An interesting day-and-a-half of work about 90 minutes from Austin last weekend, in bucolic College Station, home of Texas A&M University and the fightin’ Texas Aggies. If you’re a football fan, it was the place to be as the defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide came calling; if you’re an Aggie, it was the place to be for Midnight Yell practice*, and if you’re a Texas music fan it was the place to be as Aggie alums Robert Earl Keen and Lyle Lovett put on a tag-team show at Kyle Field on Friday night. As always, a slide show is directly below; after the text you’ll find static versions of the photos.
I’ve been doing a bit of work with Robert Earl Keen & Lyle Lovett lately (more on that coming to the blog in the very near future), and Robert had hired me to photograph the show. A couple of weeks earlier, Sports Illustrated had assigned me to shoot the game on Saturday. New college football editor Chris Chambers had asked me to be on the lookout for away-from-the-game pictures while I was in town, so when I realized that the show would end about half an hour before yell practice, I figured it would be worth sticking around for.** I wasn’t disappointed.
One other item of note… For the past two months or so I’ve been playing around with Leica’s new rangefinder, the M (Typ 240). I’d brought it on shoots before, but until this weekend never made it part of my actual equipment package on an assignment, integrating it into the normal flow of shooting. I’d been apprehensive because it’s such a different instrument from an SLR and as such requires a different way of looking at things and, for that matter, shooting. But I quickly discovered that those very differences make it a perfect companion to the cameras I normally use, and a nice contrast to my normal way of working. And besides, the files are absolutely freaking gorgeous, and its low-light capabilities are amazing. So that helps. I’m planning on a little hands on review here on the blog in the next week or so, so stay tuned if you’re interested.
But for now, back to the goings-on in College Station. Individual shots are below. Technical notes if you’re so inclined:
Color photos: Canon EOS 1DX with various Canon EF Lenses: 24-70mm f2.8LII; 70-200mm f2.8 IS-LII; 400mm f 2.8LII. Canon EOS 5D Mark II with EF 40mm f2.8 “pancake.”
Black-and-white photos: Leica M (Typ 240) with various lenses: 21mm f2.8 Elmarit Aspheric; 35mm f1.4 Summilux Aspheric; 50 mm f1.4 Summilux.
*as with all Aggie traditions, they’re bewildering enough when explained to a non-Aggie by a bona-fide Aggie. Having a non-Aggie actually try to describe them to other non-Aggies is the ultimate exercise in futility. So I’m not even going to try, save to say that there were 50,000 people in Kyle Field yelling things that I couldn’t decipher and making hand gestures that I couldn’t understand.
**Yes, I drove home that night. Got back at 2:30 a.m., left to drive back at 9 the next morning. You try getting a hotel room in a bustling metropolis like College Station on five days’ (or for that matter five months!) notice before the biggest Aggie football game since Bear Bryant walked the sidelines…as the A&M head coach.
Okay, okay… To the pictures: