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“I started shouting and motioning across four lanes of traffic . . . to let them know I was there”

An ESPN Images photographer explains how he unexpectedly captured the new MNF crew in Times Square

The new Monday Night Football crew makes its way to ABC’s Good Morning America studios. (Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Joe Faraoni is an ESPN Images photographer.

Nothing excites me more than taking a new picture, especially when it is something unique. I started my morning super early with a two-hour drive ahead of me. The foggy, dim commute from Connecticut to New York City was mostly traffic-free clearing my head to think about how my day would go.

On Tuesday morning I was scheduled to shoot the ESPN Upfront at the Minskoff Theatre in New York City. This was also the first public appearance for the new Monday Night Football team (Joe Tessitore, Jason Witten, Booger McFarland and Lisa Salters), so I had the opportunity to take their first official portraits after the presentation.

When the Upfront ended, the MNF crew left the theatre, crossing 7th Avenue in the heart of Times Square, to walk over to the Good Morning America studio where our photo shoot was set up. Of all the photos I would take on this day, this is the one I REALLY wanted.

After scrambling to set up my backdrop and lights at GMA, with the help of my ESPN Images colleagues Bob Flanagan and Chris Brandan, I ran outside so I wouldn’t miss the opportunity.

As I jumped on a bench, I could see the team coming my way. I had very little time to react. I started shouting and motioning across four lanes of traffic, attempting to let them know I was there. The hours of planning and daydreaming how this would happen all unraveled in a matter of 30 or so seconds.

The light changed and the crew started to walk my way. I quickly met them in the middle of the street and began making frames. I managed to pull them together while tourists and other passersby began to recognize them as they walked across the busy city street.

We ended up having a terrific portrait shoot and fans will see our ESPN Images photos of the new team over the next few months in the lead-up to the new MNF season, but the Times Square image (captured above) is the kind of impromptu moment you crave as a photographer. Fortunately, I was ready for it and I got the shot.

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