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Shooting Clemson Basketball Games

This gives a brief tutorial about shooting basketball games at LittleJohn at Clemson.

Where to Enter (as a photographer)

The best place to enter Littlejohn is shown in the diagram below. There is a loading dock that is on corner of Littlejohn closest to the volleyball/baseball parking lot. Enter the door on the right. If you have your media pass, just walk in wearing it and you should be fine. If you're picking up a pass from "the EPI table" or "will call" then it will be on a table just inside of this door. There will be an EPI staff member working it, I just say "Hi I'm Jacob Thompson, I think you have a media pass for me?" and they hand it to me.

Next, walk down the ramp a bit. The first door on your left should be labelled "MEDIA" - that's us! Go into that room and you can set down your bag and jacket etc. On the court you should only have your camera(s).

Where you can go on the court

Summary: You can officially stay where the yellow boxes are in the picture below. Cheerleaders will usually be on the baseline on the opposite side of the goal. Our team always attacks towards the right side of this picture first, so you'll want to be in the yellow box on the right to start.

Details: This sport is more hit or miss than any other sport on who enforces which rules. Basically you should try to be out of the way as much as possible. Some games you can walk in front of the little student area on the long side of the court to get to the other side. Some games they force you to walk through the tunnels to get to the other side of the court.

Whatever you do: Don't step on the main part of the basketball court during the game. They get angry and yell at you. Walk around the edges at all times, like where normal people walk to/from their seats (not the orange areas on the court wherever possible)

You can step on the court before the game if you want to get good pictures of fire and pregame stuff.

Pregame: Fire

Before the game starts, when Clemson's players are introduced they'll roll out two carts that shoot up flames and smoke and the players run between it. You can be on the court (but not in the way) during this.time. In the picture below, fire is where I drew the fire, you can be where the white star with a red outline is.

For taking pictures of fire you'll probably want to be on full manual. I usually do something like 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO400

During the fire time you can get pics like these

During game: Action Shots (and the Ref's butt)

The ref will walk in front of you and block your pictures - relax, it's normal. Just laugh at it. You'll have plenty of opportunities to get pictures without the ref in the way.

I recommend these settings for basketball:

White Balance: Kelvin @ 4200

Shutter: 1/800

Aperture: depends on lens, I have to use f/5.6 so it's the same no matter where I zoom

ISO: 3200

These settings will result in pictures that are about 2/3 stop underexposed, so I bump them all up in Lightroom together. One thing that is uncommon is using the Kelvin white balance - I've found that the lighting in Littlejohn doesn't perfectly match any of the presets, but using Auto white balance results in a wide variety of tones that just don't fit together well. Kelvin is the perfect solution which results in all your pictures being the same temperature for easy batch editing.

Other notes

•Mobility is limited, might not always have the optimal spot

•Women’s is a great way to get basketball experience - It's not as fast-paced as men’s, less crowded on the ends of court

•The ref will always find a way to block your shot

•Don’t feel bad if you missed a good shot, there will always be more opportunities

•Learn to follow the ball, take lots of burst shots

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