Palo Alto Online: Photo Contest 2001

10th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Photo Contest
First Place, Manipulated Images

"Lonely Night"
By Matt Farrell

About Matt Farrell

To capture this basketball hoop, Matt Farrell went to Palo Verde Elementary School late at night with a wide-angle lens.

Click on photo for larger image.

"I had to use a tripod and a special shutter release mechanism because the exposure was about 30 seconds," he said. "It's taken from about two feet off the ground from behind the basket on the baseline of the court."

But this picture is the product of further labors as well. Farrell scanned the black-and-white photo into the computer and used Adobe Photoshop to edit out the stars and brighten the net. Then he colored the pole and hoop red.

"It is red in reality. It's actually orange but close enough," he said.

Farrell took the photo for an assignment in his advanced photography class at Paly. The task was to choose a poem and pick photos for illustrative purposes. "The poem had some mention of a school," he said. "I figured basketball hoops, why not."

Farrell likes the way the photo provides an unusual perspective on a basketball hoop. "Here's how I think about it: If you're playing basketball and you get all tired and you lose oxygen to the brain, colors start looking differently. So I would imagine someone running up to the basket and scoring and then bending over and looking up at the basket. It has an almost blacking-out feeling to it. It has more vibrant colors because of the red. So it's kind of surreal."

Before he started taking photography this semester, Farrell wasn't thinking about pursuing photography as a career, but now that he won this award and the department award, he's looking for a college that has a good photography and art department.

"I don't know about doing photography professionally," he said, "but I want to continue in college."

-- Katharine Miller