Fire and the Mountain
A photographer friend of mine once told me of this theory he had that adding the element of fire could instantly make any boring photograph 10 times more interesting. I'm not saying he was walking around tossing lit books of matches into dry grass and then pulling up his camera. He was, however, simply making an observation on how enamored we are with fire and how it grabs our attention whether by its beauty or by the triggered responses of danger and alarm we feel when we see it.
Sure I'm impressed by fire-eaters and fire jugglers as much as the next guy, but I'm by no means a fanatic. I will say now, after spending a couple days in El Paso, that I am a fan of the mountains and specifically football stadiums that are built up against them. What a cool idea.
Last Saturday's game at the Sun Bowl wasn't unexciting because it simply wasn't. From a fan's perspective, there existed plenty to be impressed with, such as Meier's bomb to Briscoe, Daymond Patterson's interception tip to Justin Thornton and Maxwell Onyegbule's and the D-line's overall performance. From a photographer's standpoint, however, it's not like Jake Sharp was diving Superman-style over the pile for his touchdowns. He didn't need to. Despite the ease at which the Jayhawks eventually began to score, pulling an interesting photo out of a one-yard touchdown run can sometimes be difficult.
During those times when things just aren't going my way and I'm faced with a difficult decision, I refer back to a fail-safe question I always ask myself: "What would Sports Illustrated do?" There, right in front of me, was the answer. The ultimate symbol of strength. A mountain cradling a football stadium in its bosom. So that's the course of action I decided to take. Hang back. Stop shooting so tight and take in some of the scenery. http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2009/Sep/18/mountains.jpg Had this photo been shot by an SI photographer, I'm for certain that he or she would have made a photograph that would have incorporated this natural wonder into the background, captured a moment of peak action with Todd Reesing hurdling No. 93 at the goal line in a glorious fashion that completely encapsulated the essence of sport. Oh wait, and the little person in the red jacket on the side of the mountain, if you go straight up from Reesing's head, that person would be signaling touchdown. http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2009/Sep/18/guy_on_hill.jpg Unfortunately for myself there won't be a mountain range outside every away venue I travel to. However, if you flip on your TV and suddenly the cameras turn to a pylon that's engulfed in flames, you'll know what I'm up to.