Dec 8, 2009

Falling out (in) to the halfcourt trap

Man, I don't know if its the holidays or just plain laziness in getting new stuff on here with any frequency, but here's something new (that I was originally starting to put up on here last Saturday and never finished...)
So.... hoop season is back and last Friday night I was at the Bear River Battle doubleheader between the boys and girls teams from Ilwaco and Naselle. 

When I first started shooting hoops 15 years ago (oy, that just makes me sound old right?) my first photography mentor Mark Ylen gave me an old Nikon 85mm f1.8 HC lens that he no longer used and it was great. On a film camera (yep, no digital back then) it had a great field of view for shots from the waste up of guys driving to the hoop, and with a 1.8 aperture I could shoot fast, usually around 1/500th, in most gyms pushing B&W (film) to 1600, or in dark gyms with the old TMAX 3200 (again, film). For some reason, I really have no clue why, I sold it or traded it in for something else in like 1997, and I've wished ever since that I had not (I've done that with a lot of equipment over the years unfortunately.)
Anyway, for the last season and a half of shooting hoops I've gone with the wide angle under the hoop and mostly liked the results, but seeing as how I get bored easily I'm switching it up again.
I think you'll be seeing a lot more stuff like this in the months to come as I have changed my strategy yet again to shooting across the court with an 80-200 2.8 zoom. I've set up my strobes from above, one on each side of the gym, but instead of aiming from them from the baseline toward the key, I have instead set them up at halfcourt aimed between the halfcourt line and the foul line on the other end. It seems to work pretty good, especially since all the teams I shoot use a pressing defensive style with a lot of halfcourt traps. 
And whereas I shot almost exclusively with one body for hoops in recent years, I'm back to going with two, using a 50 mm f 1.4 under the hoop on the other one, using natural light. It's field of view on a digital body is fairly close to the 85 (75mm equivalent on a digtial) and with the fast aperture I can shoot around 1/400th at 1.8 at ISO 800 (I don't shoot at 1.4 cuz it is such a slim margin of focus I don't find it sharp enough a lot of the time). 

Funny thing about this new set-up, which I'd been thinking about since the first volleyball game I shot this year, is that I don't know if it will work at both schools. I have always had a much easier time lighting the gym at Naselle, as it is smaller and has a lower, white painted ceiling that is curved. But while the Ilwaco stands are high and their auxiliary hoops are set up at halfcourt, the Naselle stands are low and their auxiliary hoops are down by the baseline. It may take some tinkering, but I think I'll be out there on Saturday to or next week to find out. I'll be back at Ilwaco's gym tonight and believe it or not I'm actually looking forward to shooting in that cave of a barn!


No comments: