Tag Archives: swimming

Float Flip

He ain’t heavy; he’s my brother.

He ain’t heavy; he’s my brother.

Yesterday my sons found a new way to have fun in our backyard swimming pool, as well as make me laugh.

It involved my strong baby boy lifting his lighter, older brother on the Sting Ray float and turning him around in circles.

What goes up . . . .

What goes up . . . .

But that wasn’t what amused me.

Oh oh!

Oh oh!

This did! After little bro tired, he would flip the float, as I snapped away chuckling.

Man overboard . . . or is that under float?

Man overboard . . . or is that under float?

It seemed to happen in slow motion, which made it look even funnier.

Where’s Waldo?

Where’s Waldo?

The best part? The reaction by my “concerned” younger son.


Little G Then and Now

Big Glen holds baby Glen in our pool two years ago.

Big Glen holds baby Glen in our pool two years ago.

The first time that Glen V visited our backyard pool, he was a mere three months old.

Kelly makes sure baby G is secure.

Kelly makes sure baby G is secure.

His parents, the ever-lovely Kelly and Glen IV, had to do everything for the tiny tyke.

Now let’s fast-forward two years.

Little G jumps into Glen’s arms from the waterfall.

Little G jumps into Glen’s arms from the waterfall.

Glive (as we like to call him) is fun in the sun! He and his parents visited my younger son and I last week, and we had a swell time.

Kelly guides Glive.

Kelly guides Glive.

Fortunately, little Glen was wearing his Puddle Jumpers, so we didn’t have to worry about him sinking. It was cool watching him and marveling at how far he’s come since his first time in our pool.

The Stingray looks like the same one, but it’s not.

The Sting Ray looks like the same one, but it’s not.

This was a more-confident Glivester kicking his legs trying to swim, jumping into his dad’s arms, and squirting his mom with a water gun.

Time out for a snack

Break time

Of course, he did have his terrible twos moments, which resulted in him going into time out (at least he got to enjoy his snack, though; food always soothes the cranky Frankies, as we liked to call them way back when).

Double Glen love!

Double Glen love!

Other than that, it seemed like he’s learning to enjoy all the freedom that growing up brings.

Slam dunk time for my baby boy.

Slam dunk time for my baby boy.

Before we know it, little Glen will be just like this guy in the pool!

Which Olympic Sport Would You Choose to Watch?

Let the Games begin!

The Mister posed an interesting, thought-provoking question at dinner last night:

If you could choose only one sport to watch at the summer Olympics, which one would it be?

This led to a lively, very-timely discussion between us, seeing as how the opening ceremonies for the 2012 London Games are tonight, and soccer and archery already have begun play.

The Mister and I have watched the summer and winter Olympics together since 1988. We’ve ooohed and aaaahed over so many special athletic moments and have loved when our sons also have gotten caught up in the excitement. We truly are Olympic fanatics.

So many sports to choose from!

Which brings us back to the Mister’s query. Which athletic event do I prefer above all the rest?

Three quickly come to mind: Gymnastics, swimming, and track and field. Although it’s tempting to pick taekwondo, because the talented Lopez siblings hail from our town of Sugar Land.

Will Ryan Lochte usurp Michael Phelps as the U.S. swimming king?

All three sports share elements of team and individual competition. All fascinate and intrique me due to their talent levels and interesting stories.

The men’s marathon team—Ryan Hall, Meb Keflezighi, and Abdi Abdirahman

But if my feet are held to the fire, and I can only select one, then it would have to be track and field (aka athletics). Our Olympic marathon runners fought for their places here in Houston. The disciplines—from the 100-meter dash to the decathlon—are compelling. I’ve been a so-called runner since 1979—the athletes remind me of what I’m trying to strive for . . . and how short I continue to fall. My younger son enjoyed a brief track career.

Plus I’m allowing myself to include the triathlon as part of the whole kit and caboodle just because I can.

And how about the Mister? Which summer Olympics sport is his one and only?

It really didn’t take him long to decide.

Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh will go for the beach volleyball gold again.

Women’s beach volleyball. No surprise there, given that the “uniforms” are bikinis.

Good thing we have multiple TVs!

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!

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.