Summit County man gets shot(s) of a lifetime |

Summit County man gets shot(s) of a lifetime

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Summit County, CO Colorado
Special to the DailySteve Hebert won a drawing from Canon USA to shoot photos at a recent Broncos game, scoring a camera " and a photographer's dream.

For Steve Hebert, it was the shot of a lifetime.

Well, more like 50 to 60 shots of a lifetime, serving as a sideline photographer at a recent Denver Broncos game.

The Summit Cove man who professes to be a “very, very amateur photographer,” won a drawing from Canon’s “Shoot Like a Pro” sweepstakes after his wife entered him because he’s a big fan of the Broncos ” and because the sole family camera, used almost exclusively for birthdays and holidays, was broken.

Given a brand-new digital SLR camera to keep and dressed in a red photographer’s vest, Hebert was teamed with the team’s official and then tentatively became a real sports photographer as the Broncos beat the Saints on Sept. 21.

“They handed me a big telephoto lens, gave me a brief tutorial and told me not to drop the camera,” Hebert said. “He was getting into f-stops and apertures, and I said: ‘No. We’ll just set it on full automatic.'”

Given carte blanche to roam anywhere except the bench areas, the 47-year-old tried to stay out of the way of the professionals ” both the photographers and the players.

“I almost got plowed over by (Saints’ running back) Reggie Bush one time, but managed to avoid that,” Hebert said. “You’re looking through the lens, and they’re coming at you pretty fast. You’ve got to drop everything and run. Well, maybe not drop everything, but … Those players are huge, and they move fast. When they come by that sideline, you’d better be ready to not be there.”

He also gained a real appreciation for the cadre of serious media photographers, who often lug 40 pounds of gear or more as they hustle around the field trying to get the best vantage point for the game-breaking play.

“It’s not like they’re sitting in a lounge chair,” Hebert said. “They work hard. It’s their day job, you know? It’s not a hobby.”

And while pro photographers often snap thousands of images during a game, Hebert ” who has a Breckenridge chiropractic practice ” conceded that he was slightly more selective.

“I took probably 50 or 60 pictures,” he said, then added: “I took a ton of shots.”

Although he didn’t quite capture an iconic image like the famous shot of a bloodied Y.A. Tittle on his knees, his favorites were close-ups of Broncos’ coach Mike Shanahan and quarterback Jay Cutler when they were on the sideline just a few feet away.

His biggest revelation? “It’s really loud down there,” he said. “When the crowd makes noise, it’s a lot louder than you’d expect. You can’t hardly even hear yourself think.”

Meanwhile, his wife, Carol, and two of their four children were able to enjoy the game from the seats that came along with the drawing.

“I don’t go around entering contests usually. This one was worth entering,” Hebert said.

Unlike many pro photographers who have bristled at being required to wear a vest festooned with the Canon logo ” a controversial policy likened to turning photographers into billboards ” Hebert didn’t have any complaint.

Canon is selecting one photographer for each home game of 10 NFL teams, and each photographer then is asked to enter a single image into a contest, with the winner earning a trip to the team’s training camp next year.

“I just have to become a photographer now,” Hebert joked. “I’ll probably drive my family crazy with all my shooting.”

Steve Lipsher can be reached at (970) 668-4621 or

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