Friday, October 26, 2012

Travel/Photo Blog: NFL Week Seven (SEA@SF and BAL@HOU)

Travel/Photo Blog: NFL Week Seven (SEA@SF and BAL@HOU)
By Andy Lopusnak,
October 18-21, 2012

This week, I got to shoot the Seahawks-49ers game on Thursday night and then covered the Ravens-Texans game in Houston on Sunday. I only get to shoot the 49ers games when San Francisco hosts either a Thursday or Monday night game because of my gig with CBS Sports.

It’s a treat to be behind the lens and on the field for the entire game instead of being in the trucks. I love doing both. If I could shoot games every day, I’d be extremely fit as I run from sideline to sideline. It was a very eventful weekend even though I had to be in Houston again. 

49ers running back Frank Gore recorded his 32nd career 100-yard rushing game going for 131 with an additional 51 yards receiving as San Francisco (5-2) beat Seattle (4-3) 13-6. Until 4:29 left in the third quarter, there were no touchdowns and the Seahawks were up 6-3 until Alex Smith hit Delanie Walker on a 12-yard touchdown.

Houston scored a franchise-record 43 points en route to its first ever win over Baltimore. Texans quarterback Matt Schaub tossed for 256 yards with two touchdown strikes as Houston advanced to an AFC best 6-1 record.

The Ravens have now lost their last twelve road games that I’ve covered.

Once again, I was back in Houston. I don't even turn on my phone's GPS anymore since I've been here too many times. In my CBS travels, I've been to Houston more times (now 14) for NFL games than any other city. Additionally, the now 29 Texans games I've done is the most by any team in my 196 with CBS. The sad part is that I started with CBS in 2000 and the Texans didn't get their team until 2002. I have a sneaking suspicion that I'll be back here for the AFC Divisional playoff round as well. When I got to Houston Friday night, I slept in and didn't leave the Omni until 3pm on Saturday. Sunday morning I got some pre-dawn shots of downtown and snapped some more at dusk. 

On the side of the highway near Reliant Stadium was a bunch of weird sculptures. I stopped and snapped a few shots of them. 

It's called the Eclectic Menagerie Park and was created by Texas Pipe & Supply. However, there's no markers to say what each piece is and who created them.

Reliant Stadium is the site of my first sports time lapse back on September of 2010 and I’ve done six total in this venue (two for football and four from the 2011 Final Four). Now make that eight Reliant Stadium time lapses.

For this one, I set up on the seventh floor of the stadium in the end zone. The 40D took a tad under 1,100 images at intervals of every 20 seconds.

I set up the GoPro on CBS Sports cart camera, which is on a motorized cart on the TV-facing sideline. The cart camera rises above the players and other people on the field to give an up close and personal look for TV. I tried in 2010 to get this shot in Miami, but my intervalometer wasn’t working properly and I only got a very few shots (click here to see that view). This time, with the GoPro’s five-hour battery and ability to do intervals of just two-seconds; I decided that I’d once again try and get this great vantage point.

It’s definitely a different view of the game. What I like is that you can see what the Texans do as a team on the sidelines as well as all the photographers, security guards and other personnel on the field. Overall, the GoPro took nearly 4,000 images before the battery died out.

After the 49ers game, I headed to SFO to get on two planes and a two-hour drive to shoot portraits of Baylor University’s men’s basketball team for CBS. I cannot show you any shots until after CBS airs them on December 1, so I won’t go into details about the shoot until that weekend. Since I was at Baylor, I did get shots of the basketball arena and football stadium. 

On the way to Baylor from Dallas, I took a short detour to photograph the exteriors of Rangers Ballpark and Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. I found out that I will be covering the Cowboys game in November and will get a chance to do time lapses and shoot inside Cowboys Stadium at that time. 
On the drive from Waco to Houston, I stopped in College Station to get a shot of Kyle Field, which is where Texas A&M plays its football games.

I also snagged a shot of Robert Griffin III's Heisman Trophy while I was a Baylor. 

I’m super excited to get this game, so that I can add another new time lapse venue and shoot Lambeau Field. This will be my second time in Green Bay as I covered these exact two teams eight years ago when Fred Taylor ran for 165 yards and a touchdown as the Jaguars beat the Packers 28-25. However, back then I wasn't into photography and didn't get any shots of Lambeau. This time, I will be shooting the Packers Hall of Fame on Saturday and getting the two time lapses on Sunday. 

Here’s a selection of my favorite photos from this past week.

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