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The Photographer’s Journey: basketball edition

March 25, 2012

This is the sequel to the posting I did after the football season. I felt like my photography grew as the season went on. So this is part my season recap and other things.

Much like starting the football season, starting the basketball season had a little apprehension for me. I’ve taken pictures at basketball games but they’ve always been from the stands and I’ve always been much happier with my football pictures over my basketball pictures. I think the biggest problem is that I don’t follow basketball nearly as much as I do football. I’m not as familiar with how the plays unfold and so I’m not as certain what to watch. Consequently, this means that I have a ton of shots of the point guard and not nearly as many of players going to the basket and making shots.

I had other things working against me. One, basketball showed me the limitations of my current lens set up. I think if I’m ever going to do this professionally, I’ll have to get a lens with a higher f-stop so I don’t have to bump up the film speed as much. The unfortunate part about bumping the film speed up is that the pictures are much grainier than they should be. There might be some ways to clean it up but I’m not sure. The other thing is that the action comes at you much differently watching the game from under the basket. Players and officials are more likely to get in the way. I don’t know how many shots I’ve lost to the backside of officials. But that is something that every photographer deals with.

This is by no means a complete account of the season as I didn’t go to any of the away games and I missed a couple home games.

Marygrove game

The first game I went to was against Marygrove. I was a little nervous because I wasn’t sure about things like where I would sit or what to expect being so close to the action. In going to the game, I put my longer lens on my camera because I was used to shooting from the stands. I was not expecting that I could almost reach out and touch the players. As a result, I got a shot like the first one. I didn’t know what to expect from the team either. They had open tryouts before the season. Lost some key players in the off season and had a new coach. Fortunately, they played a team they overmatched so they started the season off on the right note. But I don’t think it was an indicator of things to come.

University of Illinois-Chicago game

The second game, I decided to see what it would be like using my littler lens. But I think I was still zooming out too much. Consequently, I got a decent shot of the player’s face but little else. One of the things that helps with sports pictures is if you can get a shot of the player, his face and the ball. The team that EMU was playing was a little closer match, so I think a better indicator of where EMU lay. It was Coach Murphy’s first official game as an Eagle and he got it started off right with a victory.

Rochester College game

The next game was against Rochester and I think EMU was better than them and the score showed. Again, I don’t think it was an accurate yardstick for the team. This is the game where I felt like I was coming into my own on my photography. I got some nice action shots and they were mostly decent.

Michigan State game

After that was the game against the Spartans. In this case, EMU was the team that was overmatched. EMU was beaten pretty soundly but it was cool that Michigan State decided to travel to the Convocation Center. This was definately the game where I felt I was in a groove.

Central Michigan game

There was a pretty long hiatus before I would go to another game. EMU was on the road for pretty much the entire month of December, so my next game would be the game against Central Michigan. Since this was a game against a MAC opponent, it was a better yardstick to measure the team. EMU ended up losing but it was a close match and they did hold their own. Even though I had a bit of a hiatus, I don’t think my pictures slipped much.

Western Michigan game

My next game was the game against Western. This was a pretty exciting game to watch but it is difficult to actually watch the game while you are trying to photograph it. Contrary to popular belief, it is work to be on the sidelines. But it is fun work. I think this was the game where EMU showed that they could actually be contenders because they managed to squeak by with a win. I used this particular picture because it makes a nice contrast to pictures I’ve gotten in the past.

Bowling Green game

I wasn’t feeling well when Eastern played Bowling Green but I was paying attention to the score, so I decided to go for the second half. Despite not having as many opportunities, I think I got a nice shot for this game. This was another game that showed that EMU wasn’t just going to roll over and die. It was tied when I arrived and EMU managed to pull it out.

Kent State game

My next game was the one against Kent State. This was the game where EMU showed that they still had a ways to go. I think it was perfectly winnable but they made some costly mistakes and lost the game. This is the game where I felt most comfortable shooting and I think the pictures I got showed that.

Northern Illinois game

After that was the home game against Northern Illinois. Despite their best efforts to lose the game, EMU ended up winning the game. This was another ugly win for them. I think the problem with ugly wins is that eventually they catch up to and it showed in the tournament game. I picked this picture because it was a pretty standard bringing the ball up the court picture but compared to shots I’ve taken from the stands it is much better.

Northern Illinois redux: MAC tourney

My last game was also EMU’s last game. It was their opening game for the MAC tournament. Despite being the 5 seed to NIU’s 12th seed, they lost and it was an ugly loss. There was a point where I was tempted to leave the game but then something happened in the second half, EMU actually made a game of it. Unfortunately, not enough of a game. This was also the game where I decided to use my repeat shooting and I think the picture I got from it shows.

At any rate, I’m glad that I was offered to be the photographer for Eagle Totem and I hope that I delivered enough quality. I am looking forward to doing this next season (and possibly the baseball season). It has been a fun ride.

Editor’s note: For the sake of completeness, I’ll link here to the two women’s basketball games Ken covered for Eagle Totem — both convincing EMU wins: 65-43 over Wyoming and 53-33 over Toledo.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Ken permalink
    March 26, 2012 9:25 pm

    I realize that I probably should have put the women’s games in here but I didn’t feel like they fit in. But I can’t wait for football season.

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