How an Inquirer photographer gets the shot - on the opposite end of the basketball court

Every Monday, we present a gallery of recent pictures taken by our staff photojournalists and tell the story behind one of them. This week staff photographer Charles Fox talks about how he gets the low-angle shot - from the opposite end of the basketball court.

Villanova forward Saddiq Bey celebrates after a first-half dunk against Penn on Dec. 4 at the Finneran Pavilion at Villanova University.
CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Villanova forward Saddiq Bey celebrates after a first-half dunk against Penn on Dec. 4 at the Finneran Pavilion at Villanova University.

In all of two seconds, Villanova forward Saddiq Bey received a pass, dunked the ball, and let out a celebratory roar — on the other side of the court, facing in the opposite direction of where Inquirer staff photographer Charles Fox was seated.

But Fox, who was covering the Wildcats’ Big 5 matchup against Penn, still managed to capture the moment.

How? Before the game, he had placed a camera with a remote trigger under that basket. From his position on the floor across the court, Fox could only see Bey’s back, but every click of the shutter from his handheld camera triggered a simultaneous frame by the camera under Villanova’s basket.

“It gave me a chance to have eyes on both baskets,” he said.

Fox, who has chronicled the region’s storied college hoops scene for nearly three decades, is “a huge basketball fan, especially college ball,” which he prefers over the NBA. He has covered everything from “The Shot” — Christian Laettner’s famous game-winning jumper as time expired in overtime during the 1992 NCAA tournament game between Duke and Kentucky at the old Spectrum arena — to Villanova’s 2016 and 2018 championships.

He likes the unique perspectives offered by remote cameras, which can be on the ground, along the basket stanchion, and sometimes even behind the glass. “It’s a position that you can’t sit at, and it gives you that different view,” he said.

Though newer technology has made remote cameras more accessible to sports photographers, the idea behind them is far from new. As a boy, Fox had a beloved poster of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar during his rookie NBA season, captured from a backboard-mounted camera by legendary Sports Illustrated photographer John G. Zimmerman.

“As a boy,” Fox recalled, “it was just amazing. It was the first time I felt the magic of photography."

>>SEE MORE: Last week’s staff photo gallery and the staff photography page

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