I was recently hired to cover my first NFL Football game and it was a dream turned reality! Not only was this a great game against 2 legendary teams but this was Manning’s return game, and he threw his 400th TD pass. Covering professional sports was a goal I had set for myself before moving to Denver. We discussed what kind of work I would be doing once we arrived and this was on my to do list, but dreaming and living that dream sometimes go without meeting up at the crossroads. What photographer doesn’t want to cover a major sports event, let alone an NFL game against two incredible teams. Growing up in Arizona and then moving to Nevada left my sports category a bit lackluster in the professional sports arena. I was in my 20’s when the Cardinals came to Arizona, so we never really had a team to cheer for. We did have the Arizona Wildcats, so I can’t say we didn’t have a team. Professional sports were never part of my life, until now. Living in Denver has many opportunities for professional sports photography.
I was unable to sleep for about 3 days before the game, I had so many thoughts racing through my head… What lens, what angle, who to focus on, what depth of field, how wide do I shoot, oh man it was crazy. I have never worried about getting great shots for any job, even in my freshman days as a photographer. But this job made me nervous like a child going to school on that first day. Do I make contact with other photographers? Will they think my 300mm is a toy compared to their 500mm or will the look at me like I am the new guy? When I show up for most jobs people get out of my way and follow my lead, with my gear they usually know I am a pro and know exactly what needs to be done to get the shot. But I felt like such a fish out of water because I had never done work for the NFL.
After arriving to the stadium I soon realized I was just like every other guy and they wanted to create amazing images just like myself. Many of them were there with another friend or fellow photographer, most were too busy to even notice me. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I could lock up my equipment bag in a room with a security guard, so if I wanted to leave anything behind it would be safe. There were hundreds of seats and tables for everyone to work. There was a huge cooler full of drinks for the media and staff. I contacted my counterpart Stéphane Cadorette a reporter for the paper who hired me, and we went out on the field to take a couple of photos of him on the field. We decided to go up to the press boxes and take a couple of him photos up there. When we walked in I soon realized he had just as great of job as I did, the press box at Mile High Stadium is amazing! They had several hundred seats with an incredible view. The press box area even has a dining hall with a wait staff. It was just the beginning of my day and I already felt like a celebrity. I could easily get used to this kind of weekly ritual.
So without dragging on too much longer, the Broncos won the game and I would be honored to cover any games that I am asked to photograph!
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