From inside the paint…

Or as close as you can be to being inside the paint while still being a spectator anyway… One week a year I am assigned to shoot sports like I used to at Purdue. One week a year, I get to sit on the sidelines once again and attempt to provide all of the official imagery for the Indiana High School All-Stars basketball teams here in Indianapolis. It’s essentially 6 basketball games that have to be shot in as high of quality, and resolution as possible for glossy commercial reproduction. That can be no easy task when shooting in a high school gym, as my good friend Michael Guio learned last week while accompanying me to the Rushville Indiana exhibition game.

(Canon 1D Mark II, 500ISO, Canon EF300mmF2.8IS, 1/200th@F4. Two Dynalight Uni400JR heads set to half power aimed down at the top of the key of the basket I’m sitting under set to 1/2 power fired by pocket wizards)

Anyone who knows me just a little knows that I prefer to shoot my Nikon equipment when it comes to shooting sports. It’s what I’ve shot the most sports on, and I know what it’s capable of when shooting things like basketball, soccer, swimming, tennis, football, roller derby or anything else that moves. This year though I decided to do as the newspaper asks and shoot using their equipment. The main reason for this is that if I get hit by a basketball player and break the lens right off of my camera I’M the one paying to fix it, not them because they provide me gear that I wasn’t using. Makes sense sort of, except I feel like I’d have done a better job with my own gear. Otherwise though, I didn’t think I did too bad for someone who shoots basketball one week a year.

(Canon EOS1D Mark IIn, 100ISO, Canon EF 70-200F2.8IS@70mm, 1/250th@F4. Lit using the in house Pacers lights at Conseco fired via pocket wizard.)

Despite the fact that the days are incredibly long during this week, I do look forward to them every year. I wasn’t feeling very well during Conseco series, but I pulled through. Shooting sports spoils me quite a bit though, as watching any sport any other way than on the field or court, is just not good enough. Photographers sit closer than the coaches in some cases. It’s also a nice treat to shoot along side of some of the people that I’ve always looked up to as sports shooters since that’s their job all the time. People like Matt Kryger, Tom Campbell from Purdue, Mike Conroy and AJ Mast. I have a great deal of respect for these guys becuae they’ve shot better sports images with their eyes closed than I’d even be able to stage on my own.

(Canon EOS1D Mark II, 400ISO, CanonEF300mmF2.8IS, 1/250th@F4. Two Dynalight UNI400JR;s about 20 feet above the court in the stands aimed at the top of the key of the basket that I’m sitting under set to 1/2 power fired by pocket wizards.)

The thing I Like about shooting sports, is the same thing that I like about shooting jewelery; it’s tough. You either get something or you don’t. In sports you can’t dwell on it though, you just have to keep shooting in sports. I’ve actually been known to put tape over the back LCD on my camera so I don’t spend more time looking at the images than shooting them. Yea sometimes it’s nice to be able to eliminated out of focus images, or images without the ball in them but like I said earlier; you either got it or you didn’t in sports.

(Canon EOS1D Mark IIn, 100ISO, Canon EF 70-200F2.8IS@153mm, 1/250th@F4. Lit using the in house Pacers lights at Conseco fired via pocket wizard.)

The one down side to this assignment is also the greatest part. My assignment isn’t one player, it’s the Indiana team. That means the Introductions, the Awards winners, and game action from every player. It’s not just about number 1, number 8 or any other individual. Yes I absolutely need photos of Mr. and Miss. Basketball, but ALL the team is important. It’s nice because I can shoot anything I like. It’s not as nice because I have to make sure anything I shoot is sharp and lit. It’s an incredibly stressful week, but I’m already looking forward to next year. Check out all the photos for download by the teams and families here. More Soon.

(Canon EOS1D Mark IIn, 800ISO, CanonEF70-200F2.8IS@70mm, 1/125th@F4)