Rockets at Warriors - Western Conference Finals Games 3 and 4
Headed to Oracle Arena for Games 3 and 4 of the Western Conference Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets with the series tied 2-2.
Previous playoff games when I shot elevated, I was assigned to a seat on the north-west side of the arena that had me facing the Warriors bench, while USA Today Sports Images staff photographer Kyle Terada, shoot from the floor opposite the visiting teams bench.
For whatever reason, this series they mixed it up on us and I didn't have an assigned shooting location, the stairwells on the west side (the side that faces the benches) were all otherwise assigned, which meant I had to find a spot in the stairwell on the east side and stand all game.
Standing in the aisle means I can't shoot and send as easily because I can't keep my laptop in my lap and try to quickly add a caption during a free throw or short timeout.
While obviously, some spots are undeniably better, I always try to have the outlook of "I'm going to create a picture here" and try to see the silver lining. Shooting from this different vantage point means I am not as easily blocked by standing fans, I can be a little more in the center so the hoop and stanchion don't block my shot, and most importantly, I'm not sitting in a row of photographers so whatever image I get, will be unique instead of being just a sliiiiightly different angle than the photographer next to me. Whether it's just a different angle of a moment everyone will get, or a moment that you can only get from my angle.
And a reminder that it's not just the Warriors players bench that reacts. Here's a fun frame, that was made even more fun when Warriors World started a "Caption This" thread... with photo credit, mind you!
This is also my reminder to photographers, unless you KNOW where you are going to be shooting from, bring all your gear. I ended up switching it up between my 40-150mm, the 300mm and also added the 1.4x extender for certain periods, and a wide for venue photos. I personally chose to shoot a little tighter in the 2nd and 3rd and a little looser in the 1st and 4th. I also wore a harness (mine is similiar to that one but can't find link) part of the time so that my cameras were easily accessible without having to hunch my shoulders to keep them up and brought my trusty ThinkTankPhoto Urban Disguise 35 (Mine is V2.0 they are now up to V3.0) to hold my laptop, exposure disc, and of course my canteens (one hot tea one room temperature water) and snacks... I love my Roller but I'm not about to climb the entire bowl section with it. A side note on how a live the good life. I met up with Kyle, Christopher Chung, Nhat Meyer and Jose Carlos Fajardo for lunch before Sunday's game. They had carpooled over from the arena after setting up remotes and I gave Kyle and Chris a ride back to Oracle. In my car they noticed my Tiger Tail, my trigger wheel, and my variety of Berkeley Bowl snacks and playfully made fun of me. As much as I love having my canteens, I love a little trigger point therapy while stuck in traffic. There is no shame in my game :)
Game 3 was a total blowout in favor of the Warriors.
And because Warriors fans are the new Warriors fans (or perhaps because our lives are too busy and it's Sunday night) instead of the fans losing their minds like they once did when Warriors even made the playoffs, half of them went home before the final whistle.
Tuesday it was down to the wire and most fans stayed (apart from a little hiccup where Rockets celebrated the victory before refs decided Shaun Livingston had fouled Chris Paul and then after missing one of two free throws, Curry had a chance to tie it in the final seconds)
But just because the fans were there physically doesn't mean they were there mentally. Phone addiction is SO real. I'm not calling them out personally because I too have a hard time not checking my phone. But here's to hoping we can all try to be more present.
Look at the interaction this woman was able to have as she handed the out of bounds ball to Trevor Ariza as quickly as possible, then he jokingly offered it back to her and they shared a smile. Despite her obviously not cheering for him, it was a nice moment of two humans interacting. She got to live that moment, that real interaction, because her hands (and vision) weren't occupied by her phone.
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