8th Grade Basketball: West Milford @ Ridgewood, NJ

This past Saturday, my friend contacted me to let me know that her son’s basketball team (The West Milford Wildcats) was going to be in my neck of the woods, playing my hometown team (Ridgewood Hoop Club). Driving 4 minutes to hang out with friends and take some shots of the game sounded a lot better than cleaning out the basement, a plan that quickly disappeared into the ether.

Shooting sports is a blast, but not without its challenges. Especially indoors sports. The lighting in gyms is universally awful. First of all, it’s quite dark (if you don’t believe me, spend some time in a gym in the middle of the day, and then walk outside…you’ll be squinting because it’s so much brighter!).  The players are moving blazingly fast, so you’re stuck shooting at high ISOs so you can get a quick shutter speed to stop the motion blur. Second, the lights almost always have a yellowish or greenish tint, which wreaks havoc on anything that has skin. At this particular gym, I was blessed, I mean cursed, with sunlight streaming through windows and doors, mixed with the yellow/green indoor lights, leading to images that have a wide variety of color tones in the shot.

But with a little patience, and a decent amount of post-processing, you can get a images few that that capture the moment, although they will not be qualifying for any Sports Illustrated spreads.

Saturday’s game was a scrimmage, so there weren’t any winners or losers (and I didn’t have to feel bad that I wasn’t rooting for my home town). But these kids played like it was the Super Bowl, or whatever the basketball equivalent is. I was shocked at how many baskets were being made, the speed of the kids, and the heights to which they jumped. Lots of jumping. A very exciting game, and I’d highly recommend checking out your local teams at some point.

Here are a few images.