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Best Seat in the House

Photography, sports and life as seen through the lens of Seattle Times photographer Rod Mar.

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November 26, 2006 11:03 PM

Weather or not.

Posted by Rod Mar

Headed through the sleet and snow tonight to shoot the Sonics vs. Spurs game at KeyArena.

At the media gate, the security guard tells me even though I'll be warm and dry tonight at the basketball game tonight, I'll likely be cold and wet at the Seahawks game tomorrow for Monday Night Football.

"It might snow", she says.

"I hope so!", is my reply. She looks at me like I've got horns growing out of my head (gee, I've been getting that look a lot lately — note to self — "Get new barber").

I explain to her that if I have to be out in the elements, I hope the elements at least contribute to the pictures.

What does that mean? It means, if it's gonna snow, I hope it SNOWS!

Like serious, HUGE falling flakes of snow that cover the field, gather on faces, and add to the atmosphere.

Something like this photo from last season's game in Philly, when the Seahawks destroyed the Eagles, coincidentally on Monday Night Football.

(Canon EOS 1d Mark II, EF 400mm/f2.8 lens, ISO 1000, 1/640 sec., f2.8)

Or, something like this from a VERY rainy game in Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium in 1998.

When I started shooting pro football, there were still a good number of stadiums with real grass fields. Because of costs, upkeep, and the improvement of artificial surfaces, that number has reduced greatly.

Grass made for great photos, especially under adverse conditions. In rain and snow, the mud would decorate the uniforms and splatter the faces of the players.

Football "felt" rougher. Now it looks so sanitized because no one ever gets dirty anymore.

Oh, don't get me wrong. Football IS rougher than ever. The players are bigger, faster and stronger, and the collisions are tremendous.

Unfortunately, that doesn't always show up in today's photos.

Back to my point. I hope it snows or rains hard, just to give the photos a different look.

Finally, another difference between reporters and photographers was illustrated tonight in the Sonics' press room before their game with the San Antonio Spurs.

A local columnist remarked to me that the weather at the past few home Seahawks games hasn't been so bad (even though one of his colleagues described the Seahawks vs. Raiders game on November 6th as being played in a "continous monsoon").

I agreed, saying that heavy rain isn't as hard on photographers as a blowing sideways mist, which gets into lenses much easier, as was the case for that Monday Night game against the Raiders.

He laughed and pointed out that it was a warm 72 degrees and dry in the press box at Qwest Field that whole night.


(p.s. For those of you that have asked, I shoot more than football. I photographed the Sonics tonight, and will post about shooting basketball soon. I took a few days away for the holidays, but will talk hoops in the near future).

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