Getting back to basketball

Since the Creighton men’s basketball team is having such a fine year, our editors are starting to plan for the postseason. My boss told me to mark my calendar – I will be covering the Bluejays in the postseason.

Great! Consider it done. One problem- I hadn’t shot a Bluejays game since Feb. 5, 2011. I hadn’t even shot a high school game since last spring. So the first order of business was getting used to the game again.

With two games under my belt, I can’t say I’m happy with any of my action, but I have tried to focus on just keeping my camera up after the plays and looking for some different moments. We cover a lot of basketball games, and it gets hard to get images in the paper that aren’t “player dribbles ball” or “players go for rebound.”

The Creighton bench, including head coach Greg McDermott, right, wants a foul called on a Bradley player who made contact with Creighton's Avery Dingman during a shot at the CenturyLink Center Omaha on Jan. 28, 2012.


A couple of my cameras are getting repaired (football season is hard on our equipment) and I’m not shooting with three cameras like I have in the past. So I have cut out the wide-angle from my bag for now. For the first game last week, I used a 400mm lens, which is quite long for basketball. I missed a lot of shots, but the lens helps isolate moments. A fair trade, I thought.

Creighton's Gregory Echenique shouts for the ball as he gets position against Bradley's Anthony Thompson at the CenturyLink Center Omaha on Jan. 28, 2012.

Creighton players Antoine Young, left, and Josh Jones discuss the finer points of the game.


Also, keen viewers may notice the photos don’t have that “hard edge” to them. We have large flashes mounted in the catwalks at the CenturyLink Center Omaha, but I haven’t used them yet. Since the flashes need time to recycle, you can only take one frame every couple seconds. Basketball action happens very quickly, so it takes practice to anticipate the right moment. I’m just trying to adjust to the game again, so for now I’m using the motor drive on my camera and shooting with available light. I prefer the lights with wider lenses, thought. Notice how the lights help make the players stand out?

Creighton's Justin Carter slices through the Bradley defense to get a shot off at the Qwest Center Omaha on Feb. 27, 2010.


During Wednesday’s game, a lot of Illinois State players were very physical with Creighton standout Doug McDermott. They gave me many chances to get photos of him being held and hit. We published one in the paper, but the one that sticks with me is an “almost.” Sure would be a nice picture from a different, angle, eh?

Illinois State defenders like John Wilkins plays physical defense against Creighton's Doug McDermott, who still scored 17 points in the first half. No foul was called on the play, but McDermott did score. The game was at the CenturyLink Center Omaha on Feb. 1, 2012. Creighton won 102-74.

About Matt Miller

I’ve been shooting Cornhuskers, cowboys and common folks at the Omaha World-Herald since September 2002. I was lucky enough to catch the end of the Tom Osborne era while in college at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Any day I get to spend in Nebraska's Sandhills is a good day. If nice light and people (a rare sight in western Nebraska) are tossed into the mix, it’s even better. Shooting photos for the World-Herald offers several challenges: the repetition of sporting events, handling my own feelings at emotional events like shootings and funerals, and handling the wide range of weather we cover in the Great Plains. I’d be happy to share more, but you’ll have to buy me a drink, first. You can see a larger selection of my work at my website.
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  1. [...] player. It’s similar to a photo I shared from an early game when I was a bit more unlucky. Read more about that shot here. Creighton's Doug McDermott catches T.J. Robinson's forearm with his nose while driving to [...]