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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.