Monday, January 20, 2014

Polina Edmunds (USA Figure Skater): San Jose, California's new hometown star

Today is Martin Luther King day in the U.S. and most kids have the day off of school. Most 15 year olds are going to the movies, heading to the mall, or hanging out with friends. But, for Polina Edmunds, this 15 year old spent her lunch time at San Jose's Sharks Ice for her pre-Olympic media event. A little over a week ago, Polina did an exceptional job at the Nationals and earned herself a spot on the US Olympic team. And now she is in the spotlight for sure.

Being that she lives and trains right in my hometown (and practices at the same rink where I play hockey), I really wanted to shoot photos of her before we both head off to Sochi. I contacted her family and, through the help of US Figure Skating, was able to attend the media event and shoot photos of Polina this afternoon.

(Canon 1DX, 70-200 2.8 lens, ISO 2000, f/2.8, 1/1000 sec)
Here is the 15 year old practicing her routine, while being watched by her coach.

(Canon 1DX70-200 2.8 lens, ISO 2000, f/2.8, 1/640 sec)

All smiles today...

(Canon 1DX70-200 2.8 lens, ISO 2000, f/2.8, 1/1000 sec)

I photographed Polina for an hour, and watched her fine tuning her program. (Photographer's note: The athletes need to warm up and so do us photographers. For each sport that I shoot, I find that my first images taken are not nearly as good as my last. There is a trial and error to this profession. I started on one side of the ice, with all the other media, and then determined that the shots would be better from the other side of the rink. I also tried different camera settings to yield more interesting images.)

(Canon 1DX70-200 2.8 lens, ISO 2000, f/2.8, 1/500 sec)

This is my favorite photo from the day. On a previous routine, as Polina skated past the plexiglass, I noticed her reflection and thought that it would make a cool photo. The next time she came by that same area, I was ready for the shot!

(Canon 1DX70-200 2.8 lens, ISO 100, f/2.8, 1/40 sec)

And...after shooting action photos of Polina at high shutter speeds (mostly between 1/500 and 1/1000 sec), I decided that it would be fun to slow the shutter (between 1/40 and 1/25 sec) and do some motion pan shots.

(Canon 1DX70-200 2.8 lens, ISO 100, f/4, 1/25 sec)

As always, when shooting motion pan shots, not all of them come out. But when they do, they are really nice.

(Canon 1DX70-200 2.8 lens, ISO 640, f/2.8, 1/160 sec)

This last photo was taken of Polina in a makeshift photo studio at the rink. I grabbed a couple of photos of her before heading out.

I hope that she does really well in Sochi, and I am hoping that her figure skating routines do not happen at the same time as the US hockey games, so that I can be there to capture her in better light and with nicer backgrounds. Good luck Polina!!!


Unknown said...

When shooting action shots, how do you balance the focus when the subject may be coming towards and away from you quickly like she may have been? I find that hard to deal with as I'm just an amateur.

Jeff Cable Photography Blog said...

Steven - you need to switch your camera to "follow focus". On Canon cameras this is called AI Servo. For these photos, I also used a technique called back button focusing.

Unknown said...

Jeff, why the 1/1000 shutter and 2000 ISO on some of the first pictures? Wouldn't 1/500 shutter be enough for pictures of this type? Do you hold down the back focus button when bursting away? Great pictures :-)

Jeff Cable Photography Blog said...

Bo - believe it or not, when these athletes are moving as fast as they are, 1/500 may not cut it. And yes, I am holding down the AF button while I am shooting (if they are moving).

Dorothy Johnson said...

She is a good girl. I think she will be success