Photographing The NCAA Volleyball Tournament: Illinois State vs. Purdue

Illinois State Takes On The Host Purdue Boilermakers

Thursday night I was blessed with two straight paid gigs inside of Holloway Gymnasium. It is funny, but after two days of December I already had as many paying gigs as the entire month of November. If either of my teams had won I would have had one more last night as well. I really enjoy making sports photos, and Thursday was another reminder that I have to find a way to really make this work. Moments like the one above are so much fun to capture. After over a month away from volleyball it was a successful couple of days making volleyball photos. Now we just root for Pitt to lose so that I can maybe do this again next weekend.

The Sony 24mm f/1.4

I have basically given up using my 24-70mm lens. I love this little 24mm lens, and the photos that it makes for me. There is just a different look that it gives me. I also think that it would be perfect inside of the dark Indiana high school basketball gyms. I haven’t tested that out yet though.

Photographing Against Purdue

A few years ago I made a deal to come back home and make photos a little cheaper than I had been when I was out on the road. I did that because I love Purdue, and I wanted to be a part of the team that made athletics look so good. Since the virus though things have changed a bit to where I am not being used as much. I realized during the match that I really do not enjoy making photos against Purdue. My team has to have some success to make for good photos, and that means that I am constantly rooting against the Boilers. One plus of doing this is that I am familiar with everything that goes on around game day. That little bit of insider info can help out from time to time.

Making Good Volleyball Action Photos

Early on I struggled with making good action photos in volleyball. Lately though things have started to come to me and the game has slowed down a bit. The photos that I like the most are as the ball is coming in towards the player. After the hit there can be a weird face or something else distracting. Getting there that split second earlier though makes for a much nicer photo. This is something that I have worked on for a while, and I still need to work on more. Thankfully sometimes as in both matches on Thursday you can spot tendencies that can give you a little advantage.

Working The Banners In

Part of the fun this time of the year is working the NCAA banners into your photos. Part of the reason that I am hired for these events is to show off the fact that the team made the tournament. Throughout the day I tried to find new ways to show the bright blue NCAA banners. Early in the season you are making photos so that they can be used throughout the season. By the time the tournament comes you are making photos more for history than anything. You want to show why this game was different than the others played throughout the year.

Now What?

With the losses by both of my teams in the tournament my Friday suddenly opened up. I was very tempted to photograph the volleyball match anyway because I had so much fun on Thursday. Media space is tight in Holloway though, and it would not have been fair to take a good spot away from someone that was actually working. As I said earlier I am really hoping that I can continue my NCAA volleyball fun next weekend (come on Penn State!). Beyond that things are wide open. As I have said a lot lately there has never been a better time than now to hire me. If you are a local school that needs some images let me know. If you have a student that you need photos of let me know. This month started off much better than last month, and now I just need to keep that momentum going. What made November so depressing as a photographer was that as the photography went away it was crossover season. That is when I used to be the busiest that I would be all year. This year it was a huge wake up call that I need to change things quickly. I am forever an optimist so sometimes I need to be hit hard to realize that it is just not working. The first two days of December were a good sign that things can turn around. Let’s make that happen.

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