The 2019-20 basketball season is one that will not soon be forgotten. Usually unforgettable seasons end with a championship, like 2013 (the only one I was alive for). Or for less positive reasons like the 15-16 season that ended in a self-imposed post-season ban. 19-20 will stand alone in our memories as the season that was literally unfinished.
We are going to look back at happier times, as I give you my 10 favorite Men’s Basketball pictures that I took this year, in no particular order. I could do a post about my top 100 pictures, because they are like my children, but these are the pictures that I kept coming back to as the year went on. Please check out the gallery and continue reading for some fun/nerdy details about each of the pictures.
If you’re still reading, then you must want to know more about these pictures or you just have nothing better to do. Either way, I’m going to give you some of the reasons that I picked each photo and I’m going to let you behind the curtain into what I was thinking as I was taking and eventually editing the picture. Let’s get started.
This picture of Jordan is from the exhibition game against Bellarmine. This photo doesn’t show great action or a ton of emotion, but I picked this picture because I love black and white pictures and because it is incredibly sharp. When I say a picture is sharp, I mean that the subject is perfectly in focus and in the world of photography that’s pretty important. If you zoom in on this picture you can see very fine details, like the sweat rolling down his forehead or individual hairs on his face. I just think it’s a cool picture and it has stuck with me since the beginning of the season.
I have posted this picture several places and I keep going back to it. As a sports photographer you generally don’t check each picture after you take it, because you’ll miss some action. However, this moment was one where every photographer around me immediately checked if they got it. David was my favorite player to take pictures of because of his athleticism and his fearlessness, both of which are showcased here.
I’m gonna say that this is my favorite picture that I took this season. The black and white really makes this image pop. This was shot with a 300mm 2.8 lens, which gives it the bokeh (blurry background). As my colleague Jeff Nunn said, there is just something special about it. I agree and there is probably going to be a print of this on my wall very soon.
Speaking of a print being on my wall, this picture is currently displayed in my house via a 6 foot long canvas. This picture was something I saw in my head at the beginning of the season. I knew I wanted to take a panoramic of the YUM! Center at tip-off and when I heard that the Michigan game was going to be a white-out, I knew it was the perfect time. This is actually about 8 separate pictures stitched together to create a panorama, because this wide of an angle would be impossible without a fish-eye lens, which creates crazy distortion.
I think the tones in this picture are cool. The gray uniform allows for a different look versus the traditional white ones. This image is pretty dark overall, but there is a nice highlight on Steve’s right side that separates him from the background. The tilt of his head just gives it a flow that I really like. This is another example of how going black and white can really make a difference.
David Johnson gets two spots on this list because he can fly. If you’ve never watched David pregame, you need to treat yourself next season. He is probably the most athletic guy on the team and he is never afraid to prove it. This was a picture that I had to tweet out immediately (which I don’t usually do, follow me @tjayyy__). I’m not gonna break this one down artistically or technically, it’s just awesome.
This picture is an example of a happy accident. For those that don’t know, there are some sports photographers that use strobe lights. These are basically huge flashes that allow them to have enough light to use their preferred settings. You’ve probably seen these strobes going off if you’ve ever been to a game. For those of us that don’t use strobes, the flashes can occasionally mess up out pictures. If you catch their flash at the wrong time it will completely wash out your picture and it will most likely be unusable. That’s exactly what happened here, but I decided to try to salvage it. I got lucky and I was able to turn down the brightness of the entire image while editing and the flash kept creates a unique highlight on Sam. I picked this picture because it is literally the only picture I have that looks like this and when you’ve been taking basketball pictures in the same arena for 3 years, that’s pretty rare.
I had to have a picture of Ryan on this list. he gave 5 years of his life to this program and he stuck around through 3 coaches and multiple scandals. This picture reminds me of his passion and of course he had just hit a three before this was taken. It’s going to be weird not having him around next season.
This picture is in here because the bench was awesome. They brought the energy every game and this play was no exception. Darius hit an and-1, then he posed in the perfect spot. I love that you can see the bench reactions and you can see what they are reacting to. Josh’s face here is also an A+.
I included this final picture because this is the Irish Hulk that everyone was craving. Notice how everyone is watching as Aidan is going up here. The dude is super athletic and we didn’t get to see much of him because he was behind to starting caliber centers. Expect to see much more of this next season.
Thank you for reading and to see every picture from this year you can go here: