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Photographer’s dream turns to nightmare

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Ouch. If you haven’t heard, the Seattle Seahawks’ defense smothered the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl. The Broncos’ offense didn’t help much either. It seemed like from their first snap, the entire team started to unravel.

As the photographer/photo editor for Evergreen Newspapers, I pick up a few freelance gigs on the side. One of them happens to be shooting photos for the Broncos. I got the job after interning for the team photographer, Eric Bakke, an Evergreen resident, in 2009. I managed to make a few nice images, and he continued to use me. One of my dream assignments along with shooting Le Tour de France and the Olympics, was to shoot the Super Bowl. Well, check that one off of my list.
After we took care of the San Diego Chargers and the New England Patriots, I asked a few veteran photographers if there was anything I should know about shooting the biggest sporting event in the United States. They said to slow down, enjoy myself and remember that it’s just another football game. They should have told that to the Denver Broncos.
I arrived in New Jersey on Thursday, and for the next few days I was shooting things like Thunder, the Arabian horse, on the “Today” show, VIP parties and group portraits. Everywhere we went, there were Broncos and Seahawks fans. The whole town seemed to be buzzing.
Early Sunday afternoon, we arrived at MetLife Stadium and had to deal with the chaos of the photo workroom. It was a locker room filled with computers, cameras and photographers fighting for a spot to set up.
I finally made it onto the field and took it all in. We were documenting everything: the ball boys, security, the players on injured reserve. Once the game started, it felt like business as usual, only with twice as many people on the sidelines. I was ready. I had a new camera and lens on loan from Canon, and the weather was perfect. All the Broncos had to do was execute their normal high-scoring offense, and the photos would be easy to make — until that first snap. Manny Ramirez snapped the ball before Peyton Manning was ready, and Knowshon Moreno recovered the ball in the end zone for a safety. The Broncos never fully recovered.
One of the highlights was having the chance to shoot the Red Hot Chili Peppers during the halftime show, who were one of my favorite bands growing up.
It’s hard to make a photo when the team you are covering is playing like a JV team against a hard-hitting varsity team. I ended up making a few nice rectangles that told the story, but while the experience of covering the Super Bowl was unforgettable, this game was forgettable in the extreme. It really was just another football game.