Today here at the Spinal Column we have been putting the final touches on our annual Kickoff High School Football Preview section. This will be the tenth football preview that I have photographed for the Spinal Column, and I am betting that this will be the best one yet.
We have a new layout with more photos and more team and player specific coverage, so you will see more faces from the players in our area, and get to know better who will probably be the key play makers this fall.
One special addition to the football preview to look for is a “We’re Asking” style section where I asked four players form each of the ten teams we cover a question about either their game day rituals, football influences, and past football experience. I think their answers give a little bit of incite into the heart of the teams in our area.
When I first started shooting the football preview section back in 2003, I was still using 35mm black and white film that I developed in the darkroom her at the Spinal Column myself. Now-a-days I am shooting completely in digital, making the process easier as I can shoot many more photos, and I can get an idea right away if I have go the types of shots I need.
To create Kickoff, I start going out to varsity practices as soon as the teams start wearing their pads at practice, which is typically in the first or second week in August. I spend time photographing the players in action in their various drills, and usually the kids love having their photos taken.
This year I have also had the additional help of our photography intern from Wayne State, Damon Tang. Damon accompanied me to nearly every practice, and made the task go quickly. Working together we rallied up individual players we needed photos of, and took as many action shots as we could. His help is greatly appreciated, and you will see many of his photos in Kickoff when it comes out next week.
So tonight, as I write this in the office, I am anticipating the start of another high school sports season. From now on, nearly all of my Friday nights will be spent under the lights photographing and video taping your local high school athletes. I also video tape the half time shows to each football game I attend, so if you have someone important to you on the Poms Squad, or in the Marching band, check our website each week and click on the “videos” tab to link to our You Tube page.
If you haven’t seen it yet, and you are a high school football fan, you should watch our weekly sports show KICKOFF WEEKLY! Sports reporter Michael Shelton and I film on episode each week featuring interviews with coaches and players form the big game of the week, and discussing other key match-ups happening in the area. This week we traveled to Walled Lake Northern. CHECK IT OUT!
So, while the start of football season to many means tailgates and coach time, for me, it means videos and photos and Friday nights that start off warm like Summer, and quickly transition into cool like Fall, and then bitter like Winter.
I have photographed football games all across the area for the Spinal Column, from just a few miles away from the office, to out in Brighton, Fenton, Warren, and Detroit. I have photographed state playoff games at both the Pontiac Silverdome and at Ford Field. I have seen games where I thought there should be a “mercy rule” enacted. I remember a game that was at the end of a season, and both teams hadn’t won a game all year, so someone HAD to win (at least technically). I have photographed the longest football game in Michigan history, in 2007 where Orchard Lake State Mary’s went on to play East Grand Rapids in FIVE OVERTIMES! (OLSM lost, sadly, and I didn’t get home till after midnight that night).
Last year, at a game I witnessed what I think was the worst injury I have ever seen on a field, which was an ankle of a player that turned to face in a way that nature did not intend. I remember a playoff game where it was raining and sleeting so hard that the pockets of my coat FILLED WITH WATER. I have almost been run over by players more time than I can count, and thus have developed reflexes that get me out of the way FAST of an oncoming play.
Tonight I will probably sweat from the heat, on a month I will probably freeze because I brought the wrong coat for the weather, but through it all, I will bring you your photos and video.
If you see me at the game, feel free to say hi!
As Michael says at the end of every Kickoff Weekly episode…ENJOY THE GAMES!