“March Madness… Hoops du Jour… Bring Your a-Game… Game-Face… I (Still) Love This Game…” March 1 – 3, 2013.

Kingston head coach Ron Kelder (left) embraces starting guard Justin Robinson (#12) late in the fourth quarter of their Section 9 Boys Class AA Championship game against FDR at SUNY New Paltz in New Paltz, NY on Sunday, March 3, 2013. Robinson had 13 points as Kingston defeated FDR 80 – 52.  © CHET GORDON/Times Herald-Record

It’s not so much that I feel the need to highlight all the gear I schlep into a medium sized college gym the day before a big weekend tournament that would have me shooting 4 games in 2 days. (Three on Saturday and the marquee boys game on Sunday afternoon.) I’ll get to that part further along in this post. This past weekend was about the pictures. It was about being in the right place at the right time, knowing the game, paying attention to the players on and off the floor (for images of the benches, coaches, jubo, etc.), picking up the right camera / lens combination at my shooting position instinctively at the right moment, listening and even asking questions (as I did to casually confirm an assistant coach’s last name who’s in a nice jubo image with his star player.) Yes, this weekend’s work was about the pictures. I’d felt a little rusty on Saturday as we hadn’t covered as much basketball this season as in the past few years, particularly in leading up to the playoff tournaments, so Saturday’s three games would provide me ample time to get sort of “locked – in” to where I needed to be photographically. I kind of knew it would probably turn out to be a good weekend, and silently breathed a sigh of relief when a familiar and well respected coach who’s team had been eliminated earlier in the week, said to me, “It’s a lot better to be here in a shirt & tie…” (meaning down on the floor coaching in the tournament) rather than sitting up in the stands watching the games. I think that statement was probably my “Ah – Hah” moment for the weekend.

Alex Smith (#33) of Marlboro converts a second technical foul free throw late in the fourth quarter of their Section 9 Boys Class B Championship game against Spackenkill at SUNY New Paltz in New Paltz, NY on Saturday, March 2, 2013. Smith had 12 points as Marlboro defeated Spackenkill 58 – 53.  © CHET GORDON/Times Herald-Record

It’s more a part of the mental preparation and execution that sort of drove me to excel in covering this weekend’s games. Here’s what was going through my mind for a few days right up until Saturday’s first tip-off: 4 Games in 2 Days. 4 Camera Bodies. Lenses ranging from the 10.5mm fisheye to the 300mm f/2.8 AF, 7 Pocket-Wizard transmitter / receivers. 1 large roll of black gaffer’s tape. Approximately 200’ of heavy-duty orange extension cords. 4 – 3 way A/C adapter plugs. 20+ spare AA batteries. Remember to shoot tighter & stay sharp (in focus). Anticipate big plays and key moments in each game. Look for clean lines – meaning clean line-of-sight for images where my view isn’t blocked by a referee’s backside, other players, or in extreme cases- another photographer. (yea, that still happens, particularly at this level…) Here’s a look at some of my favorites from the weekend’s games.  ~cg.

Leave a Reply