Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Essex Blades 1st vs King's Lynn Fury - Photographing Basketball

An Essex player passes the ball

I have only had this blog a month and have already racked up a backlog of posts that I should have written and photos that I should have uploaded. Not good! Anyway, my post today is about a basketball match between Essex and King's Lynn Men's 1st which happened on the 20th February.

My friend Alex plays on the team and asked me if I'd shoot one of his matches. It took us many attempts to find a game that actually featurde Alex, would be played at home and I would be available to shoot for. It isn't like I even have a busy schedule past Monday, but my bed and I often have a lot of catching up to do which occasionally means slumbering softly until past lunch.

The Game
I could count my previous experiences with basketball on one hand - we would sporadically play it in the 'front playground' at school if we actually had access to a ball, I'd watch an NBA highlights reel posted to Reddit or Facebook and Alex and I had previously watched Essex's men's team play for a half so he could give me a basic rundown of the rules. The one thing that has really stuck with me is the frantic pace the players keep at for the duration of the match. Much like American Football, there is frequent rotation of the team but in basketball, there is the added constraint of the shot clock - the offense only has 30 seconds in which they can score, I believe. The frenetic action was great to watch and I tried to avoid seeing it all through a viewfinder as much as possible.

An Essex player charges forward, King's Lynn looking on 

As always, I Googled "photographing basketball" which lead me to this concise article packed with examples, written by Terence Fominaya. I am pleased to say that as I get more practise, I am becoming more adept at adjusting settings such as shutter speed and white balance to suit the situation. I turned to the article for suggestions on composition and where to actually position myself around the court. King's Lynn had their own photographer and she often got right up behind the nets, which must have produced some great shots. I, on the other hand, ended up seat hopping from end to end of the court to try and keep up with direction Essex were playing in.

Admonishing one of the referees

There was a lot of 'discussion' between the crowd, the players and the referee, very little of it being friendly. Some of the King's Lynn supporters even went as far as to bring a megaphone with which they were certain to voice their concerns about anyone and everyone's performance. Quite honestly, with all the abuse being screamed at the Essex players, it had to be amongst the worst audience experiences I've had. I spent much of the game with headphones in to try and block out the drongos. It's great to have a lot of audience participation but I'd hardly call it an enjoyable atmosphere. Tensions were high and although no one was ejected from the game, at points it certainly seemed like it could have happened!

Scrabbling for the ball
Looking for space
Herein lies the problem with not posting about events as they happen - I can't remember the score! All I know is that it was a close victory to King's Lynn, possibly the catalyst for the Essex boys not making it to the National Final in Sheffield as they should have done.

Pressure being applied to a King's Lynn shooter - ref appears to be blowing up for foul play!

What I Did Today
Today, I had an interesting experience doing portrait photography for to provide marketing material regarding some of the 'One to watch' athletes in the run up to Derby Day against University of East Anglia on 20th April. Portraiture was a new experience for me, specifically organised by the Student Union. In fact, whilst in the stark, pristinely white depths of the SU, I actually had the time to fill out and send off a job application to be a marketing photographer for the uni. I was paid in chocolate eggs and SU vouchers, not a bad gig at all! The next exciting thing in my schedule is charity abseiling on Friday, shooting from the bottom as apparently my lack of insurance means the student union don't want to risk me falling off the top of the North Towers!

What I'm Listening To
This week, I seem to have Take A Walk by Passion Pit on repeat. Spotify tells me it's one of their most popular songs and I can see why. It's cheery, regular beat is a great way to start the day, especially in both the title and the chorus, as it encourages you to exercise and get moving!  

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