Monday, January 24, 2011

Some sad news from the water polo community

I just recently started photographing some of the local water polo matches in my hometown, as I start my preparations for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. A couple of months ago, I went out to Santa Clara University to shoot some scrimmages there. And then, two weeks ago, I went out to photograph my neighbor and his club team at a local high school. Each time, I make sure to check in with the coach of the team, to make sure that I could shoot from the base of the pool and to offer up images for their own use.

Two weeks ago was the first time that I met Coach Ron Freeman, and as it turns out, it was the last time that I would meet him. I went out to shoot more images at a tournament today and found out that Coach Freeman had a massive heart attack and died a couple of days ago. What a shock.

They asked me if I had any images of him coaching his last game and so I looked back and sent them some. Here are a couple of my favorites.

It is really hard to believe that I would photograph this man one day and then a couple of weeks later, find out that he is no longer with us. From everything that I heard, he was a real fixture in the water polo community here, and he will be sorely missed. I dedicate this blog entry to a man I didn't really know, but someone who affected so many of our friend's lives.

Now on to some of the images from the sport that he loved so much. This is a shot of my neighbor Patrick (my son's age), who was coached by Coach Reed for many years.

He shoots and he scores! Patrick puts one right through the hands of the goalie.

One of my favorite angles to shoot water polo, is from a very low position. I like to lay down on the pool deck and shoot just above the water line. When shooting at a wide aperture, it really helps to separate my main subject from the others. The key to shooting this sport is to capture the intensity of the action (around the ball and away from it as well).

In between periods, the team listening to their interim coach.

After my neighbor's game, I stuck around to shoot some of the final match. Again, looking for the peak of action and key moments of the game.

I like this shot because the goalie's eyes say it all. You can see the concentration in his eyes, but you can also see the opportunity that the shooter has. And...yes...the shooter did score. (Photographer note: When photographing water polo, being played outside on a sunny day, it is really important to shoot with your back to the sun. You want the athletes face's to be well lit. If you shoot in the other direction, you are almost guaranteed to have harsh shadows and ugly lighting. Also, make sure that you have your focus mode set to "Servo" to follow the action. Keep your ISO low, since you will have plenty of light and shoot wide open to isolate your subject. Lastly, you will want to shoot a lot of images to get those keepers!)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeff, thanks for the pointers! Our son loves water polo and will be playing in the Junior Olympics tournament this weekend. I will definitely apply your advice when trying to catch the perfect shot.