Spokane Shock – Arena Football!

Opening Drive of Tampa Bay Storm vs Spokane Shock, April 27, 2013

Opening Drive of Tampa Bay Storm vs Spokane Shock, April 27, 2013

I had the distinct honor and pleasure of attending a Spokane Shock Arena football game on Saturday night to photograph it!  It was loud, fast and intense, and I actually managed to get some cool photos too! 

A colleague and I agreed to attend a workshop with seven other photographers that was put on by Gary Peterson and Action Sports Images.  Spokesman Review photographer Jesse Tinsley was also helping lead and teach the workshop.  We  started out with some basic sports photography stuff, and also talked about the lighting conditions in the arena (which were quite good for an indoor sports event).  We talked about protocol do’s and don’ts for the game, and shooting positions we would have access to.  Gary talked about  what, how and why he shot as the team photographer, and compared/contrasted that to Jesse who shoots differently for the newspaper.  There was a good sized collection of lenses to borrow and try out for the evening as well.

In no time we were “mounted up” and ready to go out onto the field.  Some of the players were warming up and we were able to get some shots of the receivers and defensive backs.  We even got 17 seconds of undivided ( well, technically 9-divided…) time with head coach Andy Olson.

Spokane Shock Head Coach Andy Olson

Spokane Shock Head Coach Andy Olson

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While we were getting our settings dialed in and checking out the field and players, Gary gave us a quick tour of the shooting locations, then promptly vanished!  But he came back a few minutes later accompanied by Mackenzie and Sally, who are on the Shock dance team.   We were given about 10 minutes with these lovely ladies to try our hand at some quick portraits, and Gary was even kind enough to supply some added lighting.  I had brought a speedlight flash, so I was really able to ramp things up a little and got some great shots of the dancers.

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Next we were able to shoot a couple of players in the same portrait scenario.  First we had DB Paul  Stevens, followed by QB Erik Meyer.  Again with my speedlight, I was able to capture some great images of these two contrasting characters!

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Tampa Bay came out onto the field for their pre-game warm-ups, so we got to take a few snaps of them, and Tampa’s Defensive Back coach, Doug Kay, hammed it up for us for a few minutes, he clearly enjoys the spotlight!

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Arena Football League’s Commissioner, Jerry Kurz, was out and about, so Gary kidnapped him for 17 seconds, although I think we got more like 23 or so!

Arena Football League Commissioner Jerry Kurz

Arena Football League Commissioner Jerry Kurz

Of course, we can’t leave out team owner Brady Nelson, who let us have such great access to his team!

Spokane Shock Owner Brady Nelson

Spokane Shock Owner Brady Nelson

There were lots (LOTS!) of crazy and excited fans ready for the big game…

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And then there was a game!  It was fast paced and great fun to watch!  There were times I had to remember I was supposed to be taking pictures, not just watching the game!

DB & kick returner Terrance Sanders (5) greets some fans

DB & kick returner Terrance Sanders (5) greets some fans

WR Adron Tennell (17) turns upfield after a catch

WR Adron Tennell (17) turns upfield after a catch

Tampa WR Greg Ellinsgson (82) makes a leaping catch

Tampa WR Greg Ellinsgson (82) makes a leaping catch

Defensive lineman Terrance Taylor (67) battles at the line of scrimmage

Defensive lineman Terrance Taylor (67) battles at the line of scrimmage

DB Terrance Sanders (5) outruns Tampa's Craig Camay (3) to score on a kick return

DB Terrance Sanders (5) outruns Tampa’s Craig Camay (3) to score on a kick return

Tampa Bay WR Joe Hills brings in the catch and runs in for the score

Tampa Bay WR Joe Hills (2) brings in the catch and runs in for the score

WR Camar Jordan (12) makes a leaping catch in the end zone over the barrier

WR Camar Jordan (12) makes a leaping catch in the end zone over the barrier

Tampa Bay DB Vance Cuff (16)looks on as Spokane WR Camar Jordan's  (12) feet are visible over the barrier after catching a touchdown pass

Tampa Bay DB Vance Cuff (16) looks on as Spokane WR Camar Jordan’s (12) feet are visible over the barrier after catching a touchdown pass

Oh, yeah, there were some dancers… 🙂

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I want to extend a big THANK YOU to Gary, Jesse, Tony, Mackenzie, Sally, Paul, Erik, and all the folks who worked behind the scenes to make our experience AWESOME and also thanks to the team and team managers who allowed us to run around like little kids with start in our eyes for a couple hours to get some great photos.  With any luck and a little skill, I hope to be back again soon and get some more great images!

Oh, yeah, Spokane lost for the first time this season, 70-62.  But it was still a great experience, and hopefully they can win for me next time!

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