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|| News Item: Posted 2011-08-31

Giving another whirl to going “up”

By Scott Strazzante, Chicago Tribune

Photo by Scott Strazzante, Chicago Tribune

Photo by Scott Strazzante, Chicago Tribune

As confetti falls, Chicago Bears' Devin Hester watches as the Indianapolis Colts celebrate their Super Bowl XLI victory in Miami, Florida. Hester, a University of Miami alum, returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown but the Bears couldn't hold the ear
During the 2010 NFL regular season, I started doing something I had never done before- I elected to photograph from an elevated position.

I first shot a Bears’ game from an up spot during the 2006 Super Bowl in Miami.
I would have rather been on the field but, being a team guy, I went up high.

The vantage point yielded a couple significant photos from the game but it really paid off postgame when a dejected Devin Hester of the Chicago Bears watched amidst the confetti as Indianapolis celebrated their championship.

Last season, I decided to give it a whirl again.

I ended up working 4 games including the NFC Championship game from the media deck at Soldier Field.

Using a 600mm lens, the major pluses of shooting from up above are the ability to cover the entire field without being blocked by officials and players, shooting the goings-on around the team bench without being hassled by security guards, being able to make overalls of the stadium without having to take 30 minutes to run up to the top of the stadium and maybe, most importantly, giving the Chicago Tribune’s game coverage a different point of view.

The elevated photos definitely lack the impact that ground level photos have but being able to have a version of every significant play is an equalizer.

For example, in the Bears’ NFC Championship loss to the Green Bay Packers, the big story in Chicago was Jay Cutler’s knee injury that led to weeks and weeks of controversy.

It wasn’t your typical injury situation where a flattened QB is carted off the field but it was a very subtle turning away from the action after Cutler threw from his own end zone.

Maybe I would have gotten it from field level but most likely I would have been shooting downfield towards the intended receiver and wouldn’t have been able to get my lens back to Cutler so quickly.

It didn’t produce an award-winning image but it was a very important photo for the seemingly never-ending story.

I probably won’t shoot up high more than once or twice this upcoming season but it is nice to have the option available when I want a different look.

(Scott Strazzante, is a staff photographer at the Chicago Tribune. You can see his work on his Sports Shooter member page: )

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