The Pitt game was weird. Starting an hour before kickoff, everything just seemed kind of off. The teams were late coming out for warmups, senior day festivities were always going to be a departure from the norm, the band started playing too early during Enter Sandman, and it seemed that everyone forgot that Skipper was primed and ready to fire during the national anthem. I'd blame all of this on Pitt football, but the Hokies ended up winning anyway, so onto the photos!
This is one of my favorite photos that I've taken of Ben Hilgart yet. Something about the balance of all the players at a different body angle than him, as well as putting him in a frame checks all the Photography 101 boxes for me.
Going with the pre-game weirdness theme, here's Andrew Motuapuaka, head full of leis after senior day festivities, trying to juke his way through the Marching Virginians running onto the field for their pregame routine. It took him a good 10 seconds or so to find enough of a gap to squeeze through to rejoin his teammates.
Other pre-game weirdness, this shot is something of a rarity inside Lane Stadium, as the entire Skipper crew was behind the cannon for the national anthem. Normally, about half the crew is spread out across the South half of the field to prevent any wayward people from crossing its line of fire. This game, though, the Marching Virginians were out on the field instead of the Highty Tighties, and the compressed schedule due to senior day must have messed up timing somewhere, as they couldn't fire Skipper at the end of the anthem because the band was still in the way. I almost walked out in front of it myself until they got my attention and waved me back behind perpendicular, then fired it off about 3 seconds later.
Onto the game itself, Jalen Holston found some nice gaps in the first series of the game, which also make for nice gaps to make a photo through.
(Also pictured: Pancakes.)
Here we see backup kicker Brian Johnson get his first field goal of his career. This shot may look boring, but to me, it's about as perfectly timed as you can get. There's a hair of motion blur on the ball to get you a sense of the speed of the whole thing, but everywhere else you're frozen perfectly. Also, being able to see most of his face (and almost his eyes!) is definitely a bonus and actually kind of difficult to get on a kicker.
(Checking off all the boxes of a proper sports photo: moment, ball, face.)
The overcast sky for most of the game was absolutely perfect for making photos. This play featured Pitt QB Kenny Pickett feeling brave in the face of a Tim Settle rush and managing to get the umpire involved in the play during the scramble.
Staying on the flying-through-the-air theme, WR James Clark got a bit of hang time on the business end of a psuedo-wrestling move tackle in the fourth quarter. Notice how there's absolutely no shadow on the field at all. It makes editing after the fact incredibly easy as exposures tend to be bang on, no matter the angle or the subject.
Some closer views of the action, here we see Tremaine Edmunds laying a bit of a hit on the ball carrier.
And on a different play, Tremaine chasing Kenny Pickett out of bounds. Not pictured: Edmunds falling and rolling and perfectly (and gently!) knocking the lens hood right off my wide angle lens with the tip of his foot as I jumped out of the way. No cameras were harmed in the making of this photograph.
In the close-but-wide realm, here's a bit of a bowling alley aftermath of a different tackle out of bounds on the same series. How that kicking net was allowed that close to the field, I have no idea, but there's probably a rule or three being broken. Pitt did the same thing on their sideline as well.
Finally, to close out my 2017 football season in Lane, senior Andrew Motuapuaka more or less collapses at the 25-yard-line after the end of a four-down goal line stand. These kinds of scenes are occurring in about 10 different spots all over the field all at once and you basically have to pick one or two and hope you get lucky. I've had more than a few of these kinds of moments ruined by not checking my exposure and getting all the light drowned out by people's bodies when you get up close.