This past Sunday I got really a wonderful opportunity—to shoot the Washington Redskins vs. Tampa Bay Bucs with the amazing team at Hail! Magazine (I talked about their magazine for Redskins fans here on the blog a few months ago), and despite the chilly weather and non-stop rain, I truly had a blast.

So while the weather wasn’t pretty (though thankfully the 16 mph winds never materialized) I really learned a lot from spending the day shooting with the four talented sports photographers behind Hail!: Brian “Murf” Murphy, Eric Espada. Melvin Arroyo and Peter Lockley. They work on a really tight schedule, and it was great observing their workflow on and off the field. These guys really have it together and it shows in their work.

As much fun as I had at the game, my biggest thrill was having them include two of my images in this week’s issue of Hail! (that’s two of my shots at the bottom of the page spread from Hail! shown above). Now that was exciting! Thank you guys—it’s truly an honor.

Tech Specs: I used a Nikon D3s with a 400mm f/2.8 as my main camera, and my D3 with a 70-200mm f/2.8 as my 2nd body. Because it was raining and overcast, I had to shoot at 1,600 ISO pretty much all day, like I would for a night game. Toward the end of the game, as the rain and clouds increased I had to crank the ISO to 3,200 to keep my shutter speed above 1/1000 of a second.

Protecting My Gear
I used Think Tank Photo’s Hydrophobia lens and camera rain cover combination on both cameras, and I have to say, they worked brilliantly, and my gear was bone dry the entire day. The one piece that winds up outside the cover is your viewfinder eyepiece (it kind of has to be that way, but they give you a viewfinder eyepiece extender with the kit), so since it’s out in the rain, you get rain drops on your eyepiece, which makes judging focus a bit harder. Even though the water isn’t really on your view finder or lens (just on the eyepiece extender), it takes a bit of getting used to looking through your viewfinder and everything’s blurry like your glass is wet.

Above: Bucs Guard Jeremy Zuttah celebrates after the Bucs score in the 2nd half. The Bucs would wind up winning by one point after the Redskin’s missed scoring the extra point, with nine seconds left on the clock, due to a really bad snap (over the kicker’s head).

Thanks again to the wonderful team at Hail! magazine, for giving me the opportunity to shoot alongside you guys and learn along the way. Photographers will particularly love Hail! since it’s run by photographers, so the emphasis is on great sports photography and that really helps make the mag stand out. You can subscribe to Hail! for free, right here. Don’t forget to check out their brand new issue while you’re there.

Thanks Brian, Eric, Mel, and Peter for giving me a day I won’t soon forget.