I Should Have Gone To Yale

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know I really enjoy photography. As of tonight, “Clicky” has taken 24,123 shots. Obviously, I try and take pictures any time I can.

Tonight, I had my chance to shoot a basketball game. Yale was playing Columbia and I got a pass to sit on the baseline at the John J. Lee Amphitheater on the Yale Campus in New Haven.

It was Senior Night, which is nice. It was also the night of the Jones Brothers. Yale is coached by James Jones. Columbia is coached by his brother Joe.

I haven’t really shot a lot of sports. I’ve been to some Major League Baseball games, shooting from the stands, and stood on the sideline at the UCONN vs Army game a few years ago at Rentschler Field in Hartford. This was my first attempt at hoops. I am humbled.

Shooting basketball is much more difficult than I had imagined. it took about sixty seconds to come to that conclusion!

First, an observation I made after shooting the UCONN football game. Still photographers can get great shots, but they seldom get ‘the big play’ the way TV cameras do. Still photography doesn’t cover the field the same way. You often have to aim and wait for the play to get to you.

Basketball poses even more problems. It moves very quickly and is played in a relatively dimly lit gym. My lenses, fine lenses for an amateur like me, are just too ‘slow&#185’.

There were a few professional shooters at the game as well. I needed four to eight times as much light for the same shot!

I wanted to keep my shutter speed as fast as possible, so I compensated in other ways, which is why all the shots are very, very grainy. It might look like a nice artistic touch, but it wouldn’t be there if I had any choice.

In this game, Yale was blown out. Columbia was red hot. I haven’t seen the stats, but it seemed they just couldn’t miss a shot!

There was a a lot going on off the court. As with most colleges, Yale has a cheer squad They also have an unusual pep band, the Yale Precision Marching Band.

I didn’t see them march, though after the game they did play while crawling on their knees!

The YPMB also featured one guy wearing a “Harvard Sucks” t-shirt. At Yale, that sentiment is not an idle boast.

I felt very comfortable in these surroundings. It’s a shame I was so awful as a student growing up, because I would have fit well at Yale. And, my guess it’s, it’s much more prestigious to be thrown out of Yale than it was to be thrown out of Emerson College!

None of the shots from tonight will be printed. On the other hand, there is a little artistic merit there. I put a few of them in my gallery, if you’d like to take a look.

&#185 – When a photographer talks about a slow lens, it’s a lens that needs more light. The name comes from what you must do to compensate – slow down the shutter. The slower the shutter, the less sharp the action will be. It’s a vicious cycle.

7 thoughts on “I Should Have Gone To Yale”

  1. Come on Geoff, give us the details. Shutter speed,f stop, ISO, lens info. Did you let the camera set the white balance? It looks a little off. I have no idea what the color temp. of those lighs would be, but you might try setting the WB with a card. Seems to me you use a Cannon. Put it on Ebay and get yourself a Nikon D200. That ought to start a few fights šŸ™‚



  2. There is one shot where I messed up the white balance terribly. I noticed it last night after uploading and got upset with myself… though not enough to fix it at 3:30 AM. The others seem reasonably good.

    These were all shot with my Canon EOS Digital Rebel and a Sigma 17-125mm lens. I manually set the camera for 1/250 second exposure. One of the pro photogs at the game recommended I go fully manual. From that point on, my aperture was fixed ‘wide’, which varies from f3.5 to f5.6 with this particular lens.

    It’s not my finest moment, but I’ll keep these shots as a nice remembrance.

  3. Geoff, I can relate. I shot my first swimming/diving tournament. It’s pretty hard to shoot people swimming in the water! It took me 300 shots to start to see some good results. Good job on your shots though. I can imagine it really is pretty hard to follow the players and get a good action shot. I’m using a Nikon D80, btw.

  4. Thank heaven for digital, huh? Can you imagine taking hundreds of shots on film and having to wait for them to get developed to see if you actually got anything worthwile? I only have a crummy point-and-shoot…but I love digital and can’t wait to upgrade to something better.

  5. I used to shoot film and it was tedious. Digital has many advantages. However, as is the case in golf, where equipment has gotten better by leaps and bounds, the truly gifted player still stands out above his equipment. Same in photography. Ansel Adams would still be a giant today!

    Geoff Fox

  6. I’m with Tom on that. Not every picture is artistry, but I swear, I consciously think about technique, how I’ve set the camera and what I’m doing, every time I hit the shutter. Most people I see with nice cameras use them as nice point-and-shoot cameras.

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