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|| News Item: Posted 1998-09-21

Covering the Game: Football, Part II
By Robert Hanashiro

When I set out to have a Q & A on football photography, I asked three photographers whose work I admire. In SptShtr v.2, I gave you Sports Illustrated's Peter Read Miller and the Seattle's Times' Rod Mar's perspective on covering the sport.

I had also asked the San Francisco Examiner's John Storey to share his thoughts on the subject. Because of his work commitments at the Examiner and some freelance work, John missed our deadline for SptShtr v.2 . However, when John finally got back to me, I felt that his words should be shared with everyone as well.

John has been the Bay Area's preeminent football photographer for many years. When I travel to San Francisco to cover the 49ers, I look forward to seeing the next day's Examiner to see what I missed!

John is known for his famous image of "The Catch" --- Dwight Clark's leaping grab of a Joe Montana pass that beat the Cowboys in the 1982 NFC Championship Game --- but his work extends well beyond that single image.

SPTSHTR: In this day of crowded sidelines and new restrictions by the NFL, do you follow the action up and down the sidelines or let it come to you (or is there some Zen philosophy you might subscribe to)? In this pursuit, what is your favorite lens?

I have shot with a 400mm for most of the 90's, mostly because I believe the action will come to me and be tighter when it gets there. Most games I shoot the 49ers and the paper cares about the BIG plays so I concentrate on getting them and not on trying to get a tight shot of the QB throwing the ball. I am sometimes looser than I would like, but I am usually sharp and can blow it up. I believe having a picture loose and sharp is better than tight and out.

SPTSHTR: Do you do any research prior to games on the teams you're shooting or do you basically have the same game plan no matter who and where you're shooting?

I don't research the games except that I follow the team from the sports section. I really don't change the way I shot except to say that I shoot for the 49ers to win, which can burn you sometimes.

SPTSHTR: What do you consider the best stadium to work and the worst stadium?

The worst stadium is probably Seattle because of the light or Green Bay because of the weather. Candlestick is the worst because of the sidelines.

SPTSHTR: What is your around the neck/"oh shit" lens of choice?

I use a 105mm around my neck and a 20-35mm over my shoulder.

SPTSHTR: Is it getting harder these days (more crowded sidelines/new NFL rules) or easier because of auto focus systems like the EOS1n and Nikon F5?

I use an (Nikon) F5 on my 400mm and haven't found that using auto focus helps my football (I don't like it). The new (NFL sideline) rules have made me wonder if it isn't better to sit in the end zone with a 600mm and not move. I'll let you know.

SPTSHTR: Any observations technical-wise? New films, digital cameras?

I haven't used digital for football but I am not looking forward to it until it looks like film.

SPTSHTR: Any interesting or a funny story connected to a football image you've shot?

I am not sure that I have a story to tell about football except when I was in Green Bay a few years ago for a playoff game with the 49ers. The weather was horrible, my lens got fogged up because I screwed up and brought it inside from the freezing cold and I tried to clear it with a hair dryer. I waited a little too late as I missed a Green Bay run back for a TD. After the game, (freezing rain, mud, wind, cold) I came into the darkroom and everyone kept asking me if this was the worse game that I ever shot. I said it was in the top three.

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