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How I Got The Shot: Katy Perry SBXLI Halftime Performance

As the players left the field for halftime, all photographers, including myself, were pushed far back to the edge of the field behind security personnel who were shoulder to shoulder, right in front of us. As you can imagine, the hundreds of photographers were annoyed while scrambling for a possibly favorable position, or at least an opening. As Katy Perry entered the field within the stadium for her first song on a giant lion, she rose high above the field level, thereby making it easy to lean back and capture the moment.

Then it happened...

Katy transitioned into her second song where she performed at ground level – but, like most if not all of the other photographers, I couldn’t see her. Indeed, other photographers scrambled for garbage cans or cases, anything they could find and grab to stand on, and in the process I was getting boxed out. Fortunately, I then realized that sometimes the best features of a camera are the simplest. I grabbed the flexible screen for live viewing and flexed it all the way down. I estimated the focal length, elevated the camera above my head (my 6’2’’ height helpful) with one hand holding a monopod with my other hand on the trigger. In an instant I recognized that Katy Perry was performing with a really colorful mix of surfboards, bikinis, and dancing Sharks! While utilizing the live view with flexible screen, I was able to compose the perfect shot over the heads of the security personnel and even the crowd of dancers. This occurred while my competitors using Canon and Nikon were left shooting blind with their cameras over their heads and having looks of disgust. The performance carried on “normally,” but the story afterwards became about “Left Shark”.

Fortunately, with the unique abilities of the Sony Alpha line, I was able to nail the shot!

Camera: Sony α77 II

Lens: Sony 70-400 4-5.6

Exposure: 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 5000