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Miami Herald photographers take Heat fans behind the scenes


Heads up, Heat fans.

We invite you to see the spectacle of the fiery games from the best seat in the house: through the lens of Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald photographers.

Beginning with the Heat home game against the Clippers, the Herald team will produce a special photo gallery for every home game through the playoffs. The photo gallery will be accessible on your smartphone by scanning the QR code that will appear in print on Saturday. The gallery also will be posted here:

From under the hoop to the upper deck of the arena, the photos will capture key moments, fans, dancers and the emotion of the games.

Only the referees are closer to the Heat than the photographers.

“One of the things that we do as photographers, we’re able to freeze those moments so that people can actually see them,” Miami Herald photographer C.W. Griffin said. “Being there, you get to experience a lot of the things that you can’t see or hear when watching at home on television.”

“We have to be quick. We have to be fast. … It’s really intense,” el Nuevo photographer Pedro Portal said.

Documenting the game allows photographers to experience the euphoria that comes with the Heat.

“We walk in from the back and we follow those cheerleaders right down through the tunnel, through the black curtains and the crowd’s roaring and here come the cheerleaders and we’re right behind them, walking in,” Miami Herald photographer Al Diaz said. “The seas part. We walk right on the floor. That’s a great experience, walking in through there.”

“You get to witness emotions. You get to watch people perform, athletes at the highest level. The intensity of the game, you can feel it,” added Griffin. “Many times, players fall on top of you, jump over you, do all sorts of things that you can’t experience from home.”

El Nuevo photographer David Santiago knows what it’s like to have a Heat player crash into him.

“Dwyane Wade went to get a loose ball, and he landed on top of me,” Santiago said. “That was kind of crazy and also exciting because after that he came to ask me if I was OK.”

When it’s all over, the home game moments can be relived in the form of images.

“We put together a [photo] gallery, sometimes can be from 40 to 100 images,” Miami Herald photographer Charles Trainor Jr. said. “It’s gonna be celebrities, it’s gonna be players, it’s gonna be action, it’s gonna be cheerleaders. You’re gonna see the game in a way you’re not gonna get to see it on TV.”

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