02 March 2008

Backboard remote on strobes for HS basketball tourney. Middletown, NY. 1 March 08.

Sebastian Valdez, #41, left, and Cory Quimby, #44 right, of Minisink reach for rebound during their Section 9 Class AA Championship game against Newburgh Free Academy at SUNY Orange in Middletown, NY on Saturday, March 1, 2008. Minisink defeated Newburgh 60 - 57. Times Herald-Record/CHET GORDON

Strobist info & other tech talk: Nikon D-1X *(yea, I still use my old digital Nikons) with a 14mm F/2.8 Nikkor AF, mounted with a Bogen Magic-Arm & Superclamp behind the backboard glass for this championship series game. Four Dynalite Uni-Jr.'s lit the gym, that were clamped to the top corner railings of the bleachers the night before for earlier games. The whole rig was fired by Pocket-Wizards. I also shot from the floor with 2 other bodies, one short, with an 70mm - 200mm f/2.8 AF & the other with a 300mm f/2.8 AF to shoot the other end of the court. Game time exposures were: ISO 800 1/250th. sec. @ f/3.2 - 3.5. Note: This image was from the marquee game at 5PM. There were three other championship games played prior to this game, which meant I was in the gym actually turning on the house lights myself, and up on a ladder, 8 hours before tip-off of this game. Breakdown time of the strobes & remote rig was about an hour & this image still made deadline for the paper. -chet.

*This image took ONE YEAR, 3 DAYS & 8 HOURS to produce. Here's the Why & How: After we'd lit up the gym at SUNY New Paltz (NY) with four strobes for last year's HS Sectional Playoffs, I knew I wanted to make the effort to mount a remote camera "behind the glass" for this type of image, and have been talking about doing just that with a colleague at work for a year. *(that's the One Year part). I've been mounting remotes for basketball for years, both at the pro, college & even HS level, but those cameras were all making images under the venue's available light at high ISO's. This was the first game where I actually had the full assortment of gear & probably just as importantly - time - to mount a backboard remote, and also have this camera separately fire the four studio strobes mounted up in the corners of the gym. Last Thursday afternoon I met with the college's Director of Communications, and the assistant Athletic Director in the their gym to explain what I hoped to accomplish. Showed them samples of my earlier strobed sports & images made at NBA games with remotes & handed out business cards, etc. The DOC (communications guy) formally worked at West Point for years in their SID (sports information dept.) and understood immediately the importance of strobing arena games. (that's the 3 Day part). Finally, I had to arrive at the gym approximately three hours before the start of the first noontime playoff game in the gym. This image was from the marquee game played at 5PM. *(that's the 8 hour part), as I was in the gym at 9AM, literally 8 hours before tip-off of this game. I shot a few tests with this camera from the earlier games, and grabbed a ladder at halftime to pull the card to make sure everything looked OK on my Mac. The college maintenance guys, HS Tournament officials, coaches & fans who arrived early to see me up on a ladder, working behind the backboard to install the remote camera were all supportive and enthusiastic. That meant a lot during my set-up time.

*Oh yea, "Go (very) early. Stay late. Get the uniform dirty..." -cg.

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