Albany Patroons 114, Lehigh Valley 107 – and how about some 3-D Patroons shots?

My first photography adventures began way back in 2005, when I took my little Nikon D70 with its kit lens to an Albany Patroons game and got some images for my efforts. I learned a lot in those early days. I learned that a camera that could barely achieve an ISO of 1600, with a kit lens that couldn’t go below F/3.5, wasn’t going to capture great action sports moments.

But I persevered. Eventually I upgraded my lens gear with glass that could capture fast action – you really need a bare minimum of an f/2.8 lens, with an f/1.8 or f/1.4 or even an f/1.2 as optimal. And the D70 morphed into a D700, and then into my current Df, and then a second Df.

I say that because last night, I decided it was time to bring my camera gear back to the Patroons game, at least for one night. Since I’m currently on a 3-D digital shooting kick, and I still need some great images for the 3-D contest in Austria, let’s see if I can capture fast action from the best pro hoops team I know.

First off, the game itself. Albany started out slow, as the visiting Lehigh Valley Legends rang up a 70-59 halftime lead and looked to push the Patroons to 0-2 on the season. But the Pats roared back, as their bench hit clutch shots and clamped down on defense. Heck, Derrick Rowland Jr. (yes, he’s coach Derrick Rowland’s son) nailed a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter to give Albany a 94-92 lead, its true first lead of the entire game. And then the Pats just cruised to a victory.

You know … typical Albany Patroons come-from-behind win.

Now I was shooting in the first half, with the idea of getting some quality images and then packing my gear away for the second half. I set up the Nikon Df tandem on the corner of the basketball court, aimed the camera setup at the Washington Avenue-side basket, and hoped for the best.

And it’s tough. Basketball is a very fast sport. And if these cameras are even a microsecond out of sync with each other – I won’t get that sharp 3-D image.

So let’s see what I can pull here. I want action. Great shots. Give them to me.

Derrick Rowland Jr. with the layup. Nikon Df cameras (2), Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 lens (2). Photo (c) 2023 Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

This is a good start. One of the Lehigh Valley player’s legs is just a little out of sync with the other, but damn Little “D” got some serious air time on that layup.

Okay, that’s one shot, let’s try again.

Marcus Merchant with a 2-hand slam. Nikon Df cameras (2), Nikkor 55mm f/1.8 lens (2). Photo (c) 2023 Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

Nuts. Remember what I said about if one camera was a millisecond out of sync with the other? Well, I shot this in a burst, and sure enough, one camera’s rapid-fire was a few micro-seconds faster than the other camera’s micro-second. Ugh. Can’t use this one. Waste of a good two-hand slam.

Okay, one more. Let’s get this right. Oh look, Derrick Rowland Jr. is racing up the court, I know he’s going to get this shot, and –

Rejection by Williams. Nikon Df camera (2), Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 lens (2). Photo (c) 2023 Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

Um … well, I definitely wasn’t expecting Lehigh Valley’s Joshua Williams to swat that shot out of the air like that.

But … believe it or not … that shot was the best one of the batch for tonight. Everybody’s synced up, there’s plenty of visible action on the court … Full three-dimensional view …

Man, this goes against every dose of gold and kelly green in my body …

But I’m going to put this image in the pack for the 3-D show. I have to.

Look, the Patroons took a win last night, and I’m as pleased as punch over that.

I’ll just have to grit my teeth that this shot was the best 3-D sports capture of the night for me.

For now. 😀