Cal Poly vs. San Jose State in the HEAT

I shot the Cal Poly/San Jose State football game on Saturday.  Cal Poly did really well, starting out with the first two scores and keeping it within 6 points into the 4th quarter, but eventually falling 34-13.

But the real story was the HEAT.  Saturday was right in the middle of a multi-day heatwave and the temperature at the 4:30 kickoff was about 107.  There was way more of a crowd than I expected and pretty good Cal Poly turnout.  They gave everyone in the stands wet towels which was a really nice gesture, and let all the fans move to the shady side of the stadium, instead of keeping the visitors and the students in the sun.

I got some good stuff, using the same pair of old Canon 1-d mk III bodies and the new-to-me-but-actually-old 300/2.8 and 70-200/2.8.  Lots of missed focus shots that make me want to upgrade to a 1-Dx, or at least re-read the camera manual on auto-focus settings.

I experimented with not using the monopod for the 300/2.8 body and instead just hung it off my BlackRapid strap and it worked out very well.  I was concerned that it would be too heavy to manage effectively or cause too much fatigue but it did very well.  Its probably worth doing it this way in the future to avoid the cumbersome monopod.

I've got a gallery here on this blog but you can see more on my flickr account.

The heat started to backoff during halftime


Sorry for the long silence - it's football season again and that means I'm busy!  I love photographing football even though I think it's the hardest thing there is to photograph well.  It's a live event which means there's no second chance, and it can be pretty unpredictable.  You never know exactly what's going to happen and at the Football Championship Subdivision (Division 1-AA) level things are more likely to get crazy.  Any play can end up with a turnover, a touchdown, a gimmick, etc. It also demands the most expensive equipment, which I don't always have.  I've been renting a 1-D mkIIn recently and it's pretty darn nice, until the lights go down in Spanos Stadium.  There's just no way to get good blow-ups and shadows at ISO 3200 from a four year old camera.  Even after the new stadium lighting before last season, it's still a little too dark in there when there's no help from the sky.

The good news is that those problems will all be gone in a year or two.  The lights aren't going to get brighter, but the cameras are getting a lot better.  I've seen some good looking shots from the new Canon 7-D at ISO 5,000 and Nikon just came out with a camera yesterday that goes to ISO 12,800.  Assuming that 6400 is OK, shooting at Cal Poly should no longer be a problem.  All that great technology will filter down through the product lines soon.  (Hopefully Canon can concentrate on image quality and drop their addiction to megapixels.)

I've shot two games so far (Cal Poly hosting Sac State at home and then Cal Poly visiting San Jose State).  This weekend is Southern Utah at home, which is also Homecoming, so that should be a lot of fun.  I've heard there are still 1,000 tickets available for the game so if you're in SLO, come on down!   The weather should be really nice in the evening and the game should be a lot of fun.  Come see the new scoreboard too!

In other football news, a shot of mine of Miami quarterback Jacory Harris was selected for the Miami media guide.  I shot Miami and Cal in the Emerald Bowl last year and got a lot of good shots.  It's good to see some of them getting some usage.

Cal Poly football coach Rich Ellerson is leaving to coach Army

Cal Poly football coach Rich Ellerson is leaving to coach the Army football team, which means Cal Poly could be in a bit of a hole next year.  They're already losing a ton of great talent (seniors) which is going to hurt them but now they're losing a great coach who has really helped build this team over the last 9 years. As an aside, he's also a really friendly guy.  I ran into him in the elevator at Qualcomm Stadium late after Poly's upset over SDSU this year.  I was a little frantic because I was hoping to catch his (non-existent) press conference and when I asked him if the press conference was over he said "we didn't really have one but are there any questions you have?"   When I told him I was just the photographer and I didn't have any for him we just started chatting until another reporter came along and started asking questions.

Coach Ellerson gladly answered all this guy's questions at like 9:30 or something, without rushing anything or evading anything.  He's a real class act and he'll be missed.

Cal in the Emerald Bowl?

According to news reports from The Merc, The Emerald Bowl may have made a deal to secure Cal for the bowl game later this month.  The assumption is that this would mean an instant sell-out for the game, with as many as 35,000 of the 40,000 seats going to Cal fans. I shot the Emerald Bowl last year in the light rain (there's a gallery here of what I got) and I'm looking forward to shooting it again.  Pac Bell Park is a little bit of a weird place to have a football game since it's really a baseball stadium, but that's OK - it's still an adventure.

Having a local team and a packed house will really raise the energy level and hopefully I'll do better than I did last year.  And while the rain makes for a nice gritty "in the trenches" sort of feel, as a photographer, I could do without.

Edit:  Yes, Cal was there, and I shot the game.  It was great!