Thursday, December 15, 2011

Travel Blog: NFL Week 14 - New England at Washington

Travel Blog: NFL Week 14 - New England at Washington
By Andy Lopusnak,
December 10-11, 2011 

I love the nation's capital. It's one of my favorite places to shoot. This time, I had the entirety of Saturday to shoot from 9 AM when I landed until 9 PM when I got to the hotel because the trucks weren't available until game day.

Like my last trip here a few months back, I wanted to get the new MLK Memorial. Last time was one day before the unveiling and it was packed. This time, I started there and empty. Here's my favorite shot from it this time.
Next, I stopped at the FDR Memorial that was steps away from MLK. It was also empty there so I set up my tripod and took a sequence of photos of me standing around the large statue of FDR and his Scottish Terrier Fala. I then took the images into Photoshop and created this. 
I continued around the Tidal Basin to the Jefferson Memorial. I'm not a big fan of this memorial other than shooting it from a distance. This was the first time I've been to it since learning that the third president is in my family tree. My sixth grandmother on my mother's side, Judith Jefferson, was Thomas' paternal aunt (they shared the same grandfather).
I also walked near the White House, the Washington Memorial (closed due to earthquake damage), the Capitol and the Supreme Court before stopping for dinner then coming back for night photos. I snapped this shot of the the Smithsonian Castle in silhouette as the sun was setting.
The moon was full and large in the horizon, so I decided to get lots of shots of the glowing globe like the one at the top of this blog. That shot is actually the merging of two images. To get a clear shot of the moon, you need a fast shutter speed because it is after all moving thousands of miles per hour as is the earth. All the images you see with a bright, huge moon with a gorgeous skyline shot are all manipulated. To get the great skyline at night you need a long exposure, but a long exposure on the moon will just create a bright, white orb with no detail. Needless to say, these were by far my best moon images and I'll be using them for skyline shots for years to come.

The Pats won 34-27 thanks to three touchdown passes by QB Tom Brady, who passed Hall of Famer Warren Moon for the sixth most career passing scores. His tight end, Rob Gronkowski, set an NFL record for most receiving TDs by a TE (15) after catching two scores and 160 yards.

This was just the third time that I've covered a game at FedEx Field. The first was with FOX in 2001 (nearly a decade to the day of this week's contest) when the Dallas Cowboys beat the Redskins 20-14 with NFL all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith rushing for 102 yards with a score. I was also here in 2009 when the Skins beat Denver 27-17. In that game, Washington punter Hunter Smith completed a 35-yard pass on fourth and 20 for a touchdown.
I almost didn't get this time lapse because there was so few secure spots at FedEx Field where I could put my camera. I walked all around and thought literally 30 minutes before kickoff found a spot in the north end zone. I scouted it earlier in the day and even missed the pregame meal. When I went out to the field to get pregame shots of both teams, I glanced up to the end zone and a spot was open. I ended my pregame shooting early and ran to get my tripod to set up. 

When I got up there, the videographers for both teams and a panoramic photographer (using a Canon 5D Mark II) were set up. For a time lapse I thought I wasn't going to get, I'm very pleased at the results. This is the 19th different NFL venue time lapse (including London's Wembley Stadium).

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