My part of the project of awesomeness I wrote about last week.
Football is the most visible and immediate way for Ohio State fans to connect with the university. But my Saturday morning assignment added a bit of perspective, especially after a rough week for Buckeye Nation.
Every fall, the Alumni Association hosts the Ohio State Advocates Fall Event, where basically the OSU Advocates (a bit like OSU’s lobbying group) get together to listen to various speakers talk about the goings on at Ohio State. And Saturday morning, Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee stood on stage in the Ohio Union and said that someone from Ohio State would cure cancer
Kind of puts football in its place as a beautiful diversion.
But you can bet your bottom dollar that I was looking forward to Saturday afternoon though. The idea of a University that could find a cure for cancer and win a football title is a heady mix.
So after the inspiring words from various speakers outlining the birth of the new cancer center, I crossed the campus and headed down toward the ‘Shoe. I have only been in center campus a few times, and it is always inspiring. After the morning’s adventures, I wanted to find a laboratory and go figure something out.
But Ohio Stadium was a welcome site, reflected in the shiny windows of the Recreation & Physical Activity Center. The crowd didn’t seem quite as thick as previous games this season.
It was perfect weather for football, cool but not cold, and sunny. 3:30 starts add an extra bit of challenge to shooting a game, as the shadows begin to creep almost at kickoff- and the extra 15 minutes ABC added because the early game went late didn’t help either. By half time, most of the field is in shadow, while the stands are still in the sun. Backlit players and blown out stands aren’t really optimal, but I am a sucker for a sunlit player with a dark background should the opportunity arise.
In the photo dungeon under the south end zone, Chip the Buffalo (get it? get it? nyuk nyuk nyuk) was getting suited up. Some cheerleaders were watching with what looked like admiration in their eyes.
Maybe hanging around a big-headed nut that runs around punching itself in the head loses its appeal after a while. I don’t have to hang around with him very much, so I don’t know.
So I marched out onto the field, eventually ending up in the north end zone to watch the team run across the field behind the cheerleaders. I looked up at the north Block O and it took me a second to figure out what the front row was spelling out. Normally there is at least on B in there somewhere. I probably looked a little slow spelling out “We Have Gee!” to anyone who noticed.
After my hooked on phonics adventure at the other end, I wandered down to the south end zone. I don’t know what compelled me to, but as the pregame clock wound down I saw the refs huddle at midfield and do one of those circle things athletes do in the huddle.
[wpaudio url=”http://www.crookphotography.com/audio/colocarmen.mp3″] Carmen Ohio. If you listen closely, you can hear some fans who are singing with gusto, if not accuracy.
Not a whole lot happened the first two possessions, and I found myself a bit stuck, too close to the benches, where miscellaneous people spread out from the bench area itself and spill into areas directly in front of people trying to photograph the game. So it is an area best avoided. I found myself stuck there, either through inattention or brilliant planning. I was actually photographing Colorado’s pathetic attempt a offense and stuck around to see if someone would block a punt.
When the punt got away unmolested, I looked up at the video board to see where the return would end. I didn’t even have to look to know it would be a good return. I whipped around and aimed my camera at the hole in the crowd where the return man would appear and waited. J-Hall came tearing into sight and was tackled just short of a touchdown. It was actually better for me he didn’t score, because the picture wouldn’t have been as good.
Selfish, I know.
A few minutes later, J-Hall took the ball, found a hole and drove toward the end zone.
He didn’t quite make it the first time, being tackled at about the 1 and reaching not quite far enough to break the plane. The next play he thundered into the endzone, but my picture was just a pile of butts.
Shortly after getting butted out of a good touchdown picture (nyuk nyuk) I pulled out my fisheye to make a panoramic picture of the south end zone. The photographer from Cleveland always asks me if I am going to do one, so Marvin, this one’s for you.
I was going to make it a fancy-pants full 360, but it has been a long time since I did one and I kind of screwed it up. Maybe that research job is a bit of a stretch.
A delightful fumble in the middle of my viewfinder lead to a nice, sunlit view of The Future weaving his way in and out of traffic, but my best photo was the end of his ride. The drive stalled, resulting in a field goal.
The game proceeded as was to be expected, and it got less suspenseful as the afternoon wore on. I don’t think anyone expected Colorado to upset the Buckeyes, not even Mark May. But the fans stuck around, the ones that showed up to begin with. Despite the students being back on campus, there were a lot of empty seats in the upper levels.
I have a soft spot for some of the guys I had to photograph for an OSUAA project last year. Zach Domicone was one of them. Before I started looking for him, I had no idea who he was. But the guy is a ball magnet. Case in point, shortly before half the ball bounces off a Buffalo and despite slipping through several dozen Buckeye fingers, Domicone was the one that landed on it. That’s him in the top left, number 16. It almost came to naught, as the Buckeyes only managed a field goal, but hey, they only had about 15 seconds to punch it in anyway.
J. Hall ran amok in the third quarter, and I took plenty of pictures of him, including running through a hole the size of the great plains and then avoiding a stampede of Buffalo defenders.
I plopped down in front of the band for the fourth quarter, and waited on pins and needles to be booted from my spot for Carmen Ohio. Security clears the entire area in front of the band, and I knew it was a matter of time before I had to move. What the Buckeyes were up to when I had to move would determine how I felt about it (not that I had a choice in the matter.)
Sure enough, the Buckeyes were driving as the clocked wound past 2 minutes. The drive was meaningless, the game was over and fans were heading to the gates, but it was still a chance for pictures, for better or for worse. My first season shooting the Buckeyes, security cleared out the Carmen Spot with about 2 minute left on the game clock. In a close game, that puts photographers in a fighting mood.
So around the one minute mark I spotted a security guy heading my way. He leaned over and said “when the clock hits zero, we are going to clear the area.”
Oh happy day! Huzzah and hooray! All is well with the world!
I dutifully wandered off as the ropes came out and stood in front of a group of students for Carmen Ohio. It is funny to watch the proliferation of digital memories being held at arms length. And who knows. One of those kids may have their name on a statue some day.
Now you can;
Check out a photo gallery of Saturday’s game.
Join the OSUAA.
or you could become an OSUAA fan on Facebook.
You could like me, because who doesn’t like a liking?
You can keep up with my photographic musings by following me on Twitter; @crookphoto
And the OSUAA, too @OhioStateAlumni