Workout Day At The Final Four
By Robert Hanashiro, Sports Shooter Academy
The day before the NCAA Final Four each team holds a 50-minute “workout” on the floor of the host venue — this year it’s the SuperDome in New Orleans.
This city is probably the perfect site for any big event and it has certainly held more than it’s share over the years. New Orleans is a wonderful city filled with history, culture, great food, wonderful people, a large tourist area, bad strip clubs and lots of hotels (especially Marriott properties to keep the sports writers happy collecting more awards points!).
Workout day for the four teams can be basically a walk-through on the court,coach schmoozing with the court-side big-wigs (Louisville) or a full-out, hustle-your-ass, coaches yelling like it’s the final 2 minutes of a game deal (Ohio State).
And it’s also a huge photo-op.
For photographers that have to cover the workout day, it’s a chance to make sure the remotes you installed Wednesday are still working, check the camera system you’ve set up to tether your cameras and shoot the players and coaches that are on the story list from the sports writers.
The challenge is to get all of the setting up stuff done, tested, ready to go for the real games plus check off those names on “the list” … and get out of the dome at a reasonable hour. (So you can get a nice dinner at a place like Gautreaus near the Garden District — thank you very much Ron!)
The second challenge is to get a couple of nice, interesting images and (for me) not just settle for the “usual”.
Most of the photographers work on things that you’ll be doing for the next day when it really counts — tweaking remotes (like my buddy John McDonough from SI and David Phillip for the AP were doing), double checking color balance and exposure and for me, deciding whether to go hand-held or with a monopod on my down court camera with the Nikkor 200-400.
After shooting four practices, I decided I’m going to “man-up” and go without the monopod.
I can always change for the finals on Monday.
(The Bottom Of The 9th is an occasional column by Sports Shooter founder Robert Hanashiro. He is also USA TODAY’s west coast staff photographer.)