"Winding Down…" 2009 HS Player & Coach of the Year portraits.

Well, it’s finally over. The basketball season, that is. After a few days of recovery & a good night’s sleep after my third trip to Glens Falls, NY over the weekend (drove nearly 1,000 miles on three trips upstate the past two weekends) in covering Newburgh Free Academy in the NY State and Federation Championship Tournament games. It was all well worth it. Hands down. Three cameras. Four cameras. (4) Dyna-Lite strobe heads, Super-Clamps and about a dozen Pocket-Wizards. Too much other gear to list here. Besides, it doesn’t really matter now. The whole month of my March basketball coverage was about making good sports images. Period. I think I worked hard to never slack up, never deny myself a good angle to be in position (or particularly putting a remote camera in position) to make good secondary images. I have the bruised knees, sore hips, and raw hands still to prove it. Napping in the car on the way back from upstate in a thunderstorm isn’t fun, but it kind of reinforced how hard I’d worked…
This week is the time for our Player and Coach of the Year portraits. The past two years I’ve shot a lot of the P/COY portraits on location, and they’ve proved to be a different kind of challenge, but most of all still fun. Yesterday, I dragged in the same four Dyna-Lite Uni-Jr. heads into the empty NFA gym for the COY portrait with three of his players who are on the paper’s first team All-Stars. With not nearly enough warning, I thought of how I’d put this image together while still packing up the gear yesterday morning. The same four heads I’d hung in the rafters upstate. About 100′ of the heavy-duty orange extension cord strung all over the gym floor and taped down. Fortunately, a HS student stood in as a model so I could set everything up before the players & coach stepped into position. The gym supplied the ladder – one used by the volleyball team for their referees. Then to top everything off and reminding me how crazy this whole business can sometimes be – while I finally had everything going nicely after making a few images from the ladder, and adjusting the strobe heads, the coach’s cell phone rings. “Yes, I’m in the middle of a photo-shoot for the paper”, he explains. “Oh, I completely forgot it was today” he chimes on. Dentist appointment. “I’ll be there in 15 minutes…” Needless to say, after working for about an hour to haul in all the gear, set-up lights, and finally get going with the subjects, I only got to make about 15 – 20 images of this take, which took ten minutes. (I checked the time stamps on each image file.) Very few variations, but I’m happy with what I have here. Not sure yet if I’m going to be photographing both the Boys & Girls POY’s on location during the week. Stay tuned. -cg.

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