Shooting night football was full of challenges.
- The fields were too dark and the film was too slow to shoot available light, so you had to use flash.
- Electronic flash was better than flashbulbs because you could shoot as quickly as the strobe would recycle. Unfortunately, the more you shot, the more the battery discharged and the slower the recycle time.
- Electronic flash duration was very short, so it stopped action very well. Unfortunately, the shutter had to be completely open when the flash went off, so the shutter speed had to be set at 1/60 or 1/90 of a second. The flash would stop the action, but there would be enough ambient light that “ghosting” would occur. You can see it on some of these shots where there is a blurry line around a helmet or arm.
- The flash was limited to about 30 feet, so plays down the middle and on the other side of the field were out of range.
- You had to guess where the play was going to be so you could set the exposure correctly. You could follow focus as the action moved, but you were pretty much stuck with your exposure.
- You had to judge where the action was going to be, give or take 30 feet. Do you stand slightly ahead of the line of scrimmage and hope they run toward you? Do you go down the field and gamble that a pass that will be on your side of the field? When you get close to the end zone, do you stand under the goal posts and hope for a play coming at you or do you drop back behind the line of scrimmage? By the time the game was over, you probably covered as much of the field as the players did.
- The goal was to drop off one to three prints at the paper before deadline. Usually there was only room for one in the paper. So, you spent a couple of hours shooting the game; an hour processing and printing it; a drive to the game and to and from the office; film, chemical and photo paper that cost about $1.50. For all of that, you got $5. Oh, I forgot to mention that you had to buy all your own equipment, too. Maybe I should have paid more attention in math class, because something doesn’t add up here.
Football photo gallery
If anybody knows the teams or anything about the game, chime in. Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the gallery.