Updated: Nov 13, 2018
This past Friday marked 5 weekends in a row at RAC Arena and we were treated to yet another nail-biter. As a sports photographer, this is what you live for. The opportunity to capture the excitement and emotion of a game that goes down to the wire usually delivers shots worthy of making your portfolio.
For me, the biggest decision to make as a photographer when shooting a 'thriller' is positioning. Do i keep shooting down at the offensive end or head to the other baseline and shoot the backs of the home team? Common sense would suggest keep shooting at the offensive end, but throughout my years shooting the Wildcats one thing I've noticed is that players will generally celebrate by turning to the bench, as they run back to defend.
While shooting Friday's game against the Bullets the time was ticking down and the scores were level. Steindl hit an important 3-pointer mid-way through the quarter so I made sure to keep the camera on him after the shot as should it hit I could capture that elusive celebration shot. Sure enough he gives a hearty fist-pump after the ball hits the twine, but predictably he does so while running back in defence.
It was at this point I changed position. I had plenty of action shots and wanted some of that emotive action. I headed down to the other end of the court, positioned near the Wildcats team bench so 2 opportunities opened - on-court and bench celebration shots. Next-up Mr. Reliable Jesse Wagstaff hits a clutch 3-pointer, turns to the bench and gives me this....
...I shouldn't be surprised I guess, Wags is accustomed to winning, no biggie.
The Bullets manage to tie-scores with 6 seconds left, giving the 'Cats the chance to make one last play, enter the MVP Bryce Cotton. As he receives the ball at the top of 3-point line I'm focused in on him and only him. Shooting from behind the play the action isn't that important right now, but as soon as that shot goes up I'm ready to fire. Bang. He does it again. The crowd goes crazy, BC clenches his fist, turns towards the bench and lays a Mike Tyson-esque right hook to the air in celebration.
I didn't crop most of these snaps as I feel the crowd's reaction in the background adds to the shot.
And yet again the best celebration shot of the night is facing away from the offensive end. Luck plays a massive role in getting these emotive shots, and I've managed to be very lucky so far this season (BC's dunk shot against United the luckiest of them all). But in this case a bit of thought went into positioning myself and it paid off.