This was an idea I've been imagining for nearly a year. I've always loved the sports photos that were shot at sunset or just after when the sky still has just the faintest of pinks and oranges coloring the horizon. I would spend my morning runs going over possible locations where the background wouldn't be too cluttered and where the sky would have a prominent role. I worked out the lighting set up as I jogged along "Langley's Trail" while the north wind buffeted me in the late winter months and later, the south winds knocking me sideways as spring began to roar into town. I'd go back and forth on whether or not David would be willing for me to try such a photo with him in the starring role; and later, if he could do a lay up from both sides of the basket.
I needn't have worried about his lay up ability.
Saturday night, we loaded up my car with a light stand, a 24" soft box, my SB-910 speed light, a sandbag and my backpack full of lenses and drove over to Joe's old grade school that had the good clean background I wanted. I set up the light and got my camera settings while David practiced, then we went to town with me counting down, "1,2,3, GO!" and snapping right when David was in mid air.
I had my flash set up camera left to me at almost full power and the stand up as far as I could reach. I didn't really have to change my camera settings that much, just boosted my shutter speed a bit to saturate the background more. There were a couple times when I had to sprint to grab my light stand to keep it from blowing over (I should've brought my second sandbag. It was pretty windy that evening!) and a few more times when the flash didn't want to fire, but other than that, the shoot went off without a hitch and David scored each time he went up for a basket, proving he still has his mad basketball "skillzzzzzz" from when I first met him over thirty years ago.
We both had a lot of fun.