02
Feb

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The NBA season is now past the halfway point so I figured it would be a good time to highlight some of my favorite images from the first half.

This is my first season covering more than 2-3 basketball games so it has been a big learning experience for me. Other sports (especially outdoor sports) gives you many more shooting positions, lighting and chances to be artistic so I have been struggling to be creative with basketball. One other thing I have struggled with, and continue to, is having never played basketball or been a fan of the sport I really have no clue what is going on most the time (what is this 3 point shot you talk about? JK!) With that said here are some of my favorite images from the first half of the season.

Below, a general view of the US Airways Center during the game between the Phoenix Suns against the New Orleans Hornets.

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Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

While its hard to really get many different shots in basketball the fun occurs when players go flying out of bounds into the crowd.

Below, Phoenix Suns forward (33) Grant Hill hits a cameraman as he flies out of bounds into the broadcasters table in the second quarter against the New Orleans Hornets at the US Airways Center.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Or random wardrobe malfunctions…..

Below, Phoenix Suns guard (13) Steve Nash drives past Sacramento Kings forward (31) Spencer Hawes at the US Airways Center.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/800th, Manual

San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (below) peeks around Phoenix Suns forward Jared Dudley as he shoots a free throw.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

It is probably one of the most played out photos in basketball but of course when the Cleveland Cavaliers came into town I had to shoot as forward LeBron James throws talcum powder in the air prior to the game against the Phoenix Suns, below.

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Nikon D700, 17-35mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

From a remote camera mounted on the post beneath the basket I shot the below frame as Phoenix Suns guard (23) Jason Richardson collides with Cleveland Cavaliers center (33) Shaquille O’Neal as they went for a rebound.

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Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

With basketball the “coolest game actions” is when a big name player dunks. They don’t get much bigger than Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (below) who flies through the air prior to dunking the ball.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/800th, Manual

A few minutes later LeBron James argued a call with a referee (below).

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/800th, Manual

Players fighting for a rebound also seems to make for cool shots such as the below frame where Phoenix Suns center Channing Frye fouls Cleveland Cavaliers forward (17) Anderson Varejao as they battle for a rebound.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Below, Phoenix Suns forward (1) Amare Stoudemire and Oklahoma City Thunder center (12) Nenad Krstic battle for the ball.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/800th, Manual

Phoenix Suns guard (33) Grant Hill drives to the basket under pressure from Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden, below.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/800th, Manual

Below, Phoenix Suns guard (2) Goran Dragic gets hit in the face by Los Angeles Clippers guard (3) Sebastian Telfair in the first half at the US Airways Center.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

I really love when you get a really random luck shot that is different from the usual images you see from the sport. One such example of an interesting luck shot is the below frame where Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic looks on from the ground after losing control of the ball and falling in the second half against the Los Angeles Clippers at the US Airways Center.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

A good remote shooting position for basketball is from the catwalks aimed straight down on the basket.

Below, Phoenix Suns center (8) Channing Frye goes up for a rebound in the first half against the Los Angeles Lakers.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 4000iso, f5, 1/1000th, Manual

Player reaction shots is always something I constantly look for throughout the course of games, getting superstar players reacting is even cooler.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (below) reacts in the first quarter against the Phoenix Suns at the US Airways Center.

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Nikon D700, 200-400mm, 5000iso, f4, 1/640th, Manual

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant flies to the basket to score two points against the Phoenix Suns at the US Airways Center, below.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 3200iso, f3.2, 1/1000th, Manual

On the courtside seats at NBA games you can sometimes spot celebrities. Below, Arizona senator John McCain and wife Cindy McCain watch the game between the Phoenix Suns against the Los Angeles Lakers

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Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Los Angeles Lakers guard (24) Kobe Bryant is hit by Phoenix Suns center (8) Channing Frye after shooting a shot in the second half at the US Airways Center, below.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Fighting for rebounds on free throw attempts is another time to get cool shots as players typically tend to lock arms and push.

Below, Boston Celtics center Kendrick Perkins (center) battles for a rebound with Phoenix Suns forward (3) Jared Dudley and center (15) Robin Lopez in the first half at the US Airways Center.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Basketball can absolutely get boring at times as displayed below by Devin Fitzgerald, the son of Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald courtside during the game between the Phoenix Suns against the Miami Heat. I feel your pain lil guy!

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/800th, Manual

When I get bored enough I sometimes bust out the star filter for some different looking images.

Below, Miami Heat forward (30) Michael Beasley drives to the basket under pressure Phoenix Suns center (8) Channing Frye.

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Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual with a Star Filter

You never know who you will see court side at an NBA game, below, AC Slater uh I mean Mario Lopez laughs from his seat court side during the game between the Phoenix Suns against the Miami Heat. All that was missing was Jesse Spano singing, “I’m soooo excited, I’m soo  scaaaaaared!” (Anyone who grew up in the early 90’s knows EXACTLY what I am talking about!)

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Nikon D700, 300mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Before the game when the Phoenix Suns get introduced they dim all the lights down in the arena and if you set up for it with the proper exposure you can get some interesting looking images. Below, Milwaukee Bucks forward (21) Hakim Warrick holds onto the net prior to the game.

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Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 4000iso, f2.8, 1/100th, Manual

Below, Phoenix Suns forward (55) Earl Clark defends against Milwaukee Bucks forward (21) Hakim Warrick.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/800th, Manual

Phoenix Suns guard (13) Steve Nash drives to the basket under pressure from Milwaukee Bucks defenders, below.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/800th, Manual

After numerous eye injuries from being hit in the face Phoenix Suns forward Amare Stoudemire must now wear protective glasses during the games. Below he adjusts his glasses while appearing to look directly at me during a time out.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/800th, Manual

Getting up close and low during player introductions can drastically clean up your backgrounds plus it makes sweet looking photos such as the below shot of New Jersey Nets center (9) Yi Jianlian prior to the game against the Phoenix Suns.

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Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/800th, Manual

The same concept can work for game action.

Below, with my wide angle body low on the ground I shot New Jersey Nets guard (6) Courtney Lee leaping through the air to the basket in the fourth quarter against the Phoenix Suns at the US Airways Center.

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Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Back to another shot from a remote cam aimed straight down.

Below, Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng (right) battles for a rebound with Phoenix Suns forward Jared Dudley in the first half at the US Airways Center.

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Nikon D700, 70-200mm with 1.4 convertor, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

The coolest play in the first half of the season had to be this monster dunk by Chicago Bulls guard (1) Derrick Rose over Phoenix Suns guard (2) Goran Dragic in the fourth quarter at the US Airways Center, below.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Check out the below video clip of the dunk!

A few days ago while flying home from a shoot in Michigan we flew over the US Airways Center on final approach. Luckily I had my camera on my lap and was able to get the below aerial views of the arena.

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Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 400iso, f5.6, 1/1250th, Aperture Priority

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Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 400iso, f5.6, 1/1000th, Aperture Priority

Below, Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Kidd passes the ball as he is covered by Phoenix Suns guard (13) Steve Nash and center (15) Robin Lopez in the first half at the US Airways Center.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Phoenix Suns forward Amare Stoudemire (below) celebrates a foul call in the third quarter against Dallas Mavericks at the US Airways Center.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Phoenix Suns center (8) Channing Frye dunks the ball with authority, below.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Here are some web clips so far in the season.

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Posted in Basketball, NBA, Pocket Wizard, Remote Camera, Sports   | 9 Comments

9 responses to “Images from first half of my first NBA season”

  1. No way this was your first time shooting the NBA, these shots are terrific!!

    How many keepers compared to say, a football game?

  2. Daniel says:

    Amazing pics yet again Mark.

  3. Ted says:

    Great photos as always Mark. I love the aerial of Phoenix, I can almost see 5th and Adams where I used to work. Thanks for using the NBATV slam dunk video, I appreciate that.

  4. Jones says:

    Great photos! Let’s see – I think the Trailblazers will be down there soon – looking forward to some pics if you get the chance to post them.

    And I’m glad to see Channing Frye doing well for Phoenix this year – great shot of him from the overhead remote.

    Quick question – are all of these shots with ambient light – or are you also using strobes?

  5. Masden says:

    Hello,

    Which brand of star filter do you use ?

  6. Shu says:

    Very nice. You might try getting some shots of the offensive players driving the ball to the basket. The player’s body can get angled 45 degrees or more and can very interesting moment. Players like Nash, Richardson, Stoudemire, Dragic, and Barbosa you should give you ample opportunities. Kinda like these:

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3618/3655491497_a11eb3077c_o.jpg

    http://www.nba.com/suns/photos/108mia_nash_left.jpg

    http://www.nba.com/suns/photos/123gs_dragic_drive.jpg

    This guy is the NBA logo:
    http://www.basketwallpapers.com/Images-03/Jerry-West-LA-Lakers-Wallpaper.jpg

  7. Thomas Shea says:

    Mark,

    Besides racing, I think this is the best sport you shoot. Some really nice images here.

    Tom

  8. Jay Taylor says:

    Mark,
    Awesome images man! Even though you may not enjoy shooting B-ball, we sure enjoy your images and your perspective on the court. Keep on doin’ what you do bro.

    JayT

  9. rady says:

    Great shots, Mark! Just found the blog but i’m subscribing to your feeds. Have you ever shot basketball on strobes?

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