MARCH MADNESS! – (High School Style) March 2009.

I can almost hear famed ESPN sportscaster Dick Vitale doing promos and calling games during the NCAA’s Men’s Basketball Tournament. Well a different level of “March Madness” has begun here in the Hudson Valley for me this year. Beginning this week, I’ll be covering 10 HS basketball games, will probably help out another staff photographer working two games on deadline Friday night, as I’ll need his set of strobes to use for my 8 weekend games. That’s right – EIGHT games coming up this weekend in two different college venues. It all officially began for me last night, where I covered two games and was feverishly pushing deadline by the time I was sending images. Although the school has an open wi-fi network, I wanted to make sure and pack everything up, edit and send my fotos from a friend’s nearby home. Was up this morning at 6AM to post photo galleries on our paper’s website before starting my workday too. For most of the basketball (and swimming) season this year I took the initiative and relished the opportunity to quickly install a set of portable strobes, or even a pair of company issued Dyna-Lite Uni-Jr.’s, and in most cases a combination of the two. (or four – as in four separate light sources) while covering these games. This mindset gave me the opportunity to continually make well exposed game and feature images from all the venues I worked in this season. Looking back at the 15 – 20 or so games I’ve covered, I think the only two gyms I didn’t strobe were Chrstyl Arena at West Point for Army Women’s basketball and two early HS girls league playoff games up at Marist College in Poughkeepsie. I know from multiple games I’ve covered at West Point that I can install a few studio strobes there if I allow myself the early set-up, and breakdown time. Last night worked out pretty good, and turned out to be a really nice introduction to this year’s tournament games was arriving at the HS gym about an hour and a half before the first girl’s game, to see the home team boy’s coach first standing on a desk while changing the nets on the baskets. A janitor eventually brought out a large ladder for him. From up in the second-floor level of bleachers in the still empty gym, I yelled down to the coach about making a few “nice pictures” of him and knew I’d made a good starting image for my tournament coverage package. That was a nice feature moment to shoot as I’d just wheeled in my cart of lights, cameras, extension cords, and all the other miscellaneous gear I’d need for these two games under the strobes. Made a few decent images from both games and even managed to survive about three separate collisions in the Boy’s game where players ended up plowing into me seated at the baseline.

It’s going to be some week for HS basketball photos that’s for sure. Stay tuned and I’ll look to post a sort of “best of” slideshow after the weekend. -cg.

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