My Top Basketball Photos of 2022

My Favorite Basketball Photos Of 2022

This was a year of change for me. As the year moved on I moved to photographing more high school basketball than college. The good news about that is that you have much better access. You can pretty much pick where you sit at all times as you aren’t limited to a seating chart. Part of the fun of the next year will be to exploit that fact to try and make better photos.

January was almost half over before I photographed my first basketball game of the year. Andrew at IU who I have known for many years let me help cover the Indiana women’s team when they came to Purdue. Almost thirty years ago I wanted to get into the journalism school at IU, but for writing not photography. I used to think the photographers were crazy. Of course now that I am a photographer I realize that I was correct in my assumption. I think that I have made photos for every Big Ten school now that I photographed for Indiana. Thanks to Andrew I had a reason to leave me house and make basketball photos again. It was the kick start that I needed this year. Here is my blog post from this game.

As the season was winding down last school year I started emptying the tank of ideas that I had. I realized that passes were going to be difficult to get based on the words of someone at Purdue. My access was going to be gone so I wanted to go out with an empty tank so to speak. I was really having fun trying new things and get creative. My gallery from the game is here.

This is what covering sports is all about. Finding the emotion is what makes this fun. Little moments like this are what make me want to keep doing it. This year I need to work on showing the fun side of sports more.

When I am near the hoop it is always fun to have a camera on the ground in front of me firing along with the one in my hand. It helps you make more sense of place photos that I like. This was one of my favorite versions of this photo from the past year. My blog post from this game can be found here.

This is a purely selfish photo. When I moved back to Indiana from Iowa I bought season tickets for men’s and women’s basketball along with football. I was all in on Purdue. At that time Carl Landry was the man for basketball and Katie Gearlds was the go to athlete on the women’s team. Of course Katie is now the head coach for Purdue which is pretty cool. Carl came back for bobblehead night. I made many photos of Carl over the years from my seat in the stands, but this was the first time that I was able to photograph him from the court. For some reason I was the only person that bothered to stay to photograph his halftime speech. At some level that was great because I could move around and make this photo.

I realize that if you read this blog then you know this story. I will tell it again though for anyone new to the blog. When I moved back from Iowa in 2005 I bought season tickets to Purdue women’s basketball. I was living in Northern Indiana then so Notre Dame was very close to me. I bought season tickets there for $50 for the season. Over the course of the next few years I remember seeing the young son of one of the assistant coaches during the games. It was amazing to see that young man grow up to be the exciting basketball player that we got to see at Purdue. After a game late in the season I made sure to make a photo of mother and son. It was a cool way to cap off this story. My blog post from the game can be found here.

I worked this photo for a couple of games. I knew that there was something here. Trevion Williams was that player that just made good photos just by being. I actually had another idea for this game, but I moved over when the Purdue photographer came to use that idea. I think that it shows a lot about my photography skills that I made a better photo than I had thought of originally. Being forced to move over let me see this view that I never thought of. Sometimes you have to be lucky.

The t-shirt game is one of my favorite games of the year. I love the way that Mackey looks. I have been at every game so this year I went with the idea of making a few wide images of the stadium. This coming year the t-shirt game is the only single game that I applied for a credential for. I want to be able to bring my camera in to make another photo of the stadium looking great. If I get the pass then you will get to see photos from another t-shirt game.

Part of the fun of a long basketball season is getting a little bored. I don’t mean bored in a bad way, but in a way that makes you explore new ways to make photos. Here from the side with my camera on the ground I made one of my favorite Purdue men’s photos of the year. I love a good reflection photo, and anytime that I can combine that with a sports photo is a good thing. These last three photos were all from the t-shirt game last year. You can see my gallery from the game here.

I love the pregame light show at Purdue. With some fast glass you can get some nice bokeh. I worked this idea for a few games. I knew that my time was limited on the floor at Purdue so I wanted to make a nice photo while I still had access. This was my favorite photo from those pregame moments. You can see my blog post from the game here.

BIG 10 Championships

Pregame anthem photos are always fun to make as well. The new video boards at Purdue softball and baseball make this idea much easier to do. At basketball you need to find just the right angle to make this idea work. It is fun to do though as it lets you put something a little different into the gallery. My full senior day photo gallery can be found here.

I love these little moments. As a photographer with access your job is to bring the viewer into places that they can’t get into. You are there to show the fans the players personalities. When you find little moments like this it makes your day. They are fun photos to make that really let people see the real players on the court. My full gallery from this game can be found here.

This school year my basketball season started with a game for Milwaukee. These are always weird games for me to make photos at. I always want Purdue to win, but I need my team to have some moments. Here is a fun moment from that first game captured with my camera on the ground. My blog post from the game can be found here.

Intros are a fun way to make some photos early on. In this day and age you need to have photos up as quick as possible. If you can make a couple during the intros then you have some content already in the bag. My blog post from this game can be found here.

Years ago I really started making anthem photos while at Illinois with the Indiana State women’s basketball team. This year they came to Purdue allowing me to photograph them again. It was great to see the Sycamores again, and the game was a little cooler as my little one was there with her girl scout troop. She made a few trips down to Terre Haute with me so she knows that “team in blue” as she used to call them. Being credentialed for the game let me have a little access to her troop as they got to visit the halls of Mackey. The blog post from the Indiana State game can be found here.

This year I had not photographed a game at Harrison gym since my nephew played a few years ago. I had made some portraits for banners a few years back in there, but no basketball action. It has been fun getting back in there to make some photos. The full gallery from my first high school game in a couple of years can be found here.

These blockout photos are fun to make. When you are at a high school game you can pick your position to include what you want in your background. Here I went a little wider to make a nice sense of place photo.  Here are a couple of those photos that I liked from the hoops classic games at Harrison. The full gallery from the game against Lafayette Jeff can be found here.

I had not photographed a West Side basketball game since before the pandemic. My nephew played there a few years ago so I was at nearly every game for a while. When they played Harrison I spent half of the game covering each team. It was kind of neat to see this new crop of Red Devils play. At some point I need to get to a West Side game. The full gallery from the game can be found here.

Big games against rivals means big emotion. After winning against West Side in overtime I was able to capture a little of that emotion. These are the fun photos to make. I hope that there are a few more moments like this as the season winds down.

I love the Harrison intros. You don’t get a lot of lights out intros in high school sports. Part of the fun of this year will be finding new ways to capture the intros. I have a few ideas in mind so hopefully they work and they show up on the countdown next year. You can find the full gallery from their game against Logansport here.

When I walked into Lafayette Jeff to photograph Harrison it was a cool moment. The last time I was in there was to photograph my nephew when he played for West Side. My oldest was in Kindergarten and my youngest was in a carrier. I say all of that to say that it had been a while. The Jeff battles against Harrison are fun to document though so it was well worth the trip. As I left I said that it would not be that long again before I came back. You can see my full gallery from the game here.

I was not lying as I went back to Jeff the next day to photograph the Harrison girls team against the Bronchos. In two days I saw two wins by Harrison. You can’t ask for much more than that. You can see my full gallery from that game here.

After two straight days of photographing high school hoops I photographed Illinois State as they took on Purdue. When I was an athlete so many years ago I always felt that I played better after I had played for a while. I would never play good at the start of the game, but after I got a sweat going I seemed to lock in better. I feel that is the same way in photography. I was feeling pretty good on my third day in a row making photos. It is always good to get back into Mackey as well even if it is against Purdue.

Late in the game against Purdue the Redbirds were going on a bit of a run. The emotion was high so I was quick to swing to the bench after a play. On this particular play the ref blocked me so I swung to the bench a little earlier to find just the right player. I lucked out and made one of my favorite photos of the year. You can see my blog post from the game here.

Above I talked about how great it was to capture emotion of a single player. Here the entire bench exploded. I was sort of lucky on this photo as the ref blocked me from making the photo of the player shooting the basketball. Knowing that I had no shot I quickly panned over to get the bench reaction, and they did not disappoint. This is a fun team to make photos of. They have fun playing the game, and this is just one example of that. This coming year I hope to make photos of them a few more times.

Sometimes you photograph a player that takes you back a little. Here Cal Gick is standing for the intros in a very similar way to his cousin who I photographed for a few years back in the day. It brought me back to my early days photographing high school basketball. I just had to wait for the light to hit just right for a photo that I really liked.

There are my favorite basketball photos from 2022. It was a year of adapting, but in the end I found some places to have fun. That is what this is all about anyway isn’t it? This year I have a little better plan and a way to get out and make some images. The key to this business is to find places where you are wanted. I have now done that. I can’t wait to see what I am able to capture in 2023. Tomorrow on the blog I will take a look at my favorite football images of 2022.

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