Tonight was one of the most awaited sporting events of the year, as the Cleveland Cavaliers and NBA superstar LeBron James made his one and only appearance in the Crescent City as his Cavs came to town to face the New Orleans Hornets. I was quite excited about shooting this game and I wanted to get some really great images of James, but sometimes it just isn’t your day, and I only got a few of the many, money shots I was hoping to capture.
First off I wanted to get a clean capture of James doing his pre-game ritual of throwing powder into the air, yes it is cliche, it has been done many times over, I searched the web prior to the game for images of this ritual and I didn’t see any from the vantage point I shot it tonight, I’m sure I’m not the first to try shooting the moment from a overhead position, but I got the shot I was looking for, well sorta.
Before tip off I scouted the location, using my 400mm lens I got into the position that I thought I would need, the game’s tip off neared and I realized I was too close, the image would be too tight to get what I wanted, time was running out, I dashed up the stairs to the next level the 300 level of the arena. I found a position that was directly in line with where James would position himself. Then two more concerns, it appeared that the TV cameraman or his cable runner would be in my shot, but luckily just before the moment the cable puller moved just out of frame and I had a clean look. The moment came I snapped it, and I got most of it, but two slight problems. I’ve seen James do this many times usually the cloud of powder is large and very visible, this time, when I shoot it, it was not, and I’m not sure if he didn’t throw as much powder as normal or it just didn’t show up like I hoped with the arena floor as the backdrop for the image, maybe I should have shot it from the floor I thought, but then again I wanted something different not the cookie cutter shot I’ve seen done tons of times.
The second issue was the 400mm lens even from the 300 level of the arena was still too tight of a shot, James arms were cut off when he spread his arms out, I did get a nice shot with his hands elevated, but I did not come away with what I was looking for from the image. Check out my shot below.
I remained up top shooting for the first level concourse for the first quarter of the game, unfortunately I didn’t get the action facing me that often, the shot below of James lofting a shot under hand was the best I got during the first quarter shooting overhead.
After not having much success shooting overhead, I came down transmitted a few images quickly to US Presswire my wire service then headed back this time sitting courtside. I had a bit better luck from the floor, I got a nice shot of James on a jump shot, but the Hornets defenders were cut out of the frame, many times that image is trashed, but it was a shot of LeBron James that could possibly be used as a cutout possibly in a magazine, it turns out that CBS Sports.com ended up using the image last night, you can see the clip at the bottom of the page.
LeBron James being such a NBA superstar draws in his own fans even some of the Hornets fans are in awe of seeing the show put on by King James, and while scanning the crowd I saw a fan dressed as the Burger King, King, I thought it was a pretty funny so I got a few shots of the James fans.
When the Cleveland Cavaliers come to town their is always a big crowd and for the Hornets it was one of the largest crowds of the year, so I decided to get a few general view shots of the entire arena. For this shot is used my widest lens, a 11-18mm the lens is an ultra-wide and captures nearly 180 degrees of the scene.
Another image I wanted was to get something with the two best players on the court together, LeBron James and Chris Paul most of the game James was not guarded by Paul but late in the second half, Paul was matched with James.
That’s all for today, below you can enjoy a slideshow of images from the game, next Hornets game I will be covering will be Monday night against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Here is a clip I found from tonight’s game.
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