Flashback Friday – 2017 Arizona Cardinals Cheerleader Hopeful

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I have been covering the Arizona Cardinals Cheerleaders auditions for a long time and it is one of my favorite events to cover.  This year’s auditions were the best ever in terms of the quality of candidates that turned out.

When I first started, they had to run an across the floor routine to eliminate the candidates that couldn’t perform the most basic dance routines and a number of them couldn’t in the early days.  But for the past few years, they haven’t had to run this most basic test of dance competency because of the level of candidates has been so high in terms of dance ability.  It is a testament to how far this program has come in time that I have been covering them  Only the best girls try out these days.

So this past year, there were a number of newcomers that had caught my eye.  And one of a strikingly beautiful girl whom I called the “blonde Demi Moore”.  She had looks and dance ability, so I thought she would be a nice fit for the Arizona Cardinals Cheerleaders and I was right!

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Flashback Friday – Charger Girl Danielle Ditonto

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One of my favorite Charger Girls to photograph is a CG named Danielle Ditonto.  I guess you could say, she was one of my first CG crushes.  I just loved her smile and she was very photogenic, so I naturally gravitated toward her, photographically speaking.

I think I took this photo back in 2004 with my first digital camera, the venerable Canon EOS 1.  Oh, the good old days!

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Flashback Friday – Charger Girl Ashley Monzon

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Ashley M. had a long history with the Chargers.  She was one of the longest tenured Charger Girls and if my memory serves correctly, she was one or two years shy of the all time record for years of service on the squad…and she had two separate stints with the CGs.  FYI, she was one of my all time favorite CGs to shoot.

Here’s a bonus pic from earlier in her CG career.

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Flashback Friday – Charger Girl Katie

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The Charger Girls used to dress up for Halloween…that is games that were scheduled near the holiday, but more recently they have not done so. And I could honestly say that the Charger Girls used to wear the sexiest Halloween costumes in the NFL. Autumn weather in the 80’s and hot looking California girls and you get the idea.

In this Flashback Friday post, we feature one of my favorite Charger Girls…Katie. She was a former Laker Girl who became a Charger Girl Line Captain and was a crowd favorite. Her impersonation of Marilyn Monroe for Halloween 2009 still remains one of the most memorable images from those Halloween games. And for those people who want a look a Katie in her classic Charger Girl uniforms….here you go. More Charger Girl goodness from the past.

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Battle For Los Angeles – The 2017 Los Angeles Rams Cheerleaders

This past weekend, the Los Angeles Chargers battled the Los Angeles Rams for the title, “best team in L.A.”.  Okay, I made that one up.  It was just another preseason game, but there was a significance here.  Both teams are desperately trying to establish a strong fan base in their newly adopted city.  Battle lines have been drawn and there are passionate fans for both teams…unfortunately, not a whole lot of them showed up at the Coliseum to cheer on their team.  Frankly, it was a little disappointing considering this is a game with two teams residing in the second most populous city in the country.  But it was a preseason game and few teams sell out their stadiums for preseason games.

One way to build a fan base is to have a cheerleading squad and to leverage that brand.  I guess this is where UltimateCheerleaders.com comes in because we were fortunate to be granted media access to the Rams game against the visiting Chargers and no one covers cheerleaders like we do on game days.  I guess its because other media outlets are more interested in covering game action.  That’s understandable.

I eagerly anticipated this special occasion because anytime you get to photograph the Los Angeles Rams Cheerleaders up close and personal, it is a special occasion.  But when game day came around, I had one of the worst situations a photographer could experience…I broke my main shooting lens, my 70-300 L telephoto lens!  I’m not exactly sure what happened, but shortly before player introductions, I noticed my telephoto zoom lens was locked at 220mm and the focus, both manual and autofocus, ceased to function.  I “bricked” my telephoto zoom lens and I would have to shoot the Rams Cheerleaders with my 24-70 L wide angle zoom.

It’s not an ideal circumstance…to have to use a wide angle zoom, but it’s was the only option left for me.  That meant I had to shoot rather close to the cheerleaders instead a bit farther away, which I prefer to do with my telephoto lens.  Perhaps it was a bit too close…certainly for my tastes, but it is what it is and I was not going to let this misfortune stop me from getting the very best images I could get.

Shooting the Rams Cheerleaders that close wasn’t what I wanted to do…it was what I had to do.

And this is what I got for my troubles.

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My thanks to Director Keely Fimbres-Bledsoe, the Rams Cheerleaders, and the Rams Media Relations staff for this wonderful experience.

Breaking my primary lens put a damper on what I wanted to accomplish, but we soldiered on and the following is a visual documentation of my game day experience.  So let’s take a more in depth look at the 2017 Los Angeles Rams Cheerleaders.

Continue reading

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Flashback Friday – Charger Girl Andrea

I’m still jonesing over the new realities at StubHub Center, so I thought it would be a good idea to share a photo from the good ol’ days in San Diego…when the shooting was good!  Here’s a nice photo of Charger Girl Andrea S. from the 2012 season.

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Greetings From StubHub Center!

Well, I just came back from my first game at the Chargers’ new home, the StubHub Center and I can confirm their new camera policy…so I got no photos with my DSLR (because I couldn’t bring one in) and to worsen things, my iPhone died on me.  Apparently, I accidentally sketched something while texting and turned off the phone with the app still active and it drained my battery.

For me, it was a strange feeling, sitting there watching the game.  I was fidgeting with my hands all game long, not knowing what to do with them.  You see, for 17 years and more, I always had a camera in my hands and it felt strange with them having nothing to do…talk about muscle memory.  And not being able to take photos of my beloved Charger Girls…strange feelings indeed.

But I do have some observations:

  • Charger games will no longer seem like home games for the opposing team.  There were plenty of Charger fans filling the stadium, unlike last year at Qualcomm.
  • The StubHub Center has great sight lines and is a more intimate environment to watch a game.
  • The food offerings are much better at StubHub Center, but there is no Oggi’s Pizza, which has been my standard meal at Charger games in Qualcomm Stadium.
  • The Chargers cannot win with out Philip Rivers quarterbacking the team and, unsurprisingly, Cardale Jones is not ready to quarterback an NFL team.

And perhaps most saliently…

  • The Charger Girls are still the hottest dance team in the NFL!!!

I can confirm for our readers that this year’s Captains are: Khaleesi…uh…Rebecca, Lauryn, Roxi, and Jenny.  I don’t have any current photos of them, but here are some from year’s past.

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Yes…that photo is from 2008 and Jenny has returned to the Charger Girls after a long hiatus and a stint as a Laker Girl.  And she looks better than ever…here’s a pic from this year’s Charger Girl auditions.

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