Hello! Up front, I will let all of you know that my camera gear survived the crazy rainstorm during the 24-3 Virginia Tech win over Duke. My personal rain gear, though, did not hold up to task. I probably was carrying 20 pounds of water in my clothes when I got home. To the photos!
Night games always provide an opportunity to get a slightly different kind of Skipper photo, and on Saturday night my timing was better than most days. You can't really do a long exposure shot inside Lane to try and cheat to get the flames, even at night, because the stadium lights are still bright enough to wash things out, so it still remains a timing game.
One of my favorite go-to shots is this kind of view of the coin toss. It provides such a cliché photo lesson (people in the photo literally looking at the main subject of the frame), but I can't help but try to capture it most games.
The Hokies defense certainly came to play last Saturday. Here's poor Duke quarterback Daniel Jones getting a helmet full of Trevon Hill in the spine. The amount of Maroon in this frame was a recurring theme in the Duke backfield all night.
Keeping our focus on the defense, I'm going to focus a little bit on the Mook-to-Trevon forced fumble and recovery early in the game in a little more detail. First, you can see Mook here providing the perfect eyeballs-to-football action right after he poked the ball away from Duke's T.J. Rahming.
Right away, Trevon Hill got after the football, as Frank Beamer would have said, by somehow levitating over T.J. Rahming.
Finally, we can see just how much football really is a game of inches in this shot. This frame is probably my favorite of the whole series, even with Flyin' Trevon above, just because the fingertip grab provides a certain level of tension in the scene, especially with Duke QB Daniel Jones falling in from above a half second later.
Finally, the rain. I had to switch to a single camera mode of operation as keeping two cameras bagged and dry is basically a nightmare, especially with the amount of rain we got. So from the second half on, with no wide shots were in the picture (heh), only rolled with the telephoto.
It started pretty normally at first, nothing too crazy here as Travon McMillian sets up Parker Osterloh as a lead blocker on a screen pass and run.
However, it got bad pretty quick, which is easier to see on this slightly wider view of a Duke punt...
...and in this shot of a cadet and his turkey leg
...and when I bravely pointed my lens slightly upwards.
By the end of the night, even with the lens hood, enough rain had bounced on the bottom side of the hood and up onto the front lens element that my photo quality was quickly deteriorating to the point of useless (and I had no dry anything to wipe it off with). There were several photographers who taped on an extra-long hood with a simple plastic sheet to prevent that from happening, so 10 years into doing this sports photography thing, I learned something new.
Finally, going to end on my favorite frame of the night, Josh Jackson falling into the end zone on a 4th-down play to really seal the game up. The combination of the body angle working perfectly with the crop, the very visible face and ball, and the rain coming down easily put this into my top 5-ish for the season for me.