Lens on basketball: Prepping for the game

I can’t say emphatically that I'm a sports nut. However, I can say I love photographing sports events and I do have a favorite sport. Basketball. Does that make sense? I spent the early part of my teenage years watching the New York Knicks hold court—Walt “Clyde" Fraizer, Dave DeBusschere , Willis Reed, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe and Bill Bradley to name a few. As I grew into adulthood, The Portland Trailblazers and The Houston Rockets, featuring with my hero, Clyde “The Glide” Drexler, were my teams of choice and I continued to follow the sport. Little did I know that I would one day be photographing any sport--on any level. But I am.

When I do a shoot, I like to get there early. It’s important for me to choose my corner of the gym and set up. As you know, most school gyms don’t have the best lighting situation, I always like to take practice shots, adjust my camera settings and get a feel for the room.

I always carry my monopod with me. It’s compact and works much better than the tripod that tends to take up too much space.. When I’m not using it, I can keep it attached to my camera and unfold it at a moments notice. I’m shooting with a Rebel T7i, which is a nice little crop-sensor DSLR for this type of event.

The lens I use is my baby: Canon EF 135mm f2. Love, love, love this lens for sports and action photography. The shots are clean, crisp and the bokeh (background blur) is serious. I get so enthralled in my shooting, I almost forget to watch the game. However, these kids are hard to forget.

I’ve often heard sports enthusiasts say with gusto, “it’s the college teams you have to watch, because they play with heart.” It appears to be so. Yet, I have to say the middle school and high school kids I’ve photographed over the past few weeks, play with a heck of a lot of heart. The boys play with dedication, the girls with fierceness.

They’ll fit right into the college teams when they get there. And who knows, I may be in the stands catching their moves.

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