Hanging with the boys in blue

Design by Dave Elsesser and Tim Parks

In late February, I was tasked with creating a portrait for our Creighton men’s basketball special section, which kicks off the NCAA tournament in today’s paper. See a PDF of the section, or find out where to get a copy.

The idea for the image was to have the entire men’s basketball team swallowed up in the crowd, a “Where’s Waldo?” of sorts. Unfortunately, we didn’t get quite as many students as we’d hoped. But if there’s one thing that I’ve learned as a photojournalist, it’s to be ready to adapt.

These assignments are challenging and can be very stressful. I only had a limited amount of time to make a good shot, and the expectations were high. I would change a number of things about the pictures if I could, but that’s life. In hindsight, I always see how I could have done better.

If you ask me, the design staff really made the pages successful.

Design by Dave Elsesser and Tim Parks

The technical details of the image above are as follows:
Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Focal length: 70 mm
Shutter: 1/20th of a second
Aperture: f/13
ISO: 320
Dyna-lights were fired during the exposure.

In the next frame, shot from the opposite side of the team portraits, you can see the very simple light setup I used to cast enough light on the large group of people.

Wes Sells, an intern with athletic marketing, takes a half-court shot before the Creighton men's basketball team portrait at the D.J. Sokol Arena on Monday, Feb. 27, 2012. ALYSSA SCHUKAR/THE WORLD-HERALD

This assignment in particular took a lot of coordination both inside the newsroom and with Creighton’s athletic department.

Thankfully, I was in good company. World-Herald Directory of Photography Jeff Bundy, Sports Editor Thad Livingston, Presentation Editor Dave Elsesser, Deputy News and Presentation Editor Tim Parks, sports reporter Steve Pivovar and sports designer Jay St. Pierre all helped in preparing for and completing the shoot. You might even be able to spot one or two of them on the pages.

Special thanks go to Creighton coach Greg McDermott, Creighton athletics Director of Marketing Mike West and the Bluejays team. Also, thanks to the fans who willingly followed some of my rather odd requests, such as running at top speed through the group of players and cheering as though a game-winning shot had just been made.

The players were all great and stuck around afterward to shoot some hoops and autograph basketballs.

Matt Miller will be courtside in Greensboro, N.C., for the NCAA Tournament, so check back for more Bluejays coverage from us soon.

From left, CU's Gregory Echenique, Doug McDermott and Jahenns Manigat autograph basketballs after the team and Creighton fans posed for portraits at the D.J. Sokol Arena. ALYSSA SCHUKAR/THE WORLD-HERALD

Guard Antoine Young shoots baskets after he, other players and Creighton fans posed for portraits at the D.J. Sokol Arena in Omaha. Also pictured is guard Taylor Stormberg, at left. ALYSSA SCHUKAR/THE WORLD-HERALD

Alyssa Schukar

About Alyssa Schukar

I have been a staff photojournalist at the Omaha World-Herald since September 2008. I'm from Lincoln and am a 2006 graduate of the College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Previously, I worked as an assistant at Malone and Co., a commercial photography studio in Omaha. My favorite pictures are those that give insight on the life of an individual or family because I understand the world better through the experiences of the people I meet. It's always humbling to be allowed such intimate access. My most challenging assignments come in many forms. Funerals, especially those of soldiers, always are emotionally draining, but I try to approach people with respect and dignity. In my time at the paper, I have covered a wide variety of assignments, including the Nebraska and Iowa National Guard's deployments in Afghanistan, Husker football at home and away, portraits of wigs big and small, rodeo queen competitions and intimate views of everyday life and love. Follow me on twitter @OWHalyssa.
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