Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Out this week in espn mag is my gallery from another one of their ODOG (one day one game) issues. Basically they take one sporting event, for this it was the college football matchup of LSU vs ALABAMA, and dedicate an entire issue to this one game. They've done three of them now, and i've been lucky enough to have shot for them at all three. There was myself, about 10 other superb photogs assigned to different assignments, and a bunch of editors and writers that come down to write about it. A great time to hang with other photogs and writers. Each time I've done this I do a take on a white seamless. This time I was to focus my lens on the fans. We werent sure exactly what that meant, but we decided to set up outside the stadium near the student entrance and I and my assistants and editors would corral whomever we found or saw walking by that we deemed interesting. I was confidant we would have no shortage of willing subjects and we didnt..I grew up in florida as most know, and have a very sweet spot for the florida gators and SEC football in general, so I was very excited to be going down to shoot this, if nothing else to be able to go to the game! SEC football truly is the best, most intense and competitive college football division there is, and I will gladly argue that fact with anyone on the planet. It's just another level. We setup around 9am (game time was 7pm) and instantly we started seeing great subjects as the partying started early and lasted all day before this super rivalry. Assignments like this truly are some of my lifes great moments. I just love meeting the people and talking to them while I'm shooting and after. It still shocks me I get paid to do stuff like this. Anyway, the day was full of good times and good pics, but not without some tough moments. Number one, we did a tech scout the day before to map out where we would setup, find power, etc, but we were there early and I was concerned the afternoon sun would shine on us, which I didnt want. I asked our LSU laison if the direct sun would hit the plaza at all during the day, and he assured me that no, it would not. And he was very sure about it. But of course, around 4pm, sun shining right on my set! We improvised a little and pulled some large flags over to block it out. We also had circuit breakers going out sporadically. But again the pre planning paid off as I had the main stadium electricians # on me and he was a lifesaver. But the real moment that tested our wits was around 6pm. The line to get in the student entrance over took our whole area, I'm talking tens of thousands of drunk college kids anxious to get in. There girls passing out from the crush, frat boys starting to fight, etc.. We had barricades around us, but the swelling mass was pushing us in and we all knew a disaster was about to happen. We could all feel it in our bones. In one of lifes decisive moments, I jumped up on a chair to see over the crowd, yelled to 2 cops out in the distance in a seriously panicked voice, and they made a beeline just in the nick of time to control the crowd before we were a statistic. The cops got seriously aggressive with the drunk belligerent mass and pushed back hard to keep our set and 50k of lighting gear in tact. I had already made the executive decision that if we were overtaken, to just go with the flow and dont worry about the gear or set, that would assure our safety. The gates opened, the kids got in, we struck the set, and I watched 90 minutes of the most intense football game I've seen on a long time. If only I could convey the energy and noise inside that stadium..tv doesnt do it either. LSU almost pulled it out, a true heartbreak in death valley. attached are the tearsheets, and a couple of fav shots including a special cameo by Mr. John Korpics the photographer...and this gallery online at ESPN.
Posted by nathaniel at 9:26 AM