With the UConn Men’s basketball team heading out to Louisville to try and repeat a little of last years magic, I thought it was a good time to discuss last weeks Big East Championship, which, like March Madness, is one of a few assignments that guarantee to create defining moments. The challenge to the sports photographer is to capture them. These days, a quick glance at the back of the digital camera reveals if you got “the shot,” but that wasn’t always the case.
During the days of film, we would have to wait until the film was developed to know if we caught the defining moment. During late games, we wouldn’t even wait for the film to dry. We’d “wet edit” each roll by holding the dripping negatives up the light and scanning the roll with a magnifying loop. It was only then that we knew if we had caught the play of the game.
But every game doesn’t produce a defining moment. Sometimes a player is the definitive image. Sometimes it’s the coach. But when a game does have a decisive moment, to be in position to see it and have the camera trained on the right player at the right time, and have the moment in focus, is truly a time to celebrate. When it all comes together, it’s very satisfying. It’s very frustrating, however, when the play happens, and a player is blocking your view, or the player moves out of the frame, or worse of all, if all the other obstacles are overcome only to find the image is out of focus.
Although UConn didn’t have a miraculous five game winning streak like they did last year, they played well and produced some memorable moments. This blog contains a few decisive moments. And it’s missing others that simply got away. One in particular was a tremendous one-handed dunk by UConn’s Andre Drummond. During the shot, the referee moved between me and the basket and all I could hear was the roar of the crowd. I quickly shot anyway hoping my remote camera under the basket would have the moment. It didn’t so that moment is not part of this blog.