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|| SportsShooter.com: News Item: Posted 2003-08-30

Witte: Are you ready for some football?
By Thomas Witte, Freelance

Photo by Thomas E. Witte

Photo by Thomas E. Witte

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Peter Warrick breaks New Orleans Saints corner back, Fred Thomas' tackle on his way to a touchdown. Sunday, December 22, 2002.
"It all starts around August 1st when I start loading all of the teams schedules into iCal, and onto my wall calendar. I have to keep track of 8 NFL teams and at least 3 NCAA teams, so I need to layout the weekends and try to find the best road trips to go on and which games are going to be better to cover. Like an OSU game on Saturday, a Steelers game on Sunday and hopefully a Browns game Monday night. This year won't be so lucky, but in years past it worked.

When I have a chance I'll watch as much football on TV as I can. If I'm lucky I'll get to catch a game with a team I'll be covering soon and I can watch to see what they do in certain situations like 3rd and long or short. Do they pass or run? Do they go right, left or middle? Deep or shallow? Do they favor a certain receiver?

Something else I do is follow fantasy football on EPSN. It's good because as part of the game, you can easily access a players season stats and check on how good a teams offense or defense is. Those big fat booklets they copy off for us before each game are packed full of stats that you should look over before the games. I'll scan the newspapers and Internet to find out if any players are on pace to break any records.

Pack everything and lock up what you aren't going to use. I always carry the same gear with me, two bodies, a 600, 400, 70-200, 50, 14, 2x, 1.4x, two strobes and two monopods. That stuff goes in the Pelican case. My fanny pack has my kneepads, battery charger, flash card cases and cable locks for the pelican case. My laptop bag is loaded with cables, two card readers (just in case) and a PCMCIA card adapter for ultra back up, and a cable lock for the laptop too. I have a printed out check list that I go over as I'm loading everything up, making sure that everything is accounted for. I might not use all of the camera gear, but at least it's nearby if I need it. I only used the 14mm about 5 times last year, but the five times I used it gave me some cool pictures.

While shooting, I'm also conscientious about the backgrounds. Sometimes I'll have to track a player as he runs in front of a tunnel or empty part of the stadium and have no choice, but I try to position myself so that that won't be a concern. This is also why I like the 600mm with a teleconverter. The minuscule depth of field renders any undesirable background into a flat blurry field of color. Another thing to watch is for later in the game when the field is still lit and one of the sides of the stadium is in shadows...

Use that for your background and the players just pop out of the photo like image 5 on my ss.com page."

Related Links:
Thomas Witte's member page

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