Wisconsin: Weird

Saturday was one of those ‘tweener games. Not meaningless, but out of the national radar, which makes it vital that the Buckeyes win convincingly. And despite Wisconsin always playing Ohio State hard, unless the Buckeyes hung 70 and a shutout on the Badgers the national pundits would use the margin of victory to point out how lousy the Big Ten is.

So it was a beautiful day in Columbus as I arrived at Ohio Stadium a few hours before the game, having detoured through a few parking lots working on another project, and then making a quick dash back to the Longaberger Alumni House to get my knee pads. I always get weird looks when I don’t bother to take my knee pads before walking back to my car, but it is a lesson I learned early in my OSU shooting career; that rubber-coated concrete down there isn’t nearly as soft as it looks.

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Much more crowded at game time.

(use your mouse to move around inside the window to view the full 360 degree panorama)

get the latest quicktime here.


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A classic view.

The privilege of being chosen to shoot the Buckeyes means you get a sideline pass, which doesn’t exactly give you the run of the place, but it does afford an opportunity to wander around the stadium before the game. While I wandered I did a few panoramas. As I wandered with the fisheye lens needed to do them, I spotted Eddie George signing autographs for a handful of fans.

hero

Friendly hero.

Then it was up to the press box for some eats. I usually eat in the front row. Not that the dining area isn’t nice, but not much compete with the view from the front of the press box. Saturday I sat in row two, seat 22, the OSUAA’s spot in the box.

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Room with a view.

Back down in the elevator, where one often shares a ride with some football-related celebrity. Often for me it is people who look familiar, but who’s names I can’t quite place. Down in the photo area there were a few new faces; the Wisconsin contingent. There seemed to be fewer photographers than normal. There are far fewer than years past as newspapers, the staff of which are the main denizens of the photo dungeon, cut costs. The paper group I work ¬†for during the week has not sent a photo team on a regular basis in several years.

onward

Storming the stadium.

As the stadium filled up I ventured back out to get an up-high view for team taking¬†the field. I wasn’t quite high enough to get the full effect of script Ohio, but it was still pretty cool to see the team burst on the field into the delicate interplay of light and shadow. And by delicate, I mean huge shadow cast by the press box and suites.

edge

Edge of the shadows.

burst

Bursting from the shadows.

missed you

Glad to have you back, buddy.

In fall games with a later start time, the sun shines through the slot between the original stadium and new bleachers on the North end of the stadium. It casts half the stadium in deep shadow, the shadow Kurt Coleman burst out of on the way to the end zone for his “pick six.” Anderson Russell came over and gave him a big hug and you could tell the defense was glad to have him back.

I was half lucky to get the return. I tend to play the home run shot some times, hanging out behind the opponents offense in hopes of getting an interception return or fumble. Of course I didn’t get the interception, but the return was pretty nice. Interceptions are hard sometimes, because often they happen a few yards in front of the intended receiver. With a field of view of 6 degrees or so, give or take, a few yards can be a long way. So I missed Hines’ interception later in the game, too, but that was as much a problem of angle as anything. Also a problem was watching it through a TV stations’ parabolic microphone.

abuse volume 1

He will feel that one tomorrow.

faster, faster!

Two yards sideways, one yard forward.

Squish

A bad ratio between those on top and he below.

scrambled

The other play in the offensive play book.

tiiiiimberrrrrr!

If a tree falls in the stadium…

Near halftime a fellow photographer said to no one in particular that it was a very long half. With the offense sputtering the way it was, it felt like forever. The defense, at its bend-don’t-break best teased and tormented the Badgers, giving them a few yards for every time it abused the Wisconsin quarterback Scott Tolzien. That guy had a looong game.

At half time I went into the photo workspace and tightened my belt. With four pouches hanging from it, when it starts to sag, it takes everything with it. The belt was a great source of amusement to a reporter I once worked with, who used to love to make batman references about it, but with several pounds worth of lenses and etc to carry around, it is much easier to have it on a belt. Especially on the shoulders and back. Another lesson it didn’t take too many games to learn.

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All the comforts of home. And a beach ball.

The photo hole is always busy at half, as deadline photographers send their photos to their organizations. Band members and cheerleaders drift in and out, a security guard and state trooper or two pass through. As halftime draws to a close, photographers working as part of a team head back out, the editors and single shooters sit hunched over the computer. From the moment the first photographer arrives, there is always someone in there sending something.

It has been a few years since I shot the Buckeyes on deadline, and I head back out. The later the start, the tougher the job, hoping against hope that something interesting happens in the first few minutes of the game, hoping that someone gets something good before deadline. My last game on deadline was the 2006 Michigan game. I had the southeast corner of the stadium, and I got nothing.

come here

Ebner lends a hand.

away he goes

End zone entourage.

smash

Not a cuddle.

greetings

He got to keep his head.

It was a weird game. 21 of the Buckeyes’ 31 points were scored in about a minute worth of game time, the time it took for 3 highly conditioned athletes to run like hell and return two interceptions and take a trip to the end zone on a kickoff return. The rest of the time, the offense was doing its best to aggravate all those involved. I kept waiting for someone to break off a big run, but it really didn’t happen. And apart from Posey’s nice touchdown reception, they didn’t seem to do that much. When they had the ball, that is. All things considered, it is pretty amazing that Wisconsin didn’t score more points, considering how long the OSU defense was on the field, and how worn out they must have been, depth be darned. It is also amazing that Tolzien survived the game. He was sacked six times, and knocked down several times more.

After the game I rearranged my gear and bags for an easier walk back to the L.A.H. and left the deadline guys to their keyboards and wireless connections.

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3 Responses to Wisconsin: Weird

  1. Chris says:

    Love the panoramas!

  2. Marty Haas says:

    The panoramas were quite a nice addition !!
    Keep up the good work

  3. Paul says:

    Great shots! I found this site linked on one of my freinds profiles on Facebook, and noticed I’m in a couple of your shots! I’m a member of Block O, so I’m at every home game. Hopefully, I’ll run into you sometime. Kepp up the great work!

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