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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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October 31, 2008 11:42 PM

Prep Football: I Haven't the Foggiest.

Posted by Rod Mar

For Halloween this year I dressed as a newspaper sports photographer.

Clever, I know. Not sure if anyone recognized me, but then again, I didn't knock on any doors.

Had I, the experience might not have been unlike that of Good 'ol Charlie Brown, who famously remarked, "I got a rock."

While I was disappointed not to be Trick or Treating with the kiddos, I was excited to know that the game I'd be shooting featured my high school alma mater, Shorecrest High School.

I had to look at the assignment twice, just to make sure, as my former school hasn't had a winning tradition in football for many years.

Shorecrest was facing Glacier Peak, of Snohomish, with the winner earning a place in the playoffs.

Glacier Peak's cheerleaders brought a pumpkin to commemorate the holiday.



(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 16-35mm/f2.8 lens @ 21mm, ISO 3200, 1/250th sec.,f2.8)

Ah, the memories of returning to Shoreline Stadium, where I did all the typical high school things -- played in the band, tried to be cool with my friends, and furtively tried to get to know cute girl.

Fast forward to the present, where instead being a trumpet playing geek in the band, I'm a newspaper geek who still tries to fit in with the cool kids. However, I am now married to the cute girl. As Carl Spackler says, "So I got that going for me, which is nice".

Attending a high school whose nickname was the "Highlanders", it was initially embarrassing wearing a traditional Scottish kilt as part of our band uniforms. But looking back, it's kind of a cool tradition. Along with the marching band, another tradition we had was a group of bagpipers and Scottish dancers.

I was reminded of this when I saw bagpipers Alex MacLeod, left, and Luke Craft leading the team out on to the field for the game.



(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 16-35mm/f2.8 lens @ 22mm, ISO 3200, 1/250th sec.,f2.8)

Shorecrest took an early 7-0 lead, but Glacier Peak's passing attack started to connect. Luke Westberg (5) made a nifty one-handed grab on a pass reception in the first half as Shorecrest's Sam Heck defends.



(Nikon D3, VR 400mm/f2.8, ISO 5000, 1/800th sec.,f2.8)

At this point, a fog began to settle over the field. The newspaper only needed one photo for an inside page, but our online department needed a photo gallery. As most of our galleries are just photo after photo of action, I wanted to work the fog angle for something different.

Shooting through the haze, I managed to focus on Glacier Peak's John Darling (22) as he tried to tackle Shorecrest's Sam Heck.



(Nikon D3, VR 400mm/f2.8, ISO 5000, 1/640th sec.,f2.8)

Glacier Peak's Tanner Southard made a nice grab.


It was a really low-lying fog for most of the second quarter, and it hung mostly on the north end of the field.



(Nikon D3, VR 70-200mm/f2.8 lens @ 86mm, ISO 5000, 1/400th sec.,f2.8)

We talk a lot about giving a readers a sense of place, and more than just a football field, I wanted to show where the game was being played. As most high school stadiums are pretty generic, the scoreboard is often a good place to start.



(Nikon D3, VR 400mm/f2.8, ISO 5000, 1/640th sec.,f2.8)

Near the end of the game, I was past deadline and just trying to make interesting images. Choosing a wide-angle lens, I was able to show a different view of the fog.



(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 16-35mm/f2.8 lens @ 35mm, ISO 3200, 1/500th sec.,f2.8)

Shooting a game on deadline where the paper only needs one small photo is often viewed one of two ways by photographers. It's either easy, because you only need one image, or it's an insult, because you only need one image.

The challenge is remembering that we shoot photos to make great images, not just to put our names in tiny print beneath pictures in the paper.

Online photo galleries allow us to still "publish" our visions, no matter the event.

Pipers, pumpkins and fog all helped to make another Friday night more visual interesting.


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