A dream come true on the Seahawks sidelines

PhotoBlog: A personal reflection from the Hawkeye’s head photographer

I had a dream come true last Monday night.

I got to be an official sideline photographer and covered the Monday Night Football game between Seattle Seahawks and the Minnesota Vikings in front of a sold-out crowd at CenturyLink Field.

This opportunity came about thanks to former Hawkeye editor-in-chief and current Seattle Times sports writer Adam Jude (MTHS ‘99). He was able to get Hawkeye co-editor Ben Eyman, professional photographer and MTHS parent Jonah Wallace, and me field clearance to take pictures from the field. We were interested in this game since 2014 Terrace graduate Devanté Downs is a rookie linebacker for the Vikings – the only known MTHS graduate to play in the NFL.

After working hard for the past two years alongside many different photographers, I’ve gotten accustomed to feeling like I’m just another photographer.

The best part of this opportunity was the rush that I got from being on the field alongside other professional photographers.

When I was notified of this opportunity, and told that I’d be the lucky one that’d get to be on the sidelines with other professional photographers, it was music to my ears. It made me feel like my hard work had paid off and my dedication to improving my photographic skills had been worth while.

The best part of this opportunity was the rush that I got from being on the field alongside other professional photographers. It felt so amazing to be down on the field itself. I’d imagined being there ever since my passion for photography sparked thanks to my mom exposing me to it when photographing my little sister’s soccer games.

When watching Seahawks games, both in person and on television, I always saw photographers on the sidelines and imagined what it would be like. Taking pictures for a professional team such as the Seahawks is nothing like taking pictures for MTHS sports.

The setting, for one, is completely different. It is nothing like taking pictures at Edmonds Stadium. I remember walking into the photographer booth area Monday night, where all the photographers were preparing with their gear and getting ready to step out onto the field. When Jonah and I went to obtain field coverage media vests, I saw a pencil holder filled with bags of ear plugs. I thought nothing of it and went onto the field to start taking photos.

However, once the game started, I immediately figured out why they had earplugs in the holder. The crowd’s sound is almost deafening. I’ve attended Seahawks games before and know they’re extremely loud, but being in the center of all the fans, the sound is amplified to an extreme.

At halftime I grabbed the last pair of earplugs and decided to only put an earplug in my left ear so that one would still be free. After the game ended, I took the earplug out and my hearing ability in my unplugged ear was noticeably worse than in my left.

The lighting at CenturyLink Field is also phenomenal. It’s not fair to expect the lighting of a high school football stadium to be comparable with that of a professional sports stadium, but any photographer will tell you the benefit of having a lot of light. Overall, the experience was amazing and the difference between covering high school and professional sports is night and day.

I plan to continue my photography career in the future. Whatever chances I get to get my hands on a camera and snap away, I’ll definitely take. Although I’ve planned to use my photo skills as a  hobby due to my future interests being focused on law and engineering, if my skills picked up enough to land me a job as a professional photographer, I might consider switching gears and becoming a full-time photographer. No matter what happens though, I don’t plan on quitting photography, as I wouldn’t mind looking at life through a viewfinder.