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Yesterday (Sunday) morning, I caught an early flight to St. Louis, Missouri to shoot the Houston Texans at St. Louis Rams NFL football game at the Edward Jones dome. (Click on the photos for a larger view)

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Although I did shoot some of the game (when the Ram’s offense was on the field), I was actually there on assignment to shoot starting Middle Linebacker James Laurinaitis (#55) shown below.

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Of course, as a linebacker James is on Defense, so when he was on the field, my job was just to isolate on him and hope he didn’t wind up in a big crushing pile of guys where he’d get lost from a camera perspective, or that the play wasn’t a quick slant to the far sideline where the receiver gets tackled right away, so James didn’t need to get involved.

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The image above is of the Ram’s only touchdown for the day (the Texans only scored one as well, but sadly they wound up winning by a field goal in the fourth quarter). He caught the ball on the goal line so when his feet came down—it was party time in St. Louis!

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Houston dropped a pass in the end zone later in the game (that’s James on the far right), and though I don’t do a lot of wide shots, I kind of liked this one.

CAMERA INFO: It was a domed stadium, so it was pretty much like shooting at night, and I had to shoot at 4,000 ISO the entire time to get my shutter speed in the 1/1000 of a second or higher range to freeze the action. I used a Nikon D3 as my main body with a 200-400mm f/4, and my second body was a D700 with a 70-200mm f/2.8 for when they got inside the 15 yard line.

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Here’s another wide shot taken as the Ram’s learned they had stopped the Texans on 4th down and one (yard), and they got the ball back on downs. That’s James in the center celebrating the stop.

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This one I just love because of the athleticism of #70. I love to see really big guys in mid air.

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One more of James doing his thing. He’s really an incredible athlete, which is why he’s starting in the NFL his first year out of college. He was really working hard out there, which makes it all the more a shame they lost.It hasn’t been an easy year for the Rams, but I’m a Tampa Bay Bucs fan so that automatically makes me sympathetic to any losing team this year.

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Although I had a great time (I mean, afterall—-it was an NFL game!), overall I wasn’t any happier with my shooting performance than Ram’s fans were with their team that day.

Right after the game, my wife sent me a text message to ask how it went. I wrote back, “Well, I learned a lot. Does that count?” But that’s exactly why I wanted to go St. Louis and shoot this game, and shoot James, in the first place. This stuff, like everything else in photography, just takes lots of practice, perserverence and experience and the only way to get it is to get out there and do it. So I did it, and I did learn some new things that I’ll try next time (and I tried a few new things this time, too).

The good news is; I was able to get a flight home the same day, and even watched a movie tonight at home with my wife once the kids were in bed. But now, I’m beat so I’m heading to bed. Got a busy day at work tomorrow. Hope you all have a good one! :)