My Favorite Photos from the Kellie Harper Story

It was obvious at the outset of starting this project that the bond between Coach Harper and the players was very strong. They love her; it’s obvious every time I am around the team. I have a wider shot of this scene, but I like this one most. It concentrates on the interaction between the team; faces aren’t important here — the bond is.

As I mentioned earlier on this site, I was commissioned by the NC State alumni associated to do the photography for a story they are doing on Kellie Harper, NCSU’s new women’s basketball coach. They asked me to pick my favorite photos from the story. Easier said than done though with some 1,000 pics to cull through.  But I was able to pick out my favorite eight from the season and here they are.

I sense a quiet before the storm. Coach Harper is reviewing her notes one last time before her team comes in for the pre-game meeting before playing Maryland. NC State won 73-45.
A simple photo, but I used a 50mm f/1.2 lens that gives a wonderful depth of field. Look at the background: The depth of field is very shallow, with only coach in focus. You typically don’t see such a blurred background with an angle this wide. Also, the viewer can get a sense of her wonderful spirit in this photo. She was laughing at something that was said; she has such wonderful sense of humor.
At an earlier game during a time out, I saw Coach Harper standing with her players. I looked down and saw a pair of high heels in a sea of sneakers. In a split second, the photo op was gone; gone before I could snap the photo. I can’t tell you how many photos I took later just trying to get a similar image. Persistence finally paid off when I took this photo. It’s difficult for me to explain why I like this photo. I think it has partly to do with Coach Harper’s youthfulness. One always thinks she is just a pair of sneakers away from running up and down court, scoring lay ups. Only her high heels separate her from her players.
The spirit of Coach Kay Yow is present in Reynolds in about every corner. Here is an equipment chest plastered with old signs of Coach Yow’’s past conquests — always providing a reminder of the legend who once paced the sidelines.
The photo was taken when the Coach Yow banner was unveiled during halftime of the Hoops 4 Hope game. The mix of emotions in this photo are the same as those in the entire building. This is of two former players. The person on the left is looking up at the banner, smiling and seems happy to see the banner honoring her former coach unveiled. At the right, the person is in her thoughts, possibly remembering Coach Yow. Everyone was that night.
This was my favorite photo from the entire story. It was taken pre-game when player introductions are done with a spotlight. After the players are introduced, they shine the spotlight on the coach, and if you are standing on the court, she is backlit. At a previous game I saw this but could not get a shot of it in time. So I waited until the next game and put myself in position to get this photo. Thankfully the second time I got it. The photo carries some symbolism to me. The spotlight is on her literally and figuratively. Also, she is casting a long shadow. Foreshadowing of her future influence on this program?