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Hey there, sports fans and photography buffs! If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably tried to capture the excitement of a football game and all the things that happen during the game through your camera lens. But have you ever wondered how taking pictures from different vantage points can give you an entirely different perspective of the game? Well, today, we’re diving into the world of football photography and exploring the thrilling differences between snapping shots from the field and from the stands.

For several weeks, I decided to take my camera and my long lens with me to the football games just for fun. I say “just for fun,” because my seats are way up high in section 206! Upper level. Away from all the action, but with a great view of the entire field! I could see everything! So it was amazing up there. But I began to wonder what it would be like to be down on the field taking pictures of all the things going on. Let’s compare…

Down on the Field: Where Controlled Chaos Reigns

When you step onto the football field with your camera in hand, you’re entering a world of controlled chaos. The energy is palpable, the players are larger than life, and every movement is a potential photo opportunity. When I first stepped onto the football field, I was completely over-whelmed. The view from down on the field is completely different that what I was used to.

It was chaotic, it was loud, and it was so much fun! I had no idea where to start shooting first. Should I focus on the kids in the stands? The band? The Tallenettes? The cheerleaders? Or the players on the field? What about all the crazy things going on on the sidelines amongst the players and coaches?

So many things to think about. Instead of over thinking, I just started taking pictures of anything and everything. As I settled in a bit and got a feel for the lay of the land, I started taking more pictures. I think I got some great ones too. I was feeling really good, and then it was half-time.

Wow! Things suddenly got even more chaotic if you can imagine that! Now who do I focus on? I got a little bit of everything. The band members marching, the Tallenettes dancing, and some pictures from the students cheering in the stands!

Here are some reasons why taking pictures from the field is an experience like no other:

1. Up Close and Personal: One of the most exhilarating aspects of shooting from the field is how close you get to the action. You can feel the ground shake as the players clash, hear the grunts and shouts, and witness the determination in their eyes. It’s like being in the heart of a storm – intense and electrifying. And scary! When you’re standing that close to the action, I always hope that I’m not ever in the line of the tackle, or in the way of the trumpet player marching off the field. You know??

2. Player’s Perspective: From the field, you see the game from the same level as the players. This unique viewpoint allows you to capture the game as they see it. You can appreciate their agility, strength, and strategy in ways that simply can’t be replicated from the stands. Much harder to see where the ball is, but the pictures at eye level are amazing! Especially when you can see their face so clearly.

3. Facial Expressions: Shooting from the field allows you to capture the raw emotions etched across the faces of the players. Whether it’s the ecstasy of a touchdown or the frustration of a fumble, you’re right there to freeze those moments in time. And during one touch down, I happened to be at the right place at the right time, and based on the picture I got, I know that the player saw me and posed for my camera!!

4. Immersive Angles: Being on the field means you can experiment with angles and perspectives that are impossible to achieve from the stands. Get low to the ground for dramatic shots, or follow a player’s perspective as they sprint down the field – it’s all in your hands. And when you point up toward the stands where the students are, it’s a great view that allows you to see how happy they are cheering their team on.

Check out the pictures below. All of them were taken when I was down on the field!

From the Stands: A Bird’s Eye View

Now, let’s shift our focus to the stands, where a completely different experience awaits. My seats are in section 206 – way up high above all the action. I can see everything from where I sit, but I’m not close to the action at all. In fact, I wasn’t even sure if my lens was long enough to get decent pictures of what was happening on the field from my seat.

Turns out, it worked out pretty well. The pictures were so fun to take, and it was fun to see the game in pictures from where I sat. When you’re taking pictures from this vantage point, you’re more of an observer, but the view can be just as captivating. And it’s very relaxing. No worrying about whether or not you’re in the way…

Here are some reasons why taking pictures from way up in the stands is not so bad:

1. Panoramic Views: From the stands, you have a broader view of the entire field, allowing you to capture the ebb and flow of the game. Panoramic shots of the stadium, crowd, and the game in progress create a dynamic story of the event. And from way up high, it’s a lot easier to spot who has the ball!

2. Crowd Reactions: The excitement and energy of the crowd can be infectious, and from the stands, you can capture the passionate reactions of people on the sidelines the players, the cheerleaders and from my seat, I have a great view of the student section. The best part is when you capture reactions to a touchdown, the suspense of a close call, or an epic catch!

3. Player Formations: With a higher perspective, you can appreciate the formations and tactics employed by the teams. It’s a bit like watching a chess match, with players moving strategically across the gridiron. And a great opportunity to get wide shots of the entire team lining up for the next play!

4. Sunsets and Stadium Lights: Don’t forget those breathtaking moments when the sun sets behind the stadium or the floodlights create a dramatic atmosphere. From the stands, you have a perfect view to capture these mesmerizing scenes. Sadly, with the lens I shoot with, I was not able to do that, but I did use my cell phone for those shots!

Check out the pictures below. All of them were taken from way up high in section 206.

So whether you’re down on the football field, immersed in the somewhat controlled chaos, or perched way up in the stands in section 206, enjoying the game from a distance, football photography offers a world of opportunities to capture football and so much more. Next time you’re at a football match, consider switching between these two perspectives if you can to create an exciting portfolio of pictures that truly show the magic of the sport. Would love to hear about your experience on the field or in the stands!

If you need anything, you can find me over at Paula Mason Photography.

Until next time…

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