When the email came in last week about the possibility of returning to the sidelines to photograph the Calgary Stampeders game against the Toronto Argos, I jumped at the chance to return to one of my favourite things to photograph – sports and people. (Click on the Calgary Stampeders name above to take you to the gallery which included images of mine – about halfway through the gallery).
My assignment was to capture the action in the stands, in the parking lot before and when time permitted me a few extra minutes, I could shoot some action too. I was part of the photo team covering the game for the Marketing team of the Stamps.
Stepping back onto the turf – the sights, the sounds, the action and the familiar faces – I have to admit – I was nervous. Even though I have shot sports for over the 25 years and I have covered many CFL games including Western Finals and Grey Cups the butterflies in my stomach were going. I was nervous about missing the requested photos. I was nervous about messing up documenting the activities. I was nervous about my exposures. Here I am, a pro of almost a quarter of a century, nervous like a rookie. But once the opening kickoff was punted down the field, my nerves calmed and I settled into what I know I have missed for too long.
Through the game, I took my fair share of crowd photos, marketing requested images of sponsorship and a little bit of the action of the field. This was all so natural, and it felt good to be back where I belong, on the sideline not watching from the stands. Was my timing a little off, yes. Was my action a little off, no. I was pretty happy since I was using a new camera (one I had not previously shot football with) and also not having done it for a while.
My lesson I learned from this? Its like riding a bike, once you learn, its hard to forget. I have to trust myself, my years of experience and my skills as they have rarely failed me. My hopes are that I will get another phone call and that I will be able to work with the Stampeders again soon.
(All images ©2017 Calgary Stampeders and Colleen De Neve)