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Pre-March Madness

What I used to love about shooting basketball has turned into what I loathe about it.

The largely repetitive action is confined to a small area, giving you many opportunities to come away with a decent shot. As one of the first sports I covered, this made me feel like I was improving drastically and rapidly. It didn't hurt that I have a decent understanding of the game and that I was primarily covering the Ducks men's team, which was a pretty fun squad to watch back then.

I started the season with high hopes of diversifying my portfolio's basketball shots. Fresh off of football season, I was excited to be inside from the cold, shooting a sport that doesn’t require as much hustle or heavy glass to photograph.

First up was Walla Walla playing at Kennewick. I tried squeezing a little fartsy into my artsy, playing with slow shutter speeds during their warm up:

but ended up spending the rest of my time at the game shooting in my standard, comfortable way.

Unfortunately, the ease of snapping a serviceable shot from a game means we have very little time to spend at each match up early in the season. Shooting multiple games in the same evening also affects how you approach each shoot. If you only have a quarter to make a photo (plus a gallery), it's in your best interest to shoot where you are most comfortable and confident that you can come away with an OK shot.

Sometimes, a funky haircut helps your otherwise so-so photo:

as it did when West Valley visited Richland.

But for the most part, I plodded through the season shooting your standard struggles under the basket, layups and rebounds with the occasional blocked shot.

It wasn't until the season was drawing to a close that I had more time to work at games. Back in basketball shooting shape, I pushed myself to shoot tighter:

Like when Pasco handed Wenatchee its first loss of the season.

I also captured a different part of the action when Pasco senior Andre Griffin managed to call a timeout before Wenatchee's Ryan Reese could force a jump ball:

And when it came down to free throws and fouls at the end, the gallery was a nice home for the elusive free throw photo:

A couple times I lucked out from a familiar spot, like when a big block lined up just right for me during a matchup between Gonzaga Prep and Richland:

or getting a chance to showcase some defense with Pasco’s full-court trap during their regional championship win:

I try to keep my eye out for some interesting frames at halftime to mix up the galleries when possible:

and keep an eye on the coaches:

especially Prosser girls head coach, Mark Little, who was not only animated:

but had a pretty sweet tie:

It's also not a bad idea to keep tabs on the bench:

It wasn’t until I covered the Prosser girls at the 2A State Championships in Yakima on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday that I started trying a couple different things.

I tried a graphic take on a standard layup:

and spent an entire half focusing on Prosser's defense:

Neither one a clear winner, for sure, but my greatest disappointment of this basketball season was not being able to capture a great jube or dejection shot.

I got some OK ones:

Now, I'd like to beat myself up for sucking it up and missing some great jubes, but I'll have to defer some of the blame to that dirty tease, Lady Luck. None of the games that mattered were nail biters, and without that desperate battle to the end, even a nicely framed shot that includes victory and defeat, doesn’t quite cut it when the losers had a few minutes to accept their defeat:

As I look back at my work this season, I think I’ve improved, if ever so slightly. And while it’s good to note my shortcomings, I’m not going to dwell on them.

There's always next year.


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