Some days, the breaks are against you. All my photo breaks went one way, but the game went the other. Thursday night I photographed one of the semifinal games of the Serrano Holiday Classic girls basketball tournament. Its fun to cover an all local match up like Oak Hills vs. Serrano.
Who ever has the ball, however the play works out, at least I know I will get an image that a select portion of our readers will appreciate either way. The next step should be easy to accomplish: the photo that best tells the story of the winning team separating itself from the losing team. So that was my goal Thursday.
I was looking forward to photographing with a multiple flash set up, and spent the first half of the game not so much focusing on how each team was playing but more how my flashes were exposing, and if my camera and flashes were executing their assigned tasks. But early into the second half of the closely contested game, I began to notice a trend.
Most of my images illustrated how well Oak Hills was playing. Which was ok, I thought, because Oak Hills was nursing a small lead through most of the first half. But in the second half Serrano took and maintained a lead. I even adjusted my position to Serrano’s end of the court and repositioning the multi-flash set up mid-game. I hoped the move would ensure better expression and emotion from the home team girls.
As I returned to shooting, I noticed how the basketball and photo Gods were not synchronizing my way. Every Serrano play would seem to be plagued by a referee stepping in front of me, a flash misfire, a turned head, or even flying hair blocking a face seemed to interrupt any direct view of a Serrano girl executing a lay-up, rebound, or any other decisive play.
I must give credit to Serrano’s guards to aiding my frustration. I was suckered by every one of their no-look passes and dishouts. I left the game with several photos of Serrano’s guards running empty-handed to the basket while someone on the wing drained a 3-pointer. Usually, I’m happy with just shooting one or two of those types of photos per game.
Even the final celebration of Serrano standouts Nastacia Jones and Jessica Johnson was just slightly beyond the useful range of my flashes, and Oak Hills’ Kortney Bridges was best exposed in the image while she walked off the court.
Fortunately, Jones’ beaming smile lights up the image enough to make it a worthwhile storytelling image of a victorious team on its way to the tournament finals.
Sometimes the photo Gods smile upon me and sometimes the basketball Gods smile upon me in any given game.
Sadly, in this game they chuckled and grinned at different moments in the game.