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Picture of the week…#2

March 5, 2010
basketball action

The Dalles Wahtonka junior Ben Kuechmann (4) chases a loose ball to the sidelines, flanked by Albany junior Eric Ramirez (23) during overtime play in Wednesday's game against South Albany. Copyright Mark B. Gibson/The Dalles Chronicle

I enjoyed taking other pictures more… the cute kid with the “cat in the hat” red-and-white striped hat being read to for “Read Across America” day, or the gentleman picking up brass at a local shooting pit that is slated for closure. I don’t really like basketball and I was sick as I shot this championship game.

It isn’t even a great basketball shot, action wise, but I’ve struggled with lighting this gym all year am pleased with the results

In the past I’ve mounted flashes at various points, mostly up high, using radio triggers and homemade external batteries. It was always a hassle, mounting and moving the lights, but well worth the effort. Unfortunately, we switched to a Nikon D-90 and I was unable to sync the flashes to a sufficiently high shutter speed, a drawback of the low-level Nikons. The camera also had no sync connector, so I couldn’t have an on camera flash and a mounted flash working together because I had no output for the radio trigger. New lighting in the gym helped, and through the year I switched between on camera flash and available light, shooting from the floor with a tripod.

It worked, best results coming from a on-camera flash and a moderate ISO setting. But toward the end of the season we purchased a new flash, the Nikon 900. With Nikon flashes and their built-in remote triggers, the D90 will synch at any shutter speed. For this picture, the main light source, a Nikon 600, is immediately in front of the ball, mounted close to the court on the railing. I’m 20 feet or so away, shooting with the Nikon 900 on the hotshoe, set to master.

Setup is quick, and so far I’ve had no complaints from the players about the flashes being so much lower and closer to the court. More surprising, the pictures lack “gym ripple,” rippling reflections that bounce off the floor and give odd stripes to the legs of the players.

It did take me a long time to figure out how to change the channel setting after I accidently shifted it. I’ll have to make sure I have that down before I use the system again…I hate standing there poking buttons like an idiot while surrounded by madness and mayhem.

Speaking of mayhem, I always wear earplugs during gym games. It gets LOUD in there, it can be exhausting and desensitizing.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 6, 2010 20:27

    I really like the action in this. It’s amazing–like seeing music.

  2. March 8, 2010 18:35

    That’s a great action shot Mark! What surprises me is that the player in white looks very much like a junior on our boy’s varsity. They say we all have a twin somewhere!

    • March 10, 2010 23:55

      Thank you. I once got in a lot of trouble as a reporter at the Headlight-Herald in Tillamook, Oregon, because people called the newspaper and complained about my behaviour at various events. When it happened at events that I had not even attended, I realized I had a twin… and an evil twin at that!

  3. March 22, 2010 17:57

    Really! Did you ever meet the fellow?

    When I lived in Gig Harbor there was a lady in Tigard who looked just like me. The lady at the Goodwill store kept talking to me like I knew her. She said I’d been in just the day before. Eeeeery! At least my twin is nice! (grin)

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