On Saturday, I hopped an early morning flight up to South Bend, Indiana to shoot the Notre Dame vs. Tulsa game, along with my buddy Jim Workman (a lifelong Notre Dame fan), and his son Kevin.

So, first—how did I wind up shooting “The Fighting Irish?” At this past Photoshop World, one of the two inductees to the Photoshop Hall of Fame was NAPP’s Help Desk Director Peter Bauer. He brought his wife Mary Ellen O’Connell along to see him receive the award, and during the opening night party, Pete mentioned that Mary Ellen was going to be honored with the game ball at halftime, and that they were watching the game from the University President’s suite.

That was all I needed. I’m like “Pete….buddy….do you think you can use some of that juice to get me a sideline pass to shoot a Notre Dame game?” and Pete said he’d see what he could do. Well, after a few well placed calls, and Pete “working the system” he wrote me back to let me know he had arranged a pass for me to shoot the Notre Dame vs. Tulsa game (of course, this was all made possible in no small part by the fact that Pete’s wife, Mary Ellen is a Research Professor of International Dispute Resolution at Notre Dame, and quite famous in the world of law, and plus, she’s just really cool). Anyway, he worked it out, and I was on my way.

It was an absolutely perfect day in South Bend, with temperatures in the low 60s, under a bright blue sky. Pete offered his season tickets so my buddy Jim could come along (Jim hadn’t seen a first Notre Dame game in person since his dad took him to one back in 1971), and Jim was incredibly psyched!!! Pete had great seats—right behind the goal—10 rows back. Sweet!

(Above: That’s me during the game with my new 400mm f/2.8. Photo by one of my blog readers, Troy Breidenbach, who was also shooting the game on the sidelines that day).

One thing that struck me was how friendly everybody was there. Every one you met working at the stadium was just as kind and helpful as they could be. They all said “Welcome to Notre Dame. We’re happy you’re here.” This was a stark contrast from spending the first of the week in New York, where most of the people I met said, “Welcome to New York. Now give me your wallet” (Totally kidding).

(Above: Tulsa’s coach apparently didn’t agree with one of the ref’s calls during the third quarter and sent his clipboard flying. I love how everybody’s looking at the clipboard).

Camera Settings
Nothing new here. Shot the same two lenses and used the same settings I always do (see my Bucs vs Rams post [link] for all these details. I did use my D300s as my 2nd body this time, because Brad had a concert shoot Saturday night I didn’t want to send him there with a noisy camera, so I left him with the D700, since I really didn’t have any noise issue with a day game, and the D300s worked great (We did put the extra AA batteries in the battery grip to get more frames per second).

(Above: Let the end zone celebration begin! It looked like Notre Dame had this one in the bag—they were trailing by 2 points with less than 30 seconds left to play, but they’re on Tulsa’s 22 yard line, and all they had to do was kick the field goal, but then…..)

(Above: …they went for six points instead, and Tulsa intercepted a Notre Dame pass in the end zone, and it was all over). :(

(Above: I made the commemorative print you see above for my buddy Jim, so he could remember this day. Hopefully, it won’t be almost 40 years before he catches another ND game. I used a 10mm fisheye lens on my D300s, then I used Lightroom’s built-in Lens Correction Profile to straighten the image out. Took all of 10 seconds).

(Above: This shot of me was taken with my iPhone by Eric Szajko, a NAPP member who was also shooting the game. He and his wife Michelle had been to 10 Photoshop Worlds, but we had never met. He came up and introduced himself to me before kickoff, and we hit it off right away, and I pretty much wound up shooting the entire day with him, and we had a lot of laughs).

Well, that’s all from the shoot. I do want to thank Pete Bauer and Mary Ellen O’Connell for arranging all this for me (and for the incredible dinner they hosted at their beautiful home after the game), and a special thanks to Notre Dame’s John Heisler for being so gracious as to let me shoot the game. It really was a wonderful day (the only thing that could have made it better was an Irish win), but I really had a lot of fun with Pete, Mary Ellen, Jim, Kevin, Eric, Troy, and the wonderful people of South Bend.

UPDATE: I added 10 more of my favorite shots from the game over at my Facebook Fan Page. Here’s the link.