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Behind the Lens: Counting Down the Top 10 Photos from the 2021 Season – No. 3

Counting down the best photos from the Chiefs’ archives in 2021

A photograph can be powerful. It possesses the ability to capture the raw emotion of a singular moment through an otherwise fleeting snippet of time, whether that be the thrill of a postseason victory or a fan simply experiencing their first Chiefs' game.

We're going to continue exploring those moments along with commentary from Chiefs' team photographer Steve Sanders, who has been on the job for more than a decade. Sanders hand-selected each of the 10 photos featured in this series as his personal favorites, picking a variety of images from the 2021 campaign.

Here's a look at what we've covered so far:

We'll continue with No. 3:


Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) reacts as he walks back to the locker room after the overtime win of the divisional playoff football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, January 23, 2022 in Kansas City.

Game: Divisional Round vs. Buffalo

The Subject: Tight end Travis Kelce quietly celebrates the Chiefs' thrilling victory over Buffalo before heading to the locker room.

Taken By: Jason Hanna

Camera Model: Sony ILCE-7RM3

Focal Length: 34 mm

Exposure Time: 1/1,600

Aperture: f/2.8

Steve Sanders' Thoughts:

Q: What was going on here?

Sanders: "This is one of my favorite pictures of the year. This picture was shot by a guest photographer, Jason Hanna. He's the Royals' team photographer, and late in the year after the baseball season is over and when Jason has some free time, he likes to come over and help out our team," Sanders said. "Jason has worked with players for a long time and is very familiar with capturing key moments. In this instance, he was camped out right at the bottom of the steps to the tunnel, which is a place where only staff photographers can go. Travis had just finished up an interview, went down the steps and was basically there by himself. He was about to head up the tunnel, but right before he did, he gave a little fist bump to himself. This picture is definitely one of my favorites of the year. I think looking at it just speaks volumes."

Q: How exciting is it for a photographer to capture a truly candid moment like this?

Sanders: "I would almost guarantee that Travis had no idea anybody was standing there with a camera. You can see all the people at the top of the stairs – he had just walked by all of them – but when you get down those steps, it's actually pretty quiet," Sanders said. "This was probably that first moment of him realizing what he had accomplished. He was just celebrating by himself, and I don't want to speak for Travis, but I'm sure he was super proud in this moment."

Q: Why did you decide to make this black and white?

Sanders: "I looked at it both ways and went back-and-forth with it. It was originally shot in color, but the color that was coming from the lights above was a little off. That was because in the moment, it was hard to pre-balance for color because there was one type of light inside the tunnel and a different type outside of the tunnel," Sanders explained. "That area was the blending point of those two kinds of light, and it didn't look very pretty. So, by taking out all of those cross-colors and making this black and white, I think it really told a stronger story."