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Going Wide At Super Bowl XLVI

February 10, 2012 by David Bergman

Sometimes it pays to shoot with a lens other than the one you’re supposed to.

I usually want the longest lens possible so I can get closer to the action. For example, last weekend in Indianapolis I used a Nikon 600mm to make this photo of New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks trying to avoid two New England Patriots defenders at the Super Bowl.

(Nikon D3, 600mm lens, ISO 2500, 1/800, f/4)

I used the same lens to photograph Madonna at halftime with Cirque du Soleil dancers.

(Nikon D3, 600mm lens, ISO 4000, 1/250, f/4)

But it’s important to use wide-angle lenses to show the pomp and circumstance surrounding the biggest game of the year. Here’s Patriots QB Tom Brady leading his teammates onto the field before the game.

(Nikon D3, 24-70 lens at 24mm, ISO 2500, 1/640, f/4)

Immediately after Brady’s last-chance hail-mary pass fell to the ground (a “fail mary?”), I shot wider-than-normal to show the New York Giants players rushing on to the field in celebration. The image ran across two pages to open SI’s Super Bowl coverage.

(Nikon D3, 70-200 lens at 200mm, ISO 2500, 1/1000, f/4)

If I had shot any tighter, you wouldn’t have been able to see Brady dejectedly walking off the field (far left) as Giants QB Eli Manning (red hat) runs right behind him.

Here’s an iPhone picture I took of my gear before the game. The short lenses in front are (l-r) 14-24, 70-200, and 24-70 (all f/2.8). In the back row, I have two 200-400 f/4 lenses (one was for my GigaPan) and a 600mm f/4.


Don’t lock yourself into only using the lens that you’re “supposed” to use. Try something different and you never know what might happen.

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  • By Alex Savitzky on February 10, 2012

    I love that in this area of photography 200mm is considered short. smile Great shots as always.

    On the wide angle shots (especially the one of the Pats running out) I’m curious why you stuck to f/4 instead of something that would give you a greater DOF?

  • By Jay Abramoff on February 11, 2012

    Hi David.

    Again, great stuff.

    If you get a chance to look at the attached link, last weekend I took my Fujifilm S7000/S5700 to a FedCup tournament in Eilat. A four-year-old model, it is basically a mainstream consumer model in an SLR-type body, with a fairly high - for four years ago and for the money I paid for it - 10x zoom. It doesn’t take great low-light photos, but during the day, with a shutter speed of 1/1000, I think I got some pretty good shots.

    I’d love to read your thoughts.


  • By Renate on February 29, 2012

    Wow David,
    I just got some time to look at your SuperBowl pictures and they’re amazing as always. We were on vacation so I wasn’t able to watch the SuperBowl or get any news about it as we were on a ship in the middle of the atlantic ocean with no internet access. I love the power in your pictures and the action in your pictures. It gives me the feeling like I was really there and as if I could touch the players. You know what I mean? I can’t describe it better in english. They’re just so lifelike that I think the people on the photos will come to life when I look at them for a longer time.
    Thank you so much for sharing your SuperBowl night here with us.
    Wishing you a wonderful day,

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