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|| SportsShooter.com: News Item: Posted 2006-09-05

Covering Football: Lambeau to the Riviera Maya
By Dan Powers, Appleton Post-Crescent

Photo by Dan Powers / Appleton Post-Crescent

Photo by Dan Powers / Appleton Post-Crescent

Green Bay Packers Brett Favre and Najeh Davenport celebrate their touchdown connection during the second quarter against Atlanta Falcons Saturday, Aug. 19, 2006, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI.
Well, it's that time of year again. The reason I know is that we can officially talk about football in our house! As many of you know, covering an NFL team can be trying at times because you work so many weekends...in a row. I'm lucky because my wife Lisa is a big fan and likes to watch the games with her father Gary. She is very understanding and realizes that not only do I have to cover the Green Bay Packers (been doing it since 1995), but I need to prepare for the season in the weeks prior to the first game. So here we go...

After thinking about it I realized that every year the first thing I do prior to the start of the season is book a vacation somewhere on the beach in Mexico or the Caribbean. No kidding. Because the holidays and family time revolve around the Packers schedule, vacation is the one thing I can control and count on. So that is number one in my book and in case you're interested...it's the Riviera Maya this year.

Typically I begin my specific season preparations by booking all of my flights, hotels and rental cars. The Packers supply us with a list of hotels they are staying at so I have to wait for them on that. I like to book as early as possible so I don't have to think about it come preseason...I'm usually all set some time in June.

After my travel arrangements are finalized, I put together our requests for credentials. We send two shooters, a runner and a photo editor to each home game. (Our sister paper The Green Bay Press Gazette does the same and we work together.)

For the road games it varies depending on whether it's a night game or day game. So my credential request changes each game. I work side by side with a photographer from the Green Bay Press Gazette on away games, but he takes care of his own credentials.

In July, I go over all of my gear to make sure everything is working. I ALWAYS send in my cameras to Canon and have them overhauled and cleaned. Other than that, I make sure there are no problems with any of our long glass and dust off the old Lowe Pro Road Runner AW. I also make contact with the team if I want to shoot from above at a game, or if I have any other requests we need to go along with a story. Perhaps a portrait of a particular player. Didn't do that this season though.

Photo by Dan Powers / Appleton Post-Crescent

Photo by Dan Powers / Appleton Post-Crescent

Green Bay Packers Bubba Franks celebrates his touchdown after beating Atlanta Falcons Lawyer Milloy during the first quarter Saturday, Aug. 19, 2006, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI.
As far as covering the team goes, I pay close attention to the draft. That way I get a feel for the team's priorities. Because our sister paper Green Bay Press Gazette covers all of the mini camps and training camps, I typically don't bother with it. What I do is read everything I can and pay close attention to the local and national TV coverage of the team. That way I get familiar with the team and how it's developing. This helps me in my shooting of the pre-season home games. (We don't cover away preseason.)

This strategy gives me enough information so that I can try to anticipate what the team does on the field come game day. I also pay attention to the opponent each week for the same reasons. You can never be too prepared.

Last year there was much talk about Brett Favre retiring and I'm sure the same will happen this year. It was a zoo to say the least. Each game we all made sure we shot a lot more photos of him from each game. In fact, during the last game of the season against Seattle, the ONLY thing I shot was Favre. The reason we did this is because we planned on running a special section about his career. I was even asked to write an article of my most memorable game during his career. I chose the game in Oakland. Because he didn't retire, we will do the same this season.

So it should be crazy come Dec. 21 for what may be his last game at Lambeau. And who knows, maybe we'll do even more than a special section.

After all of that...I'll be ready for Mexico! Adios...Dan.


(Dan Powers is a staff photographer with the Appleton (WI) Post-Crescent. You can view his work at his SportsShooter.com member page: http://www.sportsshooter.com/powrpics and the newspaper's website can be found at this link: http://www.postcrescent.com/.)

Related Links:
Dan's member page

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