Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Bye bye basketball

"Paint Branch senior forward Michelle Tabisz attempts a free throw to add to her team's lead during the fourth quarter of the 3A Maryland State Girls High School Championships at RAC Arena at UMBC, Saturday, March 15, 2008. Paint Branch remains undefeated with a 25-0 record after defeating Atholton 74-39."

Basketball is over in Baltimore. No more indoor sports and I love it. This means warm weather is approaching, too.

But for three local Maryland teams, the season is just beginning with March Madness first-round games.

Coppin State, who became the first 20-loss team to reach the NCAA Tournament, will play Tuesday night against Northeast Conference champion Mount St. Mary’s in the tournament’s opening-round game in Dayton, Ohio.

Other local favorite team, UMBC, officially became part of the NCAA tournament field for the first time and will be looking to upset the No. 2 seed Georgetown on Friday in Raleigh, N.C.

As for my last basketball game of the 2007-08 season, I shot at the 3A women's title game at UMBC’s RAC Arena on Saturday night. Having shot lacrosse 3:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, I opted for the 9 p.m. game over the 5 p.m. match.

The RAC Arena is dark (read: dungeon dark). Much like a typical high school gymnasium if not worse. Knowing that, I brought along two Nikon SB flashes and some super clamps to imitate my buddy Dave Hoffmann's approach.

I have not used my lights much in couple months, not even for portraits. Well, maybe once or twice.

When I shoot basketball, I rarely rely on them, as I would rather keep the fast frames per second and crank up the ISO. The Nikon D300 does will with higher ISO images, so I am fine shooting at 3200.

However, when I arrived, even with the D300 maxed out, I was still only getting about 1/320 at f/2.8. There was not much wiggle room either. So after shooting the first half without them, I decided to mount my lights to the railings on the upper level.

Although I went through the trouble putting them up and making sure I wasn't interfering with the other radio slave channels of the other photographers, I ended up not even using them much. I shot about half of the third quarter before I spotted fellow Baltimore shooter and Patuxent Publishing Co. staffer, Matt Roth.

Matt is an all-around good guy, and one helluva shooter. As I chatted with Matt, I decided to take my 10 minute different shot session.

What I am trying to say is, I always dedicate at least 10 minutes to shooting images completely off the wall, especially at sporting events. I'll try anything for an image I've never seen and something atypical to the normal game action.

When talking to Matt, I was now shooting into my top level, railing mounted lights from the other end of the court. I kept my white balance set at 3333K, the same from the first half, when I didn't have my lights setup to keep the blue color cast.

Just something fresh that works as a feature, although the celebration, the tears and the action ran.


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