If you have been reading my blog for many years, you know that I have photographed many swim meets (and swimming at the Olympics in Beijing). Well...it is swim season again, so it was time to break out the camera and head to the club for some shots at the first swim meet. I wanted to post this blog at the beginning of the swim season to give some tips to those other parents and future photographers.
My favorite swim stroke to photograph is the butterfly. You can get some great wide shots of the kids with their arms outstretched, but more importantly, you can see their faces when they come out of the water to take a breath. I usually photograph the kids from the far side of the pool, straight on. (Photographer tip: To get the best images, set your camera to continuous shooting mode, set your camera to shutter priority and select a shutter speed of at least 1/500 to freeze the action. You also want to set the focus mode of your camera to "servo focus" which will follow the swimmer and keep them focused as they come towards you.)
The nice thing about the newer DSLR cameras is that they can take 3 or more pictures per second, thus making it easier to capture your subject at the height of the action. But, even with this advantage, it is still difficult to capture the exact moment that you might be looking for. I still find that the best way to get the peak of action is to hit the shutter at the exact point where you want the image. For this shot above, I purposely waited and shot this image to get the swimmer right before she came up for a breath. I like the fact that you can see her eyes (goggles) through the water.