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Depth Of Field: Week 11 Vs. San Francisco In Mexico
Exploring the game against the 49ers through the lens of the Cardinals team photographer
By Caitlyn Epes Nov 23, 2022
Photographs By Caitlyn Epes

Cardenales en México

The Cardinals' Week 11 game went across the border to Mexico City and allowed me to capture the team in a historic venue: Estadio Azteca.

Walking into the stadium on game day was surreal as I made my way down the very long tunnel to the field.

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With Mexico City being extremely high in elevation, it was difficult to move up and down to the field level. During pregame, I waited inside the tunnel to avoid having to catch my breath every five minutes.

I opted for an on-camera flash and shutter drag technique since the tunnel was so dark.

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The defensive backs group was particularly lively and wanted to take a group photo before they ran out for warmups.

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Here's a general sense of the first part of the long field tunnel. As you can see in the photo, even this beginning part is pretty steep.

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I ditched my flash during warmups, which was sort of a mistake. I do like the look of the red lights and the ominous look I was able to capture without it though.

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I followed the team into the locker room and had to wait a couple minutes to catch my breath before taking photos.

This locker room was pretty well-lit, so I got some interesting images out of it.

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Back down the tunnel we go!

I knew I wanted to get some photos of the players heading to the field, but I also knew I had to be quick enough to make it down to the field in time for the actual introductions.

I snagged a couple of photos like these two and then awkwardly speed-walked my way past the players.

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We were all looking forward to seeing Will Hernandez run out waving the giant Mexican flag, and it did not disappoint!

A couple other players were just as excited and struck a pose on their way in.

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One of my last shots during pregame was this one of Rondale Moore taking in some oxygen, and honestly I was really jealous because I was already feeling the effects of the high altitude!

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Literally right as the team took the field for kickoff, it started pouring rain. I had brought my rain jacket down with me because I knew it might get cold, but unfortunately my rain gear for my camera was in my bag...which was all the way up the tunnel.

Myself and the video team scrambled to find ponchos, trash bags or towels to cover up our gear. Once we had it handled, we decided to document the struggle with some selfies.

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As you can see in those photos, my long lens is covered with a towel which made it easy to see through the viewfinder. My 24-70mm, however, was wrapped in a bag that had an opening at the end, and while it was raining I really couldn't adjust it.

I couldn't see what I was capturing through my lens until the rain stopped, and I laughed when I noticed the bag clearly in the frame.

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The rain did make for a cool added element to some of my early photos, though.

Photographing at a fast shutter speed allowed me to freeze the raindrops in motion.

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There weren't a lot of picture-worthy plays during this game, and unfortunately during James Conner's touchdown he disappeared into the sea of defenders.

I captured him right before he crossed into the end zone, but see if you can spot him in the second frame below.

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Estadio Azteca's atmosphere was electric, especially with the light shows and chants that would happen periodically throughout the game.

I will leave you with a couple snapshots of what it looked like from field level.

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