Ultimately, though, the game is unpredictable. "You're zoomed
in real tight," Ron says, "and you're right on top of the
players and the action is happening so fast. These are elite athletes making
unbelievable and unpredictable moves, and you've got to be able to keep
up. That's why equipment is so important." In addition to the speed
of his camera's autofocus and its fast framing rate, Ron relies on the
camera's meter. "It's pretty much dead-on, and that's
especially important in a place like Texas Stadium where you're in and
out of sunlight and the sky changes quickly." Because he shoots digital
he can see the results right away, but in fact he doesn't do much checking
of the images. "Why bother?" he asks. "If I missed the shot
it's not like I can ask them to run the play again."
Texas Stadium, December, 2004.
In addition to covering the game, Ron is also looking for specific images
that the Cowboys need. "I'll hear from the organization that there
are certain players they want more on. Sometimes it's someone fairly new
to the team, and they need coverage. When you have only a limited number of
plays in which to capture the highlights of the game, and you have to get feature
stuff on some of the athletes who are contributing...well, it's a
Troy Aikman hands off to running back Emmitt Smith, 1993.
Especially when you figure in those shots of the cheerleaders.
Two Nikon D2X cameras are with Ron all the time. "During a game, going
for action shots, I'll most likely be using the 200-400mm zoom. It'll
really pull you in there, up close, and then you can pull back for full-length
verticals. It probably accounts for 70 percent of my images." He also
uses the 80-200mm and 17-35mm Zoom-Nikkors and the 10.5mm Fisheye. "I
like that 10.5 for views of the stadiums," he says. "It gives you
a sense of the place. A lot of these places tend to look alike, so I use that
lens to show all the details." Ron photographs mostly by natural light,
occasionally using an SB-800 Speedlight off-camera.
coach Bill Parcells and lineman Larry Allen after a victorious
Monday Night Football game, Seattle, December, 2004.
Note: Ron's website, www.photographerdallas.com,
features a selection of his sports images as well as the corporate and advertising
work he does in the off-season.