Andrew Paquette

Crossfit 845

A few days ago, I had the pleasure of taking pictures of six crossfit athletes at the Crossfit 845 gym in Poughkeepsie. The goal for the day was to get representative shots of different crossfit exercises. Each athlete had their own specialty: rings, weightlifting, gymnastics, etc. The models, Dave Aisenstat, Rob Lacolla, Meghan Merlino, Mairead Fogarty, Jess Manfro and Scott Manfro were terrific. We shot Jess and Scott first, then Meghan and Mairead, and last, Dave and Rob. Geoff Arbuckle shot video for a BTS video. You can see it at the end of this post.

I used two Broncolor Siros-L monolights and two Profoto B1 units for lights. The key light for most shots used a Broncolor Para 133 reflector. The only difficulty with that came toward the end of the shoot when it overbalanced and fell forward. Luckily it was undamaged. That surprised me, considered one of the B1s had fallen from a shorter height a few years earlier and the back panel of the unit was destroyed.

FIBA Eurocup 2017 video finally up

Almost two years ago I was asked by the Nederlands Basketball Bond (NBB) to shoot the Eurocup in Amsterdam. The 2017 edition was held at the Museumplein, a park that sits between the famous Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Stadelijk Museum, and the Concertgebouw. Together, these are some of the greatest cultural institutions in the world, all in one place. 

In past 3X3 events, organizers had rented a primary outdoor venue and a secondary indoor venue in case there was rain. For the Eurocup, they didn’t want to take any chances and erected a large rain-proof tent over stadium seating, arranged around all four sides of the court. Because it was a FIBA-sponsored event, flash wasn’t allowed, but the large white semi-transparent roof that protected the audience from inclement weather also allowed light to pass through, as if from the world’s largest soft box. I would have liked to use flash but this was a great second best option.

For the past few years, I have wanted to make a behind the scenes video of at least one of the many dozens of basketball shoots I’ve done. The way I wanted to do it was to hire a videographer and then to create my own 3x3 game to shoot. For various reasons, partly connected to my ongoing PhD studies (completed last year) and full-time teaching schedule, it never happened. With that in mind, I was pleasantly surprised to see myself in the background of a video shot for FIBA and recently posted online by Dutch basketball star Jesper Jobse. I might not be able to re-shoot those games with my own videographer, or create games with those players, but there was footage out there, maybe enough for a video.
I contacted some of the people I knew at the NBB, including one of their videographers. A little later, one of them got back to me with permission to use any of the FIBA or NBB-created videos. I spent the next couple of days downloading dozens of videos from games I’d shot. Unlike the clips I get when I hire a videographer, these were largely unedited continuous shots of an entire game or even a full day’s worth of games, all from the same fixed camera. They were great for catching the coordinated action at the team level but only a few contained the close-ups I needed for my video. Of all the games I had access to, the one with the best coverage was the 2017 Eurocup. They had multiple cameras. Some were in a fixed position, others were handheld and moved around the court more. 

After a couple days, I had the video ready. It is a mix of footage from the games that day and my photos from those games. It is less a “behind the scenes” video than it is a Eurocup video that happens to have some of my photos. If you look closely though, you’ll see me in a couple of shots as I take pictures of the players.

Boxing on the Hudson

A new friend of mine has introduced me to the sport of boxing. I saw my first match, Throwdown in Po’Town, about two months ago in the middle of winter. My friend told me that the fights would be decided by points, not knockouts, which were highly unusual at these events. Five minutes later, up-and-coming boxer David Ollivierse knocked out his opponent with one punch in the first round. After the fight, one of the fight’s promoters and co-founder of the Floyd Patterson Boxing Club, Anthony Bongiorni, offered me generous access to his club in Highland, New York for a photo shoot. For scheduling reasons, we had to break it into a short 90 minute shoot on the first day, and then half a day a couple weeks later. For this article, they will be discussed together, as one shoot.

On the day of the shoot(s), I packed most of my new lighting gear and other equipment into a car and drove across the Hudson. On the other side, I quickly found the gym, Anthony, and the videographer for the shoot, Geoff Arbuckle of Arbuckle Creative. Geoff got to work getting shots of the location while my assistant, Tanner, helped me unload the car. We had to be fast to make the most of our time.

The gym had three locations of note. The first was the large room containing a boxing ring and half a dozen punching bags. The second room was smaller and contained various fitness and workout gear, like a speed bag, kettle bells, treadmills, weights, and a double cable bag. The last area was the hall that connected the two rooms. The largest room was in some ways the most difficult to shoot. It had no windows, hence, no natural light. It’s ceiling was high and covered in unpainted wood. This meant lights could not easily be reflected off the ceiling. The fluorescent lights overhead were fine for the boxers but not strong enough to catch fast action. With more time and budget, my preference would have been to put a butterfly-mounted white screen above the boxers to increase the overhead brightness. The smaller room did have natural light from a south facing window, making the lighting less of a challenge. 

I brought four flash units to light the rooms, two 800 w/s Broncolor Siros L units and two 500 w/s Profoto B1 units. I also had a Broncolor Para 133 reflector to use as the key light for most shots. The other lights were there for fill or color effects on the background. I shot everything with a Phase One XF camera and a Phase One IQ3-100 101MP digital back. I used two lenses for the shoot, a Blue Ring Schneider 55mm LS and a 120mm Blue Ring LS. The 55mm was for full to half figure shots, the 120mm for closer shots and head shots. On the first day, we remained in the large room, and on the second, we started in the small room and then did a couple shots in the large room.

The people at the gym couldn’t have been nicer. Although we intruded somewhat on their routine, they were far more accommodating than they had to be, though it was well appreciated. Thanks again to Anthony and his trainers for their help! We shot a few boxers but the focus was David Ollivierse, the boxer with the first round knockout mentioned earlier. We also shot boxer Tom Watson at the end of the day, along with two others that happened to be working out at the punching bags when we arrived.

Here are some photos from the shoot. The behind the scenes video is available on the video page of my website.

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