Super Bowl Sunday was one of the best football games I have ever photographed, and trust me, I have shot hundreds of games throughout my 30 years as a photojournalist.
my 14th Super Bowl game, ( I have been on the field for five games and a freelance photo editor for The Sporting News magazine for the others.) My first Super Bowl was in Pasadena in 1993, back when I worked for the Austin American-Statesman, and we covered the Dallas Cowboys.
This was also
Super Bowls have always been about perseverance for me. Those games have hundreds of photographers on the field, and as one who is height challenged, that just means that I have to dig in harder, and not get run over. In the middle of the coin flip, as I tried to get a decent photo of George and Barbara Bush, we photographers were so tightly packed together, that I could have lifted my feet off the ground and floated.
Having been over at the Falcons media sessions during the week before the game, I was impressed with their energy and enthusiasm, and I just hoped that the game would be a good close one and not a huge blow out. And, in the second quarter, watching Tom Brady trying to tackle Falcons cornerback Robert Alford running the interception back for a touchdown, my thought was…oh, no, here we go with a lopsided win! Not only did that game turn around in a blink of an eye in the second half, but I became a visual witness to history being made with the first overtime game in Super Bowl history.
Karen Warren is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin. She worked at the Austin American-Statesman from 1987-1996, St. Louis Post-Dispatch from 1996-1997 and at the Houston Chronicle for the past 20 years.
Super Bowl week was full of surprises. The opportunity to fly in a KC-135R Stratotanker during a security exercise was completely unexpected.
Photographing the refueling of an F-16 over the Gulf of Mexico provided several logistical and technical challenges - from a limited amount of time to lay down in the rear of the plane where the boom operator works to the extreme difference in exposure between the boom operator and the F-16 outside.
Thanks to the graciousness of Staff Sgt. Nick Moore, I was able to mount a small 360 camera at the back of the aircraft. The video can be viewed on the chron.com Facebook page.
Mark Mulligan is a native Houstonian who returned to Texas to work as a photographer and photo editor at the Houston Chronicle in 2015. He previously worked at The Daily Herald in Everett, Wash. and attended the University of Texas at Austin. Mark is married to Annie Mulligan, a freelance photographer, and has two sons.
For this photo, I scouted the area looking for a high camera position for about an hour. I had to get creative after I could not get into either of my first two locations. The rest of it was just waiting for the lights to turn on.
While walking to my car, I glanced back at the building and saw this image. I think it fit the assignment better than anything else I shot that afternoon.
The image shows a pilot cleaning his plane. I love the feathered mask.
During the half-time show, I was pushing myself to look for something less obvious, because I knew the other three Chronicle photographers had better angles of Lady Gaga. This scene reminded me of an image by Smiley Pool from the Bejing Olympics. Thank you Smiley.
I left my seat to shoot fan features just before half-time, because it seemed like the game had gotten away from the Patriots. I love the emotion of fans.
I’m still impressed each time I use the 800.
The 1D X mk II I was using captured the whole tumble beautifully.
Red carpets can be redundant, but here I tried playing with the settings on my speedlight to achieve a different look. By literally taking a step back, I made an image that summed up the experience, instead of just a grip and grin photo.
I thought this was a cute moment from the flight crew. I easily could have missed it if I’d walked away a few moments earlier.
Jon Shapley was born and raised in Houston. He studied political science and photography at the University of Texas. Jon has been at the Chronicle for two years as a photographer, and recently he switched over to a videographer position. He enjoys cycling, reading and art museums.
There are a lot of parts that go into covering The Super Bowl other than the game, and some just are not my thing. It was different being on the outside, but when it’s your job, you go where you are needed and make the most of it. So there you are outside of the ropes of the red carpet sandwiched between the Paparazzi and feeling so grateful for the people who walk by with nametags identifying who is walking by.
So when Super Bowl XL came to Detroit, I was working for the Detroit News. We did a lot stories on our hometown guy: Jerome Bettis. I went over to his family’s home, caught up with is brother at work...all legit, not stalking. So when game day came I was a “roaming” photographer, meaning I could move around and photograph fans, but not go on the field. I asked his brother where they were sitting and made my way to their suite. My plan was 5 mins., shoot some reaction leave. Well, a big play happened for Bettis while I was there and the TV cameras showed his family celebrating and I’m in the shot. I left (since I got them celebrating) and my phone blew up. A couple years ago it went off again, apparently that clip made his ESPN’s 30 for 30. When I asked him to stop for a photo on the red carpet for the Rolling Stone party I was wondering if he remember that I was the one who photobombed his family’s celebration.
Pro football hall of fame coach Don Shula makes his way on the red carpet with his wife, Mary Anne (blue dress). One of the challenges to trying to get something different, even in regular settings, but when this is so controlled, I found myself enjoying the before and after posing photos more than the straight on smiles. Also wonder how often it’s happened: so many people telling him what to do.
When I saw Steve Mariucci and his family step on the red carpet I knew exactly what to say to get a reaction. As they were looking left and right I shouted “U.P. Power!” They all looked my way then he came up and shook my hand and asked where I was from. He’s from Iron Mountain, Michigan (along with MSU basketball coach Tom Izzo) It’s a small town, most like every town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, but those teams often make it down (along with the whole town) to the state tournaments in basketball and football, some driving almost 10 hours. “U.P. Power” is a chant that the kids say during the games and is a bit of a rallying cry for the area.
Harry Connick Jr., pretty sure he didn’t remember the last time we met when I was 7 month pregnant and had lawn seats. Okay, maybe “met” was in my head, but his smile is still so charming, even up close.
Always great to photograph a Detroit guy, and actor Keegan-Michael Key is just a funny guy, right? BUT, what I liked is he pulled his girlfriend, writer, actress, producer Elisa Pugliese, into the frame as well. Again, trying to get a wider shot to give it a little more of a scene.
Again, when the person holding the name card is expressing your feelings. I will be honest, I’ve only seen on full Mad Men episode, but Jon Hamm’s photobomb prank with Jimmy Fallon had me swooning. What can I say? I like a guy with humor and a nice wardrobe.
I’m horrible with popular culture, and I haven’t watched many games lately, but my dad would roll over in his grave if I didn’t know who Joe Namath was. He was showing off his rings on the carpet for the NFL honors night. One for Alabama and the other his Super Bowl III Championship ring.
I may have focused a little too long on boxer Evander Holyfield left ear. I’m sorry!!! But I watched that boxing match live and it’s just one of those memories I will never forget.
Trying to get a behind-the-scenes feel to an overcrowded fashion show can be a challenge, especially when you get denied the back stage, so it was great to run across Texans Devon Still taking photos of his wife, Asha, as she poses in a dress before the runway for 16th Annual Player’s Wives Fashion Show.
These ladies saved my life on the red carpet for the Leather & Laces party..okay, maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but I’m so bad with popular culture, they helped me out a ton....plus they were showing my feelings.
The Leather & Laces party was filed with women in, if anything, Leather and Lace. And guys with their finest jeans and t-shirts or fitted button downs...so I appreciated this cat who dressed for the occasion...and sat in pretty light.
There’s this movie out of Uruguay, “El baño del Papa” in which the Pope comes to visit a tiny town and everyone in the town over borrows or sells everything they own to create a marketplace for the pilgrims who are traveling to hear him speak. (It was billed as a comedy but I cried in the end.) I was reminded of this when we went to visit the Super Bowl Fiesta at at Plaza Marbella on Thursday. There was a lot of hope for areas outside of downtown to get some of the Super Bowl traffic, and it just didn’t work out that way. Hopefully this area will keep growing and events will be no-brainer for locals and visitors to check out.
I love people who are passionate about anything. So when I got the call to meet up with Super Bowl super fan Ron Katz of Denver, I was so ready! After working indoors all morning, the light outside was amazing too, made Discovery Green look like a movie set.
Elizabeth Conley is an award-winning photojournalist who moved to Houston from the Great Lake state in Sept. 2016 to take a job with the Chronicle. When the camera is not in her hands, Conley’s usually on her hands reliving her Level 5 gymnastics training (which still isn’t as good as her 3-pointer).