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.

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