'Through the Lens' will appear once per week during the offseason. Packers team photographer Evan Siegle deconstructs some of his favorite images from the 2019 season. Each week will offer a new photo lineup of some of his best photos and stories from the past season.
Every year the Packers' home opener always adds extra excitement and anticipation. This year was even more special because the Packers were honoring the life and legacy of the late Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr with a halftime program and ceremony.
The day before the game I was told that I needed to be in the Packers' tunnel just before kickoff because Cherry Starr and Brett Favre would make a pregame appearance. You could say that I was pretty excited when I heard of this rare photo opportunity. It also added a little stress to my mindset because you only have one chance to document the special moment. Before any actual event or photo opportunity, I always try and visualize how things might play out, obstacles I might face, my lens choice and what compositions I might try to compose. I basically try and put myself in the best possible situation to make the best image. Luckily, I made a lot of memorable moments that day but this one is my favorite. I like the sweet embrace that Cherry is giving Brett amongst the sea of fans. The crowd went wild when those two walked out of the tunnel. It was a very special day honoring a very special man.
This image was shot with a 35mm lens (ISO = 400, Aperture = f2, Shutter = 1/4000th)
Sometimes an unexpected moment (or gesture) can make a photo so much better. Packers running back Aaron Jones had one heck of a day in Arlington, Texas, on Oct. 6, 2019. Jones rushed for four touchdowns against the Cowboys.
This image was shot with a 135mm lens (ISO = 2500, Aperture = 2, Shutter = 1/3200th)
Photographing the players during introductions has become one of my favorite routines as the team photographer, because of the dramatic light and intensity from the players. I love photographing action on the field, but feature photography is something I've always gravitated towards.
"This image of Aaron running out onto the field is a timeless composition."
This season our gameday presentation crew added smoke to the mix, which made for some great visuals. The smoke added an amazing layer, texture and mood to the images, even though the blanket of smoke did have some challenges, due to the visibility. I even set up a camera remote one game so I could photograph two compositions (long and compressed vs. a wide scene-setter) at the same time. I found out that it was best to stick to one location and make the best out of it, plus the smoke was so thick that it would be a risk for me to be running around. This game (Dec. 15 vs. the Bears) I decided to stay in the tunnel in hopes of getting a clean shot of Aaron Rodgers as he exited. I knew that having an overexposed background with Rodgers running out of a dark tunnel would showcase a nice mood. To me, this image of Aaron running out onto the field is a timeless composition.
This image was shot with a 35mm lens (ISO = 1600, Aperture = 2, Shutter = 1/5000th)
We finally had another snow-globe moment during a game at Lambeau Field. The last game that showcased a whiteout was way back in 2016 when the Houston Texans were in town. The only problem is that Mother Nature's big flakes can cause focusing issues and it's hard to keep your gear dry. Other than that, I'm all for those action and feature compositions in the snow. This past season snow made its appearance during the Packers-Panthers game, with the best scene coming near the end of the game. I made this image right before the game-winning defensive stop by the Packers. I love how the blown-out stadium lights highlight the falling snow, which makes the snowfall more intense, and of course Za'Darius Smith's gesture to get the crowd pumped up added a nice touch. The Packers went on to win the game, 24-16.
This image was shot with a 35mm lens (ISO = 1000, Aperture = 2, Shutter = 1/4000th)
Ready, Set, Go!
Ready, set, go!
This past season I held a portrait session with some of the players. It's always fun to showcase their personalities with these portraits. My setup is pretty easy, which involves using a three-light process – one main light (Elinchrom ELC Pro HD 1000) with huge Litemotiv 190cm soft box and two side lights (Elinchrom ELC Pro HD 500) with two Rotalux strip boxes 50x130cm. I also chose to photograph the players on an all-white background, to make the players pop, and it looks cool. My main goal with these portraits is to offer our digital group with some cool content and to showcase the players' personalities in the way they want to be seen. Some players want to be serious and some players want to have fun.
"...having a 270-pound guy charge you will make your eyes pop out of your head!"
The one portrait session (which usually lasts from 3-5 minutes) that stood out was Za'Darius Smith's shoot. No direction needed for his shoot! After I took some general static poses, we moved on to the personality shots. All he said was "Are you ready?" … I didn't know what to expect but having a 270-pound guy charge you will make your eyes pop out of your head! I missed his scream the first take (mainly because I backpedaled in complete fear) but we nailed the shot after three attempts.
This image was shot with a 50mm lens (ISO = 100, Aperture = 16, Shutter = 1/250th)
I'm back to talking about those astounding player introduction shots again. This time it's Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander as he strutted onto Lambeau Field through a blanket of smoke during the Thursday night game against the Philadelphia Eagles. I love how the smoke billowed out of the tunnel, which created an abstract feel, the nighttime feel and crowd looking on.
This image was shot with a 35mm lens (ISO = 1600, Aperture = 2.8, Shutter = 1/2000th)
Let it Snow
Let it snow
Throughout the year I try my best to wander around the grounds in search of graphical or scenic imagery of Lambeau Field. It might be a snow-covered bleacher or stormy skies rolling in. The challenge is finding clean compositions without noisy backgrounds, which could be streetlights, cars and other obstacles. The last week in October the Green Bay area received a nice layer of snow. Knowing that autumn's foliage was still lingering amongst the trees I went out to find a colorful scenic. I found myself at Skyline Park trying to frame the south side of Lambeau Field between two trees with their orange-colored leaves dusted with fresh white snow. While snapping off some frames I noticed that the wind would blow snow off the trees' leaves giving it a nice winter wonderland feel.
This image was shot with a Leica M10-P, 50mm lens (ISO = 100, Aperture = 1.7, Shutter = 1/1500th)
Pre-game imagery can provide some of the best moments, especially with my up-close access and the intense mindset of the players. As the players lined up for the national anthem I noticed that Davante Adams was standing in a section of ambient light. A small sliver of that light was highlighting just the side of his face, which I thought looked pretty cool. In a matter of seconds, a player moved in front of the light and the moment was gone.
This image was shot with a 135mm lens (ISO = 200, Aperture = 2, Shutter = 1/4000th)
Every sports photographer is looking for that perfect action photo, like a leaping catch, diving play or defining moment. I guess that's part of the challenge and thrill of documenting a game.
"...it was picture perfect."
An action photo that stood out from the rest of my pictures was this image of Packers tight end Marcedes Lewis as he hurdled over a Philadelphia Eagles defender during the Thursday night game this past September. "Big Dog" made a big-time jump that night and it was picture perfect.
This image was shot with a 400mm lens (ISO = 2500, Aperture = 2.8, Shutter = 1/2500th)
I thought this was the perfect photo to end the first installation of "Through the Lens." Sometimes a moment needs no words or description, as if the composition and body language convey the story. This image was taken after the Packers defeated the Vikings, which was filled with all kinds of special moments like a halftime ceremony in honor of the late Bart Starr, Coach LaFleur's first regular-season game at Lambeau Field, and of course the epic victory over an NFC North divisional rival.
This image was shot with a 35mm lens (ISO = 400, Aperture = 2, Shutter = 1/3200th)