“Own the Night…” *(particularly for basketball) March 2012

A long time ago when I was just starting out in the business, and while attending a professional level weekend workshop ~ a colleague told me one of his basic philosophies for shooting big time sports: “You’re basically just in a big room (stadium, arena, etc.) and still have to make pictures…” I never forgot that simple point of advice from this seasoned pro. Fast-forward 20+ years and all of a sudden, I am, well, the seasoned pro… So when I now find myself working the big game or even a general news event like political rallies with big name personalities in attendance, I revert back to that simpler time in my career. “Just make pictures, man….” I sometimes quietly remind myself. Of course the preparation time and the equipment I utilize for working the big assignments has greatly increased, but there usually still is a moment when I realize that, “It’s my show.” Especially when everything starts clicking. OK, instead I’ll say, “Hitting on all cylinders…” You know, running smoothly. Usually about the time I have an obvious ‘Ah-hah’ moment. One of the things that is most challenging for me now at this stage in my career is preparedness. Anticipating the unexpected and not allowing any limitations within my control prevent me from doing the job. This is all rings true in shooting playoff sports, especially basketball. Basketball is not only a fun game to watch and photograph, but for me; I know the game, used to play the game, and have been photographing the game at all levels including years of NBA, Division I college, even WNBA games in pro arenas. So I take working the local tournaments at the high school level very seriously. It all boils down to stepping up, utilizing the gear and finally making good images. Worried about missing picture opportunities? Shoot with multiple cameras. For me it’s usually three bodies. Need more angles and coverage? Add a remote in the stands, above the arena floor, or behind or below the basket if time permits. That makes four bodies. I bring 5. Venues too dark or inconsistent lighting? Strobe the gym hours before the game time or even days before.

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