In Texas, every high school football game is packed with energy, excitement and sound -- and fans take pictures by the thousands every night!
For the fans, the stands are where it all happens -- selfies with friends, snaps of the cheerleaders, and videos of the band halftime show. Cell phone cameras get the most clicks, and the diehard DSLR fans look for the best position to capture the action. In the excitement of the night, lots of pictures include the backs of heads photo bombing our best efforts.
The field sidelines are filled with official photographers, running down field to follow the action and capture a shot. Some carry two cameras, a backpack and a monopod with a lens that resembles a bazooka. At the end of the game, they have taken some great pictures, but they have been limited to the action directly in front of them.
As a fan and a photographer, I have taken the to the stands as my perch, finding the best spots for relatively clear views across the field. The 50 yard line is always preferable, and sitting about 6 rows up gives the best field of view of the game and is high enough to keep passerbys out of the picture.
The ends of the stands are better for pictures of the cheerleaders and end zone plays - the downside is the distance to the other end of the field if your favorite team is busy defending their goal for an extended period of time.
I shoot with a Canon 70D and a 70-200mm f2.8, using shutter speed priority (800-1000) and auto ISO. Lighting is my biggest challenge as the games begin in fairly bright sunset light and in the course of 30 minutes transition to stadium lights. I change the WB and the exposure values as the evening game continues.
Each night is an experiment in capturing the rich colors and frenzied excitement of high school football under the stadium lights, and no two are alike.
Hope to see you in the stands!