UW Huskies, Raise the Woof 2012
Photo credit: Dale, @daleahn (Instagram)
The cool breeze coming through the entry way at Dempsey Indoor practice facility gave the night an autumn ambiance. On this late August night, the atmosphere at this year’s “Raise the Woof” event at the University of Washington felt like a college football solstice. Students, alumni, and future Huskies alike gathered with the UW football team to kick off the season. With everyone decked out in some form of purple and gold, there was no mistaking that Husky Nation was out in full force.
Photo credit: Fel, @thisguyfel (Instagram)
For those wanting an up-close and personal experience with the UW football program, this was your scene. One by one, players filtered in and began chatting with patrons, who in turn would get to ask players their insight on this season’s outlook. Fans of all ages pulled out their cell phones, snapping photos with players and asking for autographs all evening long. With our lifestyles becoming ever more social media driven, Raise the Woof provided fans with an opportunity to get up close and personal with
players that they have been following (via Instagram, Twitter, Facebook) since last season’s end at the Alamo Bowl.
If you were wearing a white UW football jersey with a name on the back, you were likely on the receiving end of a Husky fan’s attention this night. Numerous players proved to be central attractions for fans’ attention. Stalwart cornerback Desmond Trufant and dark horse Heisman candidate QB Keith Price were immediately swarmed, and impact players such as WR Kasen Williams and TE Austin Sefarian-Jenkins were also crowded upon entering the room. Devout Husky followers also warmly greeted several highly touted Husky freshman, such as S Shaq Thompson, QBs Cyler Miles and Jeff Lindquist, and WR Jaydon Mickens.
Photo credit: BP, @bradpuet (Instagram)
From a mobile photographer’s perspective, the main program of the evening is where mobile photography took the next step in legitimizing itself as a new form of news media. @bradpuet and myself shot in tandem in the stage area while each position group was introduced (by legendary UW radio announcer Bob Rondeau), flanking each side of the stage. I was positioned on the side of the stage where the players gathered prior to taking the stage. With professional photographers on hand to also cover the event, BP and I found ourselves jockeying for position and angles for the best shots of the players.
Position groups would take the stage one by one, each showing a different dynamic and individual flair as they were introduced. The highlight of the night came from the running back group, as Jesse Callier beat-boxed behind Willis Wilson’s freestyle rapping that ignited the crowd’s excitement. Not to be outdone, sophomore DT Lawrence Lagafuaina led defensive line and the entire crowd in a Samoan chant that the defensive line takes part in before the start of every game. BP and I were fortunate enough to be front and center for all of this, capturing the energy and joy of the players energizing the fans about the prospects of
the 2012 season.
Photo credit: Darvin, @boohi_bronson (Instagram)
And about those 2012 season prospects? The Huskies face a daunting schedule this year, with four of the first six games coming against teams who played in Bowl Championship Series bowls in 2011 (LSU, Oregon, Stanford) and the Associated Press preseason #1 team, USC. For a team with brand new offensive and defensive coordinators, their new coaching philosophies will be put to the test early and often. However, leading the charge is the player many call the “X-factor” of the Pac-12, QB Keith Price. Back after being playing through numerous injuries in 2011, Price is healthy and ready to prove that he is the next legendary Husky QB to don the purple and gold. While workhorse RB Chris Polk is now gone to the NFL (playing for the Philadelphia Eagles), Callier and Bishop Sankey look to provide the offense
with a potent 1-2 rushing attack.
Photo credit: Bridgette, @bridgettesxo (Instagram)
The prevailing theme for this year’s Husky football team is whether they are poised to take the next step in Coach Steve Sarkisian’s regime. However, several questions loom large. First, the offensive line must become a healthy and cohesive unit to keep Keith Price healthy and with a good pocket to throw from. Next, the defense must improve keeping opposing offenses from consistently driving downfield on them. The Pac-12 is riddled with potent offenses (see: Oregon, USC, Washington State, Arizona), which means that the UW has to avoid getting into shootouts with teams. Finally, this has been one of the more injury-riddled training camps in recent memory. Key players such as WR James Johnson and LBs Jamaal Kearse and Nate Fellner are among those that must return to the team healthy for UW to have all its weapons at their disposal.
As mobile photographers, I realized that we have to do far more with far inferior equipment to our professional counterparts. This also makes it all the more enjoyable. The portability of our mobile devices (both BP and I are sporting the iPhone 4) gives us the ability to take candid shots of moments without the bulk of professional camera equipment. Photo subjects also seem more at ease when shots are taken from a mobile device. Often times, these images are uploaded instantly to our social media site of choice, sharing an immediate moment with our friends. Thus, when we are tasked with covering an event such as Raise the Woof, we wanted to bring our followers up close and center to the experiences we could see. Whereas a long-range lens might seem intrusive to people who are having an intimate conversation, BP and I were able to slide right in with our iPhones and capture smiles, laughs, poses, and
emotion without compromising their moment.
While we sacrifice quality with resolution and lighting, we are able to make up for with the shots we chose to take, allowing us to become photojournalists. This is not to say that professional photographers are not photojournalists; many of them are photojournalists by trade and do an excellent job. Nonetheless, mobile photographers were able to do exactly what professional photographers were doing on this night, which was to capture the excitement and spirit of Husky football’s renewal for 2012.
Photo credit: Holy, @justholy (Instagram)
Photo credit: Jeff, @gotgoat (Instagram)
Photo credit: Raymond, @thatonedood (Instagram)
Photo credit: Rodan, @rodanjosef (Instagram)