Friday, September 5, 2014

Back to Football

By Andy Lopusnak,
September 5, 2014

The NFL brands its kickoff weekend as BACK TO FOOTBALL, but I’ve been in football mode for months now. This summer, I had the opportunity to do photo shoots with 14 of the 32 NFL teams for CBS Sports’ Thursday Night Football coverage. Sadly, I cannot share any of the images until after they air on the TNF broadcasts. If you want to see them, then I suggest watching CBS/NFL Network on Thursdays starting in Week Two.

I used the extra funds to upgrade my camera equipment and have officially gone full frame, as well as switching my main camera from Canon to Sony. I’ll be posting soon a blog on why I made the switch, but until then BACK TO FOOTBALL. In addition to the photo shoots, I again shot Arena Football games for However, with my hectic schedule with basketball and life, I only covered three San Jose SaberCats games this year, which is my fewest Arena games in a season since 1991 (not including the 2009 year without the AFL).

Though my regular season kicks off this Sunday in Kansas City as the Chiefs host the Tennessee Titans, I’ve did three New York Jets preseason games (at Cincy, home vs. the Giants and at Philly). The three Jets games have propelled the Gang Green to 33 games I’ve covered in my now 15th season with CBS Sports, which is the most of any team. Tied for second most with 32 games are the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals and Houston Texans.

The 2014 NFL season brings me to a new crew as the on-site graphics statistician. If you’re watching games with Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon calling all the action, then you’ll be seeing my football Rain Man skills at work. For five weeks this fall, I will be also doing some college football games, including the Notre Dame-Navy game at FedEx Field, the day after Thanksgiving game Arkansas-Mizzou game in Columbia and the Mountain West Championship game (hopefully either Boise State or Hawaii host so I can cross off another state capitol building).

I’ve been assigned my first four weeks and in addition to this Sunday in KC; I will be covering the Atlanta-Cincy, KC-Miami and Tennessee-Indy games in September. I have Week Five circled with the possibility of crossing off another stadium in my quest for a time lapse in all of them. That week, Jacksonville hosts Pittsburgh, San Diego hosts the NY Jets and San Francisco hosts the Chiefs in the brand-new Levi’s Stadium. It’s a CBS double-header weekend with the other games being Cleveland at Tennessee, Houston at Dallas and Baltimore at Indianapolis. I’m pulling for the 49ers; but would be very happy with Jacksonville or San Diego.

The other weekends that I could possibly get these elusive quartet of stadiums would be:

WEEK 8 (10/26): Miami at Jacksonville; Oakland at Cleveland
WEEK 12 (11/16): Houston at Cleveland; Oakland at San Diego
WEEK 13 (11/23): Washington at San Francisco
WEEK 15 (12/14): Cincinnati at Cleveland; Denver at San Diego
WEEK 16 (12/20): San Diego at San Francisco

In addition, I’m pulling for games in Tampa Bay (Week SIX vs Baltimore and/or Week 13 vs Cincinnati) and New England (Week 15 vs. Miami and/or Week 17 vs. Buffalo) because I only have night time lapses for those teams (plus the Bucs have a new logo). For Week Six, I will be doing an early afternoon college game and hope that I can make it to Tampa the next morning.

Since my last post in January, I’ve added some more US Presidential final resting places to my collection and now I have 22 of the 44 presidents. When I’m in Indy next, I’ll be adding Benjamin Harrison. After that, it may be until basketball season before I add another since the remaining ones aren’t very close to the NFL cities. Same goes for the state capitol buildings.  

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

January 2014 Recap

January 2014 Recap
By Andy Lopusnak,

I was slammed this past month with work, photo shoots and games; so I didn’t get a chance to write up weekly recaps of my photo exploits. Here’s a look back at the first month of 2014. I covered three college basketball games and an NFL playoff game for the month. For the three hoops games, I did photo shoots; but only shot the home teams due to timing conflicts with the road teams. 


After getting home late on New Year’s Eve from the Sun Bowl, I left San Jose on NYE for South Bend, Indiana to do a photo shoot with the Notre Dame Fighting’ Irish men’s hoops team. I photographed six players for the CBS telecast of the Duke game. Notre Dame upended the #7 Blue Devils 79-77 in the Irish’s first ACC game.

After the shoot, I got access to the football stadium and the locker room to get some scenic photos of the historic venue.

Next, I walked around campus getting some new photos of Touchdown Jesus and the inside of the Golden Dome. Unfortunately, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart was closed for renovations. Notre Dame is an awesome place to visit like going to Lambeau Field in Green Bay (has a similar feel too); but I cannot imagine living in either place.

I had a corner time lapse of the Purcell Pavilion the last time I was here the same weekend two years earlier; so I set up the Canon 40D with the Canon 17-40mm L lens at high midcourt and put the GoPro Hero 2 in the rafters above the rim.


Looking at my vast photo collection, I noticed that I had hardly any night shots of Boston; so I braved the cold for about six hours and walked about three miles along the Freedom Trail.

I’ve photographed this numerous times, but this time I got a prime hotel room and got a day-to-night time lapse and also had time to get interior photos of the capitol building.

To me, this was the highlight of the entire month as I added another NFL home venue to my time lapse collection. I now have 29 of the 32 current home stadiums (only need Cleveland, Jacksonville and San Diego). Sadly, the game was at night so I’ll still need to get a daytime time lapse at some point. I set up three cameras to create the time lapse below: GoPro Hero 2 in the end zone; GoPro Hero 3 in the corner (in the Press Box) and the Canon 40D with the Sigma 10-20mm lens on the sidelines). Look how the rain pours down, then stops throughout the game.

During pregame, it was a torrential downpour; so I braved a cheap poncho and went out to get some quick shots. I was out there for maybe five minutes and got some of my best shots of the 2013 season. The Patriots won easily 43-22 thanks to 166 yards on the ground and four touchdowns by RB LaGarrette Blount.


Kansas wore its PHOG alternate uniforms for the photo shoot that featured “Kansas” in a circus font similar to the 1988 National Champions. I photographed eight Jayhawks: Tarik Black, Perry Ellis, Joel Embiid, Frank Mason, Wayne Selden, Naadir Tharpe, Jamari Traylor and Andrew Wiggins

Kansas beat Oklahoma State, which I didn’t photograph, 80-78 thanks to a dominate performance by Embiid, who scored 13 points, rebounded eleven balls and blocked eight shots.

According to, Kansas is projected to have the top to picks in the 2014 draft with Embiid going first and Wiggins going second. Additionally, the site has Selden going 22nd.

Before the shoot, I drove around Kansas’ campus and nabbed some shots. I tried to get into the football stadium; but it was locked up.

I drove from Lawrence to Abilene the day before the game to add to my photo collection of presidential graves to snap shots of Dwight Eisenhower's final resting place, library and boyhood home. Adding Ike put my tally to 16.


On the way back from the Eisenhower Library, I stopped in Topeka and got some interior shots of the capitol building. 

I’ve previously created two time lapses at historic Allen Fieldhouse (one in the right corner and the other at midcourt). This time, I put one in the left corner a bit tighter to show mainly the court. 

Miami wore its green road jerseys for the photo shoot. I snapped shots of five players: Garrius Adams, Rion Brown, James Kelly, Donnavan Kirk and Manu Lecomte.

Friday, I headed to South Beach to get some new shots of the lifeguard towers.

On the way to the hotel, I stopped at Target to get something to drink; then I noticed next to it a huge Romero Britto art piece at the Dadeland Metrorail station. Its name is “Mr. Happy.”

The Hurricanes’ intimate 8,000-seat arena, the BankUnited Center, became my 20th different home college time lapse. I set up three different cameras to capture midcourt (GoPro Hero 3), behind the hoop (GoPro Hero 2) and corner (Canon 7D with Sigma 10-20mm lens).

I have upcoming four hoops games and three of them will be at new venues for time lapses. My games are: Michigan at Indiana, Michigan State at Wisconsin, Pittsburgh at North Carolina and Louisville at Cincinnati. I’ve previously been to Madison twice for games (getting time lapses in 2011 and 2013). It will be my first games at UNC and Cincy (though I did shoot a Bearcats football game in 2012). As for Indiana, I’ve been twice previously, but it will be my first since 2001 (and obviously I don’t have a time lapse there).

Friday, January 3, 2014

South Beach & the Sun Bowl…Again

South Beach & the Sun Bowl…Again
By Andy Lopusnak,
December 29-31, 2013

For the second time in the past three seasons, I ended the year with a Jets-Dolphins game in Miami and the Sun Bowl. Only this time the games were switched with the NFL game on 12/29 and the Sun Bowl as usual at high noon on New Year’s Eve. In 2011, I did the Sun Bowl that Utah won in overtime 30-27 on New Year’s Eve and then covered the Dolphins’ 19-17 win over the Jets on New Year’s Day 2012, which was the last NFL contest for future Hall of Famers Jason Taylor and LaDainian Tomlinson. This time, the Jets won and likely it will be the last game ever played by future HOFer Ed Reed, who picked off his 64th pass in the game.

New York eliminated Miami from the playoffs with the surprising win after trailing 7-0 then scoring the game’s final 20 points. Jets rookie QB Geno Smith surpassed the 3,000-yard passing mark on the season during the game. He ran for a touchdown in the game. Rookie defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson pounded in the other Jets touchdown giving him two on the season (I covered the other one at Carolina two weeks earlier) which tied William “Refrigerator” Perry for the most rushing scores in a season by a defensive lineman. The Fridge also did it in his rookie year (of 1985 when the Bears won the Super Bowl).
For the Dolphins, receiver Brian Hartline went over 1,000 yards for the second time, but was injured on the play and missed the rest of the game. Without his favorite receiver, Ryan Tannehill struggled and at one point threw three interceptions in the span of eleven pass attempts.

This game marked by 275th NFL contest that I’ve covered since “turning pro” in 1997. Additionally, this became my 30th Jets game covered. Here’s a look at the teams I’ve covered the most during my CBS tenure and their respective records in those contests.

1. Baltimore
3. Cincinnati
4. NY Jets
5. Jacksonville

I’ve done two 50-yard line time lapses here in the past, so with it supposed to pour down rain I only put out the GoPro Hero 2 for a really unique shot. I place it in the low end zone behind the goal post and a tarp with the Dolphins logo. I was a bit scared that the camera might get stolen since it was literally in front of fans (see photo below). It worked out though and is truly a great time lapse.

As you can see, the clouds are amazing (though it was very overcast). You cannot see much game action because it’s so low but I think the sky makes up for it as does the moving tarp in the wind. Notice at the very end as the ground crew takes down the goal post.

In the past five years, I’ve now covered the Sun Bowl three times. My first trip to El Paso was in 2008 when Oregon State beat Pittsburgh 3-0 in the lowest scoring bowl game since 1959. In the game, Victor Butler posted four sacks and 11 tackles. It was also the 75th edition of the Sun Bowl. Three years later, I returned as Utah beat Georgia Tech 30-27 in overtime with Utes running back John White scoring the game winner to go with 115 yards on the ground.

Bruins quarterback Brett Hundley had a career day on the ground rushing for 161 yards on ten carries with two scores. He had an 86-yard rushing touchdown and another from seven yards out. His previous career high was just 85 total rushing yards. Hundley also threw two more scores in the win.

Bruce Smith, who played at Virginia Tech and was the #1 overall pick of the 1986 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills, was at the Sun Bowl. Smith is the NFL’s all-time leader in sacks and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. With one photo, I added him to my collection of #1 overall NFL picks (CLICK HERE TO VIEW) and NFL Hall of Famers (CLICK HERE TO VIEW). Smith became my 22nd #1 overall pick I’ve photographed.

When I was here in 2011, I got a corner time lapse of the game (CLICK HERE TO VIEW); so I set up sideline shots in the broadcast booth as well as one in the end zone. This time, I set up three time lapses – one in the end zone, another at the 50-yard line and the third in the broadcast booth.

UP NEXT: Duke at Notre Dame Hoops
Next week, I’ll be making my third trip to South Bend, Indiana to cover the Duke-Notre Dame college basketball game. Aside from the NFL playoff game the week after ND, I’m now into basketball mode the rest of the way.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

It’s Always Cold in Kansas City

It’s Always Cold in Kansas City
By Andy Lopusnak,
December 21-22, 2013

Kansas City is known for having the most fountains of any city outside of Rome, but when it’s cold outside said fountains are turned off. Thus, KC has no fountains when I've been here for my five Chiefs home games, all of which have occurred in late November or December. Saturday was overcast with freezing rain throughout the day that continued until Sunday afternoon, but was still overcast for my entire time in KC.

Since I couldn't get great shots of KC due to the weather, here’s a look at my favorite Kansas City photos.

Ten minutes from Arrowhead Stadium in Independence, MO is the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum. With the crappy weather, I figured that inside shooting would be best. This was the first presidential library and features a replica of the Truman Oval House and lots of exhibits showcasing his presidency. 
A lot happened in his first four months as president after taking over for FDR, who died in office. Both fronts of World War II ended and Truman made the decision to drop the atomic bomb twice in Japan.
In addition, Truman is buried in the courtyard and is now the 15th former U.S. Presidential final resting spot I’ve photographed.

A week removed from his five-touchdown explosion, Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles popped off a 31-yards ground score to put the Chiefs up 7-0. However, the visiting Colts ran off the game’s final 23 points to win the game. The KC loss coupled with Denver win gave the Broncos at least the #2 seed in the AFC and the Chiefs clinched the #5 seed and will be on the road for the playoffs.

I set up two cameras in the press box due to the cold and the lack of space in the end zone to put my cameras. The 40D with the Sigma 10-20mm lens was set up in the far left corner and the GoPro Hero 3 was at the 50-yard line. For the GoPro, I purchased the “frame” so I could hook up power since the battery sucks. It worked well and as did the press box set up.

UP NEXT: Miami & El Paso again
I conclude 2013 with a double dip in Miami for the Jets-Dolphins game on Sunday and the 80th Sun Bowl on Tuesday featuring the 8-4 Virginia Tech Hokies and the 9-3 UCLA Bruins. It will be my third Sun Bowl in the past five years. Interestingly enough, the last time I did the Sun Bowl (in 2011) my NFL game that week was also the Jets-Dolphins in Miami.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Carolina on my mind

Carolina on my mind
By Andy Lopusnak,
December 14-15, 2013

A lot has changed since the last time I did a game in Charlotte. It was over five years ago and the city as well as the Carolina Panthers look a whole lot different. The city skyline has three new skyscrapers that weren’t here back in 2009. As for the Panthers, former Heisman Trophy winner and #1 overall pick Cam Newton leads Carolina, which started this year 1-3 before winning nine of its last ten games.
Sadly, it was raining all day Saturday; which doesn’t make for great skyline photos with the washed out sky and low visibility. After checking in at the trucks, I drive 90 miles south to Columbia, South Carolina to get the state capitol building. Of course, the weather went from bad to worse overnight and there was fog so dense that you couldn’t see more than a hundred feet away. I was planning on getting sunrise shots of the skyline, but there was no skyline to be found Sunday morning until around 10am. 

And then there were nine. After the game, I drove to Columbia, South Carolina to snap a shot of the South Carolina State Capitol, which made it the 41st one in my collection. The remaining nine state caps I need are: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Vermont. Though I’ve shot 41 capitols, I’ve been to 43 different states (Hawaii & Iowa).

Here’s a map of the states in which I’ve photographed their capitol buildings.
This great 15-foot sculpture of Queen Charlotte, who the city was named after, was moved from a high pedestrian part of the airport to the daily parking lots. It was a bit hard to find, but was well worth the effort. Charlotte was queen consort to George III, who was King of England during the time of the Revolutionary War.
I love this sculpture. Located at Central Piedmont Community College, Aspire is bronze-cast sculpture created by Greg Wyatt.

After the production meeting, I got the chance to shoot the second half of the NBA game between the LA Lakers and Charlotte Bobcats. Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant earned his first victory since returning from a torn Achilles. Bryant had a season-high 21 points and hit the game-deciding free throws with 37 seconds left.
In a losing effort, Kemba Walker posted 24 points and eight assists for the Bobcats, whom have lost five of their last seven games.

Carolina never trailed as the Panthers won their tenth game of the season thanks to Cam Newton’s monster first half completing 80% of his passes with a 72-yard touchdown to DeAngelo Williams, who also ran for 81 yards on the day. The Jets were essentially eliminated from the playoffs with the loss.

This is just my fifth Panthers home game. My previous time here was in 2008 when Carolina beat Denver 30-10. I was here twice in 2000 (my first year traveling for CBS), once in 2001 (with FOX) and another in 2000. The Panthers are 4-1 in these contests.

With CBS Sports being the home of the AFC, I never thought when I started doing time lapses in 2010 that I’d complete the NFC circuit before getting all the AFC stadiums. With Carolina, the NFC is complete and all I need are four more stadiums to get at least one in all 32 NFL home venues (I also have a time lapse from Wembley Stadium in London). The now elusive four are: Cleveland, Jacksonville, New England and San Diego. I haven’t been to Jacksonville or Cleveland since 2008; New England since 2009 and San Diego since 2007. There’s a chance that I might be able to get New England or San Diego in Week 17; but nothing for Cleveland or Jacksonville. I set up two SLR cameras (Canon 40D with Sigma 10-20mm lens at the high sideline & Canon 20d with Canon 17-40mm L lens with the tight end zone) and two GoPro cameras (GoPro Hero 2 at wide end zone and GoPro Hero 3 in the corner).

UP NEXT: Indianapolis at Kansas City
In what could very well be a preview of a wild card weekend playoff game, the Chiefs host the Colts. I love KC, but it seems every time I’m here it’s in the winter and I never get to see the city that boasts the second most fountains in the world behind Rome. I snagged two time lapses at Arrowhead Stadium last year and plan on getting a few more from different vantage points. Also, I’m planning on driving to Independence, Missouri to get shots of Harry Truman’s grave to add to that collection. I currently have 14 shots of Presidential graves.