New Orleans Hornets at Houston Rockets :: April 14, 2010

Basketball is my favorite sport to shoot by far. I grew up mainly in San Antonio, and we only had one professional team – the Spurs.

Basketball is a great sport to shoot for a few reasons.

1. No facemasks to block view of the face.

2. The players tend to be very animated. Lots of talking, yelling, laughing, nose picking (don’t scroll down yet!)

3. It is fast, fun and has lots of action.

I decided to shoot the entire game with just my Canon 7D and Canon EOS 70-200mm 2.8L IS. One camera, one lens. Nice and simple.

Because I have shot there a number of times, I know my settings well.

Manual mode

ISO 2500

1/800th second shutter speed

Aperture f/2.8

White balance: Fluorescent

Everything will be shot with those settings, unless otherwise noted.

Before the games, pretty much every team turns down the lights for the introductions. This is a great opportunity to get some really great light on players, but you have to be fast. The main light that lights everything is circling around pretty quickly. Much too quickly to change the shutter speed manually.

So I changed my settings to:
Aperture Value (Av on Canon, A on Nikon)

Auto White Balance (AWB)

ISO 640 (the spotlight is really bright)

Spot Metering

Turned on my image stabilization.

The shutter speed will be determined automatically by the spot metering.

Aperture Priority/Spot Metering/Auto White Balance


ISO 640

Aperture 2.8

Shutter 1/125th (A slower shutter speed can be used with an image stabilization lens)

During the first couple introductions, I saw that the spotlight was passing right behind rookie Jordan Hill and I noticed that when it did, the light was highlighting his very cool hair and the reflection of the light on the floor was lighting his face and was very warm.

Caught this about the same time. Kevin Martin looked like he was hiding behind Clutch, the mascot.

Aperture Priority/AWB


ISO 640


1/1000th s

This also shows just how much the light changes. Jordan Hill’s picture was a little dark at 1/125th s, and this was just right at 1/1000th s.

Yao Ming has been injured all season, and I haven’t seen him at many games. I liked this shot because he looked devious. I got better head shots of him, but just decided to blog this one.

You don’t see many guys that look like they are just having fun out there. This is a pretty boring frame, and I hate the arm across Luis Scola (that pretty much kills its use) but I love the expression on his face. Always watch for expressions on faces while shooting basketball. This was also taken before I realized I needed to switch my camera off AWB, so it is a bit warmer than natural. Shot at 90mm

I like this of Scola, though I cut his head off a bit. It is very intense and very tight. This is uncropped and shot at 70mm (the widest I could go with my setup. The fact that I couldn’t get wider than 70mm (really a view of 112mm when you factor in the 1.6x crop factor) is the main limitation of the one lens setup.

Just becasue the play stops, doesn’t mean you should stop shooting. During a free throw, I caught David West picking his nose. My editors didn’t run it, but I’m still blogging it. Cause hey, everyone has boogies. Shot at 175mm.

Just a nice normal shot of Kevin Martin. The Rockets were holding their monthly “Dress Like a Chair” night. Shot at 70mm.

Jordan Hill got fouled hard on this play. This is a little after the action, but a great expression and no one has control of the ball. Shot at 70mm.

Jordan Hill got his revenge with this monster dunk, though. Shot at 70mm.

Kyle Lowery is the Rockets backup point guard, and a very solid player. When shooting for editorial use, it is important to know all about the teams you are shooting. In this case, Kyle Lowery is going to be a free agent, and may have a few suitors. The Rockets have said they will resign him at any cost. But if you know he is going to be in the news in the off season, make sure you get some nice clean shots of the player. Shot at 70mm.

Always have to include a shot of the cheerleaders or dancers. Love the hair flying and the expression on the girl in the background.

Pretty normal fade-away shot. More important because David West has been linked to a lot of trade talks and Luis Scola is a free agent, and both are very good players. Shot at 70mm.

You always have to be on the lookout for players on the bench, coaches, and fans between plays or during plays. A shot of a great expression is worth way more than your normal action shot. Since the Rockets didn’t make the playoffs and head coach Rick Adleman is rumored to leave the Rockets, this shot could get some play down the line. Shot at 200mm.

Rockets were doing their normal “GET LOUD” stuff during a timeout. This girl was into it, but her friend apparently was not. Shot at 200mm.

Always be on the lookout for nice clean shots of star players. Here is Emeka Okefor just waiting on a FT. Not a special shot, but he is isolated and it could be used a number of ways. Shot at 200mm – the widest I could go and not get anyone else in the frame. Notice how blurred out the background is. This is very important when you are trying to isolate your subect.

Same principal here with this shot of David West. Nothing special, but he is all alone and shooting. A lot of basketball cards run with a pic like that. Shot at 100mm – the widest I could go and not get anyone else in the frame.

Normal action shot with some nice angles. And you don’t see three white guys in a picture that doesn’t include the Indiana Pacers very often. Shot at 70mm.

A great expression here on David West’s face as he goes up for the lay up. Shot at 70mm.

I love the lines and angles in this shot. Pretty normal rebounding shot of Kevin Martin. Shot at 70mm.

Also, always be on the lookout for old pros and celebrities in the crowd. Hakeem Olajuwon was on hand for the last game of the season and only one player – Emeka Okefor – went up to greet him after the game. Shot at 70mm.

I had a great time shooting this Rockets season. I am really looking forward to seeing what GM Darryl Morey does with the team this off season and can’t wait for next year.

Here is a little slideshow that includes all those pics and a few more. Enjoy.

Feel free to ask questions!

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *



There was an error submitting your comment. Please try again.

M o r e   i n f o