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Texas A&M vs Mississippi State 10/28/17 HOW DID HE DO THAT? - Runout shoots

It was a chilly night in College Station as Texas A&M was set to matchup with Mississippi State. I was slated to shoot the Rice University football game for USA Today, however, with the World Series taking place in Houston on the same night I was asked to change my location to the Texas A&M game. I was more than happy to take the trip to College Station for an SEC matchup.

Runout shot during the A&M vs Louisiana-Lafayette game laying on the ground

I knew two things heading to the game.1) There was going to be a flyover during the national anthem and 2) I wanted to do something different during the team runout. I had shot games at A&M before and it is difficult to get close to the team when they run on to the field at the start of the game. The shots I have done in the past where on the opposite side of the field but nothing I did made the shot interesting. To me it was just a plain old shot, nothing spectacular. I wanted to try something different.

Flyover during the Texas A&M vs South Carolina game at the top of the stadium using a 24-105mm at 24mm

The trick was knowing that there is a flyover right before the players run out I need to put myself in a position to get the flyover and the runout from the same place because I won't have time to find another location. I actually tried this during the Alabama game and completely missed the player runout.

Runout during the Texas A&M vs South Carolina game at the top of the stadium with a 70-200mm lens at 200mm

In the previous two shots I wanted to see what I could get at the top of the stadium with a nice wide lens and then something tighter from up top that would get me a good vantage point of the runout. I took the long trip up to the top of the stadium to get these shots and was 3 rows from the top of the stadium. The tricky part of this shot is that I wanted to get the shots but also wanted to get down to the field as fast as possible to not miss the opening kickoff. While I did get the shots I hate to admit it I missed the opening kickoff. Luckily nothing big happened so I really didn't miss anything.

My position for the Texas A&M vs Mississippi State game.

Since I was shooting for USA Today I wanted to make sure I didn't miss the opening kickoff (again nothing happened but didn't want to miss it just in case). I wanted to get something different but wanted to be close to field. I scouted out my spot and wanted to do something right behind the entrance tunnel. The difficult part is that their are people that have seats there. I would have to see if they were ok with it. I went up before hand and asked if they were good with me standing in their area for the runout and fly over and they said they were totally cool with it. They even were cool with me giving them some direction, such as I would love for you all to cheer but don't put your head/arms right in front of my camera.

Flyover by the 182nd Fighter Squadron at the end of the national anthem during the Texas A&M vs Mississippi State game shot with a 15mm fisheye

At Texas A&M they always do the national anthem before the runout so I made sure to setup my camera with a 15mm fisheye for the flyover first. I also checked to see what I would need to change for my exposure when I went to the runout. The reason I have to change is because I am going from shooting straight up in the sky with a lot of light then to the field which is covered in the shadows. I also didn't want to adjust my exposure with shutter because if I had the shutter to fast I knew it would thin out the fire from the pyrotechnics when the players took the field and make it look like it wasn't there.

With my position I had a really tight look at the "Kyle Field" that is on the top of the video board. Why is that important? If that wasn't in the shot it would just be a random stadium shot with jets flying over it. When shooting sports photography it is important to set the scene, if the Kyle Field sign and the Texas A&M/Mississippi State logos weren't in the shot no one would have a clue where this was taken. I focused on the video board because I wouldn't have time to set a focus on the jets as they would fly past me in a split second. I even had to anticipate them coming because I couldn't see them ahead of time. Luckily I nailed it and got the jets right after they were in view over the video board.

Runout during the Texas A&M vs Mississippi State game shot with a 15mm fisheye

I then turned around and set my camera up to take the runout shot. I had plenty of time because the yell leaders do their thing, the band does their thing, and there is an intro video that plays leading up to the big runout. It gave me a chance to take a few test shots just to make sure I had the right exposure, position, and angle that I wanted. Originally I wanted to be right on the rail but decided to move back two rows so I could get some people in the foreground of my shot. The shot worked out perfectly and just I had pictured it in my head before shooting it. If I could change one thing it would be the kicking net would not be in the shot but I don't have any say in that.

The game didn't turnout as I know the Aggies would have hoped but I always have fun shooting. Here are some other photos of the action from the evening.

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