Behind the Lens: A Look Back at the Top Photos from the 2023 Season – No. 9

A photograph can be powerful. It possesses the ability to capture the raw emotion of a singular moment and preserve an otherwise fleeting snippet of time, telling a story in the process.

Over the next several weeks, we’re taking a look back at 10 of the best photos from the 2023-24 season along with commentary from Chiefs’ Director of Photography Steve Sanders. Unlike in previous years, this isn’t a countdown of Sanders’ top images, but rather the chronological story of the Chiefs’ championship season told through some of his favorite photos.

We began with No. 10 earlier this week and will continue with No. 9:

“First Down Dive”

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) dives with the ball during the regular season Week 4 NFL Football Game on Sunday, October 1, 2023 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.

Game: Week 4 at the New York Jets

The Subject: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes dives for a first down in the Chiefs’ Week 4 victory over the New York Jets.

Taken By: Mikayla Schmidt

Camera Model: Canon EOS-1D X Mark III

Focal Length: 400 mm

Exposure Time: 1/2,500

Aperture: f/2.8

Steve Sanders’ Thoughts:

Q: Why did you want to include this photo in our collection?

Sanders: “As we went back through all the pictures from last year, we really tried to find all of our iconic images from the season, and this is an example of something that was really unique,” Sanders said. “Patrick is showing off his athleticism here as he fights for a first down, and we just thought it was really cool. He’s doing the ‘Superman dive’ with the ball, and you can kind of see where the first down marker lies. His eyes are on that marker, and he’s doing everything he can to get there.”

Q: Can you speak to the difficulty of capturing an action shot like this?

Sanders: “When an action picture presents itself to you, hopefully you’ve already been following the ball. That’s what our thought process is here,” Sanders said. “To get that peak action, you have to be ready for it in your ‘space’ that you happen to be working in, and not chasing it across the field or anything. This moment happened to be coming toward Mikayla, and she did a great job of tracking the play and staying on it. A lot of times, photographers will pull off the shot too early and not get the peak action that you can see in this one.”

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