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Photos, Impressions of Nebraska vs Minnesota

It was a lot of fun... for Minnesota.

Jon Johnston

Late in the week, but it’s a bye week, so we’re stretching out the content so you think you’re getting more. Hahahahahaha!

The Game

Not sure I have to say much about the football game that hasn’t already been said. There were holes in the Minnesota defense early on, but they were quickly filled. Nebraska seemed to be in the game until at least half time (keep in mind that I am in eternally hopeful person). Minnesota smashed our beloved Huskers in the third quarter with physical, dominating drives. It was embarrassing.

The energy on the field was amazing, especially in the student section. The Minnesota marching band was manic, as were the students around them. I spent a fair amount of time at the end zone near the band. They were constantly running back and forth in front of me, which was fairly annoying.

There are white and yellow lines around the outside of the football field. Media are supposed to stay behind the yellow lines. (I’m not sure what the white lines are for... people who are really special?) The yellow line on the end zone near the band provides only about a foot and a half of space between the line and the field. The band students who moved back and forth (and they did this all of the time) acted as if the yellow line was molten lava so when they crossed, they were frequently in our way shooting photos. I realized why they stayed close to the line as repeatedly throughout the game, Goldy Gopher drove back and forth across the field on a tri-motorcycle - that dude is going to kill someone some day.

This wouldn’t have been so annoying were Nebraska not being destroyed. From an objective view, they had a tremendous amount of fun. It was that end of the field where Minnesota crushed our beloved Huskers in the third quarter. Imagine that - having a student section right on the field, a band right on the field, members allowed to run down onto the field with the cheerleaders and performing silly stunts/skits such as dancing to “Do the Gopher” or whatever the hell that was.

Towards the end of the game I was on the Nebraska sideline directly in front of our cheerleaders. A very loud Minnesota fan started screaming “WE WANT THE BROKEN CHAIR TROPHY”. This went on for a few minutes. I started laughing and turned around to look at him. His buddies noticed me and started screaming “THAT GUY GETS IT” which inspired them to keep screaming about the chair.

At the end of the game, Minnesota players and cheerleaders went to one end of the field to sign their fight song (I presume) with the band. They were having a great time. PJ Fleck came up and hugged and shook hands with the band director (?), and then proceeded to hug just about everyone in site. Call him cheesy. Call him a goofball, but what he is doing is working. Isn’t that what it’s about?

About the process

This is for camera geeks. Full disclosure - I’m not a professional photographer, but I get email from time to time asking about how you do this or that.

Here’s how the sports photography process works at most media outlets. They send a photographer out into the field. That guy shoots, uploads (many new cameras do this automatically) to a site where a photo editor does post-processing. Post-processing involves choosing photos, setting white balance, tones, cropping, maybe some Photoshop.

I’ve never had any sort of training/education in sports photography, specifically. I’ve just learned as I’ve gone along. It’s not like we have experienced photo editors at SBNation. We have access to USA Today and some Getty Images photos through contracts, but our online editor was never set up so we could share photos across the SBNation network. Uploading photos has been a sucky process for a while now.

I kept some examples in this gallery to show you where I struggle. Or maybe more appropriate, where I make decisions. Ok, honestly, I struggle. I’ve never been great at post-processing. I need to get out more often.

I shoot with a Fuji XT2 as my main camera. For this game, I rented a 200 mm F2. I'd never shot with it before – and let's just say it was love at first site. The 200 mm had a 1.4 teleconverter attached to it. My secondary camera is an old Canon 7D. I have a somewhat cheap Tamron 28-75 lens on it for closer shots. I’d love to replace the 7D with another XT2, but I am not there yet.

Photos #19, 20.

#19 - Will Honas (#3) keeps Shannon Brooks (Minnesota #4) out of the end zone, barely. #19 is the full shot. #20 follows the rule of “Shoot tight, crop tighter”, which means - take your shots close, then crop everything else out EXCEPT the subject.

You can see this process in the number of JD Spielman fumble photos I included.

Another set of examples: #32, #33, #34, #35.

#32 - is the original full shot.
#33 - is the original crop I tried. I don’t think it works very well, but the video dude’s face... let’s just say that it’s rather terrifying when you’re holding a camera and a 200 LB dude is running full steam at you.
#34 - does this work? I’m not sure. It’s not great, but it’s PJ Fleck. He is enthused because his dude just converted another third down.
#35 - Crop tighter. Probably the best, right? Now you don’t have to worry about what that player is doing. Could probably blur him even more, remove the snow.

On cropping - note that some of the photos aren’t cropped tight. I purposefully choose a few of these to show that there were actual holes in the Minnesota line at times.

Also interesting - #48, the shot of teammates congratulating Dedrick Mills on Nebraska’s lone touchdown. What’s interesting about it? Compare it to this shot from the Lincoln Journal Star. The color sets are different, red stands out more in the LJS. Also, the Gopher players are gone from the background. Otherwise, it’s the same shot. It happens.