If you keep up with college football, you know all about rivalries. If you keep up with college football and you live in Florida, you know all about the annual showdown of Florida vs. Florida State. If you’re a photographer in Florida with credentials, you grab your gear and head to Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee for the biggest game of the year. That is exactly how our lead photographer Ryan Manthey spent his Saturday, thanks to a press pass from Larry Davidson at Emerald Coast Magazine.
“I’ve been a Noles fan since the early Bobby Bowden days,” Ryan says. “I feel blessed that I’m able to combine two of my passions – photography and Florida State football.”
Though there is a wealth of history between these two rivals, it’s not every year that they’re both ranked in the top 20 – the Seminoles coming in at 14th and the Gators on their heels at 15th. When they met last season, Florida State dominated the game – coming away with a 27-2 victory at The Swamp – so tensions were high and the atmosphere was primed for plenty of moments.
There’s no shortage of photographers on the field of a high profile game like this but Ryan likes to set himself apart by attempting to capture the essence of what makes this the game that fans so eagerly anticipate every year. From pre-game warm-up to the halftime show to the post-game celebration, Ryan was ready on the sidelines to visually chronicle his team’s win over UF, along with the reactions from players, coaches, and fans alike.
“Being here on behalf of Rowland Publishing allows me the freedom to basically shoot whatever I want,” Ryan explains. “There’s no obligation to stay fixated on every snap, hoping to catch the big play. It’s actually very liberating. A lot of my counterparts are so tuned in to the on-field action that they miss the moments that make this so much more than just a football game.” From the players decked out in their sleek garnet and gold home uniforms to the cheerleaders performing their daring acrobatics, the day of the game makes for a stunning display. From the marching band’s prideful rendition of their FSU Fight Song to candid images of head coach Jimbo Fisher calling plays over the boisterous crowd of nearly 80,000 die-hard fans, Ryan spent his time on the sidelines hoping that, with enough photographs, he might just be able to convey the intrigue of this decades old rivalry.
“There are so many opportunities for incredible shots at a game like this,” Ryan says. “On top of that, my team pulled off the win! Dalvin Cook broke another record, the crowd seemed to have a great time… I think everyone came out a winner today. Well, everyone except the Gators. CHOMP ON THAT!!”