My Favorite Football Shots From The 2013 Season

First, A 90-Second Recap:
I shot four fewer games this year than last year, even with my season credentials for shooting the Buc’s home games for Zuma Press. I picked up a few other games when the Buc’s were on the road, including two Falcons games (one against the Bucs); a Titans game in Jacksonville, plus the Broncos/Chiefs out in Denver and the Eagles/Cowboys in Texas.

Here are the teams I got to shoot this season:

  1. Tampa Bay Bucs
  2. Tennessee Titans
  3. Miami Dolphins
  4. Arizona Cardinals
  5. Washington Redskins
  6. Atlanta Falcons
  7. Denver Broncos
  8. New Orleans Saints
  9. San Francisco 49ers
  10. Kansas City Chiefs
  11. Jacksonville Jaguars
  12. Buffalo Bills
  13. Dallas Cowboys
  14. Philadelphia Eagles

There’s only ONE single NFL team left I haven't had the opportunity to shoot yet: The Baltimore Ravens.

As we're kicking off this New Year, I thought I'd take a look back at some of my favorite shots from this past season. All of them pretty much taken with the same set-up: 2 camera bodies: both Canon 1Dxs (truly amazing for football). Main lens: a 400mm f/2.8 with a 1/4 tele-extender added on, or a 200-400mm f/4 with a built-in 1.4 tele-extender. Second body lens: 70-200 f/2.8 and an 8-15mm fisheye zoom.

My Football Gallery
I was inspired by how the Atlanta Falcon’s coverage of Tony Gonzolaz’s last game, using “Exposure” (a new photo storytelling blogging service with simple on-screen editing [no coding — all drag-and-drop] that I had signed up for earlier this year when they were in beta). So, all the shots are at this link (the screen shot at the top of this post is the opening shot of my gallery on Exposure):

I’ve written more over at that gallery, and if you get a few minutes, I hope you’ll check it out.

There ya have it â”-my favorite shots from this season 
Thanks to everybody who tolerated all my football posts once again this season and to everybody who supported me throughout the year with your kind comments. I love sharing what I pick up from these games (good and bad), and it's been really fun having you all along with me for the ride. :)

  1. Scott, I remember you showing us your first foray into football photography and how can I put this…wow, you’ve really evolved. What you have up today is awesome! I’m looking forward to what you’ll have for us next season.

  2. Really great shots, and layout I really enjoyed it and the pictures captures some of the fun you must have had being there and just taking pictures.

  3. Scott, I have so many questions!

    *Are you limited to being in the endzone the entire game? As opposed to walking up and down the sideline like you did during the “Highschool Football Photography” course with Dave Black?
    *What do you do with your 400mm when the game is over and you want to get shots of the players/coaches congratulating each other?
    *How were you able to get on the field during Eagles practice for that shot of Vick, you had free range?
    *That picture of the Vols coming out is excellent, but where was the camera mounted so no fans interfere with it?

    1. OK, here ya go: :-)

      1) I can roam pretty much anywhere along the sidelines, on either side of the field, You’re just not technically supposed to shoot from behind the player’s bench. From the side — no problem. I shoot from the End Zone a lot because there are far fewer people in your field of vision (coaches, the chain gang, the guy with the first down marker, video crews, and on and on).

      2) It’s over my shoulder, and I shoot with my 2nd body (a 70-200mm). Ideally, I’d switch to a 24-70mm at the 2-minute warning, but that doesn’t always happen.

      3) Since I was shooting for the Eagles team, I get a Green “all-access” vest (rather than the standard tan one) which tells security in the stadium “it’s OK, he’s with the team” so you have more access, including in the bench, and during warm-ups etc.

      (4) The camera was mounted on a railing with a security guard standing between the railing and camera. That’s not usually the case —- just got lucky that the position where I wanted it mounted had a guard there (who, by the way, had to agree to the plan in the first place, and once agreed, he kept everyone away from it).

      Hope that helps. :)

  4. Great shots as always. I look forward every week to seeing your football postings. I get lots of inspiration from your detail shots and it makes me look for different angles during games. Keep up the good work and hope you get to come back to Neyland next year. The Alabama game should be really special with Kiffin coming back to town.

  5. Hey Scott,
    Great shots of some amazing players. Peyton’s face detail is excellent. I’m so jealous.
    You should take Ken Toney up on shooting his friend’s NASCAR team sometime. It’s a great time too.
    See ya,
    PS I like the pic of you at the end. You really have that “I’m Satisfied” look on your face!!

  6. Wow, terrific shots, as always, Scott! The one that caught my eye (so to speak) was the shot of Drew Brees where you nailed his eyes in between the slats of his faceguard. Talk about timing. Too bad you didn’t get any Patriots shots this year, but you might have a chance next year (come to Foxboro, MA!).

    I do suggest you use this format in the future for your football shots. It flowed really nicely, and the format was perfect. BTW, that shot of you at the end is a keeper. Much better than the one of you with the lens facing the viewer.


  7. OK, so one can accept that over on the west side of The Pond, “football” is played by men with oval balls, but….shock, horror, what’s this I see…….SK leaning on a white lens – and grinning?!?!

    Joined the Dark Side, he has!

    Notwithstanding, there’s some bl**dy greats shots in there, Scott!

  8. Really great shots, Scott….and absolutely love that “Exposure” layout…I bet your post will overflow their band-width with sign-ups…I, for one, will get an account!!

  9. I’m loving the “Exposure” layout as well. I really do enjoy your stories. There are several educators online for creatives but I’ve always sworn by Kelby Group. You guys are just so much fun! And I think people learn more when they’re having fun.

    My favorite is the catch action shot between the Panthers and the Titans, with the Ref thats all into his job. That one really tells a story. I’m hoping you’ll get to shoot my Steelers next season. I’d love to have a great Steelers photo print by Scott Kelby :)

  10. Love the photos.
    What are your rights to use the photos? Do you retain the copyright? What about rights for minor league and high school sports? To post, sell or give away? Or just to take photos for personal use? I’ve never had a problem with high school games (football, baseball, soccer). There are a lot of photographers who take and sell high school photos. At a summer tournament of high school aged baseball teams I paid admission and was shooting from the front row behind the screen with a Nikon D4 and Sigma 120-300mm,f/2.8 lens(great lens for sports with zoom feature). I was asked to leave while others with point and shoot and iPhones were allowed to take photos. There was no photo policy posted or on their website. Games were played at high school and community college fields. There was a public walk next to first base beyond the dugout and I could have shot from there without entering the seating area. What are a photographer’s rights to take pictures, post them, sell or give them to parents? Later that year at a different tournament the sponsor asked for people to submit their photos. What about minor league baseball? I’ve taken photos from the front row of the stands at class A baseball games with no problem and seen other photographers at the same games. At major league games they limit the size of lens and restrict photos to personal use. I appreciate your comments.

  11. Hey Scott,
    Great year end folio! The TN VOLS shot was great, that would have be a great place for a time lapse of the entire day. I am starting to get into that arena, (pun intended, yea stadium),
    But it does take a lot of time, which Im thinking you didnt have, and someone at the camera all day.
    Thanks Again
    BTW Going to join Kelby One, you have converted this photoshop user to Lightroom!!

  12. The photos and the accompanying story are great. I just have a strong aversion to the color orange, be it the Clemson Tigers who we’ve owned for five straight years or the Tennessee Volunteers, which turned out to be a fluke win.

    But I have one minor quibble. Check your grammar. There and their are not interchangeable. “There” is a place, a destination or a point; “their” is ownership meaning that some person or a group owns something. My mom was an English teacher and as much as I teased her with the use of “ain’t”, I apparently inherited her sense of grammar even though I am a computer programmer.

    The grammatical error occurs here:
    it’s a lot of work, but it’s so totally worth it!:
    “It’s a lot of travel to and from the games; getting their hours before kickoff and leaving hours after the fans are all home.”
    I love reading your blog and your photography. You also expose the warts that you’ve experienced, most recently with the remote trigger failures and I appreciate that. After all, no one is perfect; there will be some glitches.

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