An­tic­i­pate the mo­ment

NPhoto - - Feature -

As Andy sug­gests in Cap­ture the Mo­ment, putting in the re­search and be­ing pre­pared is key to get­ting the sharpest, peak-of-the-ac­tion shots: “Just as sport is about prac­tice and per­for­mance, the keen sports pho­tog­ra­pher can’t ex­pect to just turn up, point his or her cam­era and hope for the best.”

Nowhere is this more ob­vi­ous than when it comes to tak­ing pic­tures of swimmers, as you only get brief glimpses of each of the com­peti­tors above the water.

“De­tails all help in plan­ning your shot,” ad­vises Andy. “Learn in ad­vance, for ex­am­ple, which side a par­tic­u­lar swim­mer breathes on. This is im­por­tant as faces are only vis­i­ble dur­ing the frac­tion of a sec­ond when swimmers come up for air. The rest of the time the swim­mer spends head down in the water for max­i­mum speed. It’s also help­ful to know a com­peti­tor’s rou­tine at the end of the race. How does he or she cel­e­brate? Which way does he or she look, and from which side do they exit the pool?”

The most im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion is de­cid­ing where you’re go­ing to sit. Rather than set up camp next to the straight of a rac­ing track, would it be bet­ter to po­si­tion your­self close to a bend, where com­peti­tors are likely to be mov­ing more slowly, al­low­ing you to fo­cus more eas­ily on them?

Fi­nally, make sure you keep check­ing your cam­era set­tings. It’s easy to lose track of which fo­cus mode or AF-area mode you’re in du­ing the heat of the mo­ment. De­velop a de­fault cam­era setup for ac­tion that you can re­turn the cam­era to af­ter you’ve fin­ished shoot­ing.

Andy on… re­search “Be aware of who the favourite is, who’s likely to win and who’s not, where the favourites line up, where the best side of the track is and where not to go. It’s im­por­tant to in­volve your­self in the rhythm of the game rather than just turn your at­ten­tion on and off; only by do­ing this will you see the op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

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