Sunday, 12 August 2007

Sports Photography

My brief experience in taking photos of the action at Universiade 2007 has given me a lot of respect for professional sports photographers and the images they capture.

My first brazen and shameless excuse for the quality of photos I have taken is the equipment I am using. No doubt the pros use some top-end hardware with specifications designed to deal with the high speed motion of athletic competition. My point and shoot digital camera is fairly limited in this regard.

I am certain there is still a high proportion of shots taken to shots published for those working in the main stream media. During the few days that I have been covering the World University Games in Bangkok and taking photos, I have perhaps taken 30-40 shots for every one that I have posted on my blog. As you can see, even many of those are borderline at best in terms of quality.

Finding the right angle for a potential shot is a big part of attaining a worthwhile action shot. Again, I've been limited to a degree by my position in the stands.

Developing a sense of anticipation is hugely important as well. Having a feel for when an interesting play is about to explode is a key factor in whether the final result is worthwhile. Of course, shutter-speeds available in top of the line equipment will play a role here as well.

Also, not just when you take a shot, but which players you focus on, makes a difference in the shots you end up with. Certain athletes seem to perform in a way that is more conducive to an appealing photograph. This is true also of facial mannerisms and reactions.

On day 5, I took some photos of basketball for the first time. I watched 2 games, the Czech Republic women's team played the U.S.A. and Korea and Canada faced each other in the men's competition. True to the basketball maxim, both games were decided in the final 2 minutes with the Czech Republic and Korea both prevailing in their respective games.

The women's game was close throughout with the Czechs holding the lead until about 1:30 left in the 4th quarter when the U.S. went ahead briefly for the only time.

The men's game saw a shooting clinic put on by the Koreans. Canada jumped out to a 13-1 lead and then fell behind after Korea rattled off 15 straight. They never relinquished the lead until late in the game, stretching it out by as much as 12. The Canadians made it close with the score 47-45 for Korea at half-time.

Canada only had the advantage again with less than 2 minutes remaining in the game. They could have gone ahead by 1 point again with 25 seconds left but missed a shot in close. Korea went back up the floor and scored with less than 10 seconds left to take the game 82-79.

2 very close and entertaining games.

Easy layup by the Czech Republic

U.S. team battling for 2


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