I'm sure the Cardinals' game against the Raiders was a thrill to watch as a fan. As a photographer, it was one for the books. From pregame to that insane ending, here's my take:
Week 2 marked the return of J.J. Watt to the field, and he was in game mode from the get-go. Posing for the camera with that crimson visor let everyone know he meant business.
I experimented a little bit during pregame with a prism lens filter. It's supposed to attach to my lens, but I held it with one hand hovering over the lens instead to have it affect only part of the frame. Some players, like Kyler in this photo, probably thought I looked very odd holding a piece of glass in front of my camera!
Caitlyn Epes/Arizona Cardinals
To start things off, we got a J.J. Watt sack and Vegas-themed celebration. Here are my favorite stills of the moment, with the video of all my photos below:
Here's a couple photos of Kyler Murray to distract from that first half ...
He's a fascinating player to photograph because he always seems to escape tackles and run the opposite way you think he will.
Before things really picked up, there were a couple almost-touchdowns. The A.J. Green photo below would have been awesome if it was a complete pass, and the Zach Ertz photo shows the moment before he tumbled out of the end zone and into a security guard. If he had caught that touchdown pass, he would have run straight into me.
Before we get to the fun stuff, here's J.J. Watt staring directly into your soul.
The moment we were all waiting for. So much had to happen in the game to get the Cardinals even close to the Raiders score, but as the seconds ticked down, it seemed like they could really win that thing. A.J. Green caught the two-pointer that tied the game, and he wanted to prove it by showing off the caught ball to the referee.
Once we started overtime, I had no idea what to expect. I stood on the sideline as the Raiders made their way down the field, questioning whether I should stay put or move down with them. It's a good thing I stayed where I was because one second later I saw Byron Murphy sprinting towards the end zone.
I didn't get any in-focus photos of the play since I was running down the field with him. To prove it, here is my entire take. Picture me holding a 400mm lens over my shoulder on a monopod, a 70-200mm on my left hip and hand-holding a 24-70mm praying that I'm getting something good.
The energy on the field was electric. Players were running everywhere, celebrating with teammates and fans.
I followed Kyler for a while as he embraced teammates, coaches and staff, all congratulating him on the win.
The Murphy touchdown was playing on the scoreboard in slow motion as the referees tried to confirm the result of the play. Coaches were attempting to get all the players in the locker room as quickly as possible, but as you can see in this Watt photo, they knew they had it in the bag.
I followed Kyler down the tunnel into the locker room, and the whole time he was in such awe of the win they just accomplished.
Coach Kingsbury praised his players individually and also announced that everyone would get a game ball after that performance. A big shout-out went to Isaiah Simmons of course for causing the fumble that Murphy returned.
My last photo of the night was of the team huddle in the locker room. I stood up on a chair to make sure I could get a good view of the team coming together after such an exciting game.
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