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Friday, March 27, 2020

Bad Call, Ref!

Reactions of players on the bench can give you some of the best photos of a basketball game.
Bowdoin College basketball player Kate Kerrigan (5) scowls after a foul call against her team, before the Bowdoin women defeated rival Colby College

The Photo
Basketball players frequently show a range of reactions, and players on the bench are even more emotional as they intently cheer for and support their teammates on the court. Thus, some of the best pictures from basketball games will be emotional expressions from passionate reactions by players watching from the bench.  To capture these, stand close to the bench, perhaps under the nearby basket or on the sideline, and focus on the bench players with a long lens.

Even though Bowdoin was heavily favored in this women’s basketball game against intrastate rival Colby, both teams played with great intensity and emotions ran high throughout the contest. After one play, Bowdoin was called for a foul on a Colby drive to the hoop, and players on the Bowdoin bench couldn’t believe it, so they all jumped up and shared their displeasure with the officials. Most Bowdoin players quickly sat back down, but one remained standing and scowled at the referees the entire time Colby shot their free throws.

3 Tips
1.     Basketball players on the bench can often strong reactions, emotions and facial expressions, even more than players competing on the court.
2.     Position yourself with a long lens, and focus more on the bench players than the game action.
3.     Close games, intense rivalries, and numerous foul calls will often provoke the strongest reactions and expressions.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Our Hero!!

Fan reactions and interactions often create extremely powerful sports photos.
Enthusiastic fans hug Colby College football player Asher Inman (center) after a 23-20 win over interstate rival Bates College.
The Photo
When a school’s football team plays one of its biggest rivals, fans are eagerly ready to celebrate every positive moment throughout the contest. And if the team defeats this big rival in a close, exciting match, after an afternoon of high emotion, player and fan reactions will be especially intense after the win, making for many photo opportunities of emotional reactions.

Naturally, you’ll first want to capture images of exuberant players, either throughout the game, as the clock counts down to zero, or just after the game ends. However, don’t put your camera away too quickly because the fans are often just as happy and emotional as the victorious players, and they frequently want to join the player celebrations on the field, especially in university, college, and high school games.

During this Colby College football win over Maine state rival Bates College, Colby took the lead early, but Bates gradually chipped away at the Colby lead, until they were within 3 points and progressing toward the Colby end zone with just minutes remaining.  However, the defense held firm at the end and Colby won its first game of the season 23-20.  Not only did the players celebrate jubilantly, alumni, parents, and students also poured from the stands onto the field to join in. When triumphant Colby defensive back Asher Inman was swarmed by happy fans, mostly female, their combined joyous expressions made a great photo.

3 Tips
1.     Fans and players often react emotionally to close or exciting wins over rivals.
2.     As the game ends, and for a while after it’s over, watch for photos of strong emotional expressions.
3.     Fan interactions with players or reactions to the victory will often make the most compelling photos.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Foul Play

Photographing basketball games from courtside under the basket captures great close-up action coming directly at you.

Colby College basketball’s Keagan Dunbar (21) is fouled while driving to the hoop by Thomas College’s Shala Davis (24) and Anna Piirainen (13).

The Photo
Basketball is one of the best sports to photograph because you clearly see the players’ faces while sitting  courtside, adjacent to the action. One ideal shooting position is sitting on the floor directly under the basket, slightly to the right, which ensures nearly all the action comes toward you, since players tend to drive more from the left, likely because many are right-handed.  From here you can capture powerful photos of layups, rebounds, dunks, collisions, fouls, and player reactions to made baskets, missed shots, and referee calls. However, you need to stay alert to avoid airborne players or balls colliding with you.

In this women’s basketball game between Colby College and cross-town rival Thomas College, Colby jumped out early to a big lead, so Thomas players were determined to block the lane and prevent additional easy Colby layups. On this play, Colby guard Keagan Dunbar (in white) saw a clear path to the basket and quickly drove into the lane, but two Thomas defenders stuck out their arms to block the way, preferring to be called for the foul than allowing an easy bucket.  My telephoto lens blurred out the background, which more clearly highlighted the bodies colliding, the ball knocked loose, and the fouled player’s facial expression.

3 Tips
1.     Sitting courtside under the basket is a terrific vantage point to capture all types of close-up basketball action coming directly at you.
2.     Watch for players driving the lane, rebounding, colliding with one another, or reacting to shots or calls.
3.     Stay alert to avoid any players or loose balls that might collide with you.