Category Archives: swimming

Underwater Photography

My younger son snaps a photo of his brother . . . underwater.

When my #2 son asked to use my Olympus Stylus Tough 6000 in our swimming pool, I did two things: First, I handed over the waterproof point and shoot. Then I grabbed my Nikon digital SLR and followed him outside.

The watery result (taken by the Olympus and #2)

Using the Olympus underwater is a great way for my sons to remember the fun they’ve had in the pool this summer. And, for a change, it wasn’t dangerous!

Gotta check that LCD to make sure he got the shot.

Meanwhile, I enjoyed mimicking my younger son but in a more dry fashion, of course. I especially like the dreamy quality of the photos of him submerged. They could be something an impressionist would’ve painted.

Time to come up for air!

Want to change up how your photos look? Just add water!

Flippin’ Fun

My older son prepares to climb on his brother’s shoulders.

In case you’ve wondered whether or not my sons have stopped trying to give me a heart attack this summer, check out these latest photos of their pool escapades.

#1 starts his front flip.

The good news? The boys decided to stop flipping off the spa. The bad news? Now they’re doing flips off each other.

In mid-air

Actually, only my #1 son is doing the acrobatics, because he’s lighter.

Crash landing in the water

It took a lot of coordination and timing to accomplish the flips. So many of the attempts were flops!

Ready for the backflip?

Starting the backflip

Preparing to flip over

Upside down!

The #1 son has landed!

What in the world will they think up next?!?

Medical update

My ENT finally called with the results of my needle biopsy. All is well! Here’s hoping that pesky lymph node behaves.

More Pool Danger

My older son hovers over the float he’s about to jump on.

In their apparently never-ending quest to make mom nervous, my sons (including my “third son,” Chase) continue to create new ways to make harmless pool toys hazardous.

Keeping it steady.

The theme of the summer of 2011? Pool Danger. Why is the “Theme From a ‘Summer Place'” (the Lettermen’s version) playing in my head?

Backbend time!

How naive I was to think that my sons would actually use the colorful float that we bought for its intended purpose: Lazing away on the cooling water.

The slow descent into the water

Oh, I figured they might fight over who got to lie on it. The diplomacy of taking turns is a lost art when it comes to teenage boys.

Chase struggles to keep his balance.

But, silly me, I didn’t think they’d actually try to surf on the inflatable. Especially when falling off means they could hit their heads on hard surfaces and horribly injure themselves.

No one falls into the water quite like Chase!

I guess being in the pool is risky business. Whatever happened to actually swimming?

Splash landing!

Looks like they get their swimming in when they fall off the float!

Chase watches his bro start to spin off the float.

Of course, my older son decided to take the old surf-the-float trick up a notch.

Rolling in the air

He figured he would add even more excitement to it by jumping off and doing a roll in the air.

What goes up must come down.

Yet another way to make the innocuous pool toy dangerous?!?

Big splash!

I think I need to look into waterproof helmets!

Man Overboard

My older son and “third son” Chase try to tip over my younger son.

It looks like I might get a lot of photo mileage out of our new pool float. As you may recall, I wrote about how this innocuous, round inflatable became an element of danger for my sons.

Now it’s Chase’s turn to try to stay on the float.

When they’re not busy standing on it and trying not to get knocked off by the big beach ball, they do their best to dump off the person who is lying on it.

Chase overboard!

As my sons demonstrate above!

Can my #2 son stay afloat?

When I envisioned the boys having hours of fun with the float, I thought it would be with them on the inflatable. Not trying to tip someone off it. Boys!

The strong #2 son flips over the other two.

I will admit that sometimes the way they fall off the float into the water is funny.

All that’s left to see are feet! (This photo cracks me up!)

Which definitely makes that photo mileage enjoyable!

Allergy update

It turns out that my younger son is allergic to lanolin, which is in all the products we had been advised to use to help his eczema all these years, and some fragrance additives. No wonder his medicine made him so itchy!

Boys and the Dangerous Y Chromosome

My younger son demonstrates how to safely ride on a float in our pool.

This is the savvy mom’s definition of a boy: Able to make something that should be harmless and fun into something that is totally dangerous albeit fun . . . for the male.

Let me demonstrate photographically how the Y chromosome means not only an inability to pick up things off the floor but also a penchant towards peril. Starring the usual suspects plus our disc golf buddy Glen.

Chase takes his stand as my older son is ready to throw the big beach ball at him.

When my younger son asked us to buy a new, round float for our swimming pool, I envisioned the fun he, his older brother, and my “third son” Chase would have. How much they would enjoy lying, sitting, or kneeling on it as they traversed the blue waters. Sure, they might squabble over whose turn it was to placidly use the float, but all three know how to share by now.

#2 son takes aim at #1.

How long have I been a mom to sons? Have I forgotten over the last 19 years that “harm” is the key part of “harmless?”

The big beach ball is about to collide with #1.

Almost immediately upon inflating the float and throwing it into the pool, one son proceeded to stand on it while the other tried to knock him off with our huge beach ball. Meanwhile, the Mister and I watched in horror as the son on the inflatable drifted near the edge of the pool or the waterfall’s rocks with the ball about to hit him and possibly knock him backwards. Then they would switch places and continue this madness over and over again.

This has been their favorite game so far this summer. “No blood in the pool!” has become my mantra.

My older son’s throw is on its way towards Glen.

That dangerous Y doesn’t end at adulthood, by the way. Glen, who is like a big kid, had to get in on the whack-a-guy-off-the-float action when he and his family visited recently.

Thar he goes (much to the #2 son’s delight)!

I have to admit that Glen’s fall into the pool was pretty funny.


Fortunately, he was nowhere near the pool edge or rocks.

I had hoped that with my sons getting older that I wouldn’t have to watch them constantly when they’re in the pool, but I still find myself pulling up a chair and making sure they stay near the middle of the water.

Thank you, Y chromosome, for reality-slapping me in the face once again!

Pool Fun

My younger son prepares to lift his older brother.

Now that our pool has water in it again, my sons have enjoyed cooling off in it. And pretending it’s a water park.

We have lift-off!

When we put in the pool nine years ago and the boys were younger and lighter, the Mister used to act like a ride at Schlitterbahn and lift them up in their tubes and toss them from the shallow to the deep end. Our sons loved it!

#2 is about to launch #1 towards the deep end.

And I loved that unlike the real water park, there wasn’t an excessive amount of tattoos and a distinct and undesirable lack of enough bathing suit material on people who really need to cover up as much as possible. The real Schlitterbahn is not a visual feast. Ugh!

Splash down!

These days the strongest member of our family seems to be our almost 16-year-old son (his birthday is Wednesday!). He’s taken over for his father when it comes to being the best Schlitterbahn ride, with his older brother being the beneficiary.

My #1 son enjoyed his brief ride.

After launching his brother into the air a number of times, my younger teen insisted that it was his turn to be Schlitterbahned (yeah, I made that one up; seems to fit, though).

No good can come of this awkward angle!

Unfortunately for him, he’s heavier than his bro, who couldn’t quite lift him straight in the air and toss him.

I didn’t think this would end well!

The result? My #2 son ended up in the water under the tube instead of still in it. Of course, his loving brother was totally chagrined.

The older laughs at the younger’s plight.

As if!

Statue of Swim Limitations

Window to the swim world

I must admit that after the first time I took photos of our high school swim team in action, I had a little swagger in my step. Most of my photos looked good, and I felt I did a decent job documenting the event.

Of course, it helped 100 percent that it was an outdoor meet with good light. But how would I do shooting a swim meet indoors?

I got my answer recently when I tried my hand at stopping the swim action at our local natatorium. Armed with my Nikon D700 and Nikon f/1.4 85mm lens, I hopped up the steps of the facility, opened the door, and stood there in awe. A wide smile danced on my face.

I was looking at a big window. And beyond all that glass? A swimming pool! I would be able to shoot through the glass at the swimmers as they took off from the blocks and raced through their events. Without getting wet!

I was enthralled! I was enraptured!

And, of course, I was wrong. Because there were two pools at the Nat. And our team would be competing at the one farther from that wonderful window. Just my luck!

Girls stay still as they wait for the start of the backstroke part of the medley relay.

Since this was my second try at shooting swimming, I challenged myself to experiment and look for something different to focus on. The first meet was all about action. This time it was mostly about inaction.

The statue-like Allie waits at the start.

I noticed that the swimmers sometimes seemed frozen in time as they waited to start their events.

Zach seems frozen in place.

It was almost like Rodin had chiseled them out of stone. Not exactly the Thinker, though. Maybe the Water Waiter?

Girls are stopped in space as they dive into the pool.

Even the swimmers diving into the pool could be stopped in space. It seemed like artistic photography. I almost felt myself developing a French accent!

Jessika is captured at the end of her freestyle race.

But then I walked over to take photos of my friend Sue’s daughter, Jessika. As I snapped away, she was anything but unanimated.


Animated because she didn’t want me to take her photo. Which, of course, only made me want to keep snapping away!

Time to give in!

Until Jess finally decided that I wasn’t going to stop, so she might as well smile.

Don’t they say that a smile is a window on your face to show your heart is at home? I guess I got my window after all!

Sinking or Swimming Photographically

Please lift your head so I can identify you!

Please lift your head so I can identify you!

Action photographers often opine that volleyball is the toughest sport to shoot, and I wouldn’t argue with that. Poor lighting and fast action with the ball going every which way but where your focus is. Yep, volleyball is a photographic toughie.

Please breathe on the OTHER side!

Please breathe on the OTHER side!

But then where does that leave swimming? Heads in and out of the water, breathing on the side you’re not shooting from, arms blocking faces, impossible angles, can hardly identify any of the swimmers. Oh, and don’t forget the humidity! Shooting swimming definitely can be a tough, sweaty proposition, too.

Luisa dives in to start her butterfly race.

Luisa dives in to start her butterfly race.

But if you get lucky like I did and photograph an outdoor meet, as I did recently for our high school’s swim team, you’re bound to get clear faces captured at the peak of action. Well, until the light starts to fade during the meet-ending relays.

Emily powers through the backstroke during the individual medley.

Emily powers through the backstroke during the individual medley.

I also was fortunate that the venue had a balcony to shoot from. I used my Nikon D700 (the better to capture those high ISOs as the sun was setting), along with my beloved and much-used Nikon 70-200mm lens. I added the Nikon 1.4x teleconverter for much of the meet to give me more reach. Where’s that 400mm lens when you need it?!?

Allie heads for the end of the pool in the freestyle.

Allie heads for the end of the pool in the freestyle.

Here’s a tip for parents who want to make sure that photographers know which swimmer is their child: Have your kid wear distinctive goggles. I always could tell which swimmer was Allie (shown above) by her pinkish eyewear.

Johnny flies through the water during a relay.

Johnny flies through the water.

A swim meet is kind of like a three-ring aquatic circus. There might be one or two swimmers from your high school in one heat, one in another, and none in a third. Athletes are hurtling through the air from the blocks, powering through the water, and there’s little down time from one event to another. Snap city all the time.


Amanda stays ahead of her competitor in the free.

As long as all the water in that aquatic circus stays away from me and my photo equipment, I’m glad to document it!

Zach is on his way to an easy victory in the 100 free.

Zach is on his way to an easy victory in the 100 free.

While I was snapping away, hoping the swimmers would breathe on my side and trying to time my shutter so I could capture their faces, I couldn’t help but think how much easier it is to shoot cross-country on a nice fall day. And so much easier to identify the athletes!

Jessica splashes towards the end of her freestyle race.

Jessica splashes towards the end of her freestyle race.

But, as always, it was fun trying to meet the photographic challenge before the darkness and dim pool lighting made it impossible to get good pix. Even though I did sink at times with my shots, I found that it all went swimmingly in the end.