Shots from the Broncos/Chiefs Game Sunday Night

Hi Gang: Sorry I’ve missed the last couple of days of blogging (it’s been crazy around here, and my travel schedule isâ¦wellâ¦crazy! I was in Denver Sunday, Miami Monday (still down here, shooting an online class with Jeremy Cowart today), and then I’m back in Tampa tonight. Whew!

Anyway, it was an amazing game to cover, and the weather held up and it really wasn’t too cold. In fact, it was great weather for a game. Brisk, but not windy. I came away with 60 overall keepers from the game and 62 image for the assignment I was on (which was to cover four specific players, but mostly Peyton Manning, and I have a ton of shots of him).

Down goes the photographer
A lot of you saw me get knocked over late in the 4th quarter, on a play that was reviewed (so they showed the replay numerous times). The players never got near me — it was more of a domino effect of other photographers and video guys getting out of the way, and I just lost my balance and went over. I was cracking up, and saying “Man down, man down!” to Dave Black who was shooting right beside me). Didn’t hurt even one tiny bit.

Anyway, here’s a few of my favorites, including my epic-fail on a remote shot for the player intros:

Above: Just out of reach. I really wished he had caught it for the sake of the photo (though I was rooting for the Broncos). 

Above: There are three shots in this series, and in this one Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe catches the pass for the touchdown (he’s in the end zone). I’m on this with my 2nd body, and a 70-200mm f/2.8. 

Above: Even though it’s not a peak action shot, I actually like this one better — I love touchdown shots where you can see the ref signaling the touchdown. 

Above: The last frame, he starts celebrating his touchdown and I am right directly in front of him firing away and it looks right into my lens. Sweet!

Above: For one quarter I switched my 2nd body to a 16-35mm f/2.8 lens and that’s what I used to get this touchdown. I like that you get the scope of the stadium, but my style is to shoot tight, so I’m not super loving’ it. 

Above: After the score he dives up and into the crowd. I run over with the 16-35mm to get this close-up shot. There were a bunch of photographers doing the same thing, and this was one of the only clean ones without a bunch of cameras in the frame. 

Above: Wish you could see his eyes, but I liked any shot with the player in mid-air. I’m a sucker for those.

Above: I laid down at the back of the End Zone to get this low angle shot with my 70-200mm. I was hoping they’d get closer, but they wound up kicking a field goal instead. 

Above: You know I love detail shots (in fact, I just added a Game Detail gallery to my sports portfolio — here’s the link) and this one was before the team took for the field for warm-ups. Note the “honor the military” gloves. Some players also had cammo-themed towels to show their support for our armed services. 

Above: Cool motion shot, right? Actually, total accident. At some point I hit the dial on my camera and accidentally changed my f/stop to f/14 which lowered my shutter speed from 1/1000 of a second down to just 1/125 of a second, which creates that blur. Luckily, Peyton was just handing off the ball, so he’s not moving very fast, so he wound up in focus. 

Above: Before the game I contact Broncos Team Photographer Eric Bakke (great guy, great photographer), about setting up a remote camera for the player intros, and I took an iPhone shot of the set-up so you could see it’s position.

 Above: Here’s the set-up: a Canon 1Dx on a Manfrotto bullhead mounted to a metal floor stand from, and triggered with a Pocket Wizard Plus-X wireless trigger on top. The security guy I was working with put a goal marker there so the Cheerleaders would clearly see it through the smoke and steer clear of it, and they totally did. Made me want to bring one of my own from here on out. LOL!

Above: You need LOTS of clearance to get approval to do an on-field remote camera like this, including approval from the Pyrotechnics guys, on-field security, team security, and well, pretty much everybody, or you have another security guy (or NFL official) coming out (seen above) asking, “What is this doing here!?” and Eric was a great help with that and lots of folks were in the loop hours before kick-off. 

Above: They have a pretty cool opening, with a horse and rider running out, then the Broncos cheerleaders, then in this case, members of the military with flags as part of the NFL honoring the military (seen above), and so far the remote is working pretty well. The placement seems OK, and it’s looking good so far. 

Above: The Offense runs out as a group, then you have the individual player intros and that’s where my epic fail began. First, as you can see, I set the camera (with a 16-35mm lens at 16mm) too far away from the players, and it’s probably aimed too high. I didn’t have another photographer to stand there to let me lock in my focus, so I had to eye it, and sure enough if it’s tack sharp. Worst yet, this was the first player introduced, and the last shot the remote fired. Thats right — it stopped after this shot, even though I was firing the remote trigger. I have no idea why. Did the cable come loose? Was there radio interference? Who knows, but I only got this one lame shot. #fail. It happens. 

Above: I love celebration shots and this is one of my favorites from the night — it’s Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno leaping up and over Broncos tight end Julius Thomas (the guy who actually scored the touchdown), and you know I like it because the ref is signaling touchdown in the background.

Well, that’s a look at some of my favorites, and the story of my remote fail, and how I survived getting knocked over by the sideline domino effect and lived to tell about it (how’s that for adding drama). ;-)

Hope you all have a fantastic Tuesday and stay out of the way of fast-moving objects, and may all your remotes fire each and every time! :)

  1. Great shots Scott – especially the 1st shot in the post.

    Are you planning a blog on your experience of using the 1Dx vs D4 at some point? e.g. would like to see your experience on the same day using D4/70-200 2.8 &1Dx 400 2.8 one half and then swapping over for second half. I don’t mean a comparison in which is better, but more of which combo did you have more keepers, how each system handled, what you like more about one systems etc.

    Would have to be a home game as you’ll need double set of gear! :)

    1. Hi Johan: While the idea of shooting 1/2 a game with one, and 1/2 a game with the other sounds goods, I’m not really the guy to do that type of review, because to me your choice of camera should never be about features alone, even though I know there are people that only make their decisions based on that, but it’s not me, so I’m not planning a blog post on it. More likely something I’ll be talking about on “The Grid” or something like that.

      1. Thanks Scott – good post. I must admit I was miffed when I bought the D4 last year and then few weeks later Nikon releases the D600 & D800 with better sensors. Think Canon got it spot on making their flagship camera the best in all aspects. Sure we wouldn’t shoot sports using 36Mp resolution, but would be great to have for landscapes / portraits. Spoke to a Getty guy after a rugby match and he said he doesn’t even bother setting up remote D4’s while he has a few 1Dx’s

      2. Hi Johan: I don’t believe the D600 has a better sensor than the D4 by any means. The D800 is a different sensor, but I don’t feel it’s an “every day” camera because the file sizes are just so huge — it’s really aimed at commercial photographers who need to print their images are very large sizes. I have a D800 but rarely use it for that reason and I’ve talked to a number of folks who bought D800s and feel like they may have bought “too much” camera. Hope that helps. :)

      1. I am sure with him as your mentor they of of close or equal caliber but your humility is a great testament to your character.

  2. Well, ok, considering the travel schedule, we’ll cut you some slack on the lack of blog/social media posts lately. :-)

    I had to switch away from the game to watch The Walking Dead (are you still watching the dvd’s?), and then fell asleep after I came back to the game! Oh, the shame for this long-time Scott Spotter! So I never saw you get bowled over, or any of your other TV appearances (I heard you photo bombed the Manning interview at the end of the game!).

    Great shots as always. Too bad about the remote setup…better luck next time.

      1. Scott, if you ever get some free time (ha ha!), try to watch Breaking Bad. Yes, the story is amazing, the acting is excellent, and the directing is superb. But I found myself keying in on the cinematography a lot. So many terrific establishing shots are used, especially with wide angle lenses in the New Mexico desert scenes. A series well worth checking out! :-)

  3. Scott, some how I missed the fact you were coming to Denver to shoot the game! Ugh! Anyway, I didn’t spot you because I wasn’t watching for you … bummer! It was a Good game, however, I was rooting for KC because Alex Smith played at Utah where I played. Great shoots and sorry to hear about the remote failure. Get rested and have a great week!


  4. Hi Scott,

    I have a question for you regarding Photo Mechanic. I downloaded a trial version of it and I like the speed in which it loads up the files (raw, jpg, tif, & psd). My question is do you use it as a pre-evaluation before you go to LR? That is what my purpose would be. I know you use it for its speed and press capabilities, but do you use it for general purpose?

    Again, the photos are Great!


  5. Hi Scott, Great shots. As usual, I am envious — for LOTS of reasons! ;-) I noticed it is a Canon L series lens. Which one and what settings? Thanks.

    1. It really was a treat. He’s just so interesting to watch — even between plays and in his interaction with other players, refs, and the coaches and so on. He’s a very competitive guy, and I guess that’s why he’s “Peyton Manning” right? :)

  6. Amazing shots as always! I wish why mine don’t quite have that tack sharpness of yours (and are more grainy) though we use the same body. Do you have anything on football image editing in your training library?

      1. Sorry, I have one more question. During the post-processing did you do any noise reduction in Lightroom? If so, how much did you do. Thanks for all the help.

  7. Hey Scott,
    Great shots! I listened to the Bucs game on my drive back to OKC from Shreveport, La. My wife was stoked that her Bucs won the game.
    By the time the game you were shooting was over, I was crashed so I missed the replays :(
    See ya,

  8. Hey Scott,

    Great shots. I like the accidental one with Peyton in focus.
    Quick and probably dumb question about the focusing for the sports shoot. Since it is fast paced, do you keep the camera at auto focus or something like a nine or 21 point focus where you are changing the focus points yourself ?

  9. Your shots are always impressive. Most of us can only dream about such pictures. Nikon or Canon does not seem to make any difference. The 2012 Favorite Fotball Shots has though in my opinion a higher clarity. Can not put my finger on it but it is there.

  10. Hey Scott – great shots as always. I’ve read most of the comments/responses and just want to ensure I’ve got it — so your ISO ranged from 1600-4000, right? And for most – you were at f2.8? With that – was your average shutter speed 1/1000 to 1/1250 sec? Thanks mate.

    1. Hi Rusty: To Clarify: when I added the Tele-extender I lose a full stop of light, so that’s when I was at 4000 ISO (because my f/stop was then f/4). Once I removed it, I could shoot at f/2.8 and then I was at 1,600 for the most part. My 2nd body was always at f/2.8 so I always shot it at 1,600 ISO. Hope that makes sense. :)

  11. Hello

    ill make my comment brief

    last year i was diagnosed with cancer ( im doing ok now) but

    I had to stop working and go thru the treatments which saved my life.

    Thru it all I had scott matt rc the ambassador of love brad and whole team to keep me going.

    THANK YOU SO much for putting the show on the internet
    for producing the show and for being you !!

    I love photography and had over the years lost track of my passion.
    I have a renewed love affair with making images and I have a lot to thank you for!!

    You are all smart and funny and it made my days ever so much more easy.

    I wish you all the success you deserve

    best regards a loyal viewer and fan


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