Scenes From a Soaked Super Bowl

If you don’t have a field photo pass, you are extremely limited with what you can bring into the Super Bowl. No long lenses, no camera bag, no monopod, just what you can wear around your neck and carry in a pocket. I was able to get through the gates with a Canon EOS 5D, Canon 17-35 f/2.8L, a Lensbaby 3G, and a Fujifilm Finepix F31fd.

Even with our seats being just 19 rows off the field, I was amazingly under-lensed to capture anything resembling sports action (see Jack’s How To Shoot a Stadium From the Stands article for more). Even if I’d had a 10x zoom EVF I still would have been ill-equipped for anything resembling near-professional sports action imagery, so I left that to the sideline pros, who had their gear protected in everything from garbage bags to branded lens-specific rain covers. The majority of the field-level shooters were wedged shoulder-to-shoulder in a very tight space behind the end zones. A few more camped out on the sidelines, which were so packed with television crews and game support that it looked like the cleanest lines of sight were from that crammed end zone position.

The rain came down hard and persistent at times. Those of us in the stands had the “luxury” of heading for cover near the concessions areas, which offered a degree of protection from the rain. But by halftime, there were puddles forming in the concession areas as well. It was a crazy day, with the worst weather this area has seen in the past couple of weeks, several locals said.

In the middle of all the mayhem was a football game surrounded by one of the biggest parties of the year. I chose to shoot a lot of photos with the Lensbaby, which I think brings a certain energy to the images. I knew I couldn’t get sports action imagery with my limited credentials, so I chose instead to show moments that give a feel for the day.

So what about all those peak action shots you see today on SI.com and in your local newspaper? These folks worked hard to make great shots in some really lousy shooting conditions.

Pre-Game Update

It’s Super Bowl Sunday in supposedly sunny Miami, but it’s currently raining and the forecast calls for showers during the game. In the stands, where I’ll be, no camera bags are allowed. No long lenses, either, so getting good shots of game action should prove challenging.

Because of the restrictions I’m bringing a compact pocketcam and a Canon EOS 5D with a 17-35mm f/2.8 lens, along with a Lensbaby 3G, which fits into my jacket pocket.

I went out this morning to buy a raincoat, but there’s none to be found. But I’ve come up with a solution that should work to keep my head dry if it rains: A Canon long lens cover. These are meant to keep a supertelephoto lens dry, but I’ve figured out how to configure it into an ad hoc rain hood, should the promised rain start coming down.

The 5D and lenses are in a big ziplock bag, and I’ve got lots of plastic shopping bags to keep my notebooks, CF cards and cellphone dry, should it really come down in buckets.

Peter Kolonia has a limited amount of pre-game field access. He’s got a Canon EOS Rebel XTI and a wide-tele zoom with him, also in a ziplock bag. He’ll be reporting in after the game with a first-person account of his time on the field before the big game.

I’m going to have one eye on the game and one eye on the sideline photographers, all the while trying my best to make some decent photos at the Super Bowl, from the stands, with a limited amount of gear!

Audio Interview: Peter Read Miller

A veteran of 31 Super Bowls, legendary Sports Illustrated photographer Peter Read Miller shares his experiences shooting the big game and talks about how photographic equipment has changed over the years. He also offers vital tips every photographer can use to make stronger sports photos, whether they’re shooting the Super Bowl or a Pop Warner game.

Click here to launch a slideshow with the interview, or right click here and “Save as…” to download.

Audio Interview: Joe DiLora

Assistant Manager of Canon Professional Services

Click here to launch a slideshow with the interview, or right click here and “Save as…” to download.

Audio Interview: Diana Porter

Grand Prize winner of Canon’s “Why Do You Love Football?” Amateur Photo Challenge

Click here to launch a slideshow with the interview, or right click here and “Save as…” to download.

— PopPhoto’s Jack Howard and Peter Kolonia are reporting this weekend from Super Bowl XLI in Miami, Fla.