Another March is upon us and unless you’ve been in a coma, recently returned from an outer space trip, or reside in Canada this means it’s March Madness. I’ve always been a huge basketball fan and I think the NCAA tournament brings out the best in our sports world. The whole tournament brings back the nostalgic feel of the League or County tournament in High School and the idea that anyone can win a championship by putting one good game after another until you’ve eliminated the competition. In the 64 team NCAA basketball tournament that means six wins and you’re parading around the floor of the Georgia Dome with your index finger aloft celebrating a NCAA title.
For a photographer the NCAA tournament is a tremendous opportunity to make photos. Lots of intensity, lots of angles, and in the case of the 2nd round of the tournament a lot of time spent on the court watching four games in one day with the trombone section of the State University operating over your shoulder. As former Providence, Xavier, and Virginia coach Pete Gillen said to me in the elevator in Dayton last week, “I love basketball but four games in one day is a lot.” It is a long day but the challenge of creating something dynamic makes it for the most part worthwhile.
Unfortunately the 2nd round in Dayton didn’t produce an upset or a lot of photos with impact. Four games in a day is a challenge physically and I was a tired customer after arriving at the University of Dayton arena at 9:00am and finishing up the night after midnight. I was ready for bed and a good night’s sleep before tackling a couple of technical problems before Sunday’s 3rd round games.
My assistant in Dayton is a dear old friend John Stone. John has assisted for more than thirty years. He is a steady hand and a calming influence during days that run pretty chaotic. Stonie kept me focused on the task at hand throughout the weekend with his Zen like calmness and complete attentiveness to the various remotes we operated around the building.
Our set up in Dayton was a bit different than in past years because we elected not to put in electronic flash units. The lighting was contrasty, spotty, and lacking in volume. Other than that it was fine. 3200 ISO? No problem with the new Canon EOS1-DX. The files looked pretty good for that high an ISO. For remotes we did a couple of overhead cameras and a couple of low remotes, along with a side remote at basket level.
Sunday’s games were more competitive and as a result the photos were significantly better. Not world beaters. bit considerably better photos than the games on Friday. I think Sports Illustrated might have even published something if Temple had knocked off number one seed Indiana or Ohio State fell to Iowa State. But alas no upset happened in Dayton unless you consider a late March snowstorm an upset.
Interesting that before the NCAA’s in Dayton I photographed some NCAA Women’s Division II at Bentley College. From a pure emotional and intensity standpoint the photos from the final of that Regional tourney were superior to the NCAA Men’s tournament. Once again making a point that I tell people over and over that the photos are at every event not just the “big” games.
For all you gear people. In Dayton we used 3 Canon EOS1-Dx cameras, 4 Canon Mark IV cameras, and a single Mark III camera. For lenses we used a couple of Canon 16-35mm f2.8 zoom lenses and three Canon 70-200 f2.8 zoom lenses. Multi Max units did the triggering of the remotes.
A sampling below……………………