When Colin Peterman first set foot on The Ohio State University's campus, he arrived as a kid from suburban Cincinnati who primarily captured stunning drone videos and images. Now a senior, he’s spending his penultimate semester as a Buckeye by shooting at Columbus Crew matches as a field-level photographer.
Yes, there are plenty of drone shots – including some of the first images anyone saw of Lower.com Field once construction wrapped up this past Spring. But Peterman has also been on the field capturing some of the club’s top moments, including the Campeones Cup trophy ceremony.
As the Crew celebrate College Night on Wednesday, when the club hosts Orlando City SC at Lower.com Field, it’s a chance to celebrate the strong connection between local universities and the Black & Gold. (Writer’s Note: Personally, I went to see the Crew on College Night over multiple years while at Ohio University courtesy of the Court Street Crew.)
But on this occasion, it's also a chance to showcase Peterman's work, who has brought the Crew’s new home – and the team’s players – closer to fans in a memorable way.
More about Peterman
Even Peterman admits shooting photography at MLS matches seems a long way from his computer science and engineering major. Perhaps that explains why he frequently mentions trying to capture different angles in his images, but he swears he knows other photogs who have the same interests.
“There’s got to be some correlation somewhere,” he joked.
Initially only using a drone to capture images, he started getting into still photography after his family gifted him a camera one holiday season. After that, he said he roamed Downtown Columbus shooting “everything I could.”
People began to take notice.
Soon, he was shooting for the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cincinnati Reds with stadium shots and aerial landscapes with his drone. Not long after, a connection formed with the Crew.
Join us for the regular-season finale at Lower.com Field on November 7 vs. Chicago Fire FC
The match was perfect. After all, Lower.com Field’s progression from dirt into a soccer cathedral was the perfect setting for any photographer, let alone someone of Peterman's caliber. Peterman was one of the photographers who captured that journey along with the team and its supporters. Ultimately, this led to one of his favorite moments yet as a photographer.
On the night the field lights were finally ready for action inside Lower.com Field, one of the tasks was to test the different light shows that were possible. For Peterman, that meant spending time taking a first glimpse at the stadium before its grand opening.
“No one had really been in it or had seen pictures besides construction workers,” he said. “I was there filming a bunch of lighting that had just been set up, and it was pretty cool to me because no one had really seen it. It was really cool to get to do that.”
Now, his matchdays run a little differently.
Peterman said he always begins shooting pictures before the stadium gates open. He said it’s a time to capture the energy and belief of fans as they walk through the turnstiles and get ready for kickoff.
“What I try to focus on is that there’s always a spirit and an atmosphere entering the game,” he said. “People are coming in with scarves and flags, and I really try to capture that emotion and enthusiasm that supporters are bringing into the stadium.”
Once the match starts, he said he rotates between shooting in different spots with different angles. Sometimes that means a wide-lens shot of a goal or The Nordecke; other times it’s of a tackle right in front of him. He said he especially enjoys capturing pictures after wins to see the reactions from players.
“That’s probably the most fun part for me because everyone rushes out on the field,” he said. “It’s cool to capture all the players’ emotions.”
Even though the 2021 regular season is winding down – and soon Peterman will be getting ready to graduate – he said he will continue shooting pictures and videos as a hobby. While his images help people (he said he’s willing to help anyone interested in a photographer), it also helps him pay for his education.
“(Since I started shooting at Crew matches), I’ve just been changing it up and getting better and better,” he said. “It’s fun. It’s a new experience for me.”