I don’t get nervous before shooting games. At least I didn’t until Sunday…
With Ray Lewis announcing his pending retirement last week, the stress of figuring out how I was going to cover his last game at M&T Bank stadium was overwhelming.
“Ray’s Last Dance” was the prominent headline throughout the week and the anticipation of Ray coming out of the tunnel and doing “the squirrel” for the last time almost outweighed the game itself.
I have shot Ray countless times coming out of the tunnel from many different perspectives…The last thing I wanted to do was to shoot an image that could be mistaken for just another game. Knowing I had many images of Ray from a forward or side perspective I immediately knew I wanted to shoot him from behind. I had done this once before, but never from INSIDE the tunnel.
The image was already burned into my brain…Ray IN the tunnel walking out to the field through the smoke. It spoke loudly to me about the finality of this event.
I shot in the tunnel and also placed a remote camera on the top of the “Ravens eyes”, an idea that I have had for the longest time, but never put into action. Glad I saved it until now.
Looking back you always think how you could have done things differently. I would have changed a few things, but the most important part is that I was able to capture the essence of this day for Ray and for the Ravens.
I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity over the last 6 years to document many moments in Ravens history and to work up close and personal with a player whose combination of faith, passion and ability will never be duplicated.
Ray may be leaving, but his legacy will always remain in Baltimore.