For the past month I have had the best time of my life starting my internship with Columbia University football. Columbia is located in New York City and home to the Columbia Lions. I have many responsibilities within the internship with my main one being photography during practice and on game days.
I'm pretty lucky because athletes love photos of themselves. This is one of the reasons I have the best job in the world and how I quickly became known and loved by the players, coaches and staff. After capturing every practice, the best shots are posted on my social media (@edlphotography on all social media platforms) as well as on Columbia Football social media (@ColumbiaLionsFB). The posts get a lot of love and positive feedback from the players, their families and friends, as well as the coaches. The feedback I have received so quickly makes me want to share the best photos from the whole week of practice and explain why they are my favorites.
With this blog, the audience can get a little look and feel for what goes on in my mind and "Behind the Lens with EDL" each practice. This week you get a look at what went on as the guys were preparing for their second game of the season, which will be against Georgetown on Saturday, September 22nd. Columbia and Georgetown compete in the annual Lou Little Cup, which has been played since the 2015 season, making this years game the fourth matchup.
Read on to see and understand my four favorite photos from the boys preparation this past week:
One Isolated Action
First up, a simple, yet eye catching photo of something that happens on every play during a football game. The center takes the ball, the offensive lines lines up next to him and they get ready to snap the ball. This photo isolates one moment and action from the rest of the play. The defensive line not lined up across the ball, and the faces of the offensive line being cut off gives the audience a different type of focus on a play that is repeated hundreds of time a game. The essentials of the isolated moment is all that was captured.
What makes this snapshot a favorite this week is the depth of field. I made sure to get ball perfectly in focus and clear while the foreground and background of the field turf is blurred out. That makes your eyes get immediately drawn to the football as a perfect focul point. The depth of field makes the photo look 3D like the field is extending out of the image towards you. Taking one moment and looking at it from a unique place can turn something average into something spectacular and that is how I feel about this photo.
Rain, Speed, Focus
Rainy days are not always the most fun to play or take photos in, however, they usually give photographers and opportunity to get photos they would not get on a sunny day. For me, I love a rainy day every now and then. It gives me a chance to get that ONE photo that will perfectly capture the rain and the athlete together. This right here is that perfect shot I was looking for. The running back is coming full speed at the pad which makes water splash off, and we can see the rain is falling all around him while he securely holds the football.
Placement is everything in photography. If I wasn't in this exact spot, I do not think the splash would have been seen as well. Additionally, the Lion on the helmet wouldn't be so clear and evident, which I love about this photo because, sure this is a photo of one football player, however since we can't really see who it is, I see this photo representing the football team. Rain does not stop these players or this team from going hard and fast every play. They play for their team, their school and that is what that logo represents, which is why it is appropriate that the logo is one of the main focus points of this shot.
Another equipment shot makes the list. These shots might not be the most exciting fora fan, however, for a photographer that is at every single practice, getting very similar shots every day, these are the ones I end up being the most proud of at the end of the day. Instead of the player being in focus, the helmet and his gloves are, which are an essential to the game of football. The helmet being off center gives a good focal point to start at, moving the eye from the corner up and out to the player stretching. Not everything should be focused right in the center of the image.
The depth of field is perfect for a shot like this. The player is blurred out a perfect amount so we can still see what he is doing but not completely focus on him. Like I said, I am proud of this shot. I say that because unlike a lot of action shots, where the athlete makes the shot happen with his play, I made this shot happen. I sat on the field, placed my camera on the ground, focused on the helmet and took shots until I got it with the helmet perfectly in the corner of the frame. I saw something and made it come to life as perfectly as I could have imagined.
This photo came to life because I was in the right place at the right time (story of a photographers life). Since I take so many photos each practice, I try to challenge myself and shoot from different angles or places on the field. For this particular shot I was sitting on the field, not getting a lot of moments from their walkthrough at the beginning of practice. Then I look up and spot the quarterback perfectly between the two wide receivers that are shown in foreground blurred out. I knew right then it would create the perfect moment. The wide receivers created a great border around the quarterback and gives everyone a different view than we normally see on the football field. Usually the quarterback, or any athlete for that matter is front and center, and only the background is out of focus.
If there was a theme for this group of photos, it would be focus. That is shown in every single photo. Whether it is focus on the ball, the helmet or the player focused during a drill. In this one, it is no different. The quarterback is focused on getting his teammates in the right position before the ball is snapped and the play is executed. Looking at his eyes is where you see the focus and if he had been facing his offensive line straight on, this photo would not have the same effect.
There is so much more than just pointing a camera and clicking. Some photos come together with planning, some are luck, but all of them have a story behind it. I hope you enjoyed the first installment of this photo blog and please check back next week for another installment of Behind the Lens with EDL.!
Be sure to follow my social media accounts, that way you can see more photos like this on a daily basis.