From the Archive: Jacksonville vs. Tennessee in the AFC Championship game, 1999

Steve McNair looks for an open receiver

Watching the Jacksonville Jaguars roll over the New England Patriots at home today, made me think back to the days when I was regularly covering Jacksonville Jaguar games as a freelance photographer based out of Daytona Beach, Florida.

As an expansion team, playing their first season in 1995, the Jags can out of the box hot, making the playoffs in their second, third, forth, and fifth seasons, making it to the AFC Championship game in just the fifth season of their existence, meeting the Tennessee Titans at home on January 23, 2000, for a chance to advance to the Super Bowl.

As was often the case, Fred Taylor carried the load for the Jags

Things did not go well for the Jags, as the Jeff Fisher coached Titans, with Steve McNair at QB won the game impressively by a score of 33-14. Following the Jags' championship game appearance, the wheels came off a little with 3 straight losing season under their only head coach until that time, Tom Coughlin. Coughlin was fired, giving way to Jack Del Rio, who suffered another losing season in 2004, before returning Jacksonville to the NFL playoffs in 2005.

The January 2000 contest game was the first an only Conference Championship game that I photographed and, the game was generally a grinding affair, which makes for a tough photographic day.

Steve McNair and Eddie George combined for 175 yards on the ground for Tennessee

Quarterbacks Steve McNair (Tennessee) and Mark Brunell (Jacksonville) each threw one touchdown pass, with the bulk of the action coming n the ground. For the Titans, Eddie George and McNair combined for 175 yards rushing while Jaguar workhorse Fred Taylor rolled for 110 yards of his own.

McNair ran in two TD's and Derrick Mason provided the scoring and photographic highlight of the day with his 80 yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

Derrick Mason's 80 kickoff return for a TD provided excitement

One of the great things about photographing football is that you never know what you will get when you take up your position on the sideline at the start of each game, and one of the great challenges is trying to provide coverage of whatever happens in the course of the game as well as trying to produce interesting images when very little actually happens!

While the majority of my photographic career has been spent standing trackside at motorsport events, I'll never turn down a chance to snap a few football photos!

To view my entire Tennessee/Jacksonville 1999 AFC Championship Game gallery, please
click here

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Gettysburg, a Black and White film visit, September 2018

This week's film shoot was a visit to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, for dual trip back in time: In one sense I was traveling back to more than 150 years to the iconic Civil War battlefield at Gettysburg, and, in another sense it was a much shorter hop back in time to the early 1990's when Canon's EOS Elan 7NE was the camera of choice for many 35mm film shooters.

I acquired the camera recently in excellent condition and at a very reasonable price and have been carrying it on my assignments with a couple of rolls of expired
Kodak T-Max Film. Enroute by car from recently from New York to Florida, I passed signs telling me I would be passing near the famous Gettysburg Civil War Battleground.

Although I was on a tight schedule and still had many hours of driving ahead of me that day, it was early, the site was not very crowded, and I decided this would be a promising place to put the old Canon SLR to the test.

Pulling into a parking lot, I loaded an old roll of T-Max 400 into the camera and set off down the walkway. Although I had a case full of lenses with me, I mounted my
Tamron 150-600 G2 zoom on the body and decided to look for pictures that would work with that lens. This a a technique I often use , especially when I have limited time and do not want to carry and juggle multiple lenses to fit a subject. With his method I am forced to make the lens fit the situation I am faced with.

While on the surface, the old battlefield is not much more than acres of slightly rolling Pennsylvania farmland, the knowledge that thousands of Union and Confederate soldiers had spent their final moments on this Earth here, fighting for their respective beliefs, the dozens of markers and monuments dedicated to those who had fought and fallen here, the civil war weaponry and artifacts on display, and the knowledge that the land and area remains much the same as it had been on those 3 bloody days of the Civil War back in 1863 lent an emotional and heavy air to the atmosphere.

While walking through the site, I stopped to read many plaques along the way. I photographed the views and sights that caught my fancy, keeping in mind that the scenes would be recorded in black and white and that when the second roll of film was finished, so was my photography for the day! That was a fact of life for photographers before the beginning of the digital age.

I was struck by the similarities between the Film SLR, a camera introduced by Canon in 2004, and today's Canon Digital SLR's. I shares the Manual, TV, AV, and Program modes with its digital cousins and had both the shutter speed finger dial and the camera back aperture dial that today's digital shooters will find familiar.

The Eye-focus feature that professed to control the camera's focus point by movement of the photographer's eye, had always intrigued me back in the day, but for now I remain ignorant of exactly how this feature functions, and will have to wait for some future date to try it out.

After quickly burning through my roll of T-Max 400, I loaded an expired roll of T-Max 3200 into the camera. I still have a couple of brick of this film, which went out of date back int he '90's, and have had reasonably good luck rating it at ISO400 and pull-processing it.

On my return home, I was anxious to get to my lab and soup the film. I ran it though
Ilfosol one-shot liquid developer diluted at 1:14 and before long had a couple of rolls of good-looking black and white negatives ready for scanning.

A review under my loupe told me that both the auto-focus and exposure functions on my old SLR were functioning properly. Once again, my years-old fascination with film photography provided me with a couple of pages of negatives for my files and the satisfaction of producing a selection of images which seem to reflect the spirit of the subject in a way that, while similar to post-processed digital files, have their very own finite properties that only film can provide.

To view my full EOS Elan 7NE 35mm film gallery, please click here

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