in the wrong place to get the shots I wanted.
I guess the moral of the story is, learn from your mistakes and keep moving forward.