Swim Meet

Discussion in 'Street, Documentary, and Portrait' started by woof, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. woof

    woof Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 18, 2011
    The present.
    I shot a swim meet recently. I have shot sports a lot casually, but it is not my "thing" and I would not say my "kit" is in any way optimized for this kind of thing - indoor sports especially.

    The team press correspondent asked me to shoot the meet with the express purpose of producing photos for two local newspapers that serve the communities from which the team is drawn. I am not going to post a lot of shots here... just a couple of decently representative shots...

    I got hundreds of shots, and as the meet progressed, my keeper rate climbed. I used an EM-5 and the Olympus 40-150mm (version 1), which actually is a very nice range for this type of event. I used closer to 40mm more than I thought I would and 150mm less.

    I also had a 100-300mm on hand as well as a Panasonic 45-150mm. I never mounted the 100-300mm. Mostly because 40mm was so useful. I may try it next time on a second body... I did try the 45-150mm for a brief time but found the exposures inconsistent with that lens - significantly darker OOC with a very wide range of dark to darker. Not sure what was going on, but I could not afford to figure it out at the time. So I shot the meet virtually entirely with the 40-150mm Oly. This is hardly a "fast" lens, but the other side of that arguement is that if i had been at f/2.8 or so my keeper rate would have been lower. The focusing of this lens is also relatively slow. I wish the Panasonic had worked better as it was quicker and more acurate in its focusing. The action is actually extrememly fast at one of these meets, and it is very easy to miss focus. There is usually a peak moment for any stroke, and that moment is often seperated in space by several feet. Top of the stroke in breast or butterfly for a good swimmer can be eight feet or more apart. Continuous and CF with tracking did not work well for me, so it was all center/sf focusing.

    I was a little concerned about ISO. I have rarely shot anything over ISO 3200 and in this case I shot most of the meet at 6400. Later in the meet I even bumped it to ISO 8000. I'll let the photos below speak to that. I am not disappointed.

    White balance was set custom based on a piece of paper. Lights were relatively strong and in shots taken in quick succession (drive mode) before the meet I can see a clear shift in color from relativly neutral to a little on the muddy pinkish side, so they were strobing... I am not 100% on the color for these photos but will work the RAW a little more carefully where it counts (some of the parents have asked for copies).

    The first photo is at least a 100% crop. It's a bit humorous actually as the kid lost his goggles. 1/500th, ISO 6400, f/5.2, 114mm acual.

    The second is not cropped at all. 1/500th, ISO 6400, f/5.6, 150mm acual.

    I did very little to the photos. In this case jpegs, brightened a little, a touch of noise reduction, and sharpened "for print." Perhaps I am a little late to the party, biut I am actually pretty happy with what the EM-5 can do at a reasonably high ISO with fast action. But I am probably preaching to the choir. Happy to have input here, but mostly just wanted to share what worked generally for me... hoping this sparks some discussion concerning technique in these situations and what works for YOU. I have been asked to do it again and to also cover championships this year. So input is appreciated. Perhaps also insight into what i was seeing with the Panasonic.



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  2. Bokeaji

    Bokeaji Gonzo's Dad O.*

    Aug 6, 2011
    Austin, TX
    looks like you had fun and got to get some good experience under yer belt! imagine what you could have done with the o45/1.8 and the o75/1.8 on a second cam! "honey.. its not for ME... its for the children and the community.. dont you want our family to be part of the community?!"