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Best Seat in the House

Photography, sports and life as seen through the lens of Seattle Times photographer Rod Mar.

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May 21, 2008 12:20 AM

Storm: Battling Back Again.

Posted by Rod Mar

Once again, the Storm looked their age in the first half of a game, only to battle back for a hard-fought victory at home.

And once again, they made editing on deadline a challenge.

Tipoff was scheduled for 7:30pm because it was being nationally televised, and my first deadline was 8:30.

This meant that I'd only get to shoot the first half before editing and transmitting.

The Storm more resembled a light breeze rather than a dangerous and threatening weather system through the first two periods of their game against visiting Sacramento.

As if a couple hundred mediocre photos of Seattle being out-hustled and out-played again weren't enough, a peek at the halftime box score only reiterated the obvious.

Seattle had been outrebounded 25-9, and was a miserable 9-31 (29%) from the field.


Some good action had taken place in front of me, and one scramble for a loose ball was too fast to catch, even when shooting at 1/500th of a second.

Usually, that shutter speed is okay for basketball (probably the lowest shutter speed you want to use if you're hoping to freeze action), but because I was bailing out of the way as the players came falling into us, the first frame is particularly full of motion. In this sequence, Sacramento's A'Quonesia Franklin beats Seattle's Ashley Robinson to a loose ball along the baseline and threw it off of Robinson to keep possession for the Monarchs:

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 24-70mm/f2.8 zoom lens @ 24mm, ISO 1600, 1/500th sec, f2.8)

The second frame is sharper in terms of movement, but lacks the "moment" of the first frame:

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 24-70mm/f2.8 zoom lens @ 24mm, ISO 1600, 1/500th sec, f2.8)

Sacramento's A'Quonisha Franklin and Laura Harper shared a high-five after the play:

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 24-70mm/f2.8 zoom lens @ 24mm, ISO 1600, 1/500th sec, f2.8)

Sue Bird struggled with an uncharacteristic four turnovers in the half, including when she lost this ball after colliding with Sacramento's Rebekkah Brunson:

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 24-70mm/f2.8 zoom lens @ 30mm, ISO 1600, 1/500th sec, f2.8)

Satisfied I'd made some decent frames with the wider lens, I switched to a 70-200mm lens and decided to shoot really tight, even though I was sitting very close to the basket (the 70-200mm lens is much more realistic when shooting from nearer the corners of the court). I got a lucky series when Seattle's Sheryl Swoopes got tangled up with Sacramento's La'Tangela Atkinson. The irony is that I shot these frames at 70mm, so it wouldn't have mattered which of the two lenses (24-70mm or 70-200mm) I used.

I really liked this image because it's a bit unusual:

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 70-200mm lens @ 70mm, ISO 1600, 1/500th sec, f2.8)

A tighter crop of a subsequent frame was also interesting:

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 70-200mm lens @ 70mm, ISO 1600, 1/500th sec, f2.8)

So, I was satisfied I'd told the basic story line in my first edit -- Storm is outplayed, outhustled. But I could hear the roar of the crowd from the photo workroom, and when I returned to the court, the fourth quarter was beginning and the Storm had rallied back.

Sheryl Swoopes and teammate Shyra Ely yelled and watched as their teammates regained the lead in the fourth quarter:

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 70-200mm lens @ 145mm, ISO 1600, 1/500th sec, f2.8)

I was conscious we'd used a celebration photo from the Opening Night game, and I liked the horizontal tussle photo for the lead, so I was looking to make sure I also had photos of the important players. Plus, this was only the second game of the season for a team hoping to go deep into the playoffs -- I didn't want to burn all my celebration photos in May...

Three players had scored 17 points to lead the way, but I guessed that sharpshooter Katie Geralds would figure into the game story. She only had nine points, but they were on a trio of three-pointers and all were at key times in the comeback. The editors and I decided that a photo of Geralds would be more appropriate than the one of Sue Bird committing a turnover. A quick spin through the fourth quarter frames yielded a frame that's not great, but served the purpose:

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 70-200mm lens @ 200mm, ISO 1600, 1/500th sec, f2.8)

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