More Adventures in Volleyball Photography

October 31, 2011 at 8:53 am 1 comment


I went to Rec Hall on Saturday night to see the women’s volleyball team play top-ranked Nebraska—and to try my hand at photographing the match.

Last year I did a little shooting during an NCAA regional match in Rec Hall and wrote about how hard it is to shoot volleyball. It doesn’t appear to have gotten any easier since then.

I do have a better camera now than I did last December (a Nikon D7000 vs. my previous D90)—it shoots at a slightly faster “burst rate” and it does a better job at high ISOs like 2500 or 3200, which makes for faster shutter speeds and thus lets you freeze the action a bit better.

But it’s still a challenge—you have to anticipate where the action is going to be, and you have to take a lot of shots in hopes of getting a small handful of keepers. I can’t tell you how many bad shots I took, and how many different ways they’re bad: out of focus, a few seconds too late for the decisive hit, the ball is nowhere to be found in the frame, the players are caught in an awkward posture….

As just one example of “players are caught in an awkward posture,” here’s a charming scene of three Penn State players apparently engaged in some sort of new dance—or possibly a cult ritual?—during the match:

You really should click on it to see it bigger, to get the full effect of how bad it is. And I have dozens more where that came from.

Deja_McClendonI did get one or two good shots at the net; shockingly, most of them feature Deja McClendon, a ferocious hitter and last year’s national freshman of the year. She’s in the photo at the top of this page, and she’s also the one over there on the right. She finished the night with 18 kills, more than any other player on the court.

But trying to get good action shots was getting stressful, and I had had enough stress watching that danged football game with Illinois. So I turned my camera to some of the other stuff going during the match.

Luckily, it was the weekend before Halloween, so some of the students came in costume. So I thought I’d show you a little sampling of who was in attendance.

First, we had one of the Teletubbies, and his buddy, Uncle Sam:


We also had a weird assortment that included Gumby, Pokey, Captain America, and some vaguely Middle Eastern guy with a shepherd’s crook:

The innocent-looking Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man:

And two of my favorites, Mario and Luigi:

There was one other guy I thought you needed to see. He’s the guy in the photo at the right, and I don’t think this is a Halloween costume for him—I think this is regular attire for him at volleyball games. He’s a Nebraska fan who showed up at the game in a corn-cob hat.

(Here again, click on the photo to get the full effect.)

I did not realize that when we let Nebraska into the Big Ten, they would be bringing corn-cob hats with them. But there you are.

You can see more photos from Saturday night’s match on our Facebook page.

Oh, and the outcome of the match? The Nittany Lions upset Nebraska, three sets to one. Nice.

Tina Hay, editor

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