June 4th, 2009
NBA Finals Game 1 Los Angeles Lakers vs. Orlando Magic
May 14th, 2009
Houston Rockets Vs. Los Angeles Lakers Game 6
May 10th, 2009
Houston Rockets Vs. Los Angeles Lakers Game 4
May 8th, 2009
Houston Rockets Vs. Los Angeles Lakers Game 3
April 30th, 2009
Houston Rockets Vs. Portland Trail Blazers Game 6
After an almost inevitable defeat in game 5 at Portland. The Houston Rockets responded with a resounding victory 92 points to 76. The Rockets held the lead in every quarter of the game and had a controlled lead throughout the majority of the game, leading with 20 points at the highest. Brandon Roy was held to 22 points while LaMarcus Aldridge put in his 26 points. However, no other player scored in the double digits. The Rockets however, brought their game with Ron Artest leading the way scoring 27 points. Yao brought up second with 17 points and Aaron Brooks added 13.
The victory marks the first time for the Rockets to make it out of the first round play offs in over a decade. Coach Rick Adelman commented, "I couldn't be prouder of our team. It was a great team effort."
Shane Battier added, "I know it's been a long time coming. I've only been here three years but you feel the frustrations of the fans here and they love a winner here. We are glad that we could get a win for them tonight. This one is for the fans and the people of Houston."
After the game, Ron Artest commented about his fourth quarter dive into the stands to save the ball. He commented how a fan offered him some beer when he slid four or five rows into the seats. He commented that this time it was a lot of fun, nobody threw beer on him, and he had a blast. He wanted to take a drink but there were too many cameras on him.
An incredible game leads to Round 2 of the 2009 Playoffs, the Los Angeles Lakers.
Please click on the following image for the gallery:
I presented Von Wafer with two pictures that i took of him throughout the season. He commented on how he really enjoyed them and planned on framing them and hanging them up. If he actually follows through, I'll post pictures. But I will post the video of me presenting him with the photos here.
April 27th, 2009
Houston Rockets Vs. Portland Trail Blazers Game 4
The series is drawing to a close, and as the excitement of finally making it out of the first round of the NBA Playoffs rises, so has the intensity from the crowd. However, the game four victory didn't come easy. The Rockets lost a lead in the third quarter outscored by the Trail Blazers 26 to 14. The fourth quarter started out with a six point deficit and the game was neck in neck down to the wire. That's not to say that the Rockets didn't play an amazing game. Yao overcame the fronting strategy to score 21 points, luis scola added 17 and Shane Battier added four huge three pointers to keep the game ours. But the Trail Blazers played a very discipline game. They are now down 3 games to 1 and every game is their last game. Brandon Roy put in his 31 points while La Marcus Aldridge added 19 points. It was the Rockets' fourth quarter defense that gave us the win. Chuck Hays slid under Brandon Roy for a charge and Kyle Lowry purposefully missed a free throw with 1.2 seconds left on the clock preventing the Trail Blazers to organize a final shot.
I got a chance to talk with LaMarcus Aldridge after the game. Although the Blazers lost, I wished him the best of luck in his career and complimented him on his extraordinary game. I even commented that I wouldn't mind seeing him back for a game Six, but thats only from one Longhorn to another. When commenting on the series, Aldridge said, "It's playoff basketball and we have to go home and take care of home court. We're positive and we have to stay focused."
Chuck Hayes commented on the biggest play of the game, his defensive stop against Brandon Roy in the final seconds, "I don't know how it happened. I just read him. He had a beat on Ron and I went for it. I went for it and I put myself outside a restricted area. It meant a lot. Coach needed me. Coach needed me for defense."
Please click on the following image for this game's image gallery:
The crowds have spoken, and one of their favorite players and definitely one of mine is Von Wafer. Here is my tribute to our up and coming Super Star:
This shot is using one color exclusion selecting the red on the Rockets' jersey. Then inverse select to apply a high contrast black and white effect not not only desaturate but also to increse or decrease contrast in very specific colors in the picture. Text addition and sharpness were additional adjustments all done in Adobe Photoshop CS4.
April 25th, 2009
2009 First Round Playoffs Houston Rockets Vs. Portland Trail Blazers
The playoff atmosphere is a combination of thundering applause, a collective spirit willing the shot to go in, and thousands of voices joined together into a singular cheer. Every bucket elicits an eruption of applause and standing ovations are a dime a dozen during gametime. Playoffs also brings out some celebrities: Tracy's first game back after his knee surgery to cheer on his team, Jeff Van Gundy former coach broadcasting for ESPN, Steve Francis and Catino Mobley former Rockets courtside, and a D.J. Augustin of the Charlotte Bobcats here to cheer on his former teammate from TEXAS, Aldridge.
After leading for three quarters peaking at a 17 point lead, the Rockets managed to pull out in a last minute nervous thriller. The Blazers made a come back in the fourth quarter bringing it within 1 point. However, Luis Scola with 19 points, Shane Battier with 16 points, and Aaron Brooks with 11 came in taking over the scoring role. Yao, being fronted, was limited again to only 7 points. However, Battier and Artest did an amazing job holding Brandon Roy to only 19 points, a significant decrease from his 41 point game 2 victory over the Rockets. Defense won this game for the Rockets and they have a lot to learn and have to continue to learn how to close out games.
"Offensively we struggled a little bit but if we keep our intensity on defense and pick up our offense then we will be alright, " said Aaron Brooks in regards to how the Blazers battled back in the fourth quarter.
Shane Battier sums up the game with, "I think tonight's game is going to be pretty indicative of how the series is going to go forward. They're not going to go out quietly and neither are we. It seemed like we had great control of the game, we played great defense but we let up for just a second. They have too many shooters and too many good players. They really made us run there, but luckily we made our free throws and plays at the end. But this was a nice win for us."
Please click the following pictures to view the web gallery.
Tonight i shot with two cameras, a second (Canon XTI DSLR). This allowed me to use the 24-70 f2.8L when the action was on my side of the court and use the 100-400 f4.5 L IS for the opposite side. This made it much easier, however i have yet to figure out the correct settings on the XTI, using the same one doesn't get the same effect. Custom white balance is also very key to getting the right hue. The television crews use a huge white card before every card and you can catch them and use theirs.
April 13th, 2009
Houston Rockets VS. New Orleans HornetsLast home game of the season.
Goals: contain Chris Paul as much as possible. (Check! Chris Paulwas 3 for 8 tonight when averaging almost 30 points a game).
Work towards winning division title: (Check! we also move up to number 3 rank in the west, we should have home court advantage and can end up facing New Orleans, Portland, or San Antonio.)
Put on a show for Former President George Bush Sr: (Check! George and Barbara Bush enjoyed the first half where we came from a 6 point deficit to a 12 point lead.)
Win the game: (Check! New Orleans never came back from losing their first half lead and the Rockets Defeated the Hornets easily in a 86 to 66 victory.)
Please click on the following image for the gallery from this game:
April 7th, 2009
Houston Rockets VS. Orlando Magic
"I've been hanging out a lot with Mickey Mouse," commented recently traded Rafer Alston of the Orlando Magic when asked about his new home with the Orlando team.
In a highly anticipated matchup between 4th ranked Houston Rockets of the Western Conference against the 3rd ranked Orland Magic of the Eastern Conference, the Rockets clenched a hard fought 93-83 victory. Although the game was decided well before the last minutes of the game, Coach Stan Van Gundy (our own Jeff Van Gundy's brother) stretched the last minute and 10 seconds into an unrelenting sequence of quick fouls and trips to the free throw line. The crowds stood taunting the losing team and especially the coach.
Tonight's matchup was also interesting as it marks the first time the Rockets faced Rafer Alston, who was traded just a month ago to Orlando to acquire Brian Cook and Kyle Lowry. Rafer received a warm welcome and performed well as expected scoring 15 points in 4 of 11 shooting. Aaron Brooks, who has taken over Rafer's position as gaurd for the Houston Rockets stepped up to the anticipated matchup scoring 11 points in 3 of 8 shooting.
The fierce Dwight Howard was well gaurded by a combination of Yao Ming and Dikembe Mutombo tonight and was held to only 13 points and only 2 offensive rebounds. Rashard Lewis had a great game but his 22 point performance was not enough to combat the Rockets with 5 players in double figure scoring lead by Yao Ming with 20 points.
This exciting game also marked the return of Carl Landry to the Rocket's arsenal of players. After three weeks of healing and rehabilitation, a nervous Carl Landry returned to score 8 points. Three weeks ago, Carl was the victim of a violent crime and mixed up identity, he suffered a surface wound to the leg and was treated by emergency physicians at Memorial Hermann. During the media interview after the game, Carl remarked about his excitement to play and how the doctors cleared him right before gametime. He felt very nervous about his return but slowly became relaxed and more comfortable as his shots found their way into the basket. He is very happy to be back. You can watch the entire interview here.
Please click on the following picture to view the gallery from this game:
Photo Notes: Tonight I increased the ISO from 1600 to 3200. This allowed me to increase the shutter speed from 500 to 1000. Although this freezes movement a little better it does produce very noisy images as seen in the gallery. For NBA lighting, ISO1600 is enough at aperature F2.8 getting a shutter speed of around 500 is sufficient for fast paced ballgames. I also did a custome white balance using a napkin on the court, it did a decent job but a grey card would probably work better in this situation.
April 5th, 2009
Houston Rockets VS. Portland Trail Blazers
Tonight's game is a possible preview of the first round matchup for the 2009 NBA Playoffs. After clenching their playoff position, the Portland Trail Blazers fell in a 88 to 102 Loss to the Houston Rockets. LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy lead the Blazers with 22 points each. However, the Rockets had 5 players in double figures with Yao Ming leading the way with 21 points. Luis Scola had a spectacular game with 8 of 10 shooting totaling to 16 points.
Von Wafer of the Rockets commented, "It was a very big win. There was a lot on the line with the playoff implications and seeding, we got it done."
After the game, I interviewed LaMarcus Aldridge. He played for UT Longhorns for two seasons while I was there in undergrad. I congratulated him on his stellar performance and asked him a few questions.
What is the biggest difference between playing in the NBA and for Texas? "Just more games, I get to take more shots."
What do you miss most about playing college ball? "Just the commodery, teammates an spending a lot of time with the guys."
What do you think about the Longhorn's performance in the NCAA tournament? "They played well, they needed some more players but they did well."
What advice do you have for the new players? "Work hard, anything is possible."
Can you say something to your Longhorn Fans? "Stick by Rick [Barnes], he is going to lead them to a final four soon, again."
Please click on the following image to view the gallery from this game.
March 28th, 2009
Rockets defeated Clippers very easily tonight, nothing exciting happened but I did use my new Canon 24-70mm F2.8L lens, this allows me to shoot at F2.8 and at a much faster shutter speed to freeze motion and reduce motion blur.
March 20th, 2009
Houston Rockets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
In an otherwise non-eventful game, Tonight's showdown between the Rockets and the Timberwolves marked the first ever appearance of James White as a Houston Rocket.
If you havn't heard the name, please click HERE to watch him dunk from behind the free throw line once claimed only by the likes of Michael Jordan.
To Watch my mini-interview, and I stress Mini with James White, please click HERE
Houston has defeated Minnesota 4 straight times this season and have not lost to the team since 2007. Timberwolves Coach Kevin McHale said, "They beat us up pretty good. We couldn't get anything going offensively and then our defense didn't come through. It was a bad combination for us. Our guys fought hard. We weren't able to establish anything against them."
Please click on the following picture to view the picture gallery:
March 18th, 2009
Houston Rockets vs. Detroid Pistons
Double Overtime battle with the Detroid Pistons resulted in a victory at the Toyota Center. Tayshaun Prince said, "We just couldn't get over the hump. In the second overtime we ran out of gas and Houston made their shots." Antonio McDyess continued, "I feel very tired. He (Yao) has me by over a hundred pounds and he beats on you. He's a skilled big man with a nice attitude. I love him as a player." Coach Adelman commented on Houston's inability to close out the fourth quarter and said that Yao needs to be more aggressive and call for the ball. Yao responds with, "I think it's because I didn't play the last game so I needed to score extra points. I need to be more aggressive I guess. I've been in this situation before. I think I need to do more for the team."
The Toyota center was packed with 18,275 people tonight marking the 20th sellout of the season. The Rockets ended with a 106-101 double overtime victory. Yao Ming finnished with 31 points, 15 rebounds and 4 blocked shots. Ron Artest held 26 points. Even Mutombo saw a few minutes and recorded a block and a wag of the finger.
Tonight I was given the assignment to interview Shane Battier about Carl Landry's recent incident. Shane spoke with intelligence and the way he looks directly at you instead of the camera gave me a sense that he was really answering the question rather than just trying to get through an interview. His concern for his fellow teammate and his wisdom to realize that basketball is just a game and life has much more important elements to it really speaks volumes for his true personality. Unfortunately, Shane insists on rooting for Duke if his college team and the Texas Longhorns meet in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Please click the following image to see the gallery from this game.
March 14th, 2009
Houston Rockets vs. San Antonio Spurs
Spurs are ranked second in the western conference with Houston a close third. Our hopes of surpassing our in state rival were crushed as Tony Parker played a consistently superior game compared to our own offense. The Tony Parker and Tim Duncan duo managed to top the Houston Rockets. When asked about the loss, Yao said that he was so focused on his matchup with Duncan that he barely noticed the scoreboards.
Please click on the following image to see a gallery of this game.
March 11th, 2009
Houston Rockets vs. L.A. Lakers
This is my third game as a NBA photographer and I really think the experience is really starting to benefit me. Each game, I get to talk to seasoned photograhers who give me great advice and work among incredible individuals in the media room representing all forms of press from television, newspaper and radio. There is a great sense of teamwork among the media, and they all share the incredible good fortune of having a job that revolves around a passion and interest.
Tonight, the L.A. Lakers came from behind in a big fourth quarter win. The game had everything: a soldout crowd, competitiveness with Ron Artest and Kobe Bryant fighting with words and physicality, a neck in neck game, and spectacular performances from all of our favorite players. But perhaps the most amazing experience from tonight's game is witnessing the singular abiity of Kobe Bryant. Scoring over 37 points and bringing the Lakers to a victory. He never once looked frustrated or worried. During the locker room interview, Bryant mentioned how he monitored the flow of the game and wanted to get everyone on his team involved. But when asked when he decided to take over, he talks about realizing the need to put some confidence into his team. In regards to the very physical game he played with Artest that resulted in double technicals at the 6:54 marker in the fourth quarter, kobe responded, "It wasn't much of a battle. I kicked his a**, We've had some battles in the past but he never talked trash, but he didn't stop all game until the end." When interviewed, Ron Artest chuckled as he answered, "He (Kobe) is a great competitor. It was a fun game. It was a very competitive game. We are not friends out there at all. After the season, we might play pickup games or something but it's not like that now. His team has a chance to win a championship."
Click on the following photo to view the gallery and enjoy the photos, please leave comments and suggestions. Thank you
March 8th, 2009
Houston Rockets vs. Memphis Grizzlies
March 6th, 2009
Your Favorite Photographer has amazing news!
As on tonight, I am officially the Sports Photographer for Chinese Sports Programing Network, CSPN. I will be bringing you the remaining home games in the 2008-2009 NBA Season for our Houston Rockets! Please check out my work by clicking the following photo. I am learning a ton from the other professional photographers and hopefully you will be able to see me learn from experience.
Thank you Grant Zhou of CSPN for giving me this incredible opportunity.