"Another One in the Books…" 19•Jan.•12

A favorite sports photograph of mine (above right) was published again, this time in sort of a how-to book presented by the editors at Popular Photography Magazine: “TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT: Essential Tips & Tricks For Shooting Amazing Photos” It’s actually a pretty decent looking soft cover book, easy to read, nice simple diagrams, and edited for everyone from serious amateurs to working pros. ~cg.

*This image has truly “grown legs” as we say in the business about a story or photograph. Below are the earlier posts again on the background history of the image and what it took for me back then to make the picture in 2008… ~cg

In all the craziness of this year’s HS playoff basketball tournaments the past few weeks, I’ve just gotten around to writing about the above piece in Popular Photography magazine. A photo of mine with an accompanying story was published last month. (March 2010 – page 42.) Click HERE. It was actually a file photo from a HS basketball playoff game here in my coverage area made 2 years ago, and I’ve previously written extensively on the preparation and execution in making the image here on the blog. Click HERE to view those earlier links. (now posted below as well.) The real interest in the image itself was that not only was the image made from a remote camera mounted behind the backboard glass – that camera also fired the arena (studio) strobes a colleague and I installed the night before in the college gym for the weekend’s playoff games. Professionally for me and extremely gratifying was the exposure of one my images in a national magazine. I began receiving emails from photographers around the country who’d seen the piece as subscribers, when I couldn’t find a copy of it here in any of the big retail bookstores in my area. A couple of local photographers teased me about the piece at a big HS basketball game (where else?) one Friday night in late February; that due to scheduling, I wasn’t even working. It was a big deal game between two local rivals and I still sat along the baseline to watch the game from what would’ve been my normal working perspective.
In all seriousness, it all began by answering what looked like a generic or possibly even a junk email after Christmas, which materialized into a series of phone interviews with the senior editor at the magazine, subsequently followed up by email submissions of the images from me.
*A final word on having a photograph like this not only seen by other editors, but the rights purchased for publication (from the paper) and a decent fee paid to us both. Proves again that you never, ever know who’s looking at your work from afar…
Big fun. Nice tearsheet(s). I’m looking forward to hanging this piece on my office wall sometime soon. ~cg.

Sebastian Valdez, #41, left, and Cory Quimby, #44 right, of Minisink reach for rebound during their Section 9 Class AA Championship game against Newburgh Free Academy at SUNY Orange in Middletown, NY on Saturday, March 1, 2008. Minisink defeated Newburgh 60 – 57. Times Herald-Record/CHET GORDON

Strobist info & other tech talk: Nikon D-1X *(yea, I still use my old digital Nikons) with a 14mm F/2.8 Nikkor AF, mounted with a Bogen Magic-Arm & Superclamp behind the backboard glass for this championship series game. Four Dynalite Uni-Jr.’s lit the gym, that were clamped to the top corner railings of the bleachers the night before for earlier games. The whole rig was fired by Pocket-Wizards. I also shot from the floor with 2 other bodies, one short, with an 70mm – 200mm f/2.8 AF & the other with a 300mm f/2.8 AF to shoot the other end of the court. Game time exposures were: ISO 800 1/250th. sec. @ f/3.2 – 3.5. Note: This image was from the marquee game at 5PM. There were three other championship games played prior to this game, which meant I was in the gym actually turning on the house lights myself, and up on a ladder, 8 hours before tip-off of this game. Breakdown time of the strobes & remote rig was about an hour & this image still made deadline for the paper. -cg.

*This image took ONE YEAR, 3 DAYS & 8 HOURS to produce. Here’s the Why & How: After we’d lit up the gym at SUNY New Paltz (NY) with four strobes for last year’s HS Sectional Playoffs, I knew I wanted to make the effort to mount a remote camera “behind the glass” for this type of image, and have been talking about doing just that with a colleague at work for a year. *(that’s the One Year part). I’ve been mounting remotes for basketball for years, both at the pro, college & even HS level, but those cameras were all making images under the venue’s available light at high ISO’s. This was the first game where I actually had the full assortment of gear & probably just as importantly – time – to mount a backboard remote, and also have this camera separately fire the four studio strobes mounted up in the corners of the gym. Last Thursday afternoon I met with the college’s Director of Communications, and the assistant Athletic Director in the their gym to explain what I hoped to accomplish. Showed them samples of my earlier strobed sports & images made at NBA games with remotes & handed out business cards, etc. The DOC (communications guy) formally worked at West Point for years in their SID (sports information dept.) and understood immediately the importance of strobing arena games. (that’s the 3 Day part). Finally, I had to arrive at the gym approximately three hours before the start of the first noontime playoff game in the gym. This image was from the marquee game played at 5PM. *(that’s the 8 hour part), as I was in the gym at 9AM, literally 8 hours before tip-off of this game. I shot a few tests with this camera from the earlier games, and grabbed a ladder at halftime to pull the card to make sure everything looked OK on my Mac. The college maintenance guys, HS Tournament officials, coaches & fans who arrived early to see me up on a ladder, working behind the backboard to install the remote camera were all supportive and enthusiastic. That meant a lot during my set-up time.

*Oh yea, “Go (very) early. Stay late. Get the uniform dirty…” -cg.

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