Shooting During the Final Four Festivities

One thing that I found this year while not shooting for Purdue is that I could attend and shoot some pretty awesome events. During this basketball season I was able to cross a few venues off of my list as well as shoot a couple NCAA Tournament games. This start to the Final Four weekend was another cool moment that I was able to capture. I was there shooting for UC Davis and UW Green Bay. Things got off to a rocky start as they did not have me on the credential list as I walked into the arena. Luckily they just added me to it, and I was able to go right in. I don’t think I would have the same luck at Lucas Oil this weekend. I got to the stadium very early to meet my athletes, and maybe try and pick the brain of dunker Keifer Sykes. He was keeping his cards close to his chest, but he did help me take a position to capture him the best. This was a chaotic, but fun event to cover. I love shooting at Hinkle Fieldhouse, so it was great to squeeze one last event in this season.

The Denny’s Slam Dunk Championship

This is one situation where YouTube helps out a lot. I was shooting for the Phoenix of Green Bay who had Keifer Sykes in the event. I had never seen Keifer in play let alone dunk. After looking him up on YouTube I was able to see him dunk in games, and even see a bunch of his moves as he prepared for a campus dunk contest. Sometimes the internet actually can be used for good things. Covering teams that I have never seen before I usually use it to pick up on tendencies that help me know my team a little more before I see them in person. It can help me make some good images right off the bat that I might not normally have made. Shooting for different schools means that your job never gets stale, but it also means a little more homework as well.

The judges panel was a who’s who of Indiana athletes. You had Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton who caught many passes for the Indianapolis Colts. Jay Williams who played for Duke and the Bulls was another judge. The final on site judge was Katie Douglas who is one of the best stories ever to come out of Purdue. Her personal life was tough while at Purdue, but she persevered to have a great college and pro career. She is one of my all time favorite Boilers. The final judges were the fans who could vote on Twitter. I wondered how this would work out prior to the event.

Shooting the event was not as easy as the three point events were. During the three point events I would get blocked by the many ESPN cameras during the event, but you had a chance to redeem yourself as they had many shot attempts. Here during the dunk contest you really had the one chance to make the photo. I set up a remote camera under the basket to help me a little, but just before the final round it was kicked. It did help me capture a unique perspective on the event though, and I am glad that I did it. As I said before I was there to shoot Keifer Sykes, but I did shoot many of the other players as they attempted dunks. Keifer did not disappoint as he made it to the final round. He could not get a dunk down though in that round. He still had a good night, and I really came away with a lot of respect for him.

The Marine’s Men’s Three Point Championship

I was lucky enough to be hired by UC Davis for the three point championships. I was shooting Corey Hawkins during the event for the school Corey is the son of former 76er Hersey Hawkins. I must be getting old when I am shooting the kids of the players I grew up watching. Corey had 11 points in the first round, and did not advance. His night was not over though as he cheered on his school mate Kelsey Harris when her turn came around to shoot. I liked seeing the closeness of the teammates.

Women’s Three Point Championship

No title sponsor certainly did not stop this from being a show. Again I was shooting for UC Davis as they had Kelsey Harris in the event. She had a great first round, and was just one shot away from advancing past the second round. The extra round that she had allowed me to vary my photos of her a bit. Kelsey was very gracious throughout the night as I made photos of her.

Bonus Photos

I have a gallery of about 100 photos up on my website here. I did a quick edit last night to get to about 100 photos. It may grow a bit over the next couple of days.

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About Pinola Photo

I am a sports and lifestyle photographer based in West Lafayette, IN home of Purdue University. I cover sports for Big Ten teams as well as other colleges. You can follow me on twitter @pinolaphoto. You can also view my website at www.davewegielphoto.net

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