Matt Maniego, a freelance filmmaker and photographer based in San Francisco, was recently asked to document the National Championship Finals for NBA’s Golden State Warriors. His films and features have been featured by the “Big 3” Bay Area Pro Sports teams: San Francisco Giants, the 49ers, and the Golden State Warriors. Here he takes us Behind the Shot as he documented the GS Warriors win the first NBA title in 40 years.
BL: How did you get in the exact position to grab this shot?
MM: On assignment with the Warriors, they wanted me to follow a season ticket holder, Oliver Wald, nicknamed the “Gold Suit Man”. He became a known figure by Warrior fans after being featured on TV in last year’s playoffs. We documented his typical game day: pre-game rituals, his commute to the game, and his famous in game dance moves. It was great to capture Oliver during the game, but the best moment was after the Warriors had won.
BL: Was it planned or perfect timing?
MM: The moment was pretty much perfect timing. We shot a bunch during the game, but when the confetti starting raining down, I said to myself, “Please do the Scutaro.” If you don’t know what “Scutaro” means, it was a shot made famous by Marco Scutaro in the 2012 NLCS. Here is a photo of that moment:
I think my psychic powers kicked in because he did the very thing I asked. He did the Scutaro! Before this show however, I instinctively switched to super slow mo on the FS7 (180fps) and made sure I was shooting pretty shallow to give more drama to the shot. I got close enough so that confetti would be dropping in front of the lens so they would act as foreground elements. I made sure I was focused right on him and allowed the moment to happen. It was simply amazing.
BL: Would you do anything differently next time?
MM: I don’t think there is anything I could have done to make this moment more perfect than it was.
BL: What gear did you use?
MM: I was able to capture this epic moment using a Sony FS7 shooting at 180fps. Shooting at this frame rate worked like a charm and was just as amazing as the Scutaro shot from the 2012 NLCS. I also shot with a Rokinon 85mm f1.4 (+ a Metabones Canon EF to NEX Speed Booster for computability). I chose this lens because it had a long enough focal length to have some compression, and was shallow enough to separate my subject from the confetti and other fans in the arena.
For more sports shooting tutorials, be sure to check out the following:
• Time Lapsing Against the Shot: How to Shoot a Time Lapse with a Stadium Full of Warrior Fans
• Get Your Best Shot of the Season with These 10 Sports Photography Gear Tips
• Red Bull GRC Action Sports Photography with Garth Milan
• Capturing the Surf: an Interview with Photographer Seth Migdail
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