It was my last game of the season (doesn’t look like I’ll be shooting any post-season), and it was an amazing venue — the Cowboys stadium (OK, AT&T Stadium), is just insane, and an incredible place to experience a game — maybe the best ever. In the end, the Eagles won the game (which is good since I was shooting with the Eagles crew), and although it was a huge game in terms of impact (it was winner take all: whichever team won the game, not only won the division but got into the playoffs. The loserâ¦well..).

Some surprising things from the game:

(1) From a photography standpoint, the lighting in the stadium isâ¦.ummmâ¦well, it’s kinda lame. I had to shoot at 5000 ISO at f/4 and 2500 ISO at f/2.8, which really surprised me.

(2) The field-level luxury boxes are even cooler than I thought. The folks in those boxes have outdoor patios with tables and it’s like they’re right there on the sidelines with you.

(3) That amazing huge screen (the largest indoor HD screen in the world) — it’s not made for viewing from the field level. They’re aimed out at the stands, so to look up at them during the game, you get a serious neck ache before long. I’ve seen them from up in the stands, and they are stunning. From field levelâ¦not so much.

(4) While this game was really high-stakes, it wasn’t a particularly exciting game to shoot (made worse by the fact that the one cool play, Escobar’s flip into the end-zone, happened when I was in the opposite end zone. I did catch an end-zone to end-zone shot at 580mm (a 400mm f/2.8 + a 1.4 tele-extender), right between two players, but it’s so far away that even cropped it’s just not a really good image.

(5) This one’s totally on me, but I hadn’t planned on shooting a remote camera, but since I was shooting with the team, I was issued a green all-access vest, so I could go on field during pre-game warmups, and I still had my pocket wizards from the Bucs game in my camera bag, so I mounted my camera on top of my monopod and fired it with a pocket-wizard Plus X. I know, I know, they’re not made for that — I should have used Plus IIIs, but I didn’t have them, soâ¦.it fired. Sometimes. My fault. I know better. But at least it did fire some. Funny story — the Cowboy’s team photographer sees me, introduces himself (really nice guy) and asked if my remotes were working (he had read the blog post). Small world.

Some days you’re really in the zone, and some times you’re in the wrong position at the right time, and that pretty much summed up my night. I got two of the Eagle’s three touchdowns, but overall, I was pretty disappointed, which isn’t a great way to end your season, but I still had a great time shooting, and hanging out with my buddy John Geliebter who shoots for the Eagles, along with Drew and Hunter (great guys, great shooters), and overall I had a really fun time, which helped to make up for how I shot.

Anyway, here’s a few of my favorites from the game:

 

BELOW: Here’s a couple of shots taken with the remote camera mounted up high on my monopod with a 16-35mm lens (I’m supporting the monopod on my thigh, but the monopod fully extended is pretty darn long, so it’s well above the player’s heads).

Above: I thought this might made an interesting shot: former Eagles starter Michael Vick looking on as his backup, Nick Foles, has literally lit up the QB stats this season and is about to lead the Eagles to the NFC East Championship and the Playoffs. 

Above: It’s not a game action photo, but still one of my very favorites. I got this photo of a Marine holding one section of the giant flag they display on-field during the playing of the National Anthem. This is the above view from the monopod-remote rig. I was also out there for the coin-toss, and I did some shots of the players coming on/off the field, and some just outside the locker room with the rig. Next time, I’ll use the Plus IIIs. And by next time, I meanâ¦next August. Sigh. 

Above: OK, this wasn’t a great moment, when Foles lost the ball the Cowboys recovered the fumble, but it all turned out in the end. 

Next week I’ll be sharing a collection of my “best of the season” (like I did last year), so I’ll hope you’ll come back and check those out.

Here’s wishing today, the last Tuesday of the year, is your best Tuesday of the year! :)

 

 

About The Author

Scott is the President of KelbyOne, an online educational community for Photographers, Photoshop and Lightroom users. He's editor and publisher of Photoshop User Magazine, Conference Technical Chair for the Photoshop World Conference & Expo, and the author of a string of bestselling Photoshop, Lightroom, and photography books.

37 Comments

  1. Great shots. It just amazes me on how sharp your pics are at high ISO’s. Happy New Year!

    • I wish I could take the credit — the 1Dx is doing all the heavy lifting there. :)

      • Scott, I am shooting with the 1dx also but at high iso’s which I consider to be anything above 1600 my pictures start to show noise. I have heard that if you overexpose it helps with the noise but I am always trying to keep the iso as low as possible thinking that will result in crisp images. I use only 2.8 glass when shooting sports which includes a lot of high school night games, indoor volleyball and a few night games at Lincoln Financial (Go Eagles).

        Are you using 3rd party software in post to reduce the noise or some other method? In summary my question is how are you getting such sharp images at those iso’s? Thanks.

  2. Love the photos. I got a chance to shoot their game at Minnesota a few weeks ago. My first and only game so far. It was awesome!!

  3. Nice shots! Happy New Year!

  4. Like most of us we are very envious but hey you are the GURU so you do deserve to be able to do this. I wish you and your Family a Happy and Healthy New Year … of and that goes for all at the Kelby company!

  5. Really enjoyed these Scott, thanks for sharing. 5000 ISO wow, I’m shooting some indoor auto racing in Jan. Coming from film, it’s still hard to grasp shooting good quality photos at that speed. Guess I’ll give it a shot. I’m guessing my D700 can handle that.

  6. Hi Scott, Great Shots for sure. I’ve always been a Cowboys fan since I was raised in OKC and the Cowboys was one team that was on tv weekly even before Cable or Satellite. I thought about looking for you on the sidelines as the game began, but it was such a good game that I, quite frankly, forgot.
    Happy New Year to you My Friend!!!
    Mike

  7. Awesome shots as always sir and look forward to working with you again in 2014

  8. I read 3 of your books, very helpful. Love sports photography! Great shots Mr. kelby!

  9. It was a pleasure having you shoot with us. I’m not done sorting through mine but I hope I have a few as nice as yours. Happy New Year.

  10. The monopod is great, but can’t wait for you to get a drone and see what shots you can get with that!!!

  11. Your shots make the win even sweeter!

  12. I am not a sports shooter but I have really enjoyed your football blogs this season. (I live in AZ, but am from PA – go Eagles!!). Thanks for all you do for the education of photographers. Happy New Year.

  13. Wow Scott, the Marine with the flag is one of the strongest sidelines shots I’ve ever seen! Evokes such powerful feelings of patriotism, thanks, made my New Year’s Eve!!

  14. A few….past peak actions there. But we had faces, feet off the ground, balls in hands, and a lot of cropping. Hard to find that ‘sweet spot’. I always enjoy your part-time job shots Scott !

  15. Do you need an apprentice other than Brad??? Just for the sports stuff??? BTW, do you shoot on continuous high mode release for these shots or are they just singles taken at the peak of action? I always find I m half a second behind If I am taking single shots.

    • Hi Greg: I shoot in high-speed continuous (12 frames per second).

      • If your using a 1dx shooting fast moving sports, and not using high-speed continuous, wouldn’t the 1dx be overkill? You use the tools you have. When I got to shoot I was using my friends 5d mk III with a 300 2.8. You better believe I was shooting in high-speed continuous!

  16. Great Shots!!! You make me wish football season was longer where i live in Canada!!!
    Happy New Years Scott!!!

  17. I appreciate your honesty and can totally relate. I shot three bowls within a week and the first I happened to be in the perfect position almost every big play, second game wasn’t as good but still good, and the third wasn’t mostly disappointing. It’s good to know it happens even to the best guys like yourself.

    • B-House — you are so right — being in the right position surely changes from game to game, and being in the wrong one is one of the things that just cranks me more than about any other. At least I’m not alone. LOL!!! Happy New Year to you and yours. :)

    • The opportunity I got to shoot this year I stuck by my friend. He was 1 of 3 photographers there for the paper. Two of the photographers got a corner opposite each other, and the third ran the home team sideline. Next time I hope to be able to follow the action more.

  18. Scott, Good stuff and Happy New Year! It was a pleasure to have you come out with us. Let me know when you want to come to Philly for a game.

    • Drew: Thanks for the invite man — I’ll definitely take you up on that. It was great getting to spend some time with you guys, but I know you really just wanted me to keep an eye on John and to hopefully stop him from “going rogue” and spending the entire game taking nothing but shots of Dez Bryant. ;-)

  19. Scott, CORRECTION: Cowboys Stadium does not have the largest screen in the world. The Houston Texans Reliant Stadium has that distinction and they are located in each end zone. As a point of reference, the Cowboys Stadium video boards measure at 72
    feet high by 160 feet wide. The Texans’ boards are 30 percent larger
    at 53 feet high and 277 feet wide. Come to Houston if you truly want a photographic experience. BTW, great shots!

  20. Great photos! I love your football threads. I shoot HS football (and other sports). I get inspirations following your posts and getting the inside look at what its like at a NFL game. Can’t complain too much about the light, I shoot night games at ISO 6400 2.8 and 12,800 4.0 to get the magical 1/1000 and that’s at a good HS venue :)

    Are photographers at a NFL game regulated to a certain area of the field?

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