What a night for Cal Poly. Just a night after a Steve Aoki Concert, Cal Poly hosts a game against Irvine with ESPNU in attendance.
Yet the most surprising thing as a photographer wasn’t the crowds, it was the lack of photographers. There were three of the usual student photographers( there are actually a couple more who show up occasionally), and only two other photographers who always show.
The crowds came in droves. It never ended, even during the game. It felt like a packed stadium even 30 mins before the official start time. And darkness also came in droves, as students were wearing black because of, you guessed right (I hope), it was a blackout game. From the end lines during a scoring drive, the noise levels were insane.
A complaint from blackout games from a photographer standpoint is the amount of light that is absorbed from all the black shirts in the gym. My light settings had to be turned up slightly to account for the missing light.
Now to the awesome part. ESPNU. Not many realize how much goes into a sports broadcast. There is a great article and video on what goes on behind the scenes (http://www.theverge.com/2013/11/25/5141600/any-given-sunday-the-chaos-and-spectacle-of-nfl-on-fox).
If you have the time, I highly recommend reading it. Back to reality. I counted at least 5 manned cameras, and two unmanned cameras providing feed, plus two shotgun mikes on the baskets. Now the most interesting/non-interesting part is their cameras. For non-camera enthusiasts it might seem weird, but it is not. The actual video cameras were composed of Sony Bodies, Canon lenses, and some other viewfinder. This is normal.
Another highlight of the game was the extremely tall player on their team. Mamadou Ndiaye, a player who went to Brethren Christian HS in Huntington Beach, but was born in Dakar, Senegal, was a force to be reckoned with. Towering at 7ft 6, he didn't even have to hop to dunk. I guess being really tall helps, somewhat.
The game unfortunately ended up with Cal Poly losing, but I don’t think students that attended will easily forget the reality of attending such a packed and spirited basketball game. Maybe in many years, the gym might get a renovation to actual D1 status. The picture opportunities then….