One of the things I love about shooting sports is the ebb and flow of a game. This season the reigning national champion UConn men’s basketball team has seen more “ebbs” than “flows”. Even when you think they might have the flow going an ebb seems to find a way to step in a overtake them.
When I get assigned to cover a game I make sure to get there a couple hours early so that I can set up a remote camera. I mount one on the basket stanchion or under the reporters table on the sideline. I do this for two reasons. One, to get an angle on the play for a different point of view. Or…
…when you’re point of view from the floor is completely obscured by either other players or a referee. When Roscoe Smith took the final shot against Syracuse last Saturday night that would have tied the game and likely put it into overtime, he drove the far side of the lane and was nowhere to be seen from my spot. But you fire the camera and hope that somewhere in the crowd you get a glimpse of him in case he makes the shot or, in this case, is rejected by C.J. Fair (wearing orange headband) with about 2.2 seconds on the game clock.
A quick preview of the play on my camera told me I didn’t have a clean shot so I hoped that my remote camera was working properly. With a 9pm start time and the game ending after eleven I needed to send a few game ending photos quickly to meet deadline.
This was the first image I sent because it had the two elements that best spoke about the outcome of the game. A dejected Ryan Boatright of UConn in the foreground while the Syracuse players congratulated C.J. Fair, #5, for his last second block. The Huskies had “flowed” back from a 14 point halftime deficit but in the end the game was taken over by yet another “ebb” and UConn fell 71-69. When I did get a chance to edit my remote camera I was pleasantly surprise with the result…
…I couldn’t have asked for a better shot to sum up the conclusion of the game than this image! The wide angle view gives a nice separation of the players, their faces watching the play and the entire arena on its feet hoping the shot falls pushing the game into OT. In the end it was just another gut wrenching loss for the team and their fans. Perhaps this team will live up to their pre-season billing – next year – if all these young players decide to return for a season of “flows’ instead of this seasons “ebbs”
Pro Tip: Preparation and pre-thought are good habits to have when covering an assignment, whether it is sports, a news event or an environmental portrait.
Camera – Nikon D300, 17-55mm lens set at 20mm, f/3.5, ISO 1250, shutter 1/640th, auto white balance. Pocket Wizard remote transceiver.