I Wished I had Watched This Video Before Last Tuesday….

Hi Gang:

Remember last week when I did that post about my incredibly lame College Basketball Shoot? Well, after that post I heard from my buddy, pro sports shooter Mike Olivella (who laughed at me hysterically), but between his howls of laughter, he pointed me to the video above, which he put together showing how he shoots a College Basketball game, along with tips and insights on how to shoot a game like this. Here’s the link to Mike’s blog.

Thanks Mike for sharing this with us (and you can stop giggling now).

  1. I shot my first basketball game last week and while it wasn’t the NBA or NCAA but the Harlem Globetrotters it was still amazingly difficult. The speed at which the game moves is not evident until you try to focus at 200mm at a large man running directly at you with the ball while other really large men run to get in to position to try to take the ball away.

    This would have helped…

      1. Bob –

        I shoot a great deal of High School and Tier I hockey, I am always looking for tips in terms of dealing with the poor lighting and poor line of site issues in arenas.


    1. Glad to finally hear what you got to cover at that arena. I can imagine covering the Globetrotters in general is a bit more challenging that standard NBA due to their antics.

      Have a link to the photos if you can share?

      1. I’m still working on getting permission to use the images on my blog.
        The shots i got were good but not great.
        Need a lot more practice..

    1. I’ve been doing it for 6 years and haven’t had an issue but now that you mention it, it’s not real bright, is it? On the other hand, the only people allowed on the floor are credentialed people and security is everywhere. Oh, and did I mention I’m Cuban and if anyone even looked at my stuff I’d go all Scarface on ’em?

  2. Thanks, Mike. Found this very informative in terms of the planning process. How come there are no Ref butts, or is that a Kelby signature?

    1. ‘Cause Kelby didn’t watch my video before he went to shoot the game…I have had my share of ref butt-photos, though. You can only do what you can. Another little tip is to talk to them during timeouts. Go over to them and make a comment on how rough the game is under the boards and how hard it must be to do their jobs.. i.e., suck up. Then make sure they know where you’re sitting. I find they try to avoid you if they know you.

  3. Great video Mike, thanks for sharing it Scott!

    Mikes workflow/options are about the same that I shoot, but I always find it amazing what you can get away in some arenas versus others. The Fedex Forum where I shoot, you cannot kneel, you are right in front of courtside seats.

    The AP and local paper photogs often shoot 300mm 2.8 lenses on the far side and 24-70 on the close side as well.

    I love seeing other sports photogs take on how to shoot a game, its just more inspiration and tools for everyones arsenal when we can gleam from one another.

    1. Since I shoot for FSU more often than not, the shots at the far basket aren’t as important as the ones at the near basket so I choose not to lug the 300 to games unless I’m shooting from up top where the TV camera sets up. Then I’ll bring the 300mm and the 400mm and shoot down. I also go up there when the arena has a smallish crowd so I don’t run into the problem Scott had with empty seats in the background. When shooting down, you don’t get any seats in the shots.

      1. I agree on the 300, I mostly shoot one way – near court, so I couldnt agree more with your words of wisdom of shooting down, etc.

        Great post, love your work.

  4. I shot NBA, NCAA, and prep school levels for the past seven years (I’m onto another profession now).. I watched this to see his take, and made me miss it a little bit. Found the lens choices a little peculiar — but variety is the spice of life.

    90% of the time — I would shoot 300mm 2.8 on the far and 70-200 2.8 on the short. Usually a remote mounted as well on the goal with a 16-35 2.8 and/or a floor remote with a similar lens or fisheye. Depending on the venue, I would have strobes on PocketWizards and the remote.

    Edit in your camera during timeouts, transmit if needed — depending on who you are working for.

    Don’t get frustrated with one outing! It takes at least season of games to get really comfortable/good at it.

    — Matt Dial / (Former Indianapolis Star staffer)

  5. Great post. Mike is a great guy and a big plus for sports photographers. Last year when I was just getting into sports photography, Mike was very helpful corresponding via email to my barrage of questions. Mostly due to his advice I’m now a stringer for Sun-Time’s sister paper Southtown Star.

  6. Just remember, “if it isn’t f2.8 or faster, then your shoots will be poopy.” If you missed the little quotes at the top right, go back and watch the video again, they are well worth it; great sense of humor.

  7. If you’re looking for that slightly elevated height from kneeling but don’t want to kneel that long, check out the WalkStool. It’s a three-legged stool that folds up real small (and light) which is great for location shooting. Even cooler, don’t extend the legs, and now it’s a monopod for YOU (three-point seat under your butt, but essentially a single-point contact with the ground), only about 10″ up.

  8. Thankyou for putting us on the other side of the camera. I just have one question. How do you come up with the settings for your camera? Do you have light meter and get some readings from the far end and a reading for the near end with it and set the cameras up with that?

  9. This is a great video. I’m just getting started in sports photography, and while basketball season is pretty much over here, it’ll be helpful for next year. Off to watch the other videos now!

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