Every week – at least every week that isn't taken over by HB2 news, like last week – we'll highlight a recent photograph from the outstanding News & Observer photojournalist Robert Willett.
He has, for many years now, served as the beat photographer for North Carolina athletics. And so Willett and I are something like Batman and Robin, Tonto and the Lone Ranger. The roles probably reverse from time to time.
Anyway, this week the photo of the week captures a joyous moment during the Tar Heels' victory against James Madison last weekend. The moment above happened seconds after Bug Howard, the senior receiver, scored on a 12-yard touchdown pass late in the second quarter.
The play gave UNC a 35-21 lead. As always, Robert had his camera focused, ready for the shot. As an amateur hobbyist photographer myself, there are a few things I really like about this image: Howard's smile, for one. The perfectly blurred expression of the woman in the lower left part of the frame. And the way Howard is holding the ball, with the UNC logo turned out.
It's the details. Here's a short Q and A with Robert about the shot:
Andrew Carter: What's the story that's conveyed in this photograph?
Robert Willett: Genuine relief and and joy are the first things that come to mind, knowing that Bug Howard's first touchdown of the season had finally come well into the third game of the season. The embrace and the smile show a bond between the senior wide receivers.
AC: How'd you get the shot?
RW: I was just following Howard after his score on a pass from Trubisky. Ryan Switzer ran over to him and they embraced, Howard lifted Switzer into the air.
AC: As a photographer, what jumps out at you about this photo?
RW: It is hard to see football players expressions behind their face masks. The light, the long lens, and the angle helped capture the smile of Howard’s satisfaction.