Tag Archives: basketball

PIG-ging Out

Jake gets air!

Jake gets air!

Nothing goes together more than boys and anything they can throw. It doesn’t even have to be made specifically for tossing . . . my guys have had just as much fun passing a cap back and forth as a ball or a disc.

Still, when there is a ball involved, you can bet there will be a contest of some sort. While Jake and C.J. were home last weekend, they used a small, soft (thank goodness!) basketball and an empty wastebasket in our family room to play their version of H-O-R-S-E. For some reason, they called it P-I-G.

C.J. shoots from the couch.

C.J. shoots from the couch.

As it turned out, only having to score three baskets was a great idea, because it took soooo long for them to do it! It didn’t help that they were trying the most-impossible shots in the world.

Jake gets air again . . . and misses.

Jake gets air again . . . and misses.

Like this one jumping over the supersofa. The ridiculousness continued to reach new heights (pun intended!), as my competitive cuties figured out different ways to miss hitting the wastebasket . . . again and again and again.

First, C.J. makes contact.

First, C.J. makes contact.

Naturally, C.J. just had to show off the move that drives us all crazy: He knocks into us as we’re just being innocent bystanders and pretends to shoot an invisible basketball towards an equally nonexistent basket, shouting out, “And one!” I always call a charge on him, but he pays me no mind (what else is new?).

This time he actually had a ball and a “hoop,” so the “and one” play was attempted.

And now he shoots.

And now he sends the ball on its way.

And missed (so no free throw). Just like dozens of other shots he and his older brother attempted.

Finally, after including a play that involved running into the nearby game room, bouncing the ball off poor, unsuspecting Chase’s head, and then running back and shooting, C.J. got the “G” and the victory. Even though it seemed to take forever, both boys definitely had a blast.

I’m not sure that PIG-ging out has ever been so much fun!

One Down, One to Go

Not hiding from me but not willing to look, the kid studies our MacBook.

Not hiding from me but not willing to look at me, the kid studies our MacBook.

My younger son arrived home from Sam Houston State yesterday afternoon. He nicely and neatly put his many things in his bedroom instead of flinging them in the dining room. Could he finally be growing up?!?

I ultimately will judge by the towel factor.

He was watching the Charlotte Bobcats’ game (his favorite team).

He was watching the Charlotte Bobcats’ game (his favorite team).

Meanwhile, we await his always-neater older brother (though also neat-towel-hanging-challenged), who has his last final tonight and will drive home from UTSA tomorrow. Then we’ll have four-plus weeks of togetherness during their long winter break. Four weeks of late nights and late wake-ups (for the boys), laundry, friends, clutter, and chaos.

Good times await, my friends!

The Times They Are A-Changing

The Chanukah list

Lots of possibilities

Chanukah arrives early this year. In fact, for the first time since 1888, the first day is on Thanksgiving! Turkey and latkes anyone?

As usual, I’ve asked my sons for their wish lists. And, as usual, peace on earth fails to make an appearance (or, for that matter, the sentiment that paying for their college educations is present enough).

When I got my younger son’s e-mail with his wants, I about fell over . . . and then I started to laugh. Look at the fifth item, which is one of those “I most wants.” Yep, it’s actually a book!

Love this old list!

Love this old list!

Stroll with me down memory lane for awhile. Remember this blog post from 2009? Yes, number 4 on the above dry-erase board photo from that post says “No Books!” As you might recall, the kid hated the annual Chanukah book night that his older brother looked forward to. So after my younger son put it in writing, I stopped buying him novels and nonfiction works as gifts.

But now that he’s in college, he actually is asking for “The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy.” Will wonders never cease?!? Ironically, it was published in 2009.

Book night is back, baby! Bam!

One-Word Wednesday

Faux dunk: My younger son hangs on the rim at his former elementary school, where everything is shorter.


Even my “third son,” Chase, can fake dunk with a short basketball goal!

So Long, Summer

My older son watches his younger brother bowl.

For the last gasp of sweet summer, my sons decided bowling was in order.

My #1 son shows off his form.

That worked fine for me, because I had a coupon, plus it’s great being where it’s cool when it’s a gazillion and one degrees out. Especially when someone else is paying for the electricity!

Look out, Houston Rockets!

After bowling for an exhausting (for me watching!) two hours, the guys moved on to the tiny arcade to try their hand at a basketball game.

Little bro takes his turn.

All too soon we were out of quarters, and it was time to head back home. There my older son needed to finish getting ready to return to college. In a week or so, bowling and basketball will be but a dim, fond memory, having been replaced by homework and tests.

Ah, summer . . . how we will miss you!

Shooting Blind

The blinds provide a barrier to clear photography.

When my #2 son returned home the other day with his friends Chris and Marcus and told me that the three of them were going to play basketball in the driveway, I tried to stay cool, calm, and collected. I told him to have fun and waited until he closed the front door.

Then I grabbed my Nikon D700 and started to scheme: How could I get great action shots of the boys without them knowing I was shooting?

Marcus drives against Chris.

I figured #2 would be mortified if I came outside and snapped away. For some reason, he thinks that’s embarrassing. What’s up with that? Doesn’t every kid want a personal photographer?

The #2 son and Marcus talk at a party.

Apparently not!  So I decided to try my luck from inside, shooting through the open blinds in the kitchen. I didn’t dare raise them, because the window I was using is close to the driveway and the basketball goal. I didn’t want to be detected. This was furtive photography at its best.

My #2 son waits for an opportunity against Marcus.

At first I used my Nikon 50mm lens, but that proved to be too limiting. Once I twisted on the Nikon 35-70mm instead, my flexibility increased, as did my keeper rate.

Marcus shoots over Chris.

It was fun having a great vantage point to watch the action and interaction among the three sophomores.

My #2 son tries a layup over Marcus.

How is basketball played with three boys? Easy . . . #2 teamed with Chris against Marcus. It seemed fair, because Marcus plays on our high school’s basketball team.

Chris attempts to stop Marcus' shot.

Looked to me like Marcus was schooling his friends.

I had a blast with my stealth shooting. I felt so clever, putting one over on my #2 son.

"Is that you, Mom?

Or maybe not!

Basketball Jones, Part IV

Sam (#34) battles for a rebound.

My whirlwind photographic tour of our high school’s basketball teams ended with the boys’ freshman A and B squads last Saturday. When I got to our school’s small gym, the game had started. So I pulled out my Nikon D700 and 85mm lens and began shooting at one end of the court.

Dominique tries in vain to block David’s shot.

I really liked this different vantage point; however, I couldn’t get good photos at both ends.

Jacob runs past the defender.

So after the first quarter I climbed into the bleachers for more photo flexibility.

Jordan drives in for a layup.

Even though they’re only freshmen, these boys have a lot of talent, heart, and drive.

RJ and Greg form a defensive sandwich.

They’ll be making us proud on the varsity before long!

Jacob gets ready to pass.

Although basketball is very much a vertical game, I usually shoot horizontally, because I can hold the camera steadier. Then I just crop the photo as a vertical if that seems more logical.

Marcus closely defends the opponent bringing the ball up the court.

I did a much better job shooting the A game, which was first, unfortunately for the B team. I think I just got tired of snapping away, plus I was having fun talking to my friend Steph and taking intermittent photos of two of her kids in the stands.

Big brother Matt brings the ball up.

Not that I forgot to take pix of Megan and Ben’s big brother Matt on the court, though!

Basketball Jones, Part III

Anne (wearing white) battles for the loose ball.

As much as I appreciated photographing the fluid moves and accurate shooting of our high school’s girls’ and boys’ varsity basketball teams, sometimes it just seems too easy for the players. They’ve been honing their skills for years outside and inside, and it really shows. Layups and no-look passes are second nature for them, as they swish baskets at one of our school district’s two large arenas.

Brittany jumps high to shoot closer to the basket.

Meanwhile, the varsity wannabes are toiling in our smaller high school gym playing in front of some of their parents and few of their fellow students. Their skills aren’t quite ready for the big time, but they put just as much heart and soul into playing as the varsity. They’re the subvarsity squads.

Des looks to inbound the ball.

I traveled to our high school last week hoping to snap some pix of the girls’ freshmen and junior varsity teams. I know a few of the players, and I was curious to see the level of talent.

Tori needs a teammate.

Unfortunately, our competition didn’t have a freshmen team. Fortunately, though, the two players I wanted to watch were moved up to the jv and got to play. There’s Tori, the daughter of my friend and masseuse Tina (that’s her hand pictured in January 25th’s photo of the day).

Cori passes to an invisible teammate.

And there’s Cori, who wore the flashiest shoes on the court. Both girls were in classes with the #2 son in elementary school; Cori is in his English I class.

Going for the rebound: Errr . . . you’re both on the same team!

What I discovered as I was snapping away with my Nikon D700 and 85mm lens (aka, the low-light champs) is that these subvarsity girls could rock the gym! They were scrappy and played a fast brand of basketball.

Anne is about to lay the ball up for two points.

They showed off great moves to the basket.

Not in OUR house: Liset blocks a shot.

They stayed tough in the paint.

Who’s got it?

And they battled from start to finish. They weren’t about to share the basketball with the other team.

Brittany and Melissa want that basketball!

Nope, not one bit!

Basketball Jones, Part II

Pearl finds the way to the basket is blocked.

Four days later, I went back to that same fieldhouse where I had taken photos of our high school’s boys’ varsity basketball team. This time the girls’ varsity took center stage. I still was equipped with my Nikon D700 and 85mm lens. But I also had some different shooting angles I wanted to try.

Brooklyn looks for a teammate to pass to as she's closely guarded.

As I was driving away from the facility the first time, I was bummed that I hadn’t tried to take any photos from the seats close to the court. I remedied that with the girls. As you can see from the first photo, that was a great vantage point . . . for some of the pix. But too often spectator heads would be in my way.

Natalie attempts a jump shot.

So after the first quarter, I climbed the steps and went to the walkway above the court. From there I could shoot uninhibited.

Auty tries to snag a rebound.

My camera was set for an ISO of 1250-1600 so that I could have a fast shutter speed. As I’ve noted before, I shoot on aperture-preferred mode—I set the aperture (how much light is let in), while the D700 changes the shutter speed. But I make sure that the speed is at least 1/250th of a second (too slow means blurry photos; no one thinks you’re a good photographer with those).

Brooklyn defends her team’s goal.

Back in my previous life, I was a sportswriter in Chicago. My specialty was girls’ high school sports. In the mid-1970s to early 1980s, the girls’ game was starting to take off, but it had a long way to go. I remember sitting through one suburban high school game during the second quarter and thinking, “If there’s one more jump ball, I’m leaving.” Back then, two players tying up the ball meant a jump, unlike now when they just change possession.

Sure enough, the 24th or so tied ball happened, and I just had to walk out. It was so boring!

Lauren goes in for a layup.

That was then. I’m happy to report that our girls’ team and its opponent, which is ranked as one of the best in the area, played just as hard and as physically as the boys did.

Auty and Pearl make a sandwich of the opponent.

The girls don’t work above the rim like the guys, but they’ve got great skills and never quit.

Nicole cans a three-point shot.

My varsity high school basketball shooting jones has been quelled, for now. Next time? I’m going to sit, watch, and be thoroughly entertained!

Basketball Jones, Part I

Ryan leans in for a shot.

The main reason I bought the Nikon D700 was for indoor sports photography. The D700 has a well-deserved (so I’ve found) reputation for being a low-light (nonflash) champ. That capability is important when the ISOs are high, and the court action is fast and furious.

I put the D700 and its low-light action-shooting companion, the Nikon 85mm f/1.4 lens, to the test at two basketball games last week—our high school’s boys’ and girls’ varsity teams both played at the same indoor facility where I shot these volleyball pix (with my Nikon D300 and the 85mm).

Mike is ready to make his move.

What’s great about this facility is that there’s a walkway above the court that brings the play at the basket right below you up close and personal.

Richard takes the ball to the basket.

My ISO was mostly set at 1000–1250, so my shutter speed was fast enough to stop the action.

Austin makes a free throw.

And there was plenty of action to shoot!

Colin tries a close-in jump shot.

The boys play a very quick, physical game.

Mehdi looks for room under the basket.

The defense doesn’t like to budge an inch!

Our defense surrounds the shooter under the basket.

I mostly shot from one end of the court up above.

Ry tries to block the shot.

But the 85mm also did a fine job when the action was at the opposite basket. Thanks to some judicious cropping, I snagged some good close-ups at both ends.

Frank (#15) and Austin try to stop the shot.

I even moved into the stands near the end of the game to get a photo of the coach’s huddle.

Coach Wilson talks strategy with his players.

Yes, the D700 performed admirably!

A 64-63 victory!

And so did our team!