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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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December 27, 2007 3:51 PM

Seahawks: Wrong Lens, Right Time.

Posted by Rod Mar

Home field advantage.

This was one of the themes of last Sunday's game between the Seahawks and the Baltimore Ravens.

Seattle had played miserably during a 13-10 loss last week in Carolina and was hoping to rebound in front of their home crowd.

During the second quarter, Baltimore found themselves deep in their own territory, and I started shooting with a 70-200mm lens in an effort to show a little more of the environment. Using a mid-range telephoto in this situation allowed me to see more of the stadium, but lessened visibility of the players, so it was a bit of a risk. If there was a touchdown the other direction or an interception or fumble, I'd be pretty helpless.

To add to to the visual impact, I also was lying on the field in the rain, trying to get the lowest angle possible.

Here's what I looked like through the lens of Associated Press photograher Ted Warren (and no, we're not having a caption contest for this one...):

(courtesy Ted Warren)

I was trying to frame the "Home of the 12th Man" sign with the players in the foreground:

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 70-200mm, f2.8 lens @ 135mm, ISO 1600, 1/1000 sec, f2.8)

And of course, while I'm trying to be all arty and stuff, an actual big play happens. Seattle's Patrick Kerney caused a fumble by Baltimore's Mike Anderson, and I'm so loose on the play that I only know something's happened by the roar of the crowd. Looking back later, I did have a shot of the fumble — it's so stunning in its focus, composition and sheer artistry that I'm sure it will be hung in a gallery somewhere someday. Or not:

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 70-200mm, f2.8 lens @ 180mm, ISO 1600, 1/1000 sec, f2.8)

Seattle's Leroy Hill recovers the ball and heads...get this...right towards me. Ah, the luck. I should have bought a lottery ticket. Here's how it looked:

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 70-200mm, f2.8 lens @ 160mm, ISO 1600, 1/1000 sec, f2.8)

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 70-200mm, f2.8 lens @ 145mm, ISO 1600, 1/1000 sec, f2.8)

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 70-200mm, f2.8 lens @ 115mm, ISO 1600, 1/1000 sec, f2.8)

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 70-200mm, f2.8 lens @ 110mm, ISO 1600, 1/1000 sec, f2.8 * this frame color corrected for print*)

I'd warned my assistant Jacob that I wanted a my camera with a wide-angle lens on it if anyone came towards us in the end zone on a touchdown, and as soon as I put down the 70-200mm, he was handing me the body with the 16-35mm. Hill raced right in front of us and a pileup ensued:

(Canon EOS 1D Mark IIN, EF 16-35mm lens @ 18mm, ISO 800, 1/640 sec, f2.8)

(Canon EOS 1D Mark IIN, EF 16-35mm lens @ 25mm, ISO 800, 1/640 sec, f2.8)

(Canon EOS 1D Mark IIN, EF 16-35mm lens @ 16mm, ISO 800, 1/640 sec, f2.8)

(Canon EOS 1D Mark IIN, EF 16-35mm lens @ 16mm, ISO 800, 1/640 sec, f2.8)

I guess the moral of the story is that I really don't know what the hell I'm doing much of the time. I plan and strategize and the time I have the "wrong" lens, I get the "right" picture. We chose to lead with the image that had the words "Welcome to Qwest Field" running across the top, so we got the big play and also tied in the theme of home field advantage. Lastly, if I wasn't lying down in the rain, the angle of the shot would have been different and the sign wouldn't have been in the frame at all.

Here's Monday's sports cover:

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Posted by Mr. Michael

1:04 AM, Dec 31, 2007

Preparation and Perspiration aside... sometimes you just get lucky! That's the kind of shot the Team will want to use for years to come; I hope you get a 'cut' of that if it happens!

In the meantime, am I the only one that thinks those first two shots in the "Pile Up" series make it look like Hill has some kind of "Thor Power" thing going on with the lights? Yeah, I know it's a rain/lighting issue... but there is a great caption opportunity with those two!

Posted by Dave Pelfini

11:13 AM, Dec 31, 2007


I appreciate the fact that you don't make it appear that every shot you take is "perfect". It's heartening to know that even the pros don't make perfect pictures every time they press the shutter. I really enjoy your posts. Thank you.

Posted by Cory Miller

12:42 PM, Jan 01, 2008

I have to echo Mr Pelfini's a "serious hobbyist" I too often are discouraged to "miss the shot." But it's part of the gig, and why we love it.

Thanks for the example of perseverance.

Posted by Cory Miller

12:44 PM, Jan 01, 2008

Wow...I should really proof-read my comments before posting.

But I hope I made my point...


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