One Last Rodeo For Basketball This Season

As the postseason begins my basketball season usually ends. I don’t have the clout to photograph post season games. I was ready to start my ball and bat season Saturday with a couple of baseball and softball games when I got the call of photograph the semi-state games at Lafayette Jeff for Northern Indiana Life. After watching some tournament basketball the last few days it was great to get to photograph some. It filled a small need for me, and I was able to make some nice photos. It all worked out for the best.

Using the Crowd to My Advantage

During both games today I had the opposing crowd as a great background for a half. I love these types of shots when the players seem to pop a little more because of the different colors back there. Some of my favorite shots were a litter wider with this great background while I had it. There is something about this while shooting wide open that I like. What do you think?

Dusting Off the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8

One of the first L series lenses that I bought was the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8. I bought it off of one of the Purdue photographers at the time, and it was an amazing lens for me. Now with the arenas having much better lighting I find myself not using it as much, and using my 24-105 f/4 much more. Knowing that the gym at Jeff is very dark I broke out the 24-70mm along with the 50 f/1.4 to give myself better options in the bag. The lens is big and bulky, but the 24-70 still can make a good photo. I was shooting way out on the end of the baseline though so I didn’t use it as much as I would have had I been under the hoop. Continue reading “The Lafayette Jeff Semi-State”


Benton Central Beats West Lafayette in a Hard Fought Game For the Sectional Championship

Last night I was back at West Lafayette high school to watch the sectional championship game between the West Lafayette Red Devils and the Benton Central Bisons. I knew that one way or another that I would have a nice celebratory photo for myself. What I didn’t expect was to get so much into the game. As I walked into the gym (a little late) I could hear the crowd changing with each pass. I walked in and watched West Side go on a run to get the score to within two before the half.

More Photos From the Game

You can click here to see my full gallery from the game. I have the files uploaded at full res, and they are right clickable to save them. Since I was just there for a couple of shots I am not going to lock down the entire gallery. I hope that you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed making them during the game. The photos lean very heavily towards West Side until after the game which obviously is very centered on Benton Central.

The Re-Birth of Second Level Studios

If you have followed me for a while then you know that I belonged to a group of photographers who shared a common studio space downtown. The studio is called Second Level Studios, and is a fantastic place to shoot. If you are a photographer in or around Lafayette come and give it a look. They are having an open house on February 27th. You can find out more info on the studio here on their website. Many plans are available to suit what you need.

West Lafayette Defeats Harrison on Senior Night

Last night I photographed my first high school game of the year. Things just have not worked out for me to get to the West Side Gym yet this year. Since I moved to town the Red Devils have kind of been my adopted high school. I wanted to try out a couple of things so why not head to senior night to do it? I made some standard photos of the senior festivities and the game itself, but then I went on my mission.

The Wonderful World of Panning

I have seen some wonderful sports panning shots lately, and I wanted to try a little. I have not had a good chance to do it so I decided that West Side would be as good of a place as any to try it. In basketball you really have a lot going against you when you slow the shutter speed down. If the players would travel in a linear path it would make things easier, but they do not. They move from side to side and up and down as well. You really have to have the proper technique, and then get lucky that the action is moving the way that you want it to. Above I posted one photo that I liked. You can really see the motion by the athletes here.

Bonus Photos From the Night

I have placed a small gallery up on my website from the game last night. You can find it here.

My 15 Favorite Basketball Photos of 2015

This has been a great year for me as far as shooting basketball goes. I have been really lucky to shoot for some great teams. Shooting in a loud, packed Mackey Arena is always fun. I was able to shoot a couple of games in historic Hinkle Fieldhouse as well. The highlight of the year though was shooting the first round NCAA Tournament games in Louisville, Kentucky. I was able to watch a lot of good basketball through my lens that weekend. I was hired to shoot games for Iowa State and Hampton, but it was great to see Purdue in their return to the tournament as well. 2015 was a great year to shoot basketball, and I hope that 2016 can match it. I will be shooting in Mackey tonight so I hope that it can start off as good as I think the season can. While we wait for that game though let’s look back at my fifteen favorite basketball images from last year.

15. One bittersweet moment this year was watching the five great seniors leave the West Lafayette basketball court for the last time. I covered many of these guys in other sports as well as basketball over the years. They were a great group that will be hard to replace this season. Here they gathered one last time on the court for a photo after a win.

14. Media day at the NCAA Tournament can be a slow day if you let it. For some reason instead of complaining I decided to make some fun photos. The top photo was made in the Iowa State locker room before the media was allowed in. I loved the chilled nature of the photo as the player just listened to his music. I also liked this photo of one of Fred Holberg’s kids in the locker room. Who knows how good he will be in the future, and this first NCAA moment will be one that he will remember.

13. Early this season Ray Davis sat out part of an early game with what appeared to be a leg injury. When he came back into the game, and laid down this sick dunk. I guess his leg was okay after all. Ray will appear on this countdown again. Continue reading “Top 15 Basketball Photos of 2015”

My 15 Favorite Stadium Photos From the Past Year

When I cover an event I like to get a general view as well as the tight action shots. When I visit somewhere new I also like to get to the stadium early to see what kind of angles I can get. When you are hired to cover the action you can’t always leave your post to shoot from that angle, but before the stadium is opened to the public you can usually make a cool image. Sometimes you cover a team over the course of a season, and you can afford to go and make the stadium shot when the light is right. These are the best situations. A couple of those images appear on this countdown. In a way these stadium shots become my shots from a shoot. They show a bit more of the story than any one still from the game sometimes can. Here are fifteen of those photos from 2015 that were memorable to me.

15. This past winter I was not really planning to drive to Frankfurt on a snowy night to see the West Side basketball game play. When I realized what gym they were playing in I decided to make the drive. Historic Case Arena is one of the great high school gyms in Indiana. People from all over the United States know about it for a different reason though. It was the home court for the Western University Dolphins in the movie Blue Chips. This was a very cool gym to shoot in due to the unique nature of it.

14. The next stadium is one that I spent a lot of time in over the course of a year. It was interesting to go back and revisit it last year as the Purdue women’s basketball team travelled to Bloomington to face the Hoosiers. As I said above I made it to the stadium early to make some shots. Knowing that the stadium would not fill up for the game this was my best chance to make a photo. I put the usher into the shot just to give a little scale on just how high up we were.

13. This past March I was lucky enough to shoot a couple of games in the NCAA Tournament for Iowa State and Hampton. A very cool benefit from the experience was that I also was able to shoot the Purdue game as well. On media day I walked around the stadium to make some photos from a few different angles. I liked this one as it told the story of the Purdue experience. Because I was not shooting for the school I don’t think anyone has seen this photo until now.

12. The Purdue women’s volleyball team plays in Holloway Gymnasium. When this gym is packed it is a sight to see. The good news is that this gym is packed for nearly every game of the season. For one of the early season games this year I got permission to head up to the camera deck to make a picture early in the game. The Big Ten Network was covering the game, and they wanted to exclusively use the deck. A picture before the broadcast though didn’t hurt anyone, and it was a good photo of the first packed house of many this past season.

11. This year I only made one trip to Wrigley Field. I was determined to make a photo of the stadium with the new additions though. I had not been in the stadium since the 2013 season so there was quite a bit of new things for me to see. This is not the old time ballpark that I remember. I still am too sure just how much I like the changes.

10. U.S. Cellular Field is one park that has made many changes all for the better. I did not like this park when it first opened up. I love old Comiskey Park for many reasons. The new park was just too much of a cookie cutter park. Of course with the name change to the new park came new money to fix some of those things. I liked this photo of the front of the park because it shows it off a bit as well as showcases the monument to the 2005 World Championship team as well. This was one benefit to having a little too much time to kill in the city one afternoon. With no real agenda I went to the park to make some photos I have always wanted to make. This was one of those photos.

9. This year right before the anthem at a Purdue football game I heard that there was going to be a flyover. I scrambled to get a wide angle lens on my camera, and thought of a spot I could get to quickly. I had an idea, but with the time available I could never get to that spot. I decided to stay right where I was as I might be able to place a couple of things that I wanted in the shot. In the end I like the photo, but I can’t help but think how high my idea could have been. Maybe next year I will find out about the flyover a little earlier.

8. I made this photo on one of my trips to U.S. Cellular Field this past season. I went out to make a closer shot of White Sox centerfielder Adam Eaton wearing the number 9 of Minnie Minoso. I realized while out there that I had another wider shot that would look great. The lines of the outfield lead you right into the center of the photo. A little fun with the post processing made this a fun photo for me.

7. I have only shot the one Indy Fuel game this year, but it was a fun one. They have a great intro that lights up the arena by itself. Thanks to the staff of the Fuel I was in a great position to capture it. I would like to shoot this a few more times from a few different angles.

6. One of my favorite photos from the Purdue basketball game against Indiana this past year was this shot from early in the game. You have the action on the court, but the fan holding out the scoring sheet with the teams on it just made it for me. The court looks great from this angle, and it really makes for a fun picture.

5. This past April I shot the Notre Dame baseball game against Indiana at Victory Field. We did not get the sunset that I was looking for, but the blue hour looked great. I made my way quickly to the upper deck to make this photo.

4. One of the best venues that I shot in last season was Hinkle Fieldhouse home of the Butler Bulldogs. For this game I was there to cover St. John’s, but during the anthem you don’t have a lot to cover. I went up into the stands a bit to make this image. I love shooting in this old barn, and I hope that I get the chance to shoot there again this year. It is a special place to shoot for sure.

3. One shot that I really like is this one of the new introductions at Mackey Arena. I don’t think this shot would work for most other schools, but since the Purdue colors are gold and black I think that this works very well. I have a couple of other ideas for the introductions that I will use at a later date when the stadium is packed. I think there is a lot of potential here for some interesting photos.

2. This season I covered many games for the Kokomo Jackrabbits of the Prospect League. They played in a new stadium that was still under construction. One goal of the season was to make a good sunset image of the park. As luck would have it every game that I shot was cloudless as the sun went down. Here I tried to make something to still show off parts of the park as well as the beautiful sunset. With some construction still going on this might have been the way to go anyway. Looking at this photo I just want to head to a warm ballpark and watch a baseball game.

  1. As luck would have it there was a great sky during my only trip to Four Winds Field this year. I loved this fountain in right field, and knew that the sunset would play well with it. I had no idea how well when I made the image though. This is one of my favorite stadium shots ever let alone this season. Summer, fun, and baseball all in one image.

So that was my favorite stadium shots of the year. You can see all of my favorite shots here on my website. If you go there you can see some shots that I would have liked to have put on this countdown. This year it was a very good thing to have to make some tough decisions on what made the list and what did not. I was lucky enough to shoot in some pretty cool venues over the course of the year. As the new year approaches I can only hope that I get to shoot in some unique venues this coming season.

My Favorite Photos From This Past West Lafayette Basketball Season

This past year I covered many of the games of the West Lafayette Red Devils. It was a fun year to cover for many reasons. I saw some great comebacks, and was able to shoot in a few venues. I also was able to cover a great group of five seniors as they played their last games as a Red Devil. Most of those guys I had seen play since their sophomore years, and I was able to see how they grew as young men and athletes in that time. I think that covering amateur sports has a few advantages. One of those is seeing how the athletes grow during their time in school. That growth is great to watch in high school, and it continues in college. The list below may not be my best photos of the year, but they are the photos that I think represents the year the best. Sometimes you just like a photo for one reason or another even if it is not the most technically brilliant photo. Unless I end up working a post season game my basketball season ended with West Side at Peru last Wednesday night. I thought that I would recap a bit of the season here for you.

20. The first game of the season that I saw was the game the night before Thanksgiving at McCutcheon. West Lafayette did not win the game, but it did provide a couple of cool moments for me. One of them was this one with a wide angle lens as my nephew Kyle Gick was getting ready to inbound the ball.

19. When West Side played at Central Catholic near the end of the season they took a large group of fans with them. The student section really made sure that they would be seen as they wore neon clothes. I liked the away fans as a background here as sophomore Charlie Nycz shoots a three pointer.

18. One highlight of the season was watching the West Side game at Frankfort. It was very cool to see a game in Case Arena, but it was more fun to watch the great comeback that they had. For a while West Side was becoming the last minute team. Every game had a lot of drama in it. That is great for a while, but every now and then you want a blowout win.

17. If you wanted drama the last game of the season had it as well. The Red Devils battled Western into two overtimes. In the end they could not answer the late game three point play of Western. The photo above though kind of represents the hard fought battle between the two teams. Neither team had it easy, and I am sure that they were both exhausted after giving it all for as long as they did. Continue reading “Top 20 Photos From the 2014-2015 West Lafayette Basketball Season”

Western Wins a Heartbreaker for the Second Time This Season Against West Lafayette

Sometimes things are just not meant to be. Last night it took regulation and two overtimes to decide the sectional opener for Western and West Lafayette. There were times in the last minutes of the game that it looked like both sides had the advantage to take the victory. Then something would happen that would switch the momentum back to the other side. If I was at the game clearly as a fan I would have been excited that I had just seen a fantastic game. I was not there as a fan though. Even though you shouldn’t as a photographer I had a clear rooting interest. It is amazing how far I have come in the last few years. When I moved here I didn’t know where each team was. Now I clearly have a rooting interest for West Side. Sometimes that can come back to haunt you though as it did last night. What will also haunt me was a terrible call at the end of the game that ended up costing West Side the ballgame. The refs called a foul on West Side on a play that could have gone either way. Then they gave Western a basket on a shot that occurred way after the spot where the foul did. That foul shot was the difference in the game. A normal no call late in the ballgame turned into a game winning three point play. A long time ago I learned from Ron Luciano the famous baseball umpire a little secret. The more animated the referee during a call the less sure they are of the call. When he was not sure he would sell the call. Both referees really sold that call letting me know that they were really not sure of it. Maybe they just wanted to go home after two overtimes.

West Side Goes Down, But Not Without a Fight

Every player has an end to their playing time. Last night the five seniors at West Side had their season end. Senior Trev Parker did not play due to injury, but the other four seniors all had a great senior moment to go out on. This ride was going to end sometime. That was inevitable. It could have ended last night, or at the state finals, or anywhere in between. Someone was going to walk out of that gym disappointed last night, and it was West Side. As I said though each of the seniors had a moment where they brought the team back. While spelling Nai Carlisle for a stretch senior Kyle Gick made a great acrobatic layup while being accosted by two Western defenders who were much taller than Kyle. Jared Snoble had his hustle moments as well as a key three to get West Side a bit closer during a comeback. Bradley Bittles had what I call a Bittles moment a few times during the game. He is the master of the putback in traffic. He saved a lot of possessions with his rebounding. He finished the game with 18 rebounds. The biggest senior moment last night had to come from Tyler Nycz. With West Side down two he nailed a three from near the top of the key. The referees declared that he was fouled after the shot so West Side was awarded the ball out of bounds. After a small stretch of play Tyler was open in front of the West Side bench where he nailed another three. Six points in one trip down the floor, and the door was now open for West Side. That was a huge moment in the game when it appeared as if Western was going to start to pull away. Tyler finished his final game with 12 points. This was a great senior class. They will be hard to replace for West Side. I enjoyed watching them play for the past three years. Seeing the emotion displayed by Coach Wood after the game I think he would agree with me.

The Underclassmen Do Their Part

I don’t want to short the underclassmen here. They played a big role in the game as well. They are also the future of this West Side team. Nai Carlisle is clearly the star of this team. This team is bigger than its star, but he is the star. He was fouled hard early in the second half, and I don’t know how well his shooting arm was after that. He was definitely in some pain for the rest of the game. He still tried his hardest to give West Side the win. While Tyler Nycz will be leaving the team his brother Charlie will be back next season. That fact alone may be reason enough for me to come back and shoot a few games. Charlie is the type of player that a photographer loves. He does many things that look great on camera including diving on the ground for loose ball. He is a hustler that makes me look good as a photographer. He played his heart out for his brother last night. The emotion between the two Nycz boys after the game just reminds you how much these kids have invested in it.

Bonus Photos

Here are a few photos from the game last night that I liked for one reason or another. I have a gallery of over 200 posted on my website here. This may have been the longest that I have gone without looking at my sports photos in a while. Last night I just was not quite ready to relive that game again. Today with a little perspective I went through the photos trying to find some great moments for these kids. So here is the final round of bonus photos for the West Side Red Devils this season.

West Lafayette Honors Five Outstanding Senior Players

Last night I made my final trip to the West Lafayette Gym for the season. I have covered many games there this year, and as much as I want spring to come I wouldn’t mind a few more basketball games here. Over the last few years I have been to many senior nights in many different sports. I cover them in a kind of cold way, because you can’t get caught up in the emotion of the night. You have to make your photos. Last night was probably the hardest senior night that I have covered. West Side had five players honored for their contributions. One of them was my nephew, but they are all good young men. It will be hard to watch a West Side game and not see them on the court. That is really all that I know there. I have seen them play since they played JV together. The season is not over, but no matter how things shake out in the tournament you know that the end is near. I hope that I can photograph these men for a few extra games this season. Their games will probably be the last basketball that I photograph until next season.

Bonus Photos

I have included a few photos from the night below. The night was less about capturing the action shots, and more about capturing the emotion of the night. It was a bittersweet night, but it made for some beautiful photos. My gallery on my website is over 250 images. Many of those were of the ceremonies before and after the game. I usually have the galleries locked, but you can right click on the photos to save them if you wish. You can view the gallery here.

Continue reading “West Lafayette Wins Big on Senior Night”

Gearing Up For One Shot

Just before I left for the basketball game last night I saw a tweet from the West Lafayette student section saying that they would be out in force and wearing neon. I grabbed my Canon 60D, my 8mm fisheye lens, and my monopod. I would have a rig that I would use for one shot that night. It really would not be good for much else, but I had an idea for a picture. Before the game started I went to the student section, and asked them to give me a cheer. I have a method for doing this type of photo that is a little different than most. I set my timer to 2 seconds and bracket three shots. That means that overtime that I put my camera up I get three shots. To me this is better than having a pocket wizard and firing because I get a quick break, and I can recompose my photo. I have had some success this way. This might be my favorite shot of the night.

Changing Things Up a Bit

Last night I shot mostly with my Canon 5D Mark III. Last season it was my go to camera for basketball, but I have fallen in love with the Canon 7D Mark II. Last night I changed up my kit a bit to get a different look. I was starting to really make the same photos over and over. I think that on senior night next week I will use the 24-70mm lens on the Canon 5D Mark III again. I liked my results tonight with it. The 70-200mm lens on the 7DII is a great combo to get in a little tighter when that is necessary.

Back at Central Catholic

This blog started with a game at Central Catholic. The very first post was of current Purdue receiver Danny Anthrop running back a punt. Last night I saw his younger brother Jackson Anthrop play for CC. He is the third Anthrop brother that I have photographed. They all have the same hard nosed style that is fun to watch. Last night against my team though it was not so fun to watch. Continue reading “West Lafayette Basketball at Central Catholic”