Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Super Bowl Village in Indy

The Super Bowl Village in Indianapolis formally opened on Friday, Jan. 27, and among the variety of attractions and spectacles one can enjoy in the village in the days leading up to Super Bowl XLVI on Feb. 5 is the free entertainment on two outdoor stages in the village. 

The stages are a block apart along downtown's Georgia Street, which in the heart of down, is a three-block-long east-west thoroughfare extending from Bankers Life Fieldhouse (formerly Conseco Fieldhouse, home of the NBA's Indiana Pacers) at Pennsylvania Street on the east to the Indiana Convention Center on the west. The Verizon Stage is at the street's eastern terminus, right in front of the fieldhouse; the Pepsi Stage is a block west on the northern portion of Georgia's intersection with Meridian Street. In the months leading up to the Super Bowl, those three blocks of Georgia Street underwent an extensive -- and permanent -- makeover that transformed it from a six-lane regular vehicular thoroughfare into a brick-laden and lagrely pedestrian mall. When the Super Bowl is over, two vehicular lanes -- one in each direction -- will open, but until the day after the Super Bowl, the whole street is pedestrian-only.
I spent the waning hours of daylight and much of the evening hours perusing the village on opening day Friday ... then went back Monday night. 

Friday's visit included a stop in the late afternoon for a performance by Indiana-based metal band Kramus, which opened the Verizon Stage. During my afternoon stroll, I took along two cameras -- my 7D equipped with a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L lens that I'd later swap out with a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS, and a Canon 30D equipped with a Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 lens. After dark, I returned to the village, this time challenging myself to photograph everything with the 7D and Sigma 85mm f/1.4, even though I brought along the two other lenses packed in a backpack. 

At night, in addition to roaming the length of Georgia Street, I stopped at the Pepsi Stage to photograph Blue Moon Revue, paused to take in the impressive opening night fireworks show while also checking out the zip line and other attractions at the west end of Georgia, then scurried back to the Verizon Stage on the east end, where the Bret Michaels Band had just taken the stage to conclude the night's live entertainment. For Kramus and Blue Moon Revue, I was fortunate to get close up for my shots. 

It was a different situation for Michaels' show. By the time I arrived, spectators had packed the area, and I struggled for at least 20 minutes trying to worm my way from the back -- about a half-block away on Georgia -- to a point on the extreme far right corner of the stage on Pennsylvania. The latter got me shots much closer than I had hoped when I first saw the crowd, but my line of sight was limited, and Michaels spent a good portion of his stage time away from the front, during which he was completely out of sight. I did grab some shots when he came forward -- he is forever pointing to people in the audience during his performance, a technique, no doubt, to personalize the experience for fans -- but they weren't anything like what I had been able to grab for Kramus and Blue Moon Revue. With the crowd packed like sardines, I had little room to maneuver to change to the 70-200mm lens, so I stuck to my initial approach to shoot everything at night with the 85mm f/1.4.

Today's post features shots from my day at the Super Bowl Village. Some of my favorite shots were "street photography" type images -- candids of people traversing the village. Leading off the post was a fortuitous shot, catching a wandering high-beam strobe glancing off a fedora-wearing gentleman surrounded by other folks who gathered at one of the warm-colored warming stations -- appropriate, no? I made a tighter-cropped black-and-white version of this, which I'll include below. It gives it an early '20s sheen.

For a fuller look at the shoots, visit this link for the Kramus show, and this link for the Blue Moon Revue show. A gallery of my Super Bowl Village shots will open soon. 

Above: A silhouette of an individual placing a phone call during moments before the fireworks show.

Above: Fans grabbed pictures of the Indy-style race cars decorated in all the NFL team logos and colors; parked on Meridian Street on the south side of Monument Circle, they would disappear within a couple days. 

Above: Someone beginning their trip on the zip line along Capitol Avenue.

Above: The spires on St. John's Catholic Church, across from the Convention Center, surrounded by fireworks smoke during the Friday evening fireworks show.

Above: Parents and kids enjoying the field on Capitol Avenune in front of the Convention Center.

Above: Kramus guitarist Jeremy Lovins' hair -- and watching which way it would fly -- was a side show to the music.
Above: Kramus lead vocalist Robyn Sprowl in full steam.

Above: The crowd at the Verizon Stage in the afternoon for the Kramus performance.

Above and below: The game's Roman numbers at Monument Circle in daylight and, at night, during one of the light shows.

Above: Inside one of the pedestrian mall enclosed warm-up spots, my attempt at an artsy shot. It probably looks more like what an inebriated individual would see.

Above: Dave Sullivan and Matt Marshall of Indianapolis band Blue Moon Revue, which played the Pepsi Stage on Friday evening.

Above: The sign for the access to the Circle Centre mall parking garage is a familiar landmark along Georgia Street.
Above: People photographing the west sky above the Convention Center where one end of the fireworks was displaying. In the eastern sky (below), the show over Bankers Life Fieldhouse (formerly Conseco Fieldhouse), home of the NBA's Indiana Pacers, was spectacular.

Above: The view of the Verizon Stage near the back of the crowd on Georgia Street when I arrived for the Bret Michaels Band show ... and before I began my worming toward the front.

Above and below: I'm at the far right side of the stage now, observing how Michaels spends a lot of time on stage pointing to people in the audience. I suppose it helps personalize the show to the fans. Above, I'm absolutely certain (not) he was pointing at me!

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