I finally got a chance to process some of my images from last week’s game between the San Francisco, 49ers and the New York Giants. Anyway, I thought I share a few of my favorites from the shoot below (click on them for much larger views):

Above: I dig the sweat flying and the fact that the defender’s helmet is up so high his chin guard looks like it’s covering his eyes. 

I had dinner a few days before the game with sports photography legend Dave Black and his lovely wife Susan. During dinner I mentioned to Dave that I’d be shooting the game this weekend, and Dave said:

“Here’s what you need to do: put a 1.4 tele-extender on your 400mm f/2.8 and get a super tight shot of Eli Manning—so tight that you cut off the top of his helmet and part of the ball. I want to see his face and the reflection in his helmet. Start the game shooting this and don’t stop until you get it.”

Well, I took his advice and shot in tight on Manning (like the shot you see at the very top of this post) for the entire first quarter. I have a lot of tries that didn’t hit the mark, but I did catch this one. Thanks Dave! (I did the same thing with 49ers QB Alex Smith, as seen as the end of this post). :)

Camera Specs:
Pretty much the same as usual, but besides the 1.4 tele-extender, I did try a different lens on my second body; my 28-300mm f/2.5 to f/5.6. So why this one? Well, I wasn’t happy with the 24-70mm, because 70mm isn’t close enough most of the time, and 24mm is a little too wide, so I thought I’d try something different since this was a day game. I wouldn’t have tried this at night). My main lens was a 400mm f/2.8, and I shot at f/2.8 the whole time (of course, when I put the tele-extender on, it dropped the f/stop to f/4.

Above: This is one of my favorite shots from the game. The fact that later in the game part of the field went into shadows did make things a little tricky, but I switched my White Balance to Cloudy and that pretty much took care of the color shift.

Above: I know you can’t see the ball in this shot, but I loved Manning’s face in this shot.

Above: In the frame before this shot, the defensive tackle had his hands firmly on the running back’s face mask, but the shot just wasn’t as interesting. 

Above: This one’s taken with a 10.5mm fisheye, from down on one knee.

Above: That’s me posing with my 400mm f/2.8. Of course, it’s closer to the lens than my head, so it looks larger than life (photo by Vinny).

It truly was a blast to shoot the game—-absolutely perfect weather, two teams at the top of their game, and San Francisco enjoying their best season in years, and a stadium full of fans enjoying every minute of it. It doesn’t get much better. Thanks to 49ers Team Photographer Terrell Lloyd (A really great guy, who was really helpful and fun), and my personal thanks to Anne Cahill who is just too cool for everything she did.

One Last Thing…
Dave Black told me that once I shot with that 1.4 tele on the 400mm, that it would feel so tight, that when I removed it, the regular 400mm would actually feel loose. He was absolutely right. When I took it off, I felt like I was using a 200mm, and actually, that was a good thing. Thanks Dave—-once again, you were right.