Photographing SC basketball

Contact the professor about passes and availability. i highly recommend you have previous sports photography experience before covering basketball. You can also go if you can pair with another student who has significant experience and is willing to mentor you. Passes are in very limited supply. If you get a pass, you are COMMITTED to attend that game.

Get there at least an hour before the game starts. Walk into the College Street entrance to get your credential.  There will be a nice person at the door, so tell them you have a credential at the medial table.  You can enter before the arena opens at this door. Get a roster for both teams.  

If it’s your first visit, ask for the Media Agent. She will give you a tour & orientation. There is a Media Room for your laptop and gear. You can also get a food voucher. They will tell you which concessions stands take the vouchers.

Bring a camera with your normal lens, 80 – 200mm lens, plenty of memory cards and full batteries. Travel as light as possible. Wear professional/casual clothes and close-toed shoes. You will sit on the floor and move quickly to dodge players and balls. Do not wear Gamecock logos–you are a journalist when you are taking photos. Remember the entire arena is watching you, and you are representing the Journalism School. Study up on the players and opposing team before you go.
Try and talk to as many professional photographers as possible.  You will feel awkward at first, but just put yourself out there. Say, “Hey it’s my first b-ball game, is there anything I should know?” Or check with someone about your camera settings. Anything to start conversation is great. Just remember they are working on deadline, so photos are their first priority. 

On the court: If you’re covering one team (i.e. USC), you want to sit on the side where they are shooting, as close to the basket as possible. The pros are there early in order to get a good seat on the floor. You want to be as close to the  sidelines as possible. Save your seat as soon as you get there. Be brave! Sit close!  

Shooting settings: Use Center Point Autofocus in AI Servo mode (for Canon).
 – Understanding what your camera is capable of (and not) doing is vital to making a photo that tells a story.
– Don’t be afraid to push your ISO.  In Colonial Life Arena, good settings are 1/400 f/2.8 ISO 1600. If you can push your ISO higher, do it!! The faster your shutter speed, the better! Noise is the last thing you need to worry about in sports photography.
– Don’t forget to shoot action and reaction.

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Photographing sports in the rain

This is written for baseball, but you can apply these comments to any sport.

If the game has a rain delay, you still have a pass for the new time. You are still responsible for being there. You can make amazing photos when it’s wet! Look for features in the stands, look for players goofing off, look for action shots with big splashes as people slide into base.

The school has rain covers for the long lenses and some cameras. Ask for them at the window. We also have a GoPro camera with a waterproof case. It’s very small and it might make some fun features.

Some places in the stadium that are covered. Check  out the other photographers who are at the game. Especially the photogs  from The State newspaper. Or find Alan Sharpe and/or Mary Ann Chastain.  They cover a lot of games, they are very professional, and they love to  mentor our students. They’ll have good tips, too, and maybe even plastic  or something you can borrow.
There are lots of ways to use plastic bags to cover your lens, but use  rubber bands or gaffer tape to make an opening so you can see. Be sure you  have a raincoat for yourself. Bring chamois clothes or towels to dry off
you and your gear. Bring a small cloth to wipe your lens often. Bring  extra socks or shoes if you don’t like to be squishy.

Here are a couple web sites I found really quickly. I’m sure you can find  more. You don’t need to buy a lens raincoat, but you can see how to rig  something on the cheap.

7 Steps for Taking Photos in the Rain | Yanik’s Photo School
Rain Protection| B&H Photo Video
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