Monday, November 12, 2007
Peter Read Miller - Master Of The Gridiron
Sports Illustrated staff photographer Peter Read Miller is the consummate sports photojournalist. For years, he has been the go-to guy for catching the action on the football field.
The play to which he's referring took place in the 1982 NFC Championship game when the 49ers' Joe Montana connected with Dwight Clark in the back of the end zone with 51 seconds left in the game to send San Francisco to the Super Bowl. It's one of those iconic moments in sports made all the more poignant because of the excellent TV coverage of the play. If you watch the next “Greatest Moments” type of show about football, you'll see the play, and there in the end zone is a photographer watching it all, with a camera hanging down from his neck.
Says Miller, “I'm wearing a green jacket and I'm standing in a perfect position—and I'm not shooting.”
Of course, someone else was shooting, and that photograph found its way to the SI cover for that week.
For a lot of photographers, one aspect of shooting digital that has been revolutionary is the ability to review as you shoot. So-called “chimping” (there are no shortage of urban legends on how the practice got that moniker) is unique to digital and, of course, it gives us the ability to know right away if we got the shot or not. On the sidelines of any given football game, you'll see the assorted press photographers chimping away with one exception. Miller doesn't chimp.
“I like the LCD, and I'm using all new Canons, so they all have bright monitors, but I don't look to see if I got the shot. To me, I got it or I didn't, and I have the rest of the game to shoot. That's one advantage of shooting digital that I just don't use. I guess part of it is because I don't want to be looking at the shots when I might be missing something that's happening on the field.”
This weekend when it's game time, keep an eye out and you might catch a glimpse of a photographer on the sidelines with a camera around his neck set up for a wide-angle and another camera with a big telephoto in his hands. These days a lot of photographers get out of Miller's way as he moves up and down the sidelines. It's a sign of respect for the master.
To see more of Peter Read Miller's photography, visit www.peterreadmiller.com.
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