My experience as a photographer at the Mountain West Conference tournament

A majority of my week was spent in Las Vegas and mostly inside the Thomas and Mack Center. I was there to document the Mountain West Conference tournament for the conference itself. It was the first time I’ve ever been given all-access to an event and I cannot explain how incredible that was. When talking with Justin Tafoya, the other photographer I was working with, we were so grateful for how the conference treated us. They trusted us as professionals and gave us all the resources we needed to create the best photographs – a big and warm thank you to the Mountain West Conference.

Video: My 115 selects in 15 seconds, more text below.


When I arrived in Vegas on Monday afternoon I remembered thinking that after the 19th game I’d be sick and tired of shooting basketball but come Saturday evening and 19 games later I only wanted more. This tournament was special. The Mountain West Conference doesn’t have teams like Kansas, Duke, North Carolina, or Kentucky, instead it has teams like Wyoming and Boise State, teams that have to win their tournament and win five consecutive games in order to make it to the NCAA tournament. With that much on the line, every game was an elimination game and for the seniors in the tournament it meant it could be the last game of their career. When Fresno State guard Cezar Guerrero fouled out against Colorado State I couldn’t keep the tears from forming in my own eyes. Every player in the tournament busted their ass and as a very competitive person myself, I felt for those whose seasons were over.

As one team’s season ended, another team’s season continued, making for beautiful images of beautiful moments, moments that gave me chills and moments that Boise State guard Yaiza Rodriquez described as “some of the greatest (moments) of my life.”

The tournament wasn’t solely focused on basketball, the Mountain West partnered with Goodie Two Shoes, a non-profit that gifts brand new shoes to children in need, and held events before games to fit and gift shoes. Cheerleaders, mascots and pep bands joined in on the fun and made the childrens’ days extra special.

Over the course of the week, I tried to create a diverse body of work. By diverse, I mean a collection of photographs that look cool and still can be used effectively by the conference. To create useful photographs I used light, ultra wide lenses and remotes to capture images that would be impossible with traditional sports photography equipment. Here are several images that used these techniques. As always, planning and patience is critical when using light.

For a portrait of Wyoming’s #1 fan I used a speed light above camera left to get an image that makes him pop instead of blend into the background.

An ultra wide lens capture a SDSU huddle.

An ultra wide lens capture a Wyoming huddle.

A floor remote paired with an ultra wide lens captures a dunk.

In this image I used a speed light with a blue gel on it to balance out the image.

Two lights work in tandem to create an image of player introductions.

As all things have to come to an end (including this blog post), the tournament ended with Wyoming (who won) and San Diego State playing in the Mountain West Conference championship. To begin with, Wyoming is a very talented team and I expect them to make a nice run into the NCAA tournament. They are not the deepest teams but with TV timeouts in tournaments depth isn’t a big problem for many teams. Josh Adams (no. 14), their star guard, is a freak athlete and was very easy to make interesting images of. Like I said earlier, Wyoming had to win five consecutive games to advance to the NCAA tournament so emotions were high, creating some special images. This next series contains images of Wyoming’s games throughout the tournament and finally their victory over San Diego State in the championship.

Josh Adams


Photo of the Week, Vol. 9

It’s 5:00 a.m. and my alarm starts to sound off. Tristan and I are in San Francisco staying at TJ’s apartment. TJ’s a close high school friend that I grew up with, we were lucky enough to have spent the evening before catching up over a few beers at a place called Bus Stop in the Marina district. We get dressed, check to make sure our 150 pounds of wedding gear is all packed and we head out.

San Francisco is real quiet early in morning, the only ones out at this time are those delivering papers and the few that are opening up their coffee shops, much like anywhere else I’ve been. We’re about twenty minutes away from our destination – the Marin Headlands.

The Marin Headlands is probably one of the most picturesque urban lookouts I’ve visited in person. In the distance you have the Bay Bridge and the San Francisco skyline and in the foreground you’re overwhelmed by the splendor of the Golden Gate Bridge connecting the two hilly peninsulas. When we made it to the top of the overlook we had about an hour and a half until sunrise.

I’ve seen hundreds of Golden Gate Bridge images and when something is commonly photographed it typically turns me off creatively but not in this case. That bridge is plain ole’ magical, it’s grandeur is unmatched and both Tristan and I felt like we were dreaming or in some sort of futuristic 4D experience.

We scoped out several vantage points and I found a composition I knew I wanted. Luckily for me whoever lights the bridge did an excellent job so it took just a bit of patience and blam – the sky matched the bridge perfectly, resulting in one of my favorite images I’ve taken.

I’ll be posting more images from the Bay Area to my Instagram (@georgemullinix) and Facebook page (Facebook.com/mullinixmedia) so give both a follow! A big shout out to my good friends TJ Frank and Emily Nee for showing me around the city!

See more of my Photo(s) of the Week at georgemullinix.com/blog

Photo Specs:
Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS (173mm, f/5.6)
Manfrotto Tripod
Manfrotto Head


Photo of the Week, Vol. 8

Recently I watched a promotional video for Jeremy Cowart’s ”See University,” an online seminar for photographers. In the video he speaks about how all of us are, right now, starting the “beginning of our digital family tree.” That “one day our grandchildren and their grandchildren will google us and read about our history” – or in other words reading the book we are writing.

I’m sure this has been a thought that has popped into all of our heads in some form or fashion over the past several years. Daily, we post to our devices, consume other’s posts and bury ourselves in a consistent supply of digital stories.

Last weekend I took a trip to Chicago to visit my brother and decided to use my iPhone 6+ to document the trip and scenes around me. I took several images that eventually were posted to my social media sites for the whole world to see. While these photos are nothing spectacular they do help me remember how much fun my brother and I had that weekend and the laughs Ren and I shared.

While I will remember this weekend for many years to come, simple details like the weather, the unfolding of events and dates will eventually fade and I’ll most likely have to rely on these tiny 640 px x 640 px images to help me remember these minute details that might spark another special memory we shared. Ren and I were truly adding to our digital family tree this weekend.

It’s exciting to think my ancestors might look back on these images one day and catch a glimpse of their family’s past or the “start of their digital family tree.”

Read more of my blog posts at georgemullinix.com and follow me on Instagram – @georgemullinix.

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