Hi gang: I had really hoped to have something really meaty for today, but instead we have some shots from a college football sideline shoot I did last week: USF Bulls vs. Rutgers (the mid-air shuttle pass shot above is one of my favorites from the game).

Here’s Why:
OK, it may be partially my fault (OK, more than partially), but Matt, Brad Moore, and RC must share the blame because we all started playing the just-released Call of Duty: Black Ops (on XBox LIVE) at around 9:00 pm, and it is now 1:42 am, and we just this minute signed off, and I haven’t written one word yet of today’s blog post (well, except for the few sentences you just read, of course), and I’m pretty beat, so this is mostly going to be just shots from the game.

The Good News
The good news is: I’m already at Level 20, I’ve unlocked the Famas Assault Rifle (which is an automatic rifle in Black Ops, versus the three-round burst model in Modern Warfare 2), and I’m a pretty decent shot with the Red Dot sight attached (though Matt is the undisputed Call of Duty pro out of all of us guys). Anyway, great game, lots of fun playing online and trash-talkin’ with the guys, but of course it totally wrecked my night and any hope of getting a good night’s sleep. Now, onto the shoot before I nod off.

(Above: At one point in the middle of the game, I’m moving along the sidelines and I hear “Scott Kelby!!! Scott Kelby!!!!, and I turn around and look in the stands and the guy you see above is yelling to me, “I’m a NAPP member!” I thought that was so cool!!!! He yelled “Take my picture” and of course, I obliged. I love his smile and the fact that I heard his voice out of the 30,000+ screaming fans).

The Specs
It’s the same rig I normally use for a night game (here’s the link), but for the first half I tried something different. On my second body I usually have my 70-200mm f/2.8, but I decided to try the 24-70mm f/2.8 to capture more of a wide view when a team scores, but I wasn’t happy with it at all and changed back to the 70-200mm at halftime. The reason was: there was just no separation, even at 70mm at f/2.8 because nothing was close enough to camera to create a shallow depth of field, so everything was in focus, the shots looked pretty “snap-shotty” so I switched back.

I know a lot of guys still go this route, with a wide on their second (or third) body, especially if they’re hoping to capture an image that might run double truck (a two-page spread), and in which case I would go to the wide angle 24mm look, and hope the play happened right in front of you, like a fade to the corner, but again, you’d have to get lucky. Other than that, the rest was the same (but I have to tell you—-I am so loving that 400mm f/2.8 (and that new lens smell).

It was a great game that night. Wonderful weather, and my buddy Andy Gregory was there (SAMSAU), and we had a lot of fun just hanging out (shooting football is a lot more fun with a buddy, even if it has to be Andy, but I recommend you shoot with someone much more fun). Totally kidding (sorry Andy, I couldn’t help myself).

(Above: This is another of my favorites. Last time I shot the team coming out onto the field from behind, but this time I thought I’d get out there as they came through the CO2 smoke curtain. I like the way #51 is looking right at the camera).

(Above: Here’s the team celebrating with the fans after the big win. I usually don’t do much post production to my sports shots, outside of contrast and sharpening (especially if I’m shooting on assignment), but in this case, I threw the book at it—it looks much better larger, so click on it for a larger view).

Here’s what I did:
I added an extreme contrast special effect to the entire image, then a dark edge vignette all the way around using the Lens Correction filter, and I even added the Lens Flare you see in the lights in the top right corner in Photoshop by adding a new layer; filling it with black; running Photoshop’s Lens Flare filter [using the default settings] then I changed the layer blend mode to Screen so it blends in with the rest of the image, then dragged the Lens Flare up in that corner. It’s a bit over-the-top, but for some reason, I still like it).

Well, that’s it for this Friday, late night post, folks. I have a fun post for Monday, so I hope you’ll join me then (by then I should be a level 25 or so), and I hope you all have a great weekend! :-)

About The Author

Scott is a Photographer, bestselling Author, Host of "The Grid" weekly photography show; Editor of Photoshop User magazine; Lightroom Guy; KelbyOne.com CEO; struggling guitarist. Loves Classic Rock and his arch-enemy is Cilantro. Devoted husband, dad to two super awesome kids, and pro-level babysitter to two crazy doggos.


  1. Love that picture of the NAPP guy ! Great shots as usual but Scott…you HAVE to do English football one day and you’re coming with me !! Have a brilliant weekend fella ;)

  2. Scott,
    love the team celebrating, but i’m a bit concerned
    I get to play call of duty black ops tonight with my oldest boy and i guess thats my weekend up in smoke !
    i will be at the soccer game with bags under my eyes and struggling to focus.
    Have a great weekend.
    away to the shop to buy RedBull

  3. Cool + cick-butt and yes I waited 1/2 the night just to say that!

  4. Hi Scott,

    Interesting post – wouldn’t it make sense then to have your 70-200 on one body and a prime wide angle on the other one? Like a 35mm f/1.8 or something like this that would allow for a wider angle and still keep some separation?

  5. Heya Scott

    Great shots, loving the depth of field in some of them shots above too. Love the composition of the last shot.

  6. Great shots!
    BTW, I’ve just bought Black Ops. And now I’m reading that Mr. Kelby is already a Level 20, lol.

  7. HAhaa! Awesome, would have liked to see some shots of the other game now that you mention it. glad to see you keeping priorities straight!

  8. Scott your post excuse (and a good one) brought back all my memories of raising my 20yr through high school and the battles of shutting down that damn XBOX (or World of Warcraft) at midnight or later, so its 6:30 am are you up yet : ))) Anyway I ALWAYS enjoy learning about your football shots!

  9. Scott,
    I love the look of the last shot. How about throwing up a before shot so we can really see the contrast.

  10. Scott,

    How cool you were doing the Black Ops video game! I recently returned from Calif where I was a consultant (USAF retired, with Special Ops background) to an ongoing film, and the company I was working with are the guys who produced the video game you were playing last night (Call of Duty)! They are just as nuts and obsessed about the game as you seem to be, and they let me take a bunch of photos of the ongoing video game production.

    Interesting note is that when I was on active duty last year and deployed to the mideast, when the “door kicker” guys would come back from missions and have some down time, they spent much of it playing the predecessor version of this game… going from doing it in real life to doing it on screen. Needless to say, they were pretty good at it! What a world full of ironies that we live in…

  11. Awesome Blog Scott. Wish I was playing Black Ops. I use to weight over 300lb so I sold my 3 xbox 360’s, my ps3 and started to work out. Now I weight 190lb. wish I was on live with you guys. good luck old Clan from SlappyxXFBXx

  12. Awesome shots Scott. Loving the depth of field and sharpness on the Mitchell shot.

  13. Hey Scott,

    I’m surprised you can still type and make sense at 2:00 am! :-) I really like the lens flare look. Would it be possible for you to do one of your famous “How To” tutorials on doing this? I’ve gotten interested in Lens Flare ever since the New Star Trek movie came out, but I’ve never been able to duplicate the effect.

    Thanks again for the great photos! Get some sleep, dude!


  14. Love the photos and the “excuse”. But wait! Scott Kelby sleeps? How is that possible with all you do? Will you tell us how you did the extreme contrast special effect?

  15. Great post. I am glad to know that I am not the only one who gets sidetracked. The game sounds fun as well.

  16. Scott, going to rent a lens for Shrine Bowl. By looking at your shots since your gift from PeachPit I think the 400 2.8 is the one. My first thought was 200-400, what do you suggest? I have 70-200 and all down from there.
    Thanks for any input, Ken

  17. Hey Scott,
    Excellent post, like always. I know you are stoked each and every time you shoot a game. I know I was last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway after Ken Toney hooked me up with Garage and pit passes. The link above have a few images and a credit to you for the techniques used.

    There is a slight typo on your page here “It’s the same rig I normally use for a night game (here’s the link),” The link is missing for those who haven’t already seen the previous post.

    As always you ROCK!

    • Hi Mike:
      Thanks for catching that—I just fixed it. :-)



      P.S. When are you shooting that NASCAR race Ken hooked you up with?

      • Hey Scott,
        It was last Friday and Saturday the 5th & 6th. I had the time of my life. Shooting that event from the pits was literally a dream come true. I put a poster of it similar to your Notre Dame one on my NAPP portfolio page.

  18. i was wondering why there was no midnight posting of your blog! My son picked up the game Wednesday and is about 1/2 way through it (of course, he only plays at the most extreme difficulty setting to start). Me?…I’m a mouse and keyboard guy. Never could get the hang of the XBox controller buttons.

    Too bad you didn’t get any shots of you and the guys playing Black Ops last night (or did you??? :) ) ! No one had a camera?

    Football shots are amazing as always!


  19. Great pics! And thanks for the mini-review of Black Ops. I was debating whether to get it, as I’ve heard some reports the graphics weren’t as good as MW2. What do I care though? I’m running my games on a Bootcamp Windows session on my MacPro. So on your last frame (which looks great btw), my eye is drawn to the player in the center. And for some reason he looks short. Now I know thats not the case because I’ve been in an elevator with the Panthers QB and linemen. And I was the tiniest guy there! I guess its just the perspective of the frame.

  20. Wow! Not only do you have one of the coolest jobs in the world…..you actually like your employees enough to play shooter games with ’em ! hee-hee j/k I follow you enough to know that you guys are all friends, and really talented and cool (PS, Musicians, and C.O.D Blk Ops) people. It doesn’t surrprise me that the guy from Jersey (Matt K.) is the best shooter. ;)LOL ….but Scott, what happened to Coery? He couldn’t figure out how to connect his Wacom pen to the xBox ??? hee-hee

  21. I always look forward to new post from you and knowing that a man of your caliber gets distracted by playing Black-ops is alright with me. I’ve been using the FAMAS and been killing with it. Favorite level is Nuketown, its small butt fast paced and fun.

  22. Stunning shots as always Scott. Love the action that’s captured in that first shuttle pass shot.

    My photography productivity has seriously taken a hit since COD Black Ops came out. I definitely need to set some hard time limits if I want to get anything done. Maybe you, Matt, RC should start a photographers clan on COD. Would be a blast to play with you guys. :-)

  23. HA! This is a great post Scott. It’s good to see you’re just as human as the rest of us. There were many times when shooting LSU that I had ‘better’ things to do post game and wound up uploading much later than I originally thought. On the Black Ops note, we look forward to getting that this weekend hopefully. I’ve gotten my wife hooked, so that helps me when I want to play video games. I’ll be looking for you online and taking on that level 20 rank. You and the whole gang…

  24. Hey Scott, I saw you at that game walking around with that bazooka of yours. I couldn’t help saying to my friends “That’s Scott Kelby on the field!” I think they were looking for a player or coach… to each his own :)

  25. i’m at least glad that you didn’t say “shuffle” pass, which is obviously ridiculous, but i think “shovel” pass is the more accepted term…

    • I’m with Allison…shovel pass but likely somebody will say that shuttle is accepted. Just because some tv announcer (or nationally renown photographer) uses the term it becomes a de facto standard. ;-)

  26. Hi Scott,
    I know the guy you took a picture of at the USF vs. Rutgers game. He’s my fraternity brother wow small world. Keep up the great work.

  27. Seriously amazing. I espescially love the napp member : ) how cool is he?
    Have a great weekend and good luck getting to level 25.

  28. hi Scott…? wonder how we can get rid off a Lens Flare?

  29. Who is this Andy Gregory? I think you need to do a guest blog Wednesday on him. Thanks

  30. Nice post. It’s always good to read the tech-specs of your shoot and why-this lens and why-not-the-other one :)

    The Mitchell 14 photograph was one of the best ones for me.

  31. I think the vignette on the last photo is warranted. And did you HDR it a little?

  32. Will you please, please be a little more specific about the “extreme contrast special effect” part. That looks awesome! Thanks!

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