The New Mexico State Aggies, left, and the Hawaii Rainbow Wahine moments before the first serve.
This past Sunday I covered the women’s WAC Volleyball Tournament at the Stan Sheriff Center. The final match between the New Mexico State Aggies and the Hawaii Rainbow Wahine was going to be a very long albeit spirited battle between two teams vying for supremacy in the WAC. Since Hawaii had lost the last time the two teams met, winning would mean a lot more to not just the team, but the scores of fans who came out to see the match.
As a journalist, no matter where we live or who we cover, we always have to tell the story. In the case of this volleyball match, I had to juggle between covering the Wahine and the Aggies, as either side will tell a story. I went into this game shooting the usual action from the baseline, the concourse, and the sidelines, but I was really after something different. Emotion. Feel. Jubilation. Dejection. These were all items in the checklist in my head, and I attuned my vision to look for them.
Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 70-200 f2.8L IS at 178mm, Exposure mode: Manual, ISO 1250, email@example.com, 4200K Whitebalance
The Rainbow Wahine react after claiming a commanding lead in the fourth game during the WAC women's volleyball championship match between the New Mexico State Aggies and the Hawaii Rainbow Wahine, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2008 at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu. Hawaii won in four games, claiming the 2008 WAC Championship title. Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 70-200 f2.8L IS at 200mm, Exposure mode: Manual, ISO 1250, firstname.lastname@example.org, 4200K Whitebalance
Once it became apparent that Hawaii was going to win, I had to make photographs of the Aggies’ frustration and dejection as well. As the title of this post suggests–two sides. That’s part of being a responsible photojournalist.
The New Mexico State bench watches the final points during the WAC women's volleyball championship match between the New Mexico State Aggies and the Hawaii Rainbow Wahine, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2008 at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu. Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 70-200 f2.8L IS at 200mm, Exposure mode: Manual, ISO 1250, email@example.com, 4200K Whitebalance
During the matchpoint, I was faced with a split second dilemma on whether to shoot tight on a key player or keep loose and capture the arena’s reaction to the win. I opted for the latter and was fortunate enough to be in the right spot so that all the compositional elements worked nicely, even the scoreboard with the final score!
Celebrating after match point. Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 70-200 f2.8L IS at 80mm, Exposure mode: Manual, ISO 1250, firstname.lastname@example.org, 4200K Whitebalance
Seconds seem to last minutes in situations like these, and I already had it in my mind that as soon as I made a decent photo of the winning moment, I had to rush over to New Mexico State’s side of the court to grab a reaction shot.
New Mexico State's Krystal Torres, right, and Erin Birmingham sit dejected on the bench after the WAC women's volleyball championship match. Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 70-200 f2.8L IS at 195mm, Exposure mode: Manual, ISO 1250, 1/640 @ f2.8, 4200K Whitebalance
Myself, UH Media Relations guru Jay Metzger, and Honolulu Advertiser photographer Andrew Shimabuku all agreed prior to the last point played that we shoot long for about 5 seconds (5 “Mississippi”) before rushing in for the wide angle jube. It actually worked out well that way, as I was able to grab the shot above instead of rushing midcourt towards Hawaii’s celebration.
But I couldn’t stay away from that…no no, not me.
Hawaii's Stephanie Brandt, middle, and Elizabeth Kaaihue share a laugh after winning the match. Canon EOS 1D Mark IIN, EF 16-35 f2.8L at 16mm, Exposure mode: Manual, ISO 1000, 1/500 @ f3.5, 4200K Whitebalance
Because of my going back and forth between Hawaii’s and New Mexico’s sides of the court, I ended up getting stuck on the opposite side of the rest of the media circus that had gathered to shoot the Wahine. SHUCKS! STUCK! I had to lay low for a few seconds. It ended up playing in my favor though, because I was able to get this shot of Aneli raising up the trophy the second after she received it:
Hawaii floor captain Aneli Cubi-Otineru raises the WAC Championship trophy. Notice where every other member of the media is on the far left of the frame. I was probably the most photographed photographer that night, but not on purpose, needless to say
Of course there was also the ceremonious mugging for the camera, and the shaka shot that follows. I’ve never been one to photograph gratuitous “mugging.” Yet we have to for the books, per se. I ended up filing this one instead of the token shot, just to return the favor to my fellow media shooters.
Smile, everyone's backs of their heads, you're on camera!!
That’s my take on Sunday’s volleyball match, surely one of the more exciting ones this season. (It was exciting….and no I’m NOT calling YOU Shirley!)
And I’ll leave you with this shot. Because of all the constant searching for jube, dejection, and emotion, sometimes you end up with the out-of-the-ordinary action shot simply because you aren’t after it:
Hawaii's Stephanie Brandt, left, and Aneli Cubi-Otineru dive for a ball in the fourth game. Shot while I was lurking near the sideline waiting for my jube shot.