Texans vs Chiefs Sunday Night Football

Sunday night was a great night for football. The Texans were coming off of a 57-14 victory over division foe Tennessee and I knew the crowd would be great. Every time I go in to a game I have at least one idea that I would like to attempt to get something different and Sunday was no different. It started during my regular pregame walk of the field. I wanted to try and get a cool shot of players coming out of the tunnel. when they come out for warmups.

Houston Texans Bull Head Entry Tunnel

So I set myself in front of the tunnel and waited. My hope was to get a player to go under the lights in the tunnel and use them as my sole light source. The issue was that first not all players went down the middle of the tunnel when they came through, second the guy in the pink shirt, who is doing his job, doesn't allow people to stand right in front of the tunnel. I felt like the ultimate stalker as I stood off to the side peeping down the tunnel to see who was coming.

Texans Player coming out of the tunnel

Sometimes I would get a random person and other times I would get a player. The difficult part of pre-game shots of players is that they don't have their uniforms on and many of them I don't recognize without their helmets and the big numbers on their uniforms. But it was a chance to take some test shots just to see how the lighting would look. I feel like shots like this are like fishing, sometimes the shots were garbage and your throw them away and other times you could get some cool light on a player and keep them. The lights in the tunnel were red flood lights so it made a cool effect so I kept fishing.

JJ Watt coming out of the tunnel during pre-game

Then I saw JJ Watt coming down the tunnel, obviously he is someone I hope to get a cool shot of and the light hit him just right to make this really cool black and white.

Texans player intro practice run

However, this isn't the planned shot that I really wanted to get for the evening. My hope was to get a really cool wide shot of the players coming out during the player intros. It was a nationally televised game and I knew the Texans would do something special and with it being a night game I knew they would turn the lights off to the stadium which would make things look even more dynamic. I watched the pyro/special effects team setup and do their practice run through to mentally prepare for what I would do. The only issue is that they didn't do the practice run with the stadium lights off so there was no way to test a camera setup. I knew this would be the case and was prepared to do this on the fly.

Texans Mascot Toro coming out during the pregame runout

I got myself in place and had a wide angle lens on a remote camera on the ground right in front of me propped on my monopod with my cellphone on top of it to give the camera some lift. I used the camera with my 70-200mm lens as the trigger camera to get a tight shot at the same time I was getting a wide shot on the ground in front of me.

Recreation of my camera setup
Recreation of camera setup with makeshift cellphone/monopod stand
Mascots four wheeler parks in front of me

Right when I got myself situated the way I wanted and everything setup for the defensive player introductions the four wheeler that brought the mascot out parked right in front of me. Needless to say I was a little frustrated because I was ready to go and now I had a four wheeler in my way. But I didn't give up and quickly moved my setup about 10 feet in front of where I was and reset everything with no time to check to make sure everything was in a great spot and started shooting.

JJ Watt enters the stadium during player introductions

In my hand I took tight shoots of the players coming out of the tunnel using my 70-200mm lens. While I shot the tight shots the camera on the ground in front of me was being triggered to take a wide shot of the same moment. I hoped and said a little internal prayer that I would get at least one shot that would be a keeper on my wide angle lens and I ended up getting a great shot out of it.

Everything worked out perfect, I got JJ Watt in front of 70,000 screaming fans with cellphone lights and fire. The funny thing was out of all of the wide shots that I took of the players this was actually the only one that was worth keeping and doing anything with.

I wish the game would have turned out better but I will say this Texans team is fun to watch and shoot. Next week we have the Cleveland Browns and you will have to stay tuned and see what I try next. In the meantime check out some of the other photos I got of the action from Sunday.

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